New Surface Laptop 3 (The Definitive Review)

Microsoft keeps us spoiled for choices by continuously updating its line of Surface products. This year too, we saw the launch of Surface Book 3 and the hybrid-tablet Surface Go 2. The company also has dual-screen smartphone ‘Duo’ alongside Surface Pro and Surface Laptop 4 in its pipeline for 2020 -2021.

However, if you are looking to purchase a traditional clamshell laptop today, the new Surface Laptop 3 is the ideal choice. Available in variation of 13.5-inch and 15-inch touchscreen display, the computer integrates new ports, the option to choose between metal and the unique Alcantara keyboard, an extraordinary battery life, and a slim profile.

Microsoft also experiments with AMD Ryzen chip for the 15-inch premium models, while the Intel variety is limited to a 13.5-inch screen. 

The new CPUs also boasts an integrated graphics engine, enabling the game junkies to enjoy their favorite video games without installing an additional card.

Both models remain synonymous when it comes to external components. The keyboard, speakers, and trackpad are all the same – and most people are unable to differentiate between them.

But yes, there are crucial differences when it comes to the interior. As for the exterior, investing in one of these 5 stunning Surface Laptop 3 cases and sleeves will give it the required shielding against drops and scratches.

In the guide below, let’s discuss the new surface laptop 3 to identify the best device for your lifestyle.

Here are some pros and cons of new surface laptop 3. 

PROS

CONS

Specifications:

 

Surface Laptop 3 (13.5-inch)

Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch)

Price (starting from)

$899.99 ( £999 including VAT)

$1199.99 (£1,079.00 including VAT)

Dimension

12.1” x 8.8” x .57”

13.4” x 9.6” x .57”

Weight

2.79 lbs./2.84 lbs.

3.40 lbs.

Aspect Ratio

3:2

3:2

Resolution

2256 x 1504 (201 PPI)

2496 x 1664 (201 PPI)

Processor

*Quad-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1035G7 Processor/

*Quad-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1065G7 Processor

 

*AMD Ryzen™ 5 3580U Mobile Processor with Radeon™ Vega 9/*AMD Ryzen™ 7 3780U Mobile Processor with Radeon™ RX Vega 11 

Memory

8GB/16GB

8GB/16GB/32GB

Storage

Removable SSD 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB 

Removable SSD 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB 

Ports

1 USB-C, 1 USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, Surface Connect

1 USB-C, 1 USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, Surface Connect

Bluetooth

5.0

5.0

Wi-Fi

6: 802.11ax compatible 

5: 802.11ac compatible

Casing

Aluminum

Aluminum

Colors

Sandstone (metal), Matte Black (metal), Platinum (Alcantara®), Cobalt Blue (Alcantara®)

Platinum (metal), Matte Black (metal)

Warranty

1-year limited hardware warranty

1-year limited hardware warranty

Software

Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 Home

Design

New Surface Laptop Design
Image Courtesy By cdn-stack.compsmag

Let’s start the new Surface laptop review with the basics – its aesthetics. As we mentioned above, the design of both models is the same. It also remains unchanged from its predecessor, aka Surface laptop 2.

The most significant difference is the limitation of Alcantara fabric on the keyboard of the 15-inch models. The Alcantara fabric was a signature in the Surface line of products for those who are not aware of it. And most users shared a love-hate relationship with the unique material for its comfortable feeling but lack of durability. 

However, it remains present on the Platinum and Cobalt Blue models of the 13.5-inch device while Microsoft has replaced the other models with a contemporary metal finish.

The laptop is also very light and thin – compared to competitors. It is easy to carry around, and you can comfortably fit one in your shoulder bag. 

The Surface Laptop 3 comes with an excellent keyboard and large-sized glass trackpad. You will love the smooth scrolling offered by the trackpad while the quiet but stable keys deliver accurate outcomes. 

Overall, the casing is robust, and the craftsmanship is praiseworthy

The only drawback is the unused surface space –, especially on the 15-inch models. There is a lot Microsoft could have done with a laptop of this size. Perhaps added more ports and speakers, to name a few. Unfortunately, they have failed to see the possibility and left too much emptiness. 

Display

The display of both the models retains Microsoft’s signature 3:2 ratio that we saw in the previous two generations as well. Resolution is also bright and sharp, perfectly suitable for all types of work – from text-based to graphical.

The touchscreen display is commendable as well. And merely reaching up and tapping on the screen to make a selection in this smartphone era is a fitting approach. 

Although not necessary, you can add the Surface Pen accessory (available for $99.99/£99.99) to the Surface Laptop 3 to complete the touch experience.

In case you are interested in extras that you can purchase with this laptop, check out our list of some of the best Microsoft Surface laptop accessories.

Additionally, the screen is not removable (a feature some of us enjoy in its sister devices). It will not flip or rotate as well, but generally, a clamshell laptop doesn’t require such flexibilities.

Performance

Surface Laptop 3 performance
Image Courtesy cdn.pixabay

The performance or under-the-hood integrations is where you might observe some difference between the two models. Before the Surface Laptop 3 release date, there was a lot of hype over Microsoft’s partnership with AMD

And why shouldn’t it? 

The AMD Ryzen CPU is deemed to be one of the most powerful chips for ultra-thin notebooks, and the 15-inch Surface would be Microsoft’s first attempt with the specific technology.

