Google has long dominated classrooms and budget-conscious buyers looking for a cheap laptop with its extensive Chromebook lineup. The humble Chrome OS platform has come a long way from the days of relying exclusively on web apps and services, to the point where today many Chromebooks can run Android apps and offer more feature-rich specs than their Windows counterparts.
Of course, as one could guess, Microsoft doesn’t like Google carving out this very profitable niche for itself from a market that is otherwise ruled by the Windows owner. While Microsoft doesn’t have a direct answer to the Chromebook, mainly because that would require the development of a much lighter skin of Windows meant for lower-end hardware, it does have many value-oriented machines to boast.
Microsoft’s own portfolio of Surface laptops include a wide range of notebooks that are largely targeted at mid to high-end audiences, but last year the Surface Laptop Go was launched in order to fill the gap Google had created for Windows laptops with Chromebooks. Surface Laptop Go was a $550 mid-range offering from Microsoft that aimed to challenge Chromebook’s dominance in that market segment. And today, it receives a follow-up.
Surface Laptop Go 2
The Surface Laptop Go 2, announced and launching today, is the successor to yesteryear’s Go but with a slighly bumped price tag and more recent specs. The Surface Laptop Go 2 starts at $599 for the 4GB (RAM) and 128GB (Storage) model, a $50 increment from the previous Go. On the outside, there’s largely no updates to the design and it looks virtually indistinguishable from the Laptop Go (1).
The screen is the exact same as last year and, thus, stuck at the same 1536×1024 resolution, which technically makes this laptop not Full HD. Moreover, we see a 3:2 aspect ratio running across a 12.4″ display (which is a touchscreen), again, unchanged from the Surface Laptop Go. The fingerprint sensor situated in the function row also makes a return. The total weight of the laptop comes out to around 1.1 kilograms.
As for the I/O, you get a pretty limited selection here. On the right side, there’s just a single full-size SD Card slot, and on the other, there’s a USB Type-A port, a USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. That’s it. But, at least the inclusion of a SD Card slot over adding more Type-C ports is a nice touch here, though we would’ve loved to see more diversity here, especially seeing how this laptop is meant for a more value-oriented audience.
On the inside, however, Microsoft has updated the internals with a new Tiger Lake processors from Intel, the Core i5-1135G7 to be specific. The i5-1135G7 is a 4-core, 8-thread SKU with a factory boost clock of up to 4.2 Ghz out of the box. That’s plenty impressive for a laptop of this price. The best part is, all variants of the Surface Laptop Go 2 will sport this new processor.
Microsoft says the Surface Laptop Go 2 comes with a better webcam, improved thermals and longer battery life. The camera is still stuck to only 720p, though, and the battery life has only been extended by 30 mins, from 13 to 13.5 hours on the new model. Not only that, but the device apparently runs quieter as well, according to Microsoft. All of these claims remain yet to be tested before further comments can be made on this machine.
For those interested, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 will be offered in the following configurations:
4GB RAM and 128GB Storage — $599.99
8GB RAM and 128GB Storage — $699.99
8GB RAM and 256GB Storage — $799.99
16GB RAM and 256GB Storage — $1,099.99
As you can see, the top-of-the-line model will run you over $1000, which is just starting to braise that high-end territory. But, if a high-end Chromebook can exist, so can this laptop. Pre-orders for Surface Laptop Go 2 are live as of now, you can click here to preorder directly from Microsoft. The laptops will ship starting June 7th, 2022 with local offers from resellers following suite.