The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and Surface Go 2 enter the ring

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Best overall

Lenovo IdeaPad 3


IdeaPad 3 15

Best compact

Surface Go 2


Surface Go 2

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 will be the better choice in this matchup for most people overall, although not by a wide margin. The device’s 10th Gen CPUs and versatile options for memory and storage give it a sizable performance edge over the Surface Go 2, though it’s lacking a bit in other areas.

From $440 at Lenovo

Pros

  • Stronger performance
  • More RAM and storage options
  • Built-in webcam shutter
  • Thinner bezels

Cons

  • Worse display
  • Worse battery life
  • No LTE option
  • No Windows Hello support

The Surface Go 2 is a compact and capable alternative to the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 that has worse overall performance, but slightly better battery life and a better display. It can also be configured with LTE and supports Windows Hello security, which some people may find pretty useful.

From $400 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Better display
  • Better battery life
  • LTE option
  • Windows Hello support

Cons

  • Worse performance
  • Fewer RAM and storage options
  • No webcam shutter
  • Thicker bezels

Both of these devices are excellent, but we think that most people will prefer the performance benefits of the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 over the better display and smaller size of the Surface Go 2. With that said, the Surface Go 2 is a fantastic device as well and we highly recommend it if you’re okay with sacrificing some horsepower and storage space.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 vs. Surface Go 2: Performance or display?

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Source: Lenovo
Unlike most devices that are separated by their price, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and Surface Go 2 are primarily separated by two things: their performance and their displays. The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is the undisputable winner of the matchup in terms of performance, as its array of 10th Gen i3 CPUs comfortably outperform the Surface Go 2’s Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y and Intel Core m3.

The IdeaPad 3 also comes with options for more memory and storage space, which may be useful for people who occasionally have to tackle more demanding tasks beyond what you’d expect from basic productivity. Notably, the device also comes with a built-in webcam shutter that you can use for privacy, and the bezels of the display are also thinner than the Surface Go 2’s.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Surface Go 2
CPU Intel Core i3-10110U
Intel Core i3-1005G1
Intel Core i5-10210U
Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y
Intel Core m3
GPU Intel UHD Graphics Intel UHD Graphics
Memory 8GB
12GB
4GB
8GB
Storage 256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB HDD
64GB eMMC
128GB SSD
Display 15-inch 1366×768 touch display (220 nits) 10.5-inch 1920×1280 (220 PPI) touch display (400 nits)
Audio Dual 1.5W speakers with Dolby Audio 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio
Biometrics None Windows Hello-compatible webcam
Ports 3x USB-A
1x HDMI 1.4b
1x SD card reader
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
1x USB-C
1x Surface Connect
1x microSDXC card reader
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0 Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, LTE (optional)
Battery Up to 8 hours Up to 10 hours
Dimensions 14.25 x 9.98 x 0.79 inches 9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches
Weight 3.74 pounds Up to 1.22 pounds

Don’t think that the Surface Go 2’s screen is worse just because of the bezels, though. In fact, it’s considerably better, as its 400 nit 1920×1280 panel is both sharper and brighter than the screen on the Lenovo IdeaPad 3. The Surface Go 2 also gets a better battery life of around 9-10 hours compared to the IdeaPad’s 7-8 hours. All versions of the device also come with Windows Hello support, and there’s a configuration available with LTE if you want it. Finally, the Surface Go 2’s smaller size and convertible design make it useful if you need something compact, although some may prefer the Lenovo IdeaPad 3’s traditional laptop design and size.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 vs. Surface Go 2: Which should you buy?

Surface Go 2

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central
While both of these laptops are great choices for anyone who needs a budget-friendly machine, we feel that most people will benefit more from the Lenovo IdeaPad 3’s stronger performance and its wider range of options for memory and storage. CPU strength is the biggest difference maker when it comes to productivity work, so it’s difficult to advise choosing the Surface Go 2’s aging processors over modern 10th Gen options.

With that said, the Surface Go 2’s performance is by no means bad for general workloads, and the fact that it comes with a better display and has a more compact form factor will likely appeal to many users — especially if you frequently travel a lot.

For more options to consider, don’t miss our roundups of the best Windows laptops and the best cheap laptops available.

Best overall


IdeaPad 3 15

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Power on a budget

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 will be the better choice in this matchup for most people overall, although not by a wide margin. The device’s 10th Gen CPUs and versatile options for memory and storage give it a sizable performance edge over the Surface Go 2, though it’s lacking a bit in other areas.

Best compact


Surface Go 2

Surface Go 2

The little Surface that could

The Surface Go 2 is a compact and capable alternative to the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 that has worse overall performance, but slightly better battery life and a better display. It can also be configured with LTE and supports Windows Hello security, which some people may find pretty useful.

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