Microsoft launches compact Surface Laptop Go 2 for students and businesses

Microsoft (MSFT) on Wednesday debuted its latest low-cost laptop for students and workers looking for a compact, Windows 11-powered system that won’t break the bank.

Starting at $599, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is the follow-up to 2020’s Surface Laptop Go and gets faster performance and new replaceable components that Microsoft says will extend the usefulness of the Go 2.

Microsoft’s latest laptop isn’t going to knock your socks off in the performance department, especially compared to the likes of the mighty Surface Laptop Studio. But its new 11th-generation Intel (INTC) Core i5 chip should provide more than enough power for web browsing, streaming movies, and video chatting.

Think of the Surface Laptop Go 2 as more of a Chromebook (GOOG, GOOGL) competitor than a rival to, say, Apple’s (AAPL) MacBook Air.

Its 12.4-inch touchscreen PixelSense display is on the smaller side, but ensures that, combined with the laptop’s thin and light design, the Surface Laptop Go 2 will easily slide into your bag.

Despite its $599 price tag, the Surface Laptop Go 2 comes complete with premium features including a fingerprint reader, Instant On, and an improved webcam and speakers.

Perhaps the Surface Laptop Go 2’s most impressive features are its ability to replace and upgrade a number of its components. Microsoft says you’ll be able to replace the Surface Laptop Go 2’s shell, battery, and solid-state drive, helping to ensure you’ll be able to use the pint-size laptop well into the future.

Of course, it would be better if you could easily replace all of the Surface Laptop Go 2’s components, including its processor, but that’s likely a bit too much to ask at this point. Plus, it means users wouldn’t have to upgrade their devices for years.

The Surface Laptop Go 2 packs a touchscreen display and Intel Core i5 processor. (Image: Microsoft)
The Surface Laptop Go 2 packs a touchscreen display and Intel Core i5 processor. (Image: Microsoft)

The Surface Laptop Go 2 is coming to market at a time when overall PC shipments are seeing their first declines following two years of impressive growth powered by consumers and businesses snagging systems for both schools and work-from-home setups.

According to IDC, global PC shipments declined 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to Q1 2021 when shipments shot up 55.2% in Q1 2021. The market also continues to contend with the ongoing pandemic-driven global chip shortage. As consumers realized they needed computers to work from home during long COVID shutdowns, the need for chips skyrocketed.

According to Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, the chip shortage could last into 2024. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, however, told Yahoo Finance that his company should begin to see product availability normalize in Q2 this year. And since Microsoft uses Intel and Nvidia chips in its devices, that availability could directly impact the tech giant’s sales.

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go 2 is available for preorder Wednesday and hits stores June 7.

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