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The Surface Laptop Go is here, and could steal Apple’s 12-inch MacBook thunder

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Surface Laptop Go is Microsoft’s latest addition to the Surface range of portables, boasting a compact form-factor with a 12.4-inch display, and an affordable price tag to boot.

Indeed, this new Surface 2-in-1 could easily be seen as Microsoft’s attempt to head off Apple’s purportedly incoming MacBook 12-inch, which is expected to debut later this year with an ARM processor (after Apple ditched the 12-inch machine from its MacBook line-up in mid-2019).

The Surface Laptop Go runs with a 12.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen driven by a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 (quad-core) CPU with up to 16GB of system RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. Pricing will start at $549 / AU$999 (about £420), making this the most wallet-friendly Surface laptop yet (and considerably cheaper than the rumored ARM MacBook 12-inch, which could just be Apple’s cheapest laptop in years, but won’t be nearly that affordable).

Within the trim chassis Microsoft has provided a full-size keyboard and what the firm describes as a ‘large’ precision trackpad, so in other words, despite the compact size, the input peripherals aren’t being subject to any hampering compromises. The keyboard, with a 1.3mm key travel, offers an ‘accurate and comfortable’ typing experience, Microsoft promises.

Battery life is rated at up to 13 hours (based on typical usage with the 8GB/128GB model) and you get fast charging technology as well. Some models will further offer a power button with a fingerprint sensor built-in to allow one-touch sign-in via Windows Hello.

In terms of physical ports, you get one USB-C and one USB-A port, a Surface connector and an audio jack.

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go will also have a 720p webcam, Omnisonic speakers (for immersive sound with Dolby Audio support), and it’ll be available in three different metal finishes: Ice Blue, Sandstone and Platinum.

The Laptop Go is now on pre-order in the US and some other regions ahead of an on-sale date of October 13, and it’ll come alongside the arrival of a Surface Pro X refresh.

SQ2 power

That revamped top-end Surface Pro X will pack a new Microsoft SQ2 processor, which the company notes is the fastest chip out of all the ARM-based PCs available as of the end of August.

Naturally, better performance is promised with that CPU – although Microsoft doesn’t elaborate any further than this – and the machine will do better on the longevity front, with a battery life of up to 15 hours (claimed).

The processor is the only hardware change, so this is just a minor refresh, with the additional tweak that a new platinum color will be available, too, alongside three fresh colors for the Signature Keyboard: platinum, ice blue and poppy red.

Microsoft also revealed an incoming clutch of new accessories. Keep your eyes peeled for the Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard, which is a Bluetooth peripheral that allows for the seamless switching between three different devices, and boasts a two-year battery life. It’s also suitably slimline, and will be priced at $69.99 / AU$119.95 (about £53).

Partnering that is a standalone Bluetooth number pad ($24.99 / AU$49.95), a 4K wireless display adapter ($69.99 / AU$119.95), and the Microsoft Bluetooth Ergonomic Mouse. As the name suggests, the latter is a wireless mouse with an ergonomic design and two customizable buttons which will retail at $49.99 / AU$79.95 (about £38).