Microsoft Surface Go 2: the small laptop for small jobs

The Surface Go 2: Microsoft’s littlest and cheapest laptop.

Surface go 2 header

The Surface Go 2 is Microsoft’s littlest and cheapest laptop – a small device aimed at the education and ultraportable markets.

A Surface Go 2 standing without a keyboard
Surface Go 2

It’s a 10” device that runs Windows 10 S. Like other Surface computers, it has an adjustable stand on the back that allows you to prop up the device at various angles. Compared to a regular “clamshell” laptop, this can make it harder to balance on your lap, but it stabilises the touchscreen, so it doesn't move when you press it with your finger.

The Surface Go 2 doesn’t have earth-shattering processing power or a giant OLED screen, but it does its job, handling simple tasks well. I used it for writing and playing games, and it gave me no issues in terms of performance.

You need accessories

The Surface Go 2 with added accessories: keyboard, pen and mouse.
Surface with accessories

The Surface Go, like other Surface laptops, works best with the Type Cover keyboard. Without this, you’ll have to use an on-screen keyboard, which takes up a lot of screen real estate. The physical keyboard is a bit bouncy to type on, but for short stints it’s fine.

The Surface Pen is another addition worth considering. It’s more exact than using your finger and a lot easier to carry than a mouse, but also pricey. While it is useful, I would recommend trying the Go with just the keyboard trackpad for a while before making a decision on the Pen.

The Type Cover keyboard starts at $170 and the Surface Pen costs $160.

Two different configurations

The Go 2 comes in two different versions:

  • 4GB RAM with 64GB storage,
  • 8GB RAM with 128GB storage.

The latter is faster and uses solid-state storage, but at $989, also costs $280 more. The 64GB version uses an eMMC (embedded multimedia card) and the 128GB uses an SSD (solid state drive). Generally, eMMC isn’t as fast as SSD, though you’ll likely only notice the difference when you’re transferring large amounts of data.

Windows 10 S

Windows 10 S is a simplified version of the Windows 10 operating system. It’s free and simple to convert 10 S into regular 10, but it’s not so easy to go back.

An advantage of 10 S is that it’s less resource-hungry and faster on less-powerful devices, so it makes sense to run it on the Surface Go 2. It’s also easier to monitor if you want to be an administrator for your kids’ accounts. On the flip side it only allows users to install apps from the Microsoft Store, so you’re stuck using Microsoft’s default programs, such as the Edge web browser.

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Specs

Price: $729-$989
Dimensions: 245x175x8.3mm
Display: 10.5” 1920x1280
Processor: Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4425Y
Storage: 64GB or 128GB
Connections:

  • 1xUSB-C
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 1xSurface Connect port
  • MicroSDXC Card Reader

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