After a leak yesterday spoiled the surprise, Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Laptop Go 2, a $600 starter laptop with premium looks. It looks very much like the original, has an near-identical 12.4-inch 1,536 x 1,024 touch display, anodized aluminum top and weight that's just a fraction more at 2.48 pounds. However, the new model is powered by an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU with Iris Xe graphics, and runs Windows 11 instead of Windows 10.
The 11th-gen Intel CPU should give the Surface Laptop Go 2 a much-needed speed boost. And storage options are now 128GB or 256GB — a step up from the previous model, which offered just 64GB of sluggish eMMC storage on the base $550 model. However, other aspects of the new model haven't changed. It still offers from 4GB to 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM (or 16GB for commercial customers), a relatively low-resolution screen, and no backlight on the keyboard.
Battery life is up a touch from 13 to 13.5 hours under normal usage, good enough for a day's worth of computing. And you can charge it to 80 percent power in under an hour thanks to the 39-watt charger. Other features include WiFi 802.11ax, one USB-C port, one USB-A port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect power port.
The Surface Laptop Go 2 is still the cheapest Surface laptop, but we weren't completely sold on the original. Designed to take on Chromebooks, it offered more premium look for a bit more money. However, the mediocre performance made it a tough sell against rivals like the Dell XPS 13, which cost about the same in an 8GB configuration. Hopefully, the new model addresses those performance concerns — it's now available on pre-order at Microsoft.com or BestBuy.com starting at $600.