The latest iteration of Microsoft’s budget-oriented laptop, the Surface Laptop Go 2, isn’t a year old yet, and frankly speaking, it’s still a solid laptop for the price. We found it pretty good in our review, and while it doesn’t have the latest processors, it does offer a premium-feeling design with the clean Surface design language, while also having a tall 3:2 display and solid performance. It’s a great laptop for students and more casual users, but of course, we’re always interested in what’s ahead, so we’re already thinking about a potential Surface Laptop Go 3.
Of course, it’s very early to have any concrete information about the Surface Laptop Go 3, but given the shortcomings of the first and second-generation models, there are a few things we’d like to see change. Let’s take a look at what we expect, and what we’re wishing for, when the laptop does launch.
When will the Surface Laptop Go 3 be released?
As we’ve mentioned, Microsoft launched the Surface Laptop Go 2 just a few months ago, with general availability starting on June 7, 2022. That tells us we’re a ways off from a successor, but when should you expect a new model? We can only estimate based on past trends, particularly looking at Microsoft’s cheaper devices.
Surface Laptop Go 2
With its budget-oriented Surface devices, Microsoft has taken roughly a year and a half to two years to introduce a new iteration. The original Surface Laptop Go was announced on October 1, 2020, so we had to wait roughly one year and eight months for the second generation. As for Microsoft’s other budget lineup, the Surface Go tablets, it took about one year and nine months from the original to the second generation, then roughly one year and five months until the Surface Go 3.
As such, it’s fair to expect a Surface Laptop Go 3 could arrive towards the end of 2023, or potentially even in 2024.
How much will it cost?
Microsoft generally keeps a similar pricing structure across different generations of its devices, but that’s not always the case. In fact, the Surface Laptop Go family changed a bit from the first iteration to the second. Still, we expect pricing to stay very much in line with what we’re seeing with the Surface Laptop Go 2.
That means the base model will likely start at roughly $550, followed by a mid-range configuration at $700, and a top-tier model at $800, assuming it will also have similar RAM and storage configurations to the existing model. We could see a slight increase, seeing as production costs have been rising across the industry and causing laptop prices to increase accordingly. It shouldn’t be a huge increase, but every dollar counts in this price range.
What changes should you expect in the Surface Laptop Go 3?
Seeing as it’s still too early to speculate on specific changes from the Surface Laptop Go 2 to the Surface Laptop Go 3, there’s only one thing we can confidently say you should expect, and that’s a spec bump. Usually, a new product generation comes with upgraded specs, particularly the processor, and we expect that with the Surface Laptop Go 3.
What that will look like will depend on when the laptop ends up releasing, but it’s reasonable to expect 12th-generation Intel processors. The original Surface Laptop Go launched with a 10th-generation processor right around the time Intel introduced its 11th-generation models, and the Surface Laptop Go 2 comes with an 11th-generation processor, a few months after Intel debuted its 12th-generation CPUs.
By the time the Surface Laptop Go 3 launches, Intel will likely be on its 13th generation, or maybe even the 14th, depending on how long we have to wait. At the very least, 12th-generation processors are the most logical choice.
What we’d like to see in the Surface Laptop Go 3
Prior tot he launch of the Surface Laptop Go 2, we already had a few wishes for features that Microsoft should add or improve, but most of them didn’t materialize. These are still pain points with the latest model, so we’re still asking for the same things this time.
A backlit keyboard
One of the biggest criticisms the Surface Laptop Go family has received is the lack of a backlight for its keyboard, which makes it much harder to use at night or in dark rooms. A backlight makes it possible to see and identify the keys much more easily, and it’s obviously a big improvement to usability if you’re working in the dark. Every other Surface device has a backlit keyboard, including the Surface Go Type Cover for Microsoft’s budget tablet, so Microsoft knows how useful of a feature it is.
Windows Hello by default
The Surface Laptop Go and its successor are still the only Surface devices launched after Windows 10 that don’t have Windows Hello included in the base configuration. In fact, they’re the only Windows-powered Surface devices not to offer Windows Hello facial recognition at all. Your only option is to get a fingerprint reader, which requires upgrading to the mid-tier configuration at least.
With the Surface Laptop Go 3, we’d like to see Windows Hello support included in the base configuration. Ideally, this would be through an infrared camera for facial recognition, which is the most convenient way to unlock your PC, but we’d be happy just to see the fingerprint reader included in every model. That might be hard with a budget-oriented laptop, but it won’t stop us from wishing for it.
A sharper webcam and display
The Surface-branded tablets have always stood out for their exceptional webcam quality compared to similarly-priced laptops, but the Surface Laptop family has traditionally been hindered in that department. Even the premium Surface Laptop 4 still comes with a 720p webcam, and only the Surface Laptop Studio finally gave us Full HD.
The Surface Laptop Go 2 similarly sticks with a 720p webcam, though Microsoft has improved the sensor from the original model. But as 1080p cameras are now becoming the default for many laptops, we hope to see the Surface Laptop Go 3 get one as well, so you can look even clearer during video calls and meetings. We have somewhat low expectations, though, because even the premium Surface Laptop 5 is shipping with a 720p webcam in 2022.
Surface Laptop Go 2
Something similar applies to the display. With the Surface Pro lineup, Microsoft has always used extremely sharp screens considering their size, aiming for a pixel density of 267 PPI (pixels per inch). However, with the premium Surface Laptop series, it’s only ever had 201 PPI, and the Surface Laptop Go 2 only has a low 148 PPI. In fact, the Surface Laptop Go 2’s resolution is still below Full HD, and we hope Microsoft will aim a little higher with the next iteration. Again, this is more wishful thinking than it is a realistic expectation.
More than 4GB of RAM in the base model
Microsoft’s Go series is focused on offering more affordable experiences, and because of that, they’ve always featured 4GB of RAM in the base configuration. With Windows 10, that was still double the minimum requirement for the OS, but with Windows 11, it just barely matches that minimum requirement. Windows 11 has some features that use more resources, like the Widgets panel and Microsoft Teams integration, so 4GB of RAM is starting to be a little too low, even for a base configuration. Microsoft seems to agree, as you can’t even find the 4GB model of the Surface Laptop Go 2 on Best Buy’s website.
We’d like to see Microsoft increase the amount of RAM in the base model of the Surface Laptop Go 3, or if that’s not possible, launch a more lightweight version of the OS. Maybe the company could take some cues from Windows 11 SE, removing features like widgets to make the OS a bit smoother on devices with 4GB of RAM.
Right now, that’s all we can really say about the Surface Laptop Go 3, and admittedly, it isn’t much. As we’ve said, the Surface Laptop Go 2 has only just launched, and it’s certainly early to have more tangible information or even speculation. We’ll have to wait a while longer for new information. If you’re curious about other Surface devices, a recent October event introduced us to the Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and the Surface Studio 2 Plus.