Specs Appeal: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go vs Surface Laptop 3

Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Go is on sale now in several markets. The Surface Laptop Go is an affordable alternative to its flagship laptop, the Surface Laptop. By affordable, we don’t mean a budget variant but one that is cheaper than the Surface Laptop and offers almost a similar experience with some trade-offs.

Here’s a comparison of the Surface Laptop Go versus the latest-generation Surface Laptop, the Surface Laptop 3, to help you make up your mind about which one works the best for you. Mind you, the Surface Laptop 3 comes in two size variants – 13.5-inch and 15-inch.

First up, here are the specifications of the three notebooks.

Surface Laptop Go Surface Laptop 3 (13.5-inch) Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch)
Display 12.4-inch (1536 x 1024) 13.5-inch (2256 x 1504) 15-inch (2496 x 1664)
Processor 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 Processor 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G7, Core i7-1065G7 AMD Ryzen 5 3580U, Ryzen 7 3780U*
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
RAM 4GB, 8GB 8GB, 16GB 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
Camera 720p HD (f/2.0) 720p HD (f/2.0) 720p HD (f/2.0)
Ports 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, headphone jack, Surface Connect port 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, headphone jack, Surface Connect port 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, headphone jack, Surface Connect port
Battery Life Up to 13 hours Up to 11.5 hours Up to 11.5 hours
Dimensions 11 x 8.1 x 0.6 inches 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.6 inches
Weight 2.5 pounds 2.8 pounds 3.4 pounds
Colors Ice Blue, Sandstone, Platinum Cobalt Blue, Matte Black, Platinum, Sandstone Matte Black, Platinum
Price $549 onwards $999 onwards $1,199 onwards

*Available with Intel processor for commercial customers


Surface Laptop Go

The Surface Laptop 3 screams luxury all over. It’s built from aluminum and you can also get the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 with the Alcantara fabric on the palm rest if you want.

The Surface Laptop Go, too, looks good, however, the aluminum is limited to the lid and keyboard deck. The rest is a polycarbonate composite. Because of the smaller display and thinner bezels, the Surface Laptop Go is more compact. It also weighs the least which also aids the portability.

While both the Surface Laptop 3 models have higher resolution displays, the Surface Laptop Go is not quite there at 1536 x 1024 resolution on its 12.4-inch screen. The Surface Laptop 3 has a pixel density of 201ppi while the Surface Laptop Go has a rather modest 148ppi.


Surface Laptop 3

Under the hood, Surface Laptop Go makes a few compromises to keep the price lower. The 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 quad-core processor is good enough for students and everyday office workers but 3000-series AMD chips on the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 and the Intel Core i7 on the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 will satiate power users as well. In terms of graphics performance, the Intel UHD Graphics on the Surface Laptop Go wouldn’t suffice for any gaming or graphics-intensive needs.

It’s not limited to the processor inside the chassis. The Surface Laptop Go has only 4GB and 8GB RAM variants, while the Surface Laptop 3 starts with 8GB RAM in the base variant, going all the way to 32GB. In terms of storage too, the Surface Laptop Go starts at 64GB while the Surface Laptop 3 starts at double of that with a faster SSD.

The Surface Laptop Go has a fingerprint reader integrated with the power button (except the base variant) which is a first for Surface PCs. So, while you get a fingerprint reader to log in, the webcam doesn’t support Windows Hello. Again, it is the first Surface device to not have a Windows Hello-capable IR webcam.

The three laptops pack the same 720p HD webcam as well the same number of ports. If Surface Dial is on your mind, the Surface Laptop Go doesn’t support it, mind you.


The Surface Laptop Go is not exactly a budget laptop, so some of the compromises might not be appreciated but it’s also a Surface device at the end of the day.

The Surface Laptop Go is a great affordable option if portability and battery life is your priority, and your work involves just web browsing and the Office suite of apps. However, if you prefer to push your machine, the Surface Laptop 3 is what you should look at.

Check out our reviews of both the devices to decide which one is better for you.

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