Surface Laptop Go 2 Review: Big Style, Small Battery

The Surface Laptop Go 2 is an iterative upgrade from the previous model, no doubt about it. But as a device that prioritizes design, portability, and usability, it might be a smart decision that keeps the price of this chic pocket laptop within a college student’s reach.

This laptop is an absolute joy to use. Those who may not be able to afford more expensive ones MacBook but have long wanted to buy, you should absolutely check out the Surface Laptop Go 2. It’s the closest thing to an affordable Apple clamshell device.

It is super slim and a large part of the laptop is finished with stylish and lightweight aluminum. But unlike the MacBook, it also comes in a colorful array of shades. It’s largely the same selection as last time, with one delicious addition of Sage. I tested the Ice Blue, which is understated, but the shade gives it a refreshing pop. This is one piece of equipment you’ll be happy to put in and out of a bag every day, knowing you’ve got something that looks and feels good, built to last.

Keys Performance

Photo: Microsoft

Working on this laptop is a breeze, with a keyboard that is one of the best for writing your essays and musings. The keys have great travel for a device this thin, and a good level of feedback that stays just to the right of mushy to remain satisfying.

The trackpad isn’t the largest, but then it’s not a huge device, and thankfully it’s accurate and clickable from corner to corner. What lets the bottom half of this laptop down is a lack of backlighting, which can make it inconvenient in a darkened lecture room. The fingerprint button – available on the two 8GB RAM models but not the 4GB – does get some relief, so at least you’ll be able to sign up quickly. Somewhat surprisingly, this Surface device doesn’t offer Microsoft’s Windows Hello facial login, but the webcam’s quality is half decent nonetheless.

In addition to the lack of keyboard backlight, there are a few other compromises with varying levels of impact. The screen sits between 1080p and 720p resolutions, and you’d think this would be a big hurdle, but it’s not personal. Assisted by the small 12.4-inch screen size, it envelops the low resolution in vibrant colors and a good level of detail. The 3:2 aspect ratio also improves the laptop’s productivity. The screen brightness is okay: in most scenarios you will have no problems working. But using it outdoors is a no-no, and the glossy screen doesn’t help either.

You also only get an Intel 11th generation chip, rather than one of the last 12th generation. For a device that costs over $500, you might expect state-of-the-art components, but the results aren’t much of a compromise at all. Combined with 8 GB of RAM – the model I tested – the chip offers more than enough for note-taking and web browsers. The low price is a big part of the Surface Laptop Go 2’s appeal, and considering how it actually plays out, a 12th-generation processor doesn’t seem worth the likely increase in cost.

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