Microsoft launches Surface Laptop Go with $899 competitor to MacBook Air

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2020
Microsoft on Thursday introduced the Surface Laptop Go, a lighter-weight and less powerful iteration of the company's notebook lineup at a price that undercuts Apple's cheapest MacBook Air.

Credit: Microsoft
Credit: Microsoft


The Surface Laptop Go is much more affordable than other Surface devices, and the lower-end models seem aimed at poaching Chromebook buyers. But the more expensive tiers could be a competitor to Apple's MacBook Air.

Instead of any significant new features, most of the changes on the here are on form factor and price. It packs a 12.4-inch display, weighs less than a MacBook Air at 2.45 pounds, and starts at $549.

Here's how it stacks up against Apple's MacBook Air.

High-end Surface Laptop Go versus MacBook Air

Although it starts at $549, those are underpowered compared to the MacBook Air. The $899 top tier model of the Surface Laptop Go could give the MacBook Air some competition. It sports 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, and a quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. The MacBook Air costs $100 more, but packs a dual-core 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor.

Despite the 12.4-inch display, the Surface Laptop Go features a 1536 x 1024 resolution, with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Apple's MacBook Air sports a 13.3-inch display at a 2560 x 1600 resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio, that utilizes Apple's True Tone technology.

The Surface Laptop Go features a single USB 3.2 type-C port and a single USB 3.1 type-A port, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect charging port. The camera is a 720p webcam that won't support Windows Hello facial recognition. For biometrics, users get a fingerprint reader in the power button -- but only on the $699 and $899 models. The MacBook Air features two Thunderbolt 3 ports and an integrated Touch ID sensor.

The Surface Laptop Go also features Wi-Fi 6, which the MacBook Air lacks, and a fast charging mechanism that can top a battery off to 80% in an hour. On the other hand, all of Apple's laptops are made of aluminum. The Surface Laptop Go, as a cost-saving mechanism, features a plastic housing.

Base models

The $899 Surface Laptop Go is the top-end model and the most serious competition to Apple's MacBook Air. But Microsoft also has two other tiers for the laptop, and both leave quite a bit to be desired.

For example, the base model isn't much of a laptop replacement, packing just 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. Compared to competing PC makers, consumers can get more bang for their buck for $549. Of course, buyers are paying for the Surface design, as well as features like a full keyboard and Microsoft's Windows Precision trackpad.

There's also a mid-tier $699 model that comes with a more-capable 8GB of RAM, but is still stuck with a 128GB SSD drive. Apple's cheapest MacBook Air model at least has 256GB as the standard storage configuration.

Available in Blue, Sandstone, and Platinum, the Surface Laptop Go is available for preorder starting Thursday. It'll start shipping on Oct. 13.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    KITAKITA Posts: 382member
    The Surface Laptop 3 was their competitor to the MacBook Air. The Surface Laptop Go has a 12.4" 3:2 display and is 2.4 lbs.

    Surface Laptop 3 (2019) - $999

    13.5" 2256x1504 display
    Intel Core i5-1035G7 (4 cores / 8 threads with G7 graphics)
    8 GB LPDDR4X-3733
    128 GB SSD (user replaceable) 
    2.79 lbs

    MacBook Air (2020) - $999

    13.3" 2560x1600 display
    Intel Core i3-1000NG4 (2 cores / 4 threads with G4 graphics)
    8 GB LPDDR4X-3733
    256 GB SSD
    2.8 lbs
    edited October 2020 ctt_zhCloudTalkinentropyschasmmuthuk_vanalingammatrix077gatorguytipoo
  • Reply 2 of 20
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Well, at least they didn't copy the touch bar.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,788member
     Reckon the ideal port set up would be two thunderbolt and one USB-A in this size laptop.

    the cheap USB stick is too prolific.
    chasm
  • Reply 4 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,457member
    Beats said:
    Well, at least they didn't copy the touch bar.
    The MBA doesn't have the Touch Bar...


    gatorguychemengin1watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,457member
    I don't know why anyone would ever consider a Surface. Some of the biggest pieces of shit ever made. I can't imagine how shitty these will be. 
    williamlondoninTIMidatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,788member
    For a while work pushed surface products instead of the usual iPads, latitudes and elitebooks.
    MS as far as the IT group is concerned is all that matters. Anyway, nobody wanted them to the extent they aren’t even on offer anymore.
    edited October 2020 williamlondonmatrix077watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Here’s the thing:

    Price isn’t the point. The Surface is a pile of hot garbage compared to the generally lean and efficient iPad.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,161member
    A Windoze notebook is not a "competitor" to a Mac in the eyes of most Mac users, and while there are some Mac users who own PCs to play games, a machine of that caliber is not even a lure to gamers.  It's really only a "competitor" for people who haven't the faintest idea if a Mac is actually better than Windows or visa versa.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,267member
    Here’s the thing:

    Price isn’t the point. The Surface is a pile of hot garbage compared to the generally lean and efficient iPad.
    I don't think that the Surface is as bad as you said compared to an iPad.  I have a Surface Pro 4 that completely replaced my iPad, notebook and desktop (since I have the Surface Dock).  I wouldn't be able to do that with an iPad.  And during these years, I have seen how the iPad have been copying many elements I had many years ago in my SP4, like the Pen/Pencil, side-by-side apps in tablet mode, Windows Hello / FaceID and more recently the keyboard with trackpad.  

