back to article Surface Laptop Go: Premium feel for a mid-range price, but Microsoft's Apple-like range once meant more than this

Microsoft's Surface Laptop Go is notable for its light weight, decent performance, and somewhat affordable price – but it is a long way from what the company had in mind when the Surface range was launched eight years ago. When our loan Laptop Go arrived to review, it brought back memories. In October 2012 we were there in New …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: The same review in just a few words.

      Erm, what did you expect it to be?

      I have to agree with the review. There are good alternatives for that money.

    2. ThomH

      Re: The same review in just a few words.

      I read it more as: good laptop but I am sad that Microsoft's ambitions are so low.

      1. Wyrdness

        Re: The same review in just a few words.

        I read it as "Microsoft's ambitions were high, but their delivery of those ambitions was too poor".

        1. cookieMonster

          Re: The same review in just a few words.

          The only thing microsoft could make that didn’t suck, would be a vacuum cleaner.

          1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

            Re: The same review in just a few words.

            That's Dyson's job.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The same review in just a few words.

      "Good laptop but I am sad is not a Mac."

      Having seen a picture of the keyboard in the Guardian review I can confirm that it definitely is not a mac ... all the keys are in the correct places unlike the abomination that is the mac "UK" keyboard ... macs even refuse to handle a full UK external keyboard properly unless you use a 3rd party bit of software like Karibiner to cope with all the keys that Apple resolutely refuse to believe exist.

      1. needmorehare

        Huh?

        I've never had a problem with the "British - PC" layout, which puts everything in the right place.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. HildyJ Silver badge
    Boffin

    Apples to not Apples

    Comparing the Surface Laptop Go to a MacBook Air is disingenuous given that the Surface is available for hundreds less. It seems designed to compete with Dell much more than Apple. It is what it is (and it isn't what it isn't).

    The MacBook Air competitor is the Surface Laptop 3 which seemed better in early 2020 before Apple went to its M1 chip but now is waiting for Microsoft's refresh.

    None of these are compelling enough to make you switch your ecosystem from MacOS to Windows or vice versa (although Linux users would probably have a better experience with the Surface line).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shite warranty...

    Ask M$ about their shite warranty...

    Two years ago my company bought me and another bloke a surface laptop. Both of our laptops had overheating issues in less than a month. We returned both for repair... M$ notified both of us that due to scratches on the case... the warranty was voided. The scratches they noted were less than a mm wide and a cm long. According to M$ repaid ANY damage, even scratches voids the warranty. The company I work for is a top tier M$ partner, we even went through our channel contacts for help and still M$ stood their ground would not repair or replace the defective units. Even as M$ partners we no longer recommend the purchase of any M$ hardware due to their nimrod warranty's.

    So make sure you do not actually move your laptop AND cover it in 3m film... Otherwise you have bought yourself a shiny brick if anything goes tits up with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shite warranty...

      This is the truth. I read it on the internet.

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: Shite warranty...

      Consumer laws in most countries would cover a refund or repair in such a case.

      Which backwater, third world shit hole are you living in?

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Shite warranty...

        I’m not quite clear how that even works in the U.K. exactly, but consumer rights probably don’t protect businesses.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shite warranty...

          Correct. Any warranty for a business is as spelled out in the contract. The extended protection (6 years for most of the UK, 5 years for Scotland) only covers consumers. IANOAL but I've taught and assessed commercial law courses to UK diploma level.

          The underlying principle (greatly simplified) is that businesses should have sufficient expertise and controls to know and manage what they're purchasing; a consumer is presumed to be ignorant of all but his/her stated and expressed need. So if a consumer asks for a laptop to run MS Office, the supplier is required to supply something that runs MS Office (in a workable manner - what is "workable" would be left to a court to define should there be a dispute, and that would come down to an interpretation of what a "reasonable" person would consider workable). In the example given by the OP, MS would be required to return a consumer's laptop to a workable condition, though would not have to repair the scratches. To refuse, MS would have to show that the scratches were evidence of misuse to which the fault could be attributed. Simplified - real law is far more complex - if it weren't, we wouldn't need lawyers!

          1. needmorehare

            As someone who had to replace more Surface Pro 3s than purchased...

            I can say Microsoft just throws RMAd devices in the bin without even inspecting them, as we would always receive pristine replacements with different serial numbers. All of the devices we submitted had scuffs/scratches, most notably around the charging port and there was never any quibbling,

            Problems included:

            * Not powering up during cold winters despite being within operating temps

            * Touchscreens with "phantom clicking" issues after 9 months of use

            * Generic drivers causing the device to never boot again (stuck at logo)

            * Not being able to charge properly while at full resource utilisation

            * Design flaws making charging ports (when docking) break very quickly

            * Type keyboard connections randomly failing to work ever again

            ...etc.

            Oh, and don't forget they recalled the plug cable end of the charging bricks due to electrical safety defects. The replacements following the recalls had tacky-looking normal plugs, not their fancy moulded stuff. Which means Microsoft couldn't design a UK plug correctly for a basic 0.75m cable.

      2. Art Jannicelli

        Re: Shite warranty...

