Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 review: Sleek and light, but battery life could be better

Surface Laptop Go 2: Core i5 from 11e 1 generation, 4 or 8 GB of RAM, 128 or 256 GB of SSD storage, available in consumer (Windows 11 family) or professional (Windows 11 Pro, secure PC) version. Photo: Cliff Joseph.

If you haven’t been able to keep up with the different models in Microsoft’s Surface lineup, the Surface Laptop Go 2 stands out as the smallest, lightest, and most affordable laptop currently on offer.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

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multipurpose computer

This 2022 version does not show any major changes. The main novelties are the new Core i5 processor 11e Create and improve security functions, especially for professionals.

However, the lightweight and elegant design of the model should appeal to you if you are looking for a very portable computer for everyday use.

It is also very versatile, since there is a version for the public and one aimed at more professionals. This model is aimed at students on a budget as well as professionals on the go.

Design and technical characteristics

Like its 2020 predecessor, the Surface Laptop Go 2 has a 12.4-inch touchscreen that helps bring the device down to just 1.13kg, while its slim profile is just 15.7mm thick.


It is easy to hold with one hand and put into a backpack or bag, making it easy to transport. The build quality is impeccable, despite its competitive price.

Available in several colors (Sage, Ice Blue, Sandstone, and Platinum), the Go 2 laptop’s aluminum case is strong enough to take a few hits while on the go.


The keyboard is durable and surprisingly comfortable. Microsoft claims it “allows 30% more key travel than a MacBook Air,” and the keyboard is definitely responsive when typing.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2: Keyboard

Fun keyboard, but without the backlight. Photo: Cliff Joseph.

However, it is strange that there is no backlight built into the keyboard for use in dark rooms or aircraft cabins.


The small screen has its drawbacks, as it displays a definition of only 1536 x 1024 pixels (148 ppi). The 3:2 aspect ratio is a good option, as the screen is large enough to provide a good view for reading documents or web pages.

However, the screen soon starts to get a little cluttered once you open several overlapping windows or apps at the same time. The screen is bright and colorful – sometimes too much – and colors sometimes seem oversaturated, especially in the red part of the spectrum.

Microsoft’s spec sheet doesn’t mention screen brightness or color gamut support, but the company tells us it’s 330 nits and 100% sRGB. The Surface Laptop Go 2 is clearly not intended for professional graphic designers, but its screen works perfectly when it comes to viewing documents, browsing the Internet, and playing videos.


Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2: Profiles

The Surface Laptop Go 2 has two USB-C and USB-A ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port. Photo: Cliff Joseph.

Due to its compact design, sockets are limited. On the wireless side, there is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. But in terms of connectors, the device only has a USB-C port and a USB-A port. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Microsoft Surface Connect port for charging and connecting.

I was able to connect the computer to an external 4K display using the USB-C port, although the Microsoft website seems to indicate that this installation requires the additional Surface Dock 2 (which costs $260). However, to be able to use the Laptop Go 2 in a specific desktop setup, you may need an additional dock or hub—to add an Ethernet jack or USB ports, for example.

The only element that justifies the relatively low price is the 720p webcam, although Microsoft says there’s a new camera module with improved brightness, contrast and color balance. Sure, the picture is very bright, even on a gray British summer day, but it still has a slightly grainy quality. If you are a video calling professional and need a quality webcam, you may want to invest in an external 1080p webcam with your hub.

Price and options

The Surface Laptop Laptop Go 2 is available in a consumer and professional version. The latter includes Windows 11 Pro as well as Secured-Core PC security features – including the TPM 2.0 physical chip. In the consumer model, the TPM is implemented in the firmware.

Microsoft also offers power users an “Advanced Exchange” guarantee. The latter allows them to order a replacement unit even before assembling a defective Surface for repair.

For professionals, the Surface Laptop Go 2 starts at €769 for a model equipped with a quad-core Core i5-1135G7 processor clocked at 2.4GHz (up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost), 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage: The base model does not have a fingerprint sensor, although it is integrated into the power button in all other configurations.

