Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review: Hands-on
The most versatile Surface Laptop yet. However, even with USB-C and a new large 15in model now section of the equation, there is nevertheless work to do
Should I purchase the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3?
The new sizes, finishes, processor configurations and additional aspects like fast-charging all make this the most versatile technology of Surface Laptop yet.
Long-term fans of the line will admire that Microsoft has subsequently embraced USB-C, albeit in a limited capacity, however, there are a few niggles that help opposition from the likes of the MacBook Pro, stand out in front, despite the rate disparity.
Price when reviewed
- From $999 (13.5in) | From $1199 (15in)
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 full review
In the grand scheme of things, Microsoft is a relative newbie when it comes to making laptops, and yet the new Surface Laptop 3 makes a fantastic first impression.
As the name implies, this is the third of Microsoft’s Laptop line in as many years, however for the first time you now have the choice of two sizes to select between – a continuation of the 13.5in show size observed on the previous two fashions and a new, large 15in variant, which brings with it a variety of variations beyond just dimensions to consider.
Surface Laptop 3: Price and availability
Microsoft unveiled the Surface Laptop three amidst a barrage of different announcements all through its October 2019 presentation, which additionally noticed the launch of the Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X and greater conceptual merchandise like the Surface Neo and Surface Duo, expected to hit the market later in 2020.
The Surface Laptop three moved from pre-order to purchasable on October 22, 2019, with expenditures beginning at £/$999 for the 13.5in model (the same as final year’s Surface Laptop 2) and £/$1199 for the 15in model. Both SKUs top out at £/$2349 and £/$2049, respectively.
Surface Laptop 3: What you C is what you get
First, let’s discuss about some of the most seen changes. For the most part, the Laptop three looks like its two predecessors; the same precision-engineered slab of aluminium that we have seen before, albeit with some delicate but meaningful tweaks.
For one, the housing for the 3:2 aspect ratio Pixel Sense display has been machined in such a way that Microsoft hasn’t needed to suit a rubber bumper round its facet to protect the cover glass when you shut the lid. In fact, there aren’t any discernable screws anywhere on the Laptop’s physique and but this is also the first of the line to provide a replaceable SSD (although it appears like such a substitute wants to be carried out my a Microsoft-approved technician, if you don’t favor to void your warranty, that is).
There’s also no lip around the seam between the show and the deck to slip the tip of your finger in when the Laptop 3 is closed. Essentially, the layout group pushed the needle towards form, as a substitute than function, when refining the minimal aesthetics of this machine, only barely though – the hardware here appears undeniably desirable and nonetheless features as you’ll anticipate besides feeling cumbersome; mainly the 15-inch model, which appears especially light for its size.
When you open the Laptop 3 up, there may be a new, larger trackpad (sporting a measurement enlarge of about 20%, compared to its predecessor’s) and a subtle backlit keyboard with nicely-spaced keys (1.9mm between each) and 1.3mm of key journey – truely much less than the preceding 1.5mm on the Laptop 2.
Microsoft hopes that despite the shorter travel, the typing experience is improved, thanks, in part, to new indented keys. Based on our brief encounter with them, the typing trip is, for the most part, pleasing, although claims of a silent keyset appear a bit exaggerated, with minimal flex however a discernible ‘clack’ as you type.
As before, the keyboard also conceals the laptop’s Dolby-certified Omnisonic speakers. It’s some other move that prioritises a clean format over performance, however sound nice sincerely isn’t terrible, regardless of what you might suppose for audio system that have to push via the keyboard arrangement itself. They supply sound with awesome clarity, albeit in a fairly narrow spread that dissuades enjoying media even as off-angle to the Laptop three We just want they have been succesful of handing over better bass.
Having spent time with the new Sandstone treatment (which in reality manifests as a light gold colour), the different thing to word about the deck into which the keyboard is set is that it’s finished in colour-matched aluminium. You’ll nonetheless find the smooth touch of Alcantara on the Cobalt Blue and Platinum finishes, as before, however, this 12 months the black and the new Sandstone builds decide for a extra typical all-metal design.
It’s a easier story with the larger 15-inch model, which solely comes in black or Platinum and sports activities an all-aluminium finish, regardless of your favored shade choice.
Elsewhere on the Laptop 3’s body, like the newly-unveiled Surface Pro 7, Microsoft has sooner or later conceded to bringing USB-C to the range. While that in and of itself is an exciting prospect, it’s not except some extraordinarily tremendous caveats. For one, there’s only a single USB-C port on the left side of the Laptop 3, skirted by way of a 3.5mm headphone jack and a single USB-A port.
Worse still, while the port supports USB 3.1 (the USB-A port supports USB 3.0), it doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3, meaning, these in the market for a creative powerhouse with the choice of exterior GPU aid and the like won’t find what they’re searching for here. Instead, such people will probably swing towards the Laptop 3’s most like-minded rival, the 2019 MacBook Pro (which also comes in thirteen and 15-inch variants) that accommodates up to four, relying on the measurement of the laptop you choose for.
The signature Surface Connect port remains on the Laptop 3’s right side, which capability compatibility with the likes of the Surface Dock (which adds two Mini DisplayPorts, an Ethernet port, four USB-A USB 3 ports and an audio output) endures. Using this, the laptop’s improved 45.8Wh battery (which guarantees 11.5 hours of use throughout both sizes) helps speedy charging, with the potential to replenish 80% of the machine’s charge after an hour plugged in.
Surface Laptop 3: Two-sided Surface
Snap the machine’s new magnetically-attached deck off and beneath you may find an fascinating array of silicon, relying on the size and SKU of Surface Laptop you choose for. All of the 13.5-inch fashions are among the first on the market to appoint 10th-generation quad-core Intel Ice Lake processors. Either the i5-1035G7 or the i7-1065G7, paired with the option of 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM and up to 1TB of inside storage.
Making an i5 the lowest-tier of SoC you can pair with this year’s Laptop three looks smart, thinking about the disparity less-powerful chipsets would create, when seen against the premium healthy and end that the Surface line is known for.
Not only is the coronary heart of the 15-inch model different, however the storage and RAM also vary. For a start, in a similar way to its work with Qualcomm on the chip powering its new Surface Pro X, Microsoft teamed up with AMD to engineer customized Ryzen chipsets for the large Laptop 3.
You have the option of a Ryzen 5 3580U or Ryzen 7 3780U processor, accompanied by means of both 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 512GB of inside storage. It’s doubtful why Microsoft made such a distinction between the two sizes here, perhaps as a skill of strengthening ties with partners. Interestingly, Intel-powered versions of the 15in model do exist, however they’re solely accessible to business customers.