    I think that the iPad is the best tablet in the market.  But the Surface does many things better than the iPad, specially when you add the keyboard / trackpad.  For example, if I work with a complex document or spreadsheet, the Surface is a better device.  Same as multitasking, where the iPad is very limited compared to Windows.  

    I would agree that the iPad is very efficient in many tasks, but I can said the same of the Surface in many tasks too.  IMO, it all depends of what you need, the apps / applications and your workflow.  I consider both, the iPad and the Surface Pro, excellent devices.
    chasmwilliamlondongatorguy
  • Reply 10 of 20
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,919member
    Why the constant comparison of hardware specs when it’s what the OS does with that hardware the counts. The real performance/UX has far more to do with the OS than hardware.
    I use a  Windows 8th-gen quad-core i5 machine for work and it’s a dog. Specs/$ is misleading.
    chasmmatrix077watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,611member
    macxpress said:
    I don't know why anyone would ever consider a Surface. Some of the biggest pieces of shit ever made. I can't imagine how shitty these will be. 
    While I am as loathe as anyone here to defend Microsoft, this is not an accurate or true statement. The Surface Pro is a perfectly fine option for people who need or want Windows and its app experiences as the center of their workflow. The Surface Go looks to be a very weak compare to the MBA, and indeed the only reason it got compared in the first place is because Apple doesn't currently sell a less-powerful laptop than the Air. As noted by KITA, the Laptop 3 is at least a more suitable compare.

    I concur, however, that the Surface Go is a bad value even for Windows users -- there are better laptops to be had in those price ranges with more of what Windows owners value (old but compatible ports, better video cards, etc), and if they are getting a Surface Go to use primarily as a tablet, there are way better options for less (like the new iPad Air and a keyboard, which kicks the crap out of this on nearly every front).
    williamlondonbeowulfschmidtgatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,611member

    Beats said:
    Well, at least they didn't copy the touch bar.
    1. I like the Touch Bar and use it pretty regularly.

    2. Quite a number of Win notebooks (but not the Surface line) have what amounts to a Touch Bar in the trackpad, which on these models is a plastic LCD screen rather than metal. Now THAT was a bad idea.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    "Well, at least they didn't copy the touch bar."
    Touch bar is Apple's response to lack of touch screen. Who copied who?
    Surface laptop doesn't need a tiny touch bar as the entire screen is touch sensitive.

    williamlondonKITA
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Beats said:
    Well, at least they didn't copy the touch bar.
    "Well, at least they didn't copy the touch bar."
    Touch bar is Apple's response to lack of touch screen. Who copied who?
    Surface laptop doesn't need a tiny touch bar as the entire screen is touch sensitive.
    williamlondonKITA
  • Reply 15 of 20
    macxpress said:
    I don't know why anyone would ever consider a Surface. Some of the biggest pieces of shit ever made. I can't imagine how shitty these will be. 
    My 6 year old Surface Pro 3 still works super fine - no issues.
    Switched from ThinkPad P50 Mobile Workstation to Surface Book 3 (32GB RAM, 1TB SSD) - the best laptop ever owned - super versatile with zero competition.
    edited October 2020 williamlondonKITA
  • Reply 16 of 20
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,815member
    Usability, aesthetic, MacOS, Air is way better. Apple to Orange comparison! It will totally different game when Apple Silicon based MAC's come out.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,120member
    This is quintessentially Surface. Low base price, but once you skip the poop options (eMMC, 4GB) to the ones you actually want, the pricing is right up there with competition that offers better for the price. Even compared to Apple, once you get 8GB and 256GB, the Macbook Air is right there, sure the Surface Laptop Go has a quad core, but also a non high-DPI screen like the Air. 

    Had the middle model been the base price, that would be appealing. But I'm hard pressed to get the upgrade models with their pricing, though Microsoft does do direct sales unlike Apple. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    wood1208 said:
    Usability, aesthetic, MacOS, Air is way better. Apple to Orange comparison! It will totally different game when Apple Silicon based MAC's come out.

    These are all subjective. Someones meat is another ones bone - that's the saying. Some value touch screen which air doesn't have. It all depends on the user.
    KITA
  • Reply 19 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    They run hotter than that place south of heaven
    Hull?
    watto_cobra
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