12.4-Inch Surface Laptop Go Unveiled – Small, Cute, And Functional. Do Rivals Offer More Bang For The Bucks?

Microsoft announced their smallest Windows laptop yet today with the 12.4-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop Go. This is a brand new laptop with touchscreen from Microsoft, that will launch in three configurations, starting from $549. The release date is October 13 in the US:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/surface-laptop-go

There are three hardware configurations, but all of them center around the same 10th generation Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor that started rolling out last fall. The Surface Laptop Go model options are between 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage for $549, or 8GB of RAM with options 128GB SSD storage for $699 or 256GB of storage for $899. A 16GB RAM option will also be made available, but only for the enterprise sector.

64GB storage is just too little on a Windows computer in 2020, so that model is almost useless and a user would have to rely on either cloud storage or storage expansion one way or the other pretty quickly.

The actual execution of this tiny Windows laptop is pretty nice though. It may be small and mobile, but the quad-core Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor makes sure this laptop will be powerful for years to come, which is very important when picking a laptop.

The 12.4-inch screen is a touchscreen with a resolution of 1536 x 1024, and it has a precision trackpad with multitouch gestures, backlit keyboard, a fingerprint reader for logging in but only on the 8GB RAM models. It then has stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium, dual far-field studio mics, a 720p front camera, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0.

The ports are 1 USB C port, 1 USB A port, a 3.5mm audio combo jack, and a Surface Connect port. Battery life is estimated to 13 hours, and the 39W charger can fast charge this laptop to 80% in what is described as ‘just over one hour’ by Microsoft.

Surface Laptop Go ships with Windows 10 Home in S mode installed, but that can be converted into regular Windows 10.

Looking at the design, it looks trendy and is made of aluminum, with color alternatives ice blue, sandstone, platinum available. It is light, but as a 12.45-inch laptop, still heavier than you might expect at 1110 grams, while it’s also 15.69mm thick. So it’s not setting any new records there, but it’s still very mobile as far as small laptops goes of course.

So not a bad small laptop at all. It has satisfying power from the processor, it has a high quality display, fast long range Wi-Fi, but only the 256GB version will make sure you have storage for a while.

So that begs the question – is the Surface Laptop Go good value for money? If we look at two other popular laptops with the same Intel Core i5 processor right now, then the alternatives offers more bang for the bucks. But then again, try to find other 12.4-inch laptops right now.

So if we look at the 13.3-inch Asus VivoBook S13 right now, we get another trendy and modern looking small laptop with even higher specs and 512GB of storage for $699. This is the laptop with that fun yellow enter key, though it lacks the touchscreen.

Asus VivoBook S Laptop Yellow Key Enter

Asus VivoBook S

An alternative with a touchscreen and the same processor is the 14-inch HP Pavilion x360, which has a 360 degree revolving display that can be set up in tent mode and supports a digitizer. It starts at $589 with 8GB/256GB nowadays.

So it all depends on whether someone wants a small laptop the most or if they want the best value for money. Fortunately there’s always choices.

– Tom Bowen

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