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In the world of Microsoft’s Surface Laptop series, the winds of change blow, but not always in the direction one might expect. Cast your memory back to 2020, and you might recall the Surface Laptop Go, making its entrance at a modest starting price of $550. In 2022, its successor surfaced, commencing at $600, a slight uptick. Fast forward to the present, and the all-new Surface Laptop Go 3 by Microsoft greets us with an $800 starting price. Call it the inexorable march of inflation, if you will.
Yet, beneath this price hike, one finds a familiar friend. The Surface Laptop Go 3 remains remarkably akin to its forebears, its external visage unaltered. The aluminum and polycarbonate composite resin body retains its charm, continuing to embody the essence of budget laptop aesthetics and ergonomics. Though the price tag has edged closer to the premium spectrum, the design still captivates the eye.
We laid hands on the $999 configuration, offering enhanced RAM and storage. Remarkably, for the same price, one could procure the evergreen M1 MacBook Air, a testament to the competitive landscape in which the Surface Laptop Go 3 finds itself.
Among the limited configurations available, the pricier variant garners favor, primarily due to its exclusive 16GB of RAM, an imperative for a seamless Windows 11 journey. Both iterations feature a 256GB SSD.
Nevertheless, certain grievances mar this otherwise delightful travel companion. The 12.4-inch screen, in an age where even budget offerings flaunt full HD displays, disappoints with a mere 1,536×1,024 resolution. The absence of keyboard backlighting at this price tier is confounding, exacerbated by the cryptic dark gray on dark green color scheme, which renders typing a challenge in dimly lit environs.
Port options also prove sparse, with a lone USB-A port, a solitary USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a slot dedicated to Microsoft’s proprietary magnetic power connector. The inclusion of a 720p webcam is a curious choice, as most contemporary laptops have upgraded to full HD counterparts.
Yet, the Surface Laptop Go 3 remains a commendable, well-constructed machine, boasting respectable performance thanks to its shift from older 11th-gen Intel chips to the newer 12th-gen iterations. Regrettably, the cutting-edge 13th-gen Intel chips are reserved for the more upscale Surface Laptop Studio 2 at present.
Aesthetically, it stands as one of the paragons of ultraportable laptops, exuding an aura of sophistication despite its price evolution. The keyboard, albeit slightly smaller, provides a tactile delight with its deep, satisfying keystrokes. The touchpad is reliable, even outclassing some pricier Windows counterparts.
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