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Microsoft Intros Surface Laptop Go 2 With 11th-Gen Intel Core i5 for $600

And it's just in time for back-to-school shopping.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 open, facing away to the left
Microsoft's least-expensive laptop, the Surface Laptop Go, was updated with a new Intel processor.
Microsoft

For the new Surface Laptop Go 2 announced Wednesday, Microsoft didn't change too much from the original that debuted in 2020. It's still an attractive, budget-friendly, small, thin-and-light laptop built around a 12.4-inch touchscreen with a tall 3:2 aspect ratio and a 1,536x1,024-pixel resolution. 

Inside, Microsoft updated the processor to an 11th-gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor that, while not the latest, should give this capable performance for school or business basics. The consumer version can be configured with 4GB or 8GB of memory (which is onboard so it can't be increased later), while the commercial model will go up to 16GB of RAM. Solid-state storage options are 128GB or 256GB; the 2020 model started with just a 64GB SSD.

Read moreSurface Laptop Go Review: The Best-Looking Budget Laptop You'll Find

Hands holding a controller above an open Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

The Go 2 won't have the components for high-end gaming, but cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass will work.  

Microsoft

The base model Surface Laptop Go 2 starts at $600 (£529, AU$1,199) from Microsoft with the Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Regardless of how nice it looks, 4GB of memory is not great for a $600 laptop. Bumping it up to 8GB will add $100 to the cost. As with the 2020 base model, the new base model does not include a fingerprint reader in the power button. And, although Microsoft said it's improved the webcam, it's still 720p instead of the 1080p cameras found in many new ultraportables. 

Also, while it's not unusual for a budget-friendly laptop to have a couple of upgradable or replaceable parts, Microsoft made much of its parts being user-replaceable, including the display, keyboard and touchpad, the solid-state storage and SurfLink cable and the battery, which can be replaced by Microsoft or a service provider as well. One of the few things that can't be replaced: the RAM.

If you're looking for something slim and small with a premium design for $600 or less -- and you don't want a Chromebook -- this might be a good place to start. The new Microsoft Surface Go 2 is available for preorder from Microsoft and is expected to ship on June 7. Configurations starting at $700 are also available to preorder from Best Buy.