In these hyper-connected times, “connectivity” and “mobility” are almost like buzzwords: everything from schools and workplaces to electronic devices claim to have them. While claims like these leave abundant scope for argument, chances are you'll find the new ASUS NovaGo and the Microsoft Surface Go laptops true to their promise. Both devices offer exemplary flexibility, marrying desktop-class performance with mobile-like agility. Let's comparatively assess the two machines and figure out which one is better bang for your buck.
The Performance Meter
The ASUS NovaGo is one of the first ever Windows on Snapdragon laptops — and the very first Gigabit LTE laptop — devoting itself to matchless connectivity and productivity. Well, it sure is snappy, and we mean that as a compliment! This 8GB laptop with up to 256GB UFS 2.0 storage boasts of Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 at its core. The Snapdragon — a mobile platform built on an uber-efficient architecture — gets you a smartphone-like experience with instant response and on-the-go support. The instant-on-and-resume behavior is a delight, eliminating the need to turn your device off and keeping all your data cloud-synced. The CPU clock rate of 2.2GHz can reach up to 2.6GHz, supporting all your computing tasks with élan.
In comparison, the Microsoft Surface Go offers a RAM of 4GB (up to 8GB), an eMMC drive of 64GB and an SSD of 128GB (up to 256GB). It's fueled by an Intel Pentium Gold Processor (4415Y). While the Surface Go is a high-performing device, suitable for day-to-day computing needs, it lacks the above-par power-efficiency of the ASUS NovaGo: up to 22 hours of video! Only one round of charging the NovaGo's 52Wh lithium-polymer battery gives up to 30 days of standby, and boy, is that impressive. If you need even more, there's a quick-charge feature: five hours backup with 15 minutes of charging. This is a considerable victory over the Microsoft Surface Go whose battery life is a much lower 9 hours.
New Bottle, Classic Windows
It catches you a little by surprise when underneath these glamorous new machines, you experience familiar, warm Windows.
The ASUS NovaGo runs Microsoft Windows 10 Pro in S mode, so you've access to all the tools of the trade, from the Start Taskbar and File Center to Windows Ink, Cortana and Windows Hello. It's a secure, collaborative and productive environment, suitable for an array of uses, from school to office to entertainment. If you're worried about application-support, you needn't be. All applications designed for ARM-based Windows laptops are verified by Microsoft to be safe and compatible.
The Surface Go also runs Windows 10 Pro, which can be configured to S mode. So, everything including Skype, Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat DC works perfectly well. If you're considering a mobile workstation for your business, the Surface Go offers a plus: pairing it with Microsoft 365 — a complete business solution comprising Office365, OneNote, Teams and Outlook —offers a higher ROI. You can also choose a complete Microsoft service package to get one-stop support and added peace of mind.
Display, Graphics & Sound
The 13.3” ASUS NovaGo has a High-Definition, 1920 x 1080 display. The viewing is comfortable and precise with 100% sRGB color rendering and full backlighting. It supports Adreno 540 710MHz graphics and has a 78% screen-to-body ratio. This, coupled with its inventive 178° wide-view technology, allows for clarity during video playback, displaying photographs, video calls (there is a 1280 x 720 HD camera), et al.
The touchscreen experience on the ASUS NovaGo is exemplary. Enabled for ASUS Pen and sensitive to 1024-level pressure, the touchscreen lets you work exactly as you'd with a pen on paper. The audio system is competent; the ASUS SonicMaster Premium comes with two speakers, a smart amplifier, and support for microphone and voice-recognition with the Cortana software.
The Microsoft Surface Go has a considerably smaller screen — 10” and an 1800 x 1200 resolution. However, the display experience (Intel HD Graphics 615) remains comfortable, especially due to the 3:2 aspect ratio and the PixelSense technology. The display is enabled for 10-point multi-touch, so the response is smooth. The auditory experience is fair: Dolby Audio Premium, a microphone and 2W stereo speakers.
One whopping win of the ASUS NovaGo is its high-speed, high-consistency connectivity. It's equipped with a Snapdragon X16 LTE modem with download speeds up to 1Gbps (4×4 MIMO, 802.11ac). In all fairness, that's up to 3–7 times faster than what standard broadband and home Wi-Fi deliver. While the Gigabit LTE facilitates fast data transmission, consistency in connectivity is also immense. Thanks to the four antennas designed for superior cellular networking (LTE Advanced Cat 16), the laptop manages to secure a reasonably strong signal across locations.
In fact, you also stand to get other notable connectivity wins with NovaGo, the biggest being its Nano SIM support for smoothly switching carriers (say, to a local data plan when traveling). The laptop also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 4-LTE band aggregation and Bluetooth 4.1. Result: The semblance of always staying connected and download-speeds as high as 867Mbps.
What about Microsoft Surface Go? You stand to get IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatibility and Bluetooth 4.1. Chances are you'll find this reasonably good, not phenomenal, as this is a realm that the ASUS NovaGo clearly owns. However, the Surface Go does offer optional LTE for advanced 4G connectivity.
Ease of Accessibility
Both devices fare excellently when it comes to ease of use, with precise touchpads, adequate USB ports (two USB 3.1 in ASUS NovaGo and one USB Type-C in Microsoft Surface Go) and card readers. Particularly appealing is the ASUS NovaGo touchpad that comes with precision support to intuitively understand palm-rejection and smart gestures. Additionally, the NovaGo also features a built-in fingerprint sensor and an HDMI port.
The Surface Go, notably, has an interesting array of cameras: a 5.0MP front-facing and an 8.0 MP rear-facing camera (with auto-focus). The front camera offers face authentication via Windows Hello. Both offer 1080p HD video. This assortment provides an impressive video-calling experience.
Take Me with You
An unwritten law in the world of “mobile” laptops is portability without the fear of damage or aching shoulders. Here, the magnesium-cased Microsoft Surface Go, measuring 9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches and weighing only 1.15 lbs, scores a comfortable win. The ease of pairing the Surface Go with external devices elevates its portability (and versatility) by several notches. It impeccably adapts from laptop to tablet. In more traditional settings (read: sordid cubicle), it's straightforward to pair a full-sized keyboard and mouse and voila, there's a desktop for you.
The ASUS NovaGo is tangibly larger and heavier — measuring 12.44 x 8.7 x 0.59 inches and weighing 3.06 lbs. But it remains highly portable even so. It's ultrathin (only 14.9mm), has a fan-less design, and features a 360° multi-gear hinge all of which make it astonishingly mobile. The metallic build adds to its durability. A special word on the silver highlights and the NanoEdge bezel (8.9mm) — the elegance is stunning! In fact, the design of the ASUS NovaGo has also been recognized for excellence by the Red Dot Awards 2018.
Combining the performance of a computer with the handiness of a phone is a miniature victory in itself. But an even bigger victory for the ASUS NovaGo and the Microsoft Surface Go laptops is their honest endeavor to keep you perennially connected, on-the-go, and updated with your latest e-mail, notifications and tasks.
The ASUS NovaGo niftily incorporates smart design, a reliable operating system and quality graphics into its mobile core. This is a wonderful innovation in these times of collaboration, networking, and instant gratification. The Microsoft Surface Go scores an edge in application support, giving you hassle-free access to your much-loved programs from the Microsoft Store and, arguably, a keener sense of familiarity. It's also considerably lighter on the pocket — at $449 compared to $699 for the ASUS NovaGo.
If you're looking for a mobile workstation with brilliant battery backup and a distinct connectivity edge, consider the ASUS NovaGo. Explore the Microsoft Surface Go if portability, Microsoft integration, and a (relatively) smaller budget are higher on your list.