        M$ told us we should have bought an extended warranty to cover physical damage. We are an American company.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Shite warranty...

      Pity that your Tier-1 company didn't take Microsoft to court over this.

      A scratch on a surface that does not affect the operation of what is inside should not void your warranty.

      At least in some parts of the world with decent consumer protection laws, Microshaft would be mad to even try this. Like their EULA, MS would lose big time.

      1. Lusty

        Re: Shite warranty...

        You can't start litigation based on something that you imagined happening. Microsoft would obviously fix a genuinely broken machine after a month if the issue was down to manufacture.

        Most of the overheating problems on Surface Laptop can be fixed with a driver update from Intel. My Laptop 3 heated up when new, I updated the drivers and it was sorted, no big deal.

      2. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Shite warranty...

        It's a business device, not a consumer device.

        It's up to your legal team to check your contracts.

      3. Danny 14

        Re: Shite warranty...

        The tier 1 company legal dept would look at the cost of one device and just laugh at you. Nithing would be done.

        The best thing to do is email the sales guy and say "get this replaced or the next 500 device contract in 18 months goes to dell" i guarantee that your laptop will be replaced quickly.

  4. David 132 Silver badge

    Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

    (and no, that's not German for "the the the")

    From the article: ...and a Surface Connect port. The Connect port means you can plug in a Surface Dock 2 (at extra cost)...

    Aaargh. Hulk Smash. Why, Microsoft? What's wrong with Thunderbolt, or even USB-C, both of which should carry every signal you need, without locking your customers into your vertical ecosystem?

    Ah. Yeah, think I answered my own question there. Never mind, as you were.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

      At least with the proprietary connector there's no mistaking that it will work with other hardware.

      I've got shiny Lenovo USB-C laptop docks everywhere at work. Huh, it won't even charge a laptop without the right driver. Only available for their brand laptops? Of course it is.

      1. Handy Plough

        Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

        Funny that - I use one with a MacBook Pro and it works just fine...

    2. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

      I agree with you, but I can also see the point of leaving the connect port (for now) because the Surface Docks are VERY expensive but pre-dated mass acceptance of USB-C, so there will be a lot of businesses with lots of them around.

      They should be moving to USB-C chargers now though, even if they are leaving the connect ports on the machines for the moment. Plus a lot of early USB-C docks and PSUs left a lot to be desired. HP for example had to supply a dongle for some of their laptops to convert USB-C to USB-A and power because they wouldn't accept power on the USB-C ports.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

        True. Fair point, well argued, albeit the laptop under review here is ostensibly a consumer model, and your point about legacy IT stock perhaps doesn’t apply as much...?

        Edit: Nevermind. I see from the article that the unit under review is a "business variant". I withdraw my counter-argument.

    3. Sandgrounder

      Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

      They have both usb-c and a bespoke connect port. Charging works on both. Why is continued support for an additional proprietary port supporting hardware that could deliver power and drive a full docking station that pre-dates the latest USB-C equivalents classed as bad? Perhaps they lack courage to screw all existing users?

    4. HildyJ Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

      As others have pointed out, they have a fully functional USB-C port you can use.

      But they maintain their proprietary port because it's used across the Surface line and for detachable Surfaces it is an essential part of the docking mechanism to hold the detachable keyboard in place.

      1. Lusty

        Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

        @HildyJ the MS connector doesn't connect the keyboard it's generally on the side. The keyboards have various connectors on different models.

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

          Depends on the device Lusty. A lot of Surfaces (E.g. the Books) have a connect port between the keyboard and the screen sections, and you can plug your charger or dock in to them if you want to.

          This obviously only applies to those devices with detachable keyboards though, so not the Surfce Laptops.

          1. Lusty

            Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

            If by "a lot of devices" you mean one model out of the whole range, then yes you're right ;). The Go, Pro X and Pro don't use that connector for the keyboard, at least not on any of the modern ones I've seen

    5. Lusty

      Re: Proprietary ports - DIE DIE DIE

      The Surface connector predates USB-C by quite a bit, has a magnetic connector so you won't trip and kill your device, works with every portable surface out there and supports two large displays even from the Surface Go while delivering a very fast charge both to the laptop and any accessories plugged into it. This means I can switch between my Surface Book for work, my Laptop for home, and my Go with one cable in half a second. Sure, USB-C would have been nice, but backwards compatibility is also nice, and all of the modern Surface line since the Go also support USB-C for connectivity and charging so no big deal

  5. Morten Bjoernsvik

    Surface power supplies

    Worth to mention it the stupid power supplies, they are unique and not that easy to get hold of. In my case it was cheaper to upgrade to a more recent 2nd hand surface pro 3

    1. Lusty

      Re: Surface power supplies

      WTF Really? Argos sell them, as do John Lewis, and neither of those are even computer shops so you clearly didn't look very hard as these things are everywhere. They are also stocked in most airport electronics outlets and Amazon can have any of the models of power supply with me by 10pm today.

      Hardly difficult to get hold of!

    2. Danny 14

      Re: Surface power supplies

      We got a job lot from amazon so staff can take one home and keep one in the office. We also got a bunch of cheap port replicators for a keyboard,mouse and screen for the staff desks.

