Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13.5-inch) review: Thin, light and classy Review

Victoria D. Doty

Microsoft carries on to extend its Floor vary of laptops and convertibles, and late very last yr released fifteen-inch and 13.five-inch variations of the Floor Laptop 3. The scaled-down product also had a beauty make-around, with new colors and a new steel end. The adjustments are much more than just […]

Microsoft carries on to extend its Floor vary of laptops and convertibles, and late very last yr released fifteen-inch and 13.five-inch variations of the Floor Laptop 3. The scaled-down product also had a beauty make-around, with new colors and a new steel end. The adjustments are much more than just skin-deep while, as the 13.five-inch Floor Laptop 3 also gains the most recent tenth era Intel processors, ensuing in a slender, effective laptop that can go toe-to-toe with rivals this sort of as Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Professional.

Design

The Floor Laptop 3 is readily available with the unique Alcantara material encompassing its keyboard panel, in Platinum and Cobalt Blue. There are also two selections with a good aluminium chassis, which Microsoft refers to as ‘metal’. The steel products are Sandstone (the colour of pink champagne) and a much more sedate Black. 

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The 13.five-inch Floor Laptop 3 will come in two ‘metal’ finishes — Sandstone and Black. It is really a skinny and light-weight machine, measuring fourteen.5mm thick and weighing 1.29kg. You can also get Platinum and Blue variants, with Alcantara material encompassing the keyboard.


Images: Microsoft

The metallic design and style appears and feels incredibly good — slender and light-weight adequate to have an air of magnificence, still sturdy adequate to cope with daily life on the street when you happen to be travelling. The 13.five-inch PixelSense touch monitor with two,256 by 1,504 resolution (201dpi) appears awesome and spacious and delivers a vibrant sharp picture, whether you happen to be streaming video or working spreadsheets. Still the Floor Laptop 3 has a footprint only somewhat greater than an A4 sheet of paper, measuring 308mm extensive by 223mm deep.

It is really slender and light-weight much too, with the Sandstone steel product we examined measuring just fourteen.5mm thick and weighing 1.29kg. That’s each slimmer and lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Professional (fourteen.9mm and 1.37kg), although the Alcantara products are even lighter at just 1.26kg.

Microsoft has got all the principles appropriate, but it pays very good consideration to detail much too, with options this sort of as a well-created hinge that retains the base of the laptop lying flat and stable so that it isn’t going to elevate upwards as you open the higher monitor segment. Apple could understand a lesson from the keyboard much too, which feels organization and at ease inspite of the laptop’s slender design and style.

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The backlit keyboard feels organization and delivers 1.3mm of vital vacation, although the huge glass touchpad supports 5-finger multitouch gestures.


Graphic: Microsoft

This is undeniably a stylish piece of kit — although, ironically, that tends to make a couple of slight blemishes stand out even much more. Connectivity is really confined, with only one USB-C port, one USB-A port, and a headphone jack. There is a slot on the appropriate-hand edge of the laptop that appears like it is really created for SD cards, but is in point the proprietary Floor Hook up port.

Top ZDNET Opinions

When it will come to accessibility for upgrades and repairs, the 13.five-inch Floor Laptop 3 scored five/ten in iFixit’s teardown — “a extraordinary advancement around its predecessors”.

Selling price & selections

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Ports on the Floor Laptop 3 are confined to USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio-out and the proprietary Floor Hook up port for ability, adapters and docks.


Images: Microsoft

The pricing framework for the Floor Laptop 3 is a little baffling, as charges depend on the colour and the decision of steel or Alcantara end, as well as the actual components configuration. Microsoft’s web page states that the Floor Laptop 3 starts off at £749.seventeen (ex. VAT £899 inc. VAT, or $799), but that selling price is only readily available for one unique configuration — an entry-degree product with Platinum Alcantara end, working Home windows ten Residence on a Main i5 processor, with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB good-condition travel. Other colors are much more pricey, and business buyers who also demand Home windows ten Professional will will need to opt for the Floor Laptop 3 For Enterprise, which starts off at £809.seventeen (ex. VAT £971 inc. VAT, or $999) for a Main i5-based Platinum Alcantara product.

Our overview device was one of the leading-of-the-vary products, geared up with a quad-main Main i7-1065G7 working at 1.3GHz (up to 3.9GHz with Turbo Raise), with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. That specification will come to £1437.50 (ex. VAT £1,725 inc. VAT, or $1,899) with the tasteful Sandstone (steel) end.

SEE: twenty professional guidelines to make Home windows ten perform the way you want (absolutely free PDF)    

You will find one other possibility that doubles the storage to 1TB, for a overall selling price of £1,957.50 (ex. VAT £2,349 inc. VAT, or $two,399) — although, as the declaring goes, you can have it in any colour as very long as it is really Black (steel).

Performance & battery daily life

The Main i7 processor in our overview device performs incredibly well, achieving scores of 1,308 (one main) and four,900 (multi-main) when working the Geekbench five CPU check. That performance will be much more than satisfactory for working productiveness application this sort of as Microsoft Business office, and it is really backed up by sturdy performance from the integrated Iris In addition graphics much too. The Compute GPU check in Geekbench five produced a rating of ten,600, although 70fps in Cinebench R15 is one of the finest success we’ve seen from an integrated GPU. The Floor Laptop 3 struggled a little bit with the much more demanding Unigine Valley, dropping to just 11fps, but that degree of performance signifies that it will even now be a terrific possibility for presentations, picture-editing, or a place of informal immediately after-several hours gaming.

That effective Main i7 processor has a value in conditions of battery daily life, while. Microsoft emphasises the ‘fast charging’ mode that enables you to demand the laptop to 80{394cb916d3e8c50723a7ff83328825b5c7d74cb046532de54bc18278d633572f} of whole battery ability in just one hour. You may well well will need that element as, even with the display screen turned down to 50{394cb916d3e8c50723a7ff83328825b5c7d74cb046532de54bc18278d633572f} brightness, the Floor Laptop 3 could only regulate 6.five several hours of streaming video on the BBC iPlayer. If you happen to be not employing wi-fi all working day very long then you may well be capable to accomplish a whole eight-hour operating working day on battery ability, but that’s even now a little disappointing for a laptop that places so much emphasis on portability. We might be curious to see if the much more modest Main i5 configuration sent more robust battery daily life, but that wasn’t readily available for testing at the time of this overview.

Conclusions

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Graphic: Microsoft

The sheer high-quality of its design and style makes certain that the 13.five-inch Floor Laptop 3 is a delight to use. It is really slender and light-weight, and has a hanging metallic end, still also provides a spacious, interesting monitor and performance that will fulfill all but the most demanding qualified and creative buyers. The only fly in the ointment is the somewhat modest battery daily life from the Main i7 configuration, which absolutely leaves place for advancement.

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