But does it keep up with the audience’s expectations?

In most circumstances, it does! The machine is fast, and a powerhouse for the most intensive computing works. It is also great for gamers and offers reliable performance – thanks to the integrated graphics editor.

On the other hand, the 13.5-inch screen versions – or the Intel variety doesn’t fall short from any aspect as well. The Surface 2 was equipped with the 8th generation of Intel, but Microsoft upgraded to the 10th generation of Intel chipset in Surface 3, offering smooth operations for day-to-day applications. And that too at a slightly lower cost than the 15-inch models.

To sum it up, Surface laptop 3 is fast – and usually, you don’t have to wait for something to happen.

Ports

Microsoft finally swapped the ancient Mini Display Port for a USB-C port in Surface 3 laptop. 

The port can be used to charge the computer, hook up an external display, and integrate various Microsoft Surface accessories.

But despite the advancements, the USB-C port does not support speed-driven Thunderbolt 3, as offered by Surface competitors.

Other I/O on the Surface Laptop 3 includes a single USB-A port, 3.5-mm headphone jack, and a Surface Connector that connects the device with its 65-watt charger.

Due to the limited availability of ports, you may want to invest in a Surface Dock to enhance the laptop’s docking capabilities.

Connectivity

Interestingly, Microsoft’s Intel versions come with the latest Wi-Fi 6, whereas the AMD processor is compatible with Wi-Fi 5 connections. In most cases, the reception will not seem apparent. But if you are one of the few users who own the latest Wi-Fi 6 router –the performance will be laggy. And may require modification in the future when Wi-Fi 6 becomes more mainstream. 

Battery Life

Surface Laptop 3 Battery life
Image Courtesy theverge

The official website of Microsoft Surface advertises its line of professional laptops with a battery life of almost 11 hours. 

According to our findings, you can expect the computer to last around 8 – 9 hours, daily, mundane tasks of browsing the internet, checking emails, and seeing a few videos.

The laptop 3 also comes with a fast-charging feature

According to Microsoft, the protocol can bring the charge up by 80% from zero in less than an hour. The only glitch is that the feature only works when the laptop is closed and in shut down/sleep mode. And you cannot benefit from the fast-charging while you are working.

Please note that both the 13.5-inch and 15-inch models have the same battery capacity.

Audio

The built-in Dolby Audio Premium speakers in Surface Laptop 3 are placed beneath the keyboard. And if you are a music lover, you may doubt the speaker’s ability to give crisp sound due to the placement.

Luckily, this is not an issue when it comes to Surface laptop’s speakers, and you will find the sound enjoyable, in most scenarios.

Webcam

Webcams in laptops are popular to be one of the worst when it comes to quality photographs.

Surprisingly, Microsoft is one of the few brands that does not disappoint the selfie lovers. It’s built-in 720 p camera works great in delivering flawless photos and ensures limited enhanced saturation during zoom meetings and virtual happy hours.

Heat

Overheating is not a problem for Microsoft Surface laptops. You can comfortably use the device in most circumstances without worrying about the temperature.

Moreover, both the versions of Surface laptop 3 lack ventilation grilles on the bottom panel. This means you can use the notebook on your lap without blocking airflow

Price and value

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Price and Value
Image Courtesy thumbor.forbes

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is nicely priced, specifically if you are a business-focused person. For $899.99 (special price), you get a basic Intel version with Alcantara keyboard in platinum color and 8GB RAM. For an additional $200, you can upgrade to a metal finish, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.

The top-of-the-line 13.5-inch version is available for $2199.99 and includes a black metal finish, Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, and 1TB of SSD.

The starter 15-inch platinum-colored, metal laptop 3 can be purchased for $999.99. This includes the AMD Ryzen 5 3580U with 8GB RAM and 128 GB SSD.

For more power, you can go all out and opt for the top-tier version of 15-inch models. Priced at $2599.99, the premium version of the new Surface Laptop 3 includes 1GB SSD, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD.

Microsoft offers a 1-year limited hardware warranty on all Surface products. You can also return any unsatisfactory product within 60-days as per their ‘no questions’ asked policy.

Reliability

Microsoft products are well-known for their reliability and durability. Bugs and glitches are a standard part of the technical infrastructure, and no laptop is safe from the issue.

Similarly, a few technical errors were also reported during our testing phase of Surface. However, Microsoft has a practice of regularly updating its Surface devices so if you do experience any issue with the usage, you can expect it to resolve promptly.

Microsoft’s technical support helpline is also accessible through its website for any difficulties.

So should you buy it?

There is no revelation when it comes to 13.5-inch and 15-inch models of the new Surface Laptop. However, it is not a bad option and certainly performs better than other laptops released during the previous year.

The display, battery life, and other features of both the models are either the same or nearly identical. The only difference lies between the adaption of AMD or Intel processor.

In our testing, both the processors managed to outperform each other without any notable challenges. And you may not notice much difference if your workload consists of web browsing and video streaming. But ultimately, Ryzen offers far more advantages to the gaming community, and a larger screen makes it more worthwhile.

However, when it comes to portability during daily usage – the 13.5-inch screen model is the ideal option.

Are you using the surface laptop 3 or considering it for future ?

Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply