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

Matthew N. Henry

Microsoft proceeds to increase its Surface area variety of laptops and convertibles, and late final calendar year introduced 15-inch and thirteen.five-inch variations of the Surface area Laptop 3. The smaller sized product also experienced a cosmetic make-in excess of, with new colours and a new metal complete. The adjustments are extra than just pores and skin-deep while, as the thirteen.five-inch Surface area Laptop 3 also gains the most up-to-date 10th era Intel processors, resulting in a slim, effective laptop computer that can go toe-to-toe with rivals such as Apple’s thirteen-inch MacBook Pro.


The Surface area Laptop 3 is accessible with the distinctive Alcantara material bordering its keyboard panel, in Platinum and Cobalt Blue. There are also two solutions with a good aluminium chassis, which Microsoft refers to as ‘metal’. The metal styles are Sandstone (the color of pink champagne) and a extra sedate Black. 


The thirteen.five-inch Surface area Laptop 3 will come in two ‘metal’ finishes — Sandstone and Black. It is a thin and light machine, measuring 14.5mm thick and weighing 1.29kg. You can also get Platinum and Blue variants, with Alcantara material bordering the keyboard.

Pictures: Microsoft

The metallic style and design looks and feels really good — slim and light sufficient to have an air of elegance, nevertheless strong sufficient to cope with everyday living on the street when you happen to be travelling. The thirteen.five-inch PixelSense contact display with 2,256 by 1,504 resolution (201dpi) looks great and roomy and presents a bright sharp image, whether or not you happen to be streaming video clip or working spreadsheets. Still the Surface area Laptop 3 has a footprint only marginally greater than an A4 sheet of paper, measuring 308mm broad by 223mm deep.

It is slim and light way too, with the Sandstone metal product we analyzed measuring just 14.5mm thick and weighing 1.29kg. Which is both equally slimmer and lighter than the thirteen-inch MacBook Pro (14.9mm and 1.37kg), whilst the Alcantara styles are even lighter at just 1.26kg.

Microsoft has got all the basics right, but it pays superior focus to detail way too, with options such as a well-developed hinge that retains the foundation of the laptop computer lying flat and secure so that it does not lift upwards as you open up the upper display area. Apple could understand a lesson from the keyboard way too, which feels organization and at ease even with the laptop’s slim style and design.


The backlit keyboard feels organization and features 1.3mm of essential journey, whilst the massive glass touchpad supports five-finger multitouch gestures.

Image: Microsoft

This is undeniably a elegant piece of package — despite the fact that, ironically, that tends to make a few of minor blemishes stand out even extra. Connectivity is really limited, with only one particular USB-C port, one particular USB-A port, and a headphone jack. There is a slot on the right-hand edge of the laptop computer that looks like it can be developed for SD cards, but is in truth the proprietary Surface area Link port.

Leading ZDNET Evaluations

When it will come to accessibility for updates and repairs, the thirteen.five-inch Surface area Laptop 3 scored five/10 in iFixit’s teardown — “a extraordinary improvement in excess of its predecessors”.

Rate & solutions


Ports on the Surface area Laptop 3 are limited to USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio-out and the proprietary Surface area Link port for power, adapters and docks.

Pictures: Microsoft

The pricing construction for the Surface area Laptop 3 is a tiny confusing, as prices rely on the color and the option of metal or Alcantara complete, as well as the precise hardware configuration. Microsoft’s web-site states that the Surface area Laptop 3 begins at £749.seventeen (ex. VAT £899 inc. VAT, or $799), but that rate is only accessible for one particular specific configuration — an entry-degree product with Platinum Alcantara complete, working Windows 10 Property on a Main i5 processor, with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB stable-point out drive. Other colours are extra high-priced, and business consumers who also require Windows 10 Pro will will need to decide for the Surface area Laptop 3 For Business enterprise, which begins at £809.seventeen (ex. VAT £971 inc. VAT, or $999) for a Main i5-based Platinum Alcantara product.

Our critique unit was one particular of the major-of-the-variety styles, geared up with a quad-core Main i7-1065G7 working at 1.3GHz (up to 3.9GHz with Turbo Boost), with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. That specification will come to £1437.fifty (ex. VAT £1,725 inc. VAT, or $1,899) with the tasteful Sandstone (metal) complete.

SEE: 20 professional tips to make Windows 10 function the way you want (cost-free PDF)    

There’s one particular other option that doubles the storage to 1TB, for a full rate of £1,957.fifty (ex. VAT £2,349 inc. VAT, or $2,399) — despite the fact that, as the stating goes, you can have it in any color as prolonged as it can be Black (metal).

Overall performance & battery everyday living

The Main i7 processor in our critique unit performs really well, attaining scores of 1,308 (solitary core) and four,900 (multi-core) when working the Geekbench five CPU exam. That performance will be extra than suitable for working productivity program such as Microsoft Workplace, and it can be backed up by sturdy performance from the built-in Iris In addition graphics way too. The Compute GPU exam in Geekbench five manufactured a score of 10,600, whilst 70fps in Cinebench R15 is one particular of the greatest outcomes we’ve noticed from an built-in GPU. The Surface area Laptop 3 struggled a little bit with the extra demanding Unigine Valley, dropping to just 11fps, but that degree of performance indicates that it will nevertheless be a good option for displays, photo-modifying, or a place of relaxed following-several hours gaming.

That effective Main i7 processor has a expense in conditions of battery everyday living, while. Microsoft emphasises the ‘fast charging’ mode that will allow you to cost the laptop computer to 80% of full battery capability in just one particular hour. You could well will need that characteristic as, even with the exhibit turned down to fifty% brightness, the Surface area Laptop 3 could only take care of six.five several hours of streaming video clip on the BBC iPlayer. If you happen to be not using wi-fi all day prolonged then you may well be equipped to attain a full eight-hour doing work day on battery power, but that is nevertheless a tiny disappointing for a laptop computer that puts so a great deal emphasis on portability. We would be curious to see if the extra modest Main i5 configuration sent stronger battery everyday living, but that wasn’t accessible for tests at the time of this critique.



Image: Microsoft

The sheer quality of its style and design ensures that the thirteen.five-inch Surface area Laptop 3 is a delight to use. It is slim and light, and has a striking metallic complete, nevertheless also delivers a roomy, beautiful display and performance that will fulfill all but the most demanding skilled and imaginative consumers. The only fly in the ointment is the relatively modest battery everyday living from the Main i7 configuration, which undoubtedly leaves room for improvement.

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