The model we tested had 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, priced at 969 euros. There’s also a $1,169 model with 16GB of RAM — a fairly steep price difference just for the extra RAM. There are no other options, and all configurations offered are based on the Iris Xe graphics card built into the Core i5 processor.

Consumer versions usually have a lower price tag of €100.


The Go 2 laptop provides “the performance needed to run everyday applications,” Microsoft discreetly says. We can’t accuse the brand of overestimating the capabilities of the model!

Core i5 11e The generation scored 1345 (single core) and 4140 (multi-core) in the Geekbench 5 benchmark. For comparison, Apple’s current MacBook Air based on the M1 processor scores 1,730 and 7,590 respectively.

The processor’s modest performance is also reflected in the PCMark 10 app tests: its score of 4,466 lifts it right off the bottom third of the score table. To be fair, the Surface Laptop Go 2 will handle standard office software from the Microsoft Office suite without a problem, as well as web browsing, email, and video calls.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2: PC Mark 10

Measured performance of the Go 2 laptop. Photo: Cliff Joseph.

The integrated graphics card Iris Xe is perhaps the best performer here, scoring a PCMark 10 out of 7,508 for photo editing work, so the Surface Laptop Go 2 should be able to handle basic photo editing. For presentation work if needed. It won’t be able to handle a lot of video editing or gaming, with a PCMark 10 video score of 4341, while its 10,820 gameplay score on the 3DMark Night Raid test puts it solidly in the “minus” category. 20 frames per second.

The only real disappointment with this model is the battery life. Microsoft quotes up to 13.5 hours of “typical device usage”, but our test unit only managed to last half of that during our video streaming test, clocking in at a mediocre 6 hours and 40 minutes, even with screen brightness down to 50% . You might be able to extend that to a full eight-hour workday if you don’t use Wi-Fi all day, but that’s still far from the exceptional 17 hours that the MacBook Air M1 offers.


Our pick on the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is mixed. Judging by its performance and battery life alone, it’s an entry-level laptop at a good price in the mid-range – and the extra RAM options are fairly pricey.

The silver lining of the Surface Laptop Go 2 is its sleek, ultra-portable design: sleek, durable, and well-suited for hybrid and mobile work. If you value portability above all else, then this model is very tempting.

However, business users who don’t just work on Microsoft Office may prefer a more powerful Surface model…or one of its competitors.

Features of Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

  • Dimensions: 278.2 mm x 206.2 mm x 15.7 mm
  • weight : 1.127 kg
  • Building : Aluminum (top), aluminum-polycarbonate composite resin system with fiberglass and 30% post-consumer recycled content (base)
  • Colors: Platinum, Sage Green, Ice Blue, Sand
  • The operating system : Windows 11 Home (Consumer) – Windows 11 Pro or 10 Pro (Enterprise)
  • Monitor : 12.4-inch PixelSense, 1536 x 1024 (3:2, 148 ppi), 330 nits, 10 points multi-touch
  • Healer: Intel Core i5-1135G7
  • RAM: 4 GB, 8 GB (LPDDR4x)
  • Storage: 128 GB, 256 GB (SSD removable)
  • Graphics Card : Intel Iris XE
  • Wireless: WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Bluetooth: 5.1
  • connectors: USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio out, Surface Connect
  • camera: HD 720pf / 2.0
  • My voice: Dual Far Field Microphone, Omnidirectional Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
  • battery capacity: 41Wh
  • Battery life: Up to 13.5 hours (basic device use)
  • protection : TPM 2.0 (consumer-style firmware, professional-style hardware), Windows Hello login, fingerprint power button (except for 4GB/128GB configuration)
  • In the box: Surface Laptop Go 2, 39W Power Supply, Quick Start Guide, Safety and Warranty Documents
  • price : from 669 euros (general public) / from 769 euros (business)

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 – Best Price:

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While the Surface Laptop Go 2 is one of the thinnest and lightest Windows laptops on the market, it has many competitors in the ultraportable category at different price points. Here are a few:

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Apple MacBook Air

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

Watch the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 Ultra-Portable PC on Amazon


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