      There were quite cheap.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    The price of this is only "cheap"...

    ...if you give zero monetary value to all the hours you will waste battling with Windows 10.

    If you do not value your time at all, then sure, this looks ok. Enjoy the frustration, you've earned it.

    But if you just want a computer to consistently work day in, day out, this is not the package for you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The price of this is only "cheap"...

      It would be the same effort on any Windows laptop though, no? Your personal bias and lack of Windows skills have no bearing on a Windows laptop review.

    2. yoganmahew

      Re: The price of this is only "cheap"...

      While I agree with your definition of monetary value, I'm wondering what you consider will work day in, day out? I have colleagues with Macbooks, they are always broken if you use anything other than an apple stock app. My daughter has a ChromeOS book for school and there was never a more benighted product, neither fish nor fowl. I've used various strands of Linux since forever and it's okay, if clunky, until it no longer works at all and you have to reinstall the whole thing.

      I have fond memories of DOS on a 286 where you could magically flick between DW370 and Netmaster, giving you access to VM and MVS, and Keith and Andy only a short walk and a cup of coffee bribe away from any fix. I'm not sure that's what you have in mind though :)

    3. Danny 14

      Re: The price of this is only "cheap"...

      We built a windows 10 image and push that image (current one is 2004) to new machines. We do zero battling. Group policies sort out most foibles.

      If you mean home consumer then use linux and your job is done.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trying to cover all bases often fails

    Apple controls the hardware and the software - leaving just the wetware to mess things up. IBM opened the PC to anyone and less others take the hassle; not convinced that was the right move for IBM but it worked for the rest of the PC industry.

    Windows 10S is would be the right step if they could then get the necessary apps in their store - but, at the moment, one of the first things to do when setting up a new Windows 10S laptop is to remove the 'S' restriction. For example, you can't even install Zoom on 10S - that wouldn't have been so relevant a year ago but is now. I'm not even sure if there's a Microsoft Teams app for 10S (I know the Store version for 10S was withdrawn back in 2018 but, since I have to remove the 'S' for other essential software, I've not even looked). Having been working with a charity setting up Chromebooks given away to vulnerable groups, I've found they could well be a better option for new users just needing basic communication and office tools.

    Personally, I switched my own use to Apple around 10 years ago and, whilst the initial purchase cost was higher, it was a good move as I spend a lot less time and money on actually using it (my main desktop is 8 years old and still does all I need of it - including basic video editing). I still run Windows and Linux in VMs (via Parallels) for the rare time I can't find Mac software.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trying to cover all bases often fails

      To be fair there are people with Macs only slightly older than yours who can no longer use them, and people who bought one this year who will be SOL in a couple of years. Meanwhile anyone buying an equivelent quality Windows system during those years is likely still as happy as you are and will continue to be into the future.

      Your exit to Mac was at a very convenient time in the grand scheme of things, and you got fairly lucky. And even then you're only happy because you were able to give up the various advantages of Windows. I bought a late 2013 MacBook Pro and while it ran fine until the day I sold it, looked like new, and fetched a great second hand price, I had to give it up because MacOS is lacking a ton of things I use regularly and for some reason still requires users to remember loads of keyboard shortcuts despite being hailed as the greatest GUI! I am not a fan as you can tell, but I can see why people do like it if their usage is basic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trying to cover all bases often fails

        Yes, my iMac no longer gets updates to Office365 and Adobe apps, not iMovie and a few others (including Pages, etc). It won’t update past High Sierra but it still does everything I got it for. The lack of updates mainly means no new features, but it hasn’t any. HS still gets patches so I don’t see security as a significant issue for me.

        One niggle is that there are some new apps I’d like to install, that won’t; I couldn’t reinstall Office365, should that become necessary - but if that is an issue there’s probably a bigger one at the root of it. I did think about replacing it with the latest iMac refresh, and have considered a new M1 MacMini - but the full cost to replace what I have wouldn’t give much change from £2k and I don’t think I’d get £2k of increased value. That might change in a year or two, but that gives me a year or two to save up £2k :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Trying to cover all bases often fails

          "it won’t update past High Sierra"

          And High Sierra is still going to be getting security updates, yeah? Or is Internet not among your use-cases? There will come a time when you'll need to choose between Windows or Linux to securely use your Mac. For those buying an Intel Mac today that time will come much sooner than it did for you.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trying to cover all bases often fails

        "And even then you're only happy because you were able to give up the various advantages of Windows."

        I gained far more than I ever lost when switching from Windows to Mac 10 years ago, and that hasn't changed to date. And before that I had been a devout MS fan for 15the prior 15 years.

        I deal with Windows 10 machines every day, and while things have improved on many fronts it's still janky compared to the Mac.

  8. Candy

    Don't buy the cheapest model...

    Unless you only want an expensive web browsing device.

    On the low end device, you don't get a real SSD but, rather, an eMMC. This is sloooooowwww.

    The "cheapest" practical device is the mid-range one. Very nice. I have bought a couple for the family and they're proving popular.

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