Is this clone of the Macbook Air worth it?

In 2020, in the consumer electronics industry, the same goes down in history as the year in which Apple decided, in a not a little controversial act, to remove the charger from the box. Who knows if, despite the laughter and taunts, not all manufacturers end up playing the game. It already happened with the headphone jack. Actually, these from Cupertino have been taking things away since time immemorial. 12 years ago they did it, for example, with the disc player on a laptop. That maneuver took shape with the MacBook Air, a light and especially fine equipment that was a before and after. Intel moved to create what came to be called ‘ultrabook’, a pattern that was intended to make it easier for those who used Windows for their computers to do the same.

We tested Apple’s new iPad Air: if you want a good iPad, it’s the best buy

Michael Mcloughlin

During this time we have seen many who tried to emulate the concept in one way or another. From Huawei to Xiaomi, through Lenovo or Asus. Now comes the Surface Laptop GO, the umpteenth clone of the MacBook Air. A laptop made by Microsoft that plays that: to offer a device with a design that, in addition to being elegant, is very easy to carry from one place to another. Something that is not silly now that, for example, many companies have opted for a mixed model in which they have to go some days and not others to the office.

The key is the ‘GO’

Foto: M. Mcloughlin
Foto: M. Mcloughlin

The most important thing focuses on the tagline. Microsoft Surface Laptop GO. GO, for those who do not know, means the same as when an Android manufacturer puts Lite at the end of the name of one of its mobiles or when Apple uses the suffix SE. They are different labels to indicate that what we have in hand is a battle device. Or more battle than other superior models of the current catalog. Equipment in which they are cut in some sections in order to maintain an adjusted price. This laptop from Microsoft is the first cheap laptop that it shapes.

Its starting price is already around 560 euros. ‘How dare you call that cheap?’, many of you will be thinking. It depends on what you compare it to. Until now the laptops – we are not talking about the tablets – from the Redmond factory, here we have accounted for several of them, they were around a thousand euros. So there is a substantial cut.

However, whenever you have to put the scissors in to cut the cost of a team, the end result may not be to everyone’s liking. So if you are thinking of getting a team that has a design like MacBook Air without having to go to Windows (more people than I thought a while ago, would not be willing to switch to macOS) and you have put eyes on this computer, at Teknautas we have been working with it for ten days so that you know the good, the bad, what you lose and what you get with this Surface.

This nearly twelve and a half inch rig is very light. It barely exceeds a kilo in weight. Easy to carry, even in hand. To achieve this they have opted for aluminum for most of the exterior area, with the Microsoft logo in a prominent place. However, the lower part is finished in a plastic material, with a rubbery finish. Although the corners are round, the sides of this notebook are flat edges.

The biggest cut of this equipment is the screen, which lags behind Full HD without becoming HD

It has dimensions of 278.18 x 205.67 x 15.69 mm, which also makes it very manageable in this regard. The port chart is limited. We only have a USB type A, a USB type C, the headphone jack and the proprietary connection (Surface Connect) for the charger. It is likely that some can live with it without problems (myself), but I know that many others need more options in their day to day, so they would need an accessory to gain a few extra ports or if we need an ethernet connection. Since we are talking about connectivity, although we do not have the option of connecting to the internet with the default cable, we do we have Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

The screen, which is framed with reduced frames, but not invisible, is probably what can generate the most reluctance to some. We are talking about a 12.45-inch Pixel Sense touch panel, with a 3: 2 screen ratio, less landscape than other manufacturers choose (I must admit that it is one of the formats that I like the most when working on small panels) and with a resolution of 1536 x 1024 pixels. This figure leaves you somewhere between HD and Full HD. Although it’s close to 1080p, it doesn’t quite touch them. It has a screen density of 148 pixels per inch, which will be poor if you are looking for a good and sharp image. Noticeable? It depends on how trained your eye is. On some occasions I have missed some definition. When it comes to brightness, color, and touchpad response, I think any average user will be more than overwhelmed in this regard.

Foto: M. Mcloughlin
Foto: M. Mcloughlin

Before talking about performance, settings and autonomy, I want to talk about the keyboard and trackpad. These two aspects, I always repeat, I think they are essential when it comes to being comfortable with a laptop. What’s more, I think that is what has prevented many people from changing their PC for a tablet, where they could do their job perfectly. Man is an animal of habit, you know what they say. It’s a comfortable keyboard, with keys that feel blunt and travel when you press them.

Has space at the bottom, on the sides of the trackpad, to support the wrists, which I really appreciate and it allows me to feel that it is a more natural posture. If we want, we can configure the power button as a fingerprint reader (it works quite well). The only big downside to this keyboard is that it is not backlit. At this point in life. Difficult to understand even if they want to cut costs.

On the ‘trackpad’ there is not much to comment. And that’s probably the best news. The problem is that after several it would have felt strange, unnatural. But here from the first moment I have handled myself perfectly. It comes with Windows Home 10S, a 720p webcam (what a mania with not putting 1080p webcams anymore) and speakers with Dolby Audio Premium, that offer a sound more than drinkable.

The RAM dilemma

Microsoft has chosen 10th generation Intel Core processors to power this affordable PC. Specifically, the unit that we have tested is an i5 (1035G1), with an integrated Intel UHD graphics. It is difficult to speak now of clones of the MacBook Air with these chips, now that it seems that Apple has punched the table with its M1s. The Surface Laptop Go offers good performance for a user who wants their equipment for day-to-day tasks. You have the option of staking it with 4G or 8 GB of RAM. I have used the higher version for this test.

You can live with 64GB in laptop in 2020. Yes. Is it the most comfortable? Of course, no

And I have been able to handle the newspaper’s content manager, handle and edit photos, have dozens of windows open and be using Excel in parallel without any problem. Only after several hours of intense use have I noticed that the fan turned on and made some noise. I think the base version can be a sweet tooth because can be found for just 560 euros (one hundred euros less than its starting price), although it would be advisable to go up to 8GB of RAM, so that it gives us more game and ages better. Storage options are 64 (eMMC) / 128 / 256GB (SSD). They are figures that will not surprise anyone, because they are modest. Can you live with 64GB of memory in 2020 on a laptop? Personally, I use more and more Drive, both for photos, videos and other files that I manage in my day to day, but if you are not able to be a kind of ‘Marie Kondo’ with what you manage on your computer, you are likely to exhaust this Quick. But this is a matter of taste and customs.

Autonomy complies, not surprising

Performance, therefore, is one of the positive notes. And autonomy? Too. It is not an energetic beast, but it gives enough to spend a day of work. Microsoft talks up to 13 hours. That I have not been able to achieve. The impression I have is that with normal use, without demanding a lot and taking care of things such as brightness, it can reach 10 hours. In the days that I have given more cane I have stayed around 8. The best, we have fast charge. With the proprietary charger we will reach half the gas tank in about fifty minutes, so a ‘pit stop’ at home or the office is enough to have energy for a few hours if you have to go around visiting clients or going to one class to college.

Foto: M. Mcloughlin
Foto: M. Mcloughlin

These are basically the notes to keep in mind. The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is basically a battle computer, thinking for the day to day and simple office automation activities, without any software that consumes huge amounts of resources. It fulfills its function and does so with a beautiful and comfortable design, with a good performance for the type of equipment that it is and a correct autonomy, which sacrifices the visual section, by opting for a more modest screen. But nevertheless, If you think that 4GB of RAM and 64GB of memory are going to fall short (there are not few ballots), the team of 8 and 128 already rises to 799 euros and there the recommendation can be more difficult, since the competition increases exponentially.

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