- The Surface Laptop Go 2 starts at $599 and ships with Windows 11, Microsoft's latest operating system.
- The base model comes with more storage than the original version Microsoft released in 2020.
Microsoft on Wednesday started taking preorders for the Surface Laptop Go 2, the first revision to its entry-level laptop. The PC starts at $599, an increase of $50 from the original Surface Laptop Go that Microsoft released in 2020.
The tech giant is adhering to its incremental approach to updating products in its Surface line, which delivered 5% revenue growth in the most recent fiscal year. That's slower than most other major products from the company. But Surface devices are more than a revenue play — they serve to show what's possible with Windows, and with the new device, Microsoft intends to show that a good-quality portable Windows computer can be affordable.
Microsoft has not managed to turn the Surface into a major hit in the nearly 10 years the product line has been available. The company had 0.6% share of PC desktops and notebooks in the first quarter, according to data from industry researcher IDC. But many Surface computers have carried price tags of more than $1,000, and with the Surface Laptop Go 2, Microsoft is targeting consumers and businesses with less money to spend — and offering a fresh alternative to cheaper Chromebooks running Google's Chrome OS.
The new laptop bears a strong resemblance to the original Surface Laptop Go. It still has a 12.4-inch display, 4GB of RAM at the low end and a fingerprint scanner embedded in the power button.
There are a few notable changes, though. The new one ships with Windows 11, which Microsoft released last year. The initial model came with Windows 10 in S mode, which restricted people from running programs that aren't listed in Microsoft's app store, although it's possible to switch out of the mode. Microsoft has offered customers a free Windows 11 upgrade for people who buy the first Surface Laptop Go.
The base model comes with a 128GB solid-state drive, rather than 64GB like the last one. Microsoft says the new laptop's battery will last for 13½ hours, compared with 13 hours for its predecessor. And customers can replace more of the gadget's components, including the display, trackpad, feet, keyboard cover and top assembly, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.
It also contains an 11th-generation Intel Core i5 chip, which is newer than the 10th-generation processor in the original model, although it forgoes 12th-generation chips, which can be found in PCs from the likes of HP and Dell.