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Microsoft Finally Has a Budget Laptop

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Finally Has a Budget Laptop
Image: Microsoft

After producing a fine laptop and a great budget tablet, Microsoft is finally voltroning these concepts together to make the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go, a $550 laptop with a real Intel 10th-gen i5 processor. This is what we’ve been asking for.

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The problem with Microsoft’s budget lineup (until today) is that it felt pricey if you were just out for a good Windows device. The Surface Go 2 is excellent, but if you wanted more than an m3 processor, you had to drop over $630. Then you had to tack on another $100 just for a keyboard. For most people looking for a budget device, that is decidedly un-budget.

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The Surface Laptop Go sounds like a slightly different beast, with an Intel 10th-gen i5-1035G1 CPU, 64GB eMMC drive, and 4GB of RAM—all for $550. That’s a really, really good price, though I’d prefer more storage and RAM, which is possible! You can get up to a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM if you’re willing to pay. And that’s the catch. You can probably get something with more storage and RAM and a 15-inch display, but it will have less-than-ideal build quality, and that display probably won’t be as eye-catching. This is a Surface device, so you can expect something that looks pricey and feels expensive.

You can also expect something small. The Surface Laptop Go has just a 12.45-inch, 1536 x 1024 resolution touchscreen display, though it also has a full-size keyboard with a (claimed) 1.3mm travel on the keys and a glass trackpad. For logging in, there’s a 720p webcam with Windows Hello, and if you’re willing to pay more than $550, there’s an optional fingerprint sensor packed into the power button. Ports-wise, it’s got the typical Surface Connector, as well as an audio jack and both USB-C and USB-A ports.

As for battery life, Microsoft claims this laptop can last 13 hours on a charge. That’s nearly twice the 7 hours and 19 minutes I got on the Surface Go 2 and far above the average battery life we see from comparable laptops, 8 hours and 29 minutes.

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If this thing has the fit, finish, and power it promises, it could be the new budget laptop to beat. We’ll hopefully know more by the time it starts shipping on Oct. 13. However, if you can’t wait for reviews to drop, preorders start today. The Surface Laptop Go starts at just $550 and will be available in either Ice Blue, Sandstone, or Platinum.

Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.

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DISCUSSION

So it bumps up to $899 for the i5, 8GB and 256 GB drive.

You can probably get something with more storage and RAM and a 15-inch display, but it will have less-than-ideal build quality, and that display probably won’t be as eye-catching.

No “probably” about it; a person looking for a budget laptop to do the basics would be better off finding a used/refurbed option at the same-price or less that would have better specs.

There’s a refurbed Dell E7470 on Newegg right now with i5, 16GB, 512 GB SSD for twenty bucks less. Yeah, it might not come in pretty blue, and the screen might not be quite as bright, but still superior for the same money and it’s upgradeable.

And if you match the base-spec version, you can get something for two-hundred bucks less. Computers are like cars in that used is often the better option for most people.