You know, the XPS 13, MacBook Pro and Spectre x360 — the $1,000+ crew that demonstrates the cutting-edge features in the industry. Does everyone need to buy one of these pricey notebooks? Absolutely not. Google proved that with Chromebooks, cheap but speedy alternatives capable of completing most everyday tasks just fine. But what about on the Windows 10 side? For a while, finding a good sub-$1,000 Windows laptop was no easy feat. But that has changed in recent months with the debut of the HP Envy x360 and Microsoft Surface Laptop Go.
HP’s Envy x360 13 became our favorite “affordable” laptop when it debuted early in the year. It gives users nearly the same experience as its pricier, more premium Spectre x360 sibling, but at a reasonable $800 price. The design is beautiful, the screen is nice, the keyboard is comfortable and its AMD chips are speedy.
Jump to a few months later and Microsoft, moving away from the premium-only strategy held by rival Apple, launches the Surface Laptop Go, a 12.4-inch notebook with a starting price of $549. We don’t recommend the base model; instead, the better options cost $699 or $899, making them direct competitors to the Envy x360 13.
If the Surface Laptop Go leapfrogs the Envy x360 13, it would be the laptop we recommend to college students, kids or anyone who wants to save some money but still have a premium device. Does the Laptop Go accomplish that goal? Read on to find out.
Surface Laptop Go vs. Envy x360 13: Value and configurations
Forget about spending a grand, these two mid-range machines show you can get more for less. I’ll start with the Surface Laptop Go because it’s crucial that you choose the correct configuration of this laptop.
The base Surface Laptop Go starts at $549 and comes with an Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. Apart from the processor, those aren’t specs we’d recommend. Instead, try to scrounge up $699 for the mid-tier model, which upgrades you to 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Have a bit extra to spend? Our $899 review unit doubles the storage to a 256GB SSD.
The starting price of the Envy x360 13 is $649 when configured with an AMD Ryzen 3 4300U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Our review unit raises the price to $799 for a model with a Ryzen 5 4500U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB. If you can stretch the budget, another $150 gets you a Ryzen 7 4700U CPU and 16GB of RAM.