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

Microsoft carries on to increase its Floor variety of laptops and convertibles, and late past year released 15-inch and thirteen.five-inch versions of the Floor Laptop computer three. The scaled-down product also experienced a cosmetic make-above, with new colours and a new metal finish. The alterations are far more than just skin-deep nevertheless, as the thirteen.five-inch Floor Laptop computer three also gains the most up-to-date 10th generation Intel processors, ensuing in a slender, impressive laptop that can go toe-to-toe with rivals these as Apple’s thirteen-inch MacBook Pro.

Design

The Floor Laptop computer three is readily available with the distinct Alcantara fabric surrounding its keyboard panel, in Platinum and Cobalt Blue. There are also two solutions with a clever aluminium chassis, which Microsoft refers to as ‘metal’. The metal designs are Sandstone (the color of pink champagne) and a far more sedate Black. 

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The thirteen.five-inch Floor Laptop computer three comes in two ‘metal’ finishes — Sandstone and Black. It really is a thin and mild device, measuring 14.5mm thick and weighing 1.29kg. You can also get Platinum and Blue variants, with Alcantara fabric surrounding the keyboard.


Visuals: Microsoft

The metallic layout appears to be and feels very clever — slender and mild more than enough to have an air of class, nevertheless strong more than enough to cope with life on the road when you’re travelling. The thirteen.five-inch PixelSense touch monitor with 2,256 by 1,504 resolution (201dpi) appears to be wonderful and spacious and supplies a dazzling sharp graphic, whether you’re streaming online video or functioning spreadsheets. But the Floor Laptop computer three has a footprint only a little bit greater than an A4 sheet of paper, measuring 308mm broad by 223mm deep.

It really is slender and mild as well, with the Sandstone metal product we examined measuring just 14.5mm thick and weighing 1.29kg. That is equally slimmer and lighter than the thirteen-inch MacBook Pro (14.9mm and 1.37kg), while the Alcantara designs are even lighter at just 1.26kg.

Microsoft has bought all the fundamentals right, but it pays superior attention to detail as well, with attributes these as a nicely-made hinge that keeps the base of the laptop lying flat and secure so that it doesn’t lift upwards as you open the upper monitor section. Apple could study a lesson from the keyboard as well, which feels organization and comfortable in spite of the laptop’s slender layout.

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The backlit keyboard feels organization and delivers 1.3mm of key journey, while the big glass touchpad supports five-finger multitouch gestures.


Impression: Microsoft

This is undeniably a classy piece of package — whilst, ironically, that can make a pair of slight blemishes stand out even far more. Connectivity is quite limited, with only 1 USB-C port, 1 USB-A port, and a headphone jack. There is a slot on the right-hand edge of the laptop that appears to be like it is made for SD playing cards, but is in truth the proprietary Floor Join port.

Leading ZDNET Assessments

When it comes to accessibility for updates and repairs, the thirteen.five-inch Floor Laptop computer three scored five/10 in iFixit’s teardown — “a remarkable improvement above its predecessors”.

Selling price & solutions

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Ports on the Floor Laptop computer three are limited to USB-C, USB-A, three.5mm audio-out and the proprietary Floor Join port for electric power, adapters and docks.


Visuals: Microsoft

The pricing composition for the Floor Laptop computer three is a very little confusing, as price ranges depend on the color and the preference of metal or Alcantara finish, as nicely as the real components configuration. Microsoft’s site states that the Floor Laptop computer three commences at £749.17 (ex. VAT £899 inc. VAT, or $799), but that value is only readily available for 1 particular configuration — an entry-level product with Platinum Alcantara finish, functioning Home windows 10 Dwelling on a Core i5 processor, with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB stable-condition push. Other colours are far more high priced, and organization end users who also call for Home windows 10 Pro will need to have to opt for the Floor Laptop computer three For Enterprise, which commences at £809.17 (ex. VAT £971 inc. VAT, or $999) for a Core i5-dependent Platinum Alcantara product.

Our overview unit was 1 of the top rated-of-the-variety designs, geared up with a quad-core Core i7-1065G7 functioning at 1.3GHz (up to three.9GHz with Turbo Boost), with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. That specification comes to £1437.fifty (ex. VAT £1,725 inc. VAT, or $1,899) with the tasteful Sandstone (metal) finish.

SEE: twenty professional tips to make Home windows 10 function the way you want (free PDF)    

There is certainly 1 other choice that doubles the storage to 1TB, for a complete value of £1,957.fifty (ex. VAT £2,349 inc. VAT, or $2,399) — whilst, as the expressing goes, you can have it in any color as very long as it is Black (metal).

Performance & battery life

The Core i7 processor in our overview unit performs very nicely, accomplishing scores of 1,308 (one core) and 4,900 (multi-core) when functioning the Geekbench five CPU test. That effectiveness will be far more than satisfactory for functioning productivity software these as Microsoft Place of work, and it is backed up by solid effectiveness from the integrated Iris Moreover graphics as well. The Compute GPU test in Geekbench five made a score of 10,600, while 70fps in Cinebench R15 is 1 of the best final results we’ve viewed from an integrated GPU. The Floor Laptop computer three struggled a bit with the far more demanding Unigine Valley, dropping to just 11fps, but that level of effectiveness suggests that it will still be a good choice for shows, photo-editing, or a spot of everyday right after-hours gaming.

That impressive Core i7 processor has a charge in phrases of battery life, nevertheless. Microsoft emphasises the ‘fast charging’ mode that allows you to demand the laptop to 80% of full battery capability in just 1 hour. You may perhaps nicely need to have that function as, even with the display turned down to fifty% brightness, the Floor Laptop computer three could only handle six.five hours of streaming online video on the BBC iPlayer. If you’re not making use of wi-fi all working day very long then you may possibly be equipped to reach a full 8-hour doing the job working day on battery electric power, but that’s still a very little disappointing for a laptop that places so considerably emphasis on portability. We would be curious to see if the far more modest Core i5 configuration sent more powerful battery life, but that wasn’t readily available for screening at the time of this overview.

Conclusions

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Impression: Microsoft

The sheer quality of its layout assures that the thirteen.five-inch Floor Laptop computer three is a delight to use. It really is slender and mild, and has a putting metallic finish, nevertheless also delivers a spacious, appealing monitor and effectiveness that will fulfill all but the most demanding experienced and creative end users. The only fly in the ointment is the rather modest battery life from the Core i7 configuration, which unquestionably leaves place for improvement.

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