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

Microsoft carries on to increase its Floor vary of laptops and convertibles, and late last yr launched 15-inch and thirteen.5-inch variations of the Floor Notebook 3. The more compact model also had a beauty make-above, with new colours and a new metal end. The variations are much more than just skin-deep while, as the thirteen.5-inch Floor Notebook 3 also gains the most recent 10th era Intel processors, resulting in a slender, impressive notebook that can go toe-to-toe with rivals this kind of as Apple’s thirteen-inch MacBook Pro.

Layout

The Floor Notebook 3 is offered with the distinct Alcantara cloth surrounding its keyboard panel, in Platinum and Cobalt Blue. There are also two choices with a good aluminium chassis, which Microsoft refers to as ‘metal’. The metal products are Sandstone (the color of pink champagne) and a much more sedate Black. 

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The thirteen.5-inch Floor Notebook 3 arrives in two ‘metal’ finishes — Sandstone and Black. It can be a slim and light device, measuring 14.5mm thick and weighing one.29kg. You can also get Platinum and Blue variants, with Alcantara cloth surrounding the keyboard.


Visuals: Microsoft

The metallic design seems and feels really good — slender and light adequate to have an air of elegance, still sturdy adequate to cope with life on the street when you happen to be travelling. The thirteen.5-inch PixelSense touch display with two,256 by one,504 resolution (201dpi) seems nice and spacious and gives a vibrant sharp graphic, no matter if you happen to be streaming movie or jogging spreadsheets. Still the Floor Notebook 3 has a footprint only slightly much larger than an A4 sheet of paper, measuring 308mm wide by 223mm deep.

It can be slender and light also, with the Sandstone metal model we examined measuring just 14.5mm thick and weighing one.29kg. Which is the two slimmer and lighter than the thirteen-inch MacBook Pro (14.9mm and one.37kg), even though the Alcantara products are even lighter at just one.26kg.

Microsoft has acquired all the fundamentals suitable, but it pays fantastic attention to detail also, with capabilities this kind of as a perfectly-built hinge that keeps the foundation of the notebook lying flat and steady so that it isn’t going to lift upwards as you open up the upper display portion. Apple could master a lesson from the keyboard also, which feels company and comfy in spite of the laptop’s slender design.

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The backlit keyboard feels company and provides one.3mm of critical vacation, even though the significant glass touchpad supports five-finger multitouch gestures.


Image: Microsoft

This is undeniably a stylish piece of package — though, ironically, that will make a pair of small blemishes stand out even much more. Connectivity is pretty constrained, with only a person USB-C port, a person USB-A port, and a headphone jack. There is a slot on the suitable-hand edge of the notebook that seems like it is built for SD cards, but is in point the proprietary Floor Hook up port.

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When it arrives to accessibility for upgrades and repairs, the thirteen.5-inch Floor Notebook 3 scored 5/10 in iFixit’s teardown — “a extraordinary advancement above its predecessors”.

Price tag & choices

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


Visuals: Microsoft

The pricing framework for the Floor Notebook 3 is a very little confusing, as rates depend on the color and the alternative of metal or Alcantara end, as perfectly as the genuine components configuration. Microsoft’s website states that the Floor Notebook 3 starts off at £749.seventeen (ex. VAT £899 inc. VAT, or $799), but that cost is only offered for a person distinct configuration — an entry-level model with Platinum Alcantara end, jogging Home windows 10 Household on a Core i5 processor, with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB reliable-state drive. Other colours are much more expensive, and company end users who also involve Home windows 10 Pro will need to decide for the Floor Notebook 3 For Organization, which starts off at £809.seventeen (ex. VAT £971 inc. VAT, or $999) for a Core i5-dependent Platinum Alcantara model.

Our overview device was a person of the major-of-the-vary products, equipped with a quad-main Core i7-1065G7 jogging at one.3GHz (up to 3.9GHz with Turbo Strengthen), with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. That specification arrives to £1437.fifty (ex. VAT £1,725 inc. VAT, or $one,899) with the tasteful Sandstone (metal) end.

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

There is a person other selection that doubles the storage to 1TB, for a total cost of £1,957.fifty (ex. VAT £2,349 inc. VAT, or $two,399) — though, as the expressing goes, you can have it in any color as lengthy as it is Black (metal).

Overall performance & battery life

The Core i7 processor in our overview device performs really perfectly, achieving scores of one,308 (single main) and four,900 (multi-main) when jogging the Geekbench 5 CPU exam. That general performance will be much more than ample for jogging productiveness software this kind of as Microsoft Business office, and it is backed up by powerful general performance from the integrated Iris Plus graphics also. The Compute GPU exam in Geekbench 5 produced a rating of 10,600, even though 70fps in Cinebench R15 is a person of the ideal final results we have found from an integrated GPU. The Floor Notebook 3 struggled a little bit with the much more demanding Unigine Valley, dropping to just 11fps, but that level of general performance means that it will however be a excellent selection for displays, photo-enhancing, or a place of informal immediately after-hours gaming.

That impressive Core i7 processor has a value in phrases of battery life, while. Microsoft emphasises the ‘fast charging’ method that lets you to charge the notebook to eighty% of total battery capability in just a person hour. You may perhaps perfectly need that characteristic as, even with the display screen turned down to fifty% brightness, the Floor Notebook 3 could only handle six.5 hours of streaming movie on the BBC iPlayer. If you happen to be not working with wi-fi all day lengthy then you could possibly be equipped to reach a total eight-hour operating day on battery electric power, but that’s however a very little disappointing for a notebook that puts so a lot emphasis on portability. We might be curious to see if the much more modest Core i5 configuration delivered stronger battery life, but that was not offered for screening at the time of this overview.

Conclusions

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Image: Microsoft

The sheer quality of its design makes certain that the thirteen.5-inch Floor Notebook 3 is a delight to use. It can be slender and light, and has a striking metallic end, still also delivers a spacious, attractive display and general performance that will fulfill all but the most demanding expert and resourceful end users. The only fly in the ointment is the reasonably modest battery life from the Core i7 configuration, which undoubtedly leaves place for advancement.

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