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

Microsoft continues to increase its Surface area array of laptops and convertibles, and late very last 12 months released fifteen-inch and thirteen.5-inch versions of the Surface area Notebook 3. The smaller model also had a beauty make-about, with new colours and a new steel complete. The changes are more than just pores and skin-deep although, as the thirteen.5-inch Surface area Notebook 3 also gains the newest tenth generation Intel processors, resulting in a slim, highly effective notebook that can go toe-to-toe with rivals such as Apple’s thirteen-inch MacBook Pro.

Design and style

The Surface area Notebook 3 is offered with the unique Alcantara material bordering its keyboard panel, in Platinum and Cobalt Blue. There are also two choices with a intelligent aluminium chassis, which Microsoft refers to as ‘metal’. The steel versions are Sandstone (the color of pink champagne) and a more sedate Black. 

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The thirteen.5-inch Surface area Notebook 3 comes in two ‘metal’ finishes — Sandstone and Black. It’s a skinny and light machine, measuring 14.5mm thick and weighing one.29kg. You can also get Platinum and Blue variants, with Alcantara material bordering the keyboard.


Photos: Microsoft

The metallic style and design seems and feels extremely intelligent — slim and light adequate to have an air of elegance, nonetheless sturdy adequate to cope with lifetime on the road when you happen to be travelling. The thirteen.5-inch PixelSense touch display screen with 2,256 by one,504 resolution (201dpi) seems good and spacious and delivers a shiny sharp picture, irrespective of whether you happen to be streaming video clip or jogging spreadsheets. However the Surface area Notebook 3 has a footprint only slightly more substantial than an A4 sheet of paper, measuring 308mm vast by 223mm deep.

It’s slim and light far too, with the Sandstone steel model we analyzed measuring just 14.5mm thick and weighing one.29kg. That’s both slimmer and lighter than the thirteen-inch MacBook Pro (14.9mm and one.37kg), even though the Alcantara versions are even lighter at just one.26kg.

Microsoft has got all the fundamentals proper, but it pays superior consideration to depth far too, with options such as a nicely-made hinge that keeps the base of the notebook lying flat and stable so that it doesn’t raise upwards as you open up the upper display screen segment. Apple could discover a lesson from the keyboard far too, which feels organization and comfy despite the laptop’s slim style and design.

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The backlit keyboard feels organization and presents one.3mm of important vacation, even though the large glass touchpad supports 5-finger multitouch gestures.


Graphic: Microsoft

This is undeniably a stylish piece of package — despite the fact that, ironically, that will make a couple of minor blemishes stand out even more. Connectivity is rather confined, with only one USB-C port, one USB-A port, and a headphone jack. There is a slot on the proper-hand edge of the notebook that seems like it really is made for SD playing cards, but is in simple fact the proprietary Surface area Hook up port.

Leading ZDNET Reviews

When it comes to accessibility for updates and repairs, the thirteen.5-inch Surface area Notebook 3 scored 5/ten in iFixit’s teardown — “a spectacular advancement about its predecessors”.

Price & choices

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Ports on the Surface area Notebook 3 are confined to USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio-out and the proprietary Surface area Hook up port for electric power, adapters and docks.


Photos: Microsoft

The pricing composition for the Surface area Notebook 3 is a little baffling, as costs count on the color and the selection of steel or Alcantara complete, as nicely as the real components configuration. Microsoft’s internet site states that the Surface area Notebook 3 starts off at £749.seventeen (ex. VAT £899 inc. VAT, or $799), but that price is only offered for one distinct configuration — an entry-stage model with Platinum Alcantara complete, jogging Home windows ten Home on a Core i5 processor, with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB strong-condition travel. Other colours are more costly, and company customers who also demand Home windows ten Pro will need to have to choose for the Surface area Notebook 3 For Business enterprise, which starts off at £809.seventeen (ex. VAT £971 inc. VAT, or $999) for a Core i5-based Platinum Alcantara model.

Our assessment device was one of the top-of-the-array versions, outfitted with a quad-main Core i7-1065G7 jogging at one.3GHz (up to 3.9GHz with Turbo Boost), with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. That specification comes to £1437.fifty (ex. VAT £1,725 inc. VAT, or $one,899) with the tasteful Sandstone (steel) complete.

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You will find one other option that doubles the storage to 1TB, for a overall price of £1,957.fifty (ex. VAT £2,349 inc. VAT, or $2,399) — despite the fact that, as the saying goes, you can have it in any color as long as it really is Black (steel).

Performance & battery lifetime

The Core i7 processor in our assessment device performs extremely nicely, attaining scores of one,308 (solitary main) and four,900 (multi-main) when jogging the Geekbench 5 CPU test. That general performance will be more than suitable for jogging productivity application such as Microsoft Business, and it really is backed up by powerful general performance from the integrated Iris In addition graphics far too. The Compute GPU test in Geekbench 5 developed a score of ten,600, even though 70fps in Cinebench R15 is one of the very best final results we have viewed from an integrated GPU. The Surface area Notebook 3 struggled a bit with the more demanding Unigine Valley, dropping to just 11fps, but that stage of general performance signifies that it will still be a wonderful option for presentations, picture-editing, or a place of informal right after-hours gaming.

That highly effective Core i7 processor has a price in terms of battery lifetime, although. Microsoft emphasises the ‘fast charging’ manner that permits you to cost the notebook to 80% of comprehensive battery ability in just one hour. You could nicely need to have that element as, even with the exhibit turned down to fifty% brightness, the Surface area Notebook 3 could only control 6.5 hours of streaming video clip on the BBC iPlayer. If you happen to be not applying wi-fi all working day long then you might be in a position to accomplish a comprehensive eight-hour operating working day on battery electric power, but that’s still a little disappointing for a notebook that places so a lot emphasis on portability. We might be curious to see if the more modest Core i5 configuration delivered stronger battery lifetime, but that wasn’t offered for testing at the time of this assessment.

Conclusions

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Graphic: Microsoft

The sheer high-quality of its style and design assures that the thirteen.5-inch Surface area Notebook 3 is a delight to use. It’s slim and light, and has a placing metallic complete, nonetheless also delivers a spacious, interesting display screen and general performance that will satisfy all but the most demanding experienced and artistic customers. The only fly in the ointment is the fairly modest battery lifetime from the Core i7 configuration, which definitely leaves space for advancement.

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