The Asus Vivobook 15 and Microsoft Surface Go 2 are among the stars in our best laptops under £500 guide, which is a great place to find budget bargain laptops that don’t scrimp on style or specs.
Both devices inhabit the laptop sweet spot where you start to get the better displays, faster processors and more generous storage. It’s also where manufacturers start to have a bit of fun: when they’re not building to an incredibly low budget they can experiment more with design and better quality materials.
We’ve focused on the Asus and Microsoft laptops here because while they cost much the same, they are very different devices designed for very different kinds of use. The Asus Vivobook 15 is a very powerful laptop with a big screen, while the Surface prioritises portability over performance. Let’s discover which one is likely to be the best laptop for you.
Asus Vivobook 15 vs Microsoft Surface Go 2: Design and screen
The Asus and the Surface take very different design approaches: the Asus is a good-looking, fairly slim laptop, and the Surface Go 2 is a tablet with an optional £99 keyboard. Without that, it looks like an iPad. Its screen is a 10.5-inch PixelSense display delivering 1,920 x 1280 resolution and multi-touch.
The Surface has front and rear cameras: 5MP on the front and 8MP on the back, both with 1080p video. There’s a single USB-C connector, a microSDXC card reader and a Surface Connect port. Wireless is 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) and Bluetooth 5.0.
The Asus Vivobook 15’s slim bezels make it look much more expensive than it is, and it has a 88% screen-to-bezel ratio. The screen is a 15.6-inch Full HD 1080p LCD panel delivering 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. There are three USB-A sockets, one of which is USB 3.1 Gen 1, and a 5Gbps USB-C. There’s Wi-Fi 5 (ac), Bluetooth and a webcam. There’s also a dedicated number pad in the keyboard.
Asus Vivobook 15 vs Microsoft Surface Go 2: Specs and performance
The Vivobook has an Intel Core i3 CPU, Intel UHD 620 GPU, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD NVMe. It runs Windows 10 and you can expect around six hours of real-world battery life.
The Surface Go 2 also runs Windows 10: it’s in S Mode by default but you can turn that off. Its base configuration has an Intel Pentium 4425Y with Intel UHD Graphics, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB eMMC drive. We typically get around eight hours between charges.
Both of these computers are solid all-rounders for everyday computing, but the Vivobook has the edge when it comes to performance and storage: gaming is better on the Core i3 CPU. Both manufacturers start with fairly low amounts of RAM: 4GB is fine for things like office apps, email and web browsing but it’s maybe best not to keep eleventy billion Chrome tabs open while you’re doing something else.
Asus Vivobook 15 vs Microsoft Surface Go 2: Price and verdict
The Asus Vivobook 15 is an excellent laptop that delivers great value for money: its Full HD screen is big and bright, its slim bezels make it look more expensive than it is and while the 4GB RAM of the base specification isn’t brilliant the rest of the package is perfectly powerful and should last you for years.
The Surface Go 2 is a very different device. It’s much more versatile (if you buy the Smart Keyboard) and more portable: it’s effectively an iPad that runs Windows. But that portability comes at a price: with keyboard included the Surface Go 2 only just squeaks under the £500 mark at its very lowest spec, which is a Pentium with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. That’s going to fill up very fast.
If you’re looking for a home or work computer, go for the Asus: it’s bigger, better and more expandable too. The Surface Go 2 is a great device, but it’s best suited to people who prioritise portability over performance.