Published on December 1st, 2020 | by Andrew Bistak

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go Review (2020)

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go Review (2020) Andrew Bistak

Summary: The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go provides portability and power


Affordable power

The new Microsoft Surface Go boasts performance (10th Generation Intel i5 Quad Core CPU), portability (1.1kg / 13 hour battery) and visual appeasing aesthetics (Aluminum with polycarbonate composite resin) that start at just $999AUD (November 2020). Adding to your personal style, it comes in three different colours that include ice blue, sandstone and platinum (reviewed) and its slim and compact design definitely makes it standout from its competitors.

The base of the Surface Laptop Go is made up of 30% recycled plastic that makes it a greener friendly product

Microsoft also offer the Surface Laptop Go available in three different system configurations and price points to suit additional needs and budgets. In terms of our review unit, Impulse Gamer was offered a loan unit of their top-level model of the Surface Laptop Go from Microsoft which includes more RAM and storage.

Entry-level Mid-level Top-level
CPU Intel Core i5 Intel Core i5 Intel Core i5
Storage 64GB 128GB 256GB
Screen 12.4” 12.4” 12.4”
Price $999 $1249 $1549

Adding to the features of the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is its high quality 12.4” PixelSense touchscreen that has a resolution of 1536 x 1024 (148 DPI) that is super clear with vibrant colours and gives the user a large workspace due to its 3:2 ratio. It has a full-sized keyboard with a precision trackpad that adds to the portability nature of this device and more importantly, makes it quite easy to use in all environments.

Furthermore, it has 1 USB-C port, 1 USB-A port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect Port which is Microsoft’s proprietary power and adapter solution. In a perfect world, I would have preferred the Surface Laptop Go to be powered by USB-C which is now becoming a standard across the industry. Thankfully it comes with a high-speed 39W charger.

Lastly, it has a 720p HD front facing camera (perfect for Zoom or Microsoft Teams), dual-far field studio microphones which easily pick up audio and Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Audio that produce clear audio. All in all, a well designed system from Microsoft.

Product Photos

Out of the box, the first thing that I noticed about the Surface Laptop Go was its professional build and its partial aluminum case makes it feel quite sturdy and stylish. Ports are well placed and the full-sized keyboard is great as is the precision trackpad and touchscreen display that makes navigation a breeze. It’s also superlight at just over 1kg in weight!

The setup process is very easy thanks to Microsoft Windows 10 S and we were up in no time, which also includes linking it to your Microsoft account. While Windows 10 S is considerably more secure than the main version of windows, there is an option to switch to the full version else you’ll be locked to the Microsoft apps store. Speaking of security, you can also unlock the laptop with Windows Hello and the power-button doubles as a finger print reader.

Once we went through the setup process, we found the Surface Laptop Go a very responsive device with no issues whatsoever given its specifications. One suggestion I would make to Microsoft is a backlit keyboard which I found super handy on other models I’ve tested because it makes the laptop considerably easier to use in low-light.

The video quality is good and while only a resolution of 1536 x 1024, text, video, scrolling and even casual gaming was not an issue. Adding to the visual quality was the omnidirectional speakers that produced clear and crisp sound and more than ample for your portable needs. Navigating the operating system, apps and software proved no issue and while not the fastest system on the market, it is more than adequate for most people’s need.

We tested Geekbench 5.0 on this device that benchmarks the system against its competitors and it scored a respectable 3119 which mirrors its specs. PCMark10 which tests systems in simulated environments scored the Surface Laptop Go at 3401 that again, is about right for its specifications. While not a gaming laptop, we did try 3DMark with the Surface Laptop Go and with Firestrike, a very graphical hungry test scored the device at 1633 which means you won’t be running the latest Triple A titles which is totally understandable.

Another highlight for us was the “all-day” battery and while Microsoft state it will last up to 13-hours, we averaged around 11 and did use the device for different activities. It also kept quite cool, however sometimes did heat up under the laptop, particularly with intensive apps or processing. Charging was not an issue in terms of heat.

Final Thoughts?

The top-end Surface Laptop Go is indeed an impressive piece of technology from Microsoft that gives you a fully functional and portable laptop that looks the part, is fast and is quite compact that allows you to take it literally anywhere. If you have the budget, I would recommend either the mid to top tier model and the only thing I would change is the ability to charge via USB-C opposed to Microsoft’s proprietary cable. Even so, the Surface Laptop Go is an affordably priced device that makes it an all-round portable laptop.

Official Technical Specifications

User Scenario Get things done, browse, and binge watch on the lightest Surface Laptop, with 12.4” PixelSense™ touchscreen. Signature 3:2 ratio gives you optimum space to see and do more Dimensions 278.18 mm x 205.67 mm x 15.69 mm(10.95” x 8.10” x 0.62”)
  • eMMC drive: 64GB
  • SSD: 128GB, 256GB
  • Screen: 12.4” PixelSense™ Display
  • Resolution: 1536 x 1024 (148 PPI)
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Touch: 10 point multi-touch
Battery Life1 Up to 13 hours of typical device usage Memory 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4x RAM
Graphics Intel® UHD Graphics Processor 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 processor – 1035G1
  • 1 x USB-C®
  • 1 x USB-A
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • 1 x Surface Connect port
  • Firmware TPM
  • Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello one touch sign-in
  • One Touch sign in with Fingerprint Reader Power button (Surface Laptop Go i5/4GB/64GB does not include Fingerprint Power Button)
Cameras, video and audio
  • 720p HD f2.0 camera (front-facing)
  • Dual far-field Studio Mics
  • Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby® Audio™
  • Windows 10 Home in S mode²
  • Microsoft 365 Family 30-day trial
  • Bluetooth® Wireless 5.0 technology
  • Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax compatible
Sensors Ambient light sensor
  • Top: Aluminum
  • Base: Polycarbonate composite resin system with glass fiber and 30% post-consumer recycled content
  • Colors: Ice Blue, Sandstone, and Platinum⁴
What’s in the box
  • Surface Laptop Go
  • 39W Power Supply
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Safety and warranty documents
Warranty5 1-year limited hardware warranty Weight 2.44 lbs (1,110 g)

For more information, visit Microsoft

About the Author

When he's not trying to save the world, Andrew enjoys travel (although loathes turbulence), going to the movies, reading and being a dad to his two dogs (and now twins) with his wife.

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