Full confession: I have a thing for 12″ laptops. I was a huge fan of Apple’s 12″ Macbook that remains one of my favorite laptops of all time. The fact that Apple hasn’t made an M1/M2 version of it is downright malpractice at this point.
I liked that Mac for its convenience. It wasn’t pretty slow and didn’t have the best keyboard, but it made up for those shortfalls in its extremely light weight, portability and battery life.
I have not found many computers on the Windows side that come close to that Macbook except the Microsoft Surface Go laptops. I bought it for review a year or so ago and ended up keeping it because it’s become my go-to Windows device for the times when I need a Windows device. Like the Macbook it comes with some compromises: The Surface Go has relatively short battery life, no backlit keyboard, lackluster graphics performance, a low resolution display and a noisy cooling fan.
But the convenience and utility of an affordable fully featured (and well built) Windows laptop outweighed all of it for me.
The second iteration of the Surface Laptop Go, called the Go 2, brings a substantial performance boost in its graphical performance. While not a gaming powerhouse by any means it is able to run many modern games at 720p at or around 30 fps. In my review we were able to get Red Dead Redemption 2, No Man’s Sky, and the Witcher 3 running at decent frame rates. The cooling fan is also noticeably quieter vs. the original too.
Physically it’s the same high quality piece of hardware as before, right down to the non-backlit keyboard and low res display. But it has a fit and finish that few laptops at this price point have – it is engineered with the same attention to detail as Microsoft’s considerably more expensive devices in the Surface lineup.
Bottom line it’s not for everyone. But for those looking for a full featured Windows PC that’s small, lightweight, and functional there are not many other choices at this price point.