Once again Microsoft has revised its Surface lineup and the Surface Laptop 3 has more power, a new 15-inch size to go alongside the 13-incher and USB-C ports which were badly missing last year.
We checked it out at Microsoft's launch event in New York - here's what we thought of the new models.
Design, Keyboard and Trackpad
- New 15-inch model
- Aluminium versions of both available
- Alcantara fabric remains on two 13-inch models
- 13-inch: 308 x 223 x 14.51mm, 1.25kg
- 15-inch: 339.5 x 244 x 14.69mm, 1.5kg
Once again, the Surface Laptop 3 is the Windows 10 take on a MacBook Air with its aluminium construction.
It still feels very premium and well built. As you'll realise, this more of a refresh than a redesign - much like the new Surface Pro 7, too.
We prefer the feel of the Alcantara equipped Surface Laptop 3 13, but the new aluminium 13 and 15-inch models still feel great to type on (the aluminium is available in black or grey).
The 13-inch model is available in black, silver, gold, and blue - the red has gone. Alcantara is only now on the silver and blue models.
The 20 per cent larger trackpad in a nice edition as the trackpad on the Surface Laptop 2 could occasionally feel a bit cramped.
The SSD is removable - great, but not something to attempt unless you're familiar with replacing components on other devices.
The keyboard feels nice and responsive with 1.3mm travel and rather tactile feedback. The trackpad is yet again an impressive one on par with previous Surface devices.
Specs and display
- 13-inch: Intel Core i5-1035G7, Intel Core i7-1065G7
- 15-inch: Intel Core i5-1035G7, Intel Core i7-1065G7 plus AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 Microsoft Surface Editions
- 8, 16, 32GB RAM (latter only on 15-inch)
- 128GB-1TB SSD options
- Display: 13-inch - 2,256 x 1,504, 15-inch - 2,496 x 1,664
The 15-inch we looked at had AMD's new Ryzen 5 Microsoft Surface Editon CPU. Obviously in our limited time with the device there was no way to properly test it but such a processor should be good for creatives aiming to do lots of multithreaded work such as video editing on the go.
The 10th generation Intel Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7 on the 13-inch promises to deliver plenty of performance, though we doubt you'd notice it in real-life day-to-day computing compared to the previous Surface Laptop with 8th gen CPUs.
The use of Iris Plus graphic though promises more graphics processing power, and could potentially allow the Laptop 3 to run more intensive games and handle some lighter rendering tasks.
The Surface Book 2 has traditionally been seen as the MacBook Pro rival, but the pricing of that machine - coupled with the weight because of the detachable screen - means that Microsoft has chosen to offer another screen size and more power on Surface Laptop.
USB-C is greatly appreciated here instead of mini DisplayPort, but there's no support for Thunderbolt 3 as part of this. A bit of a strange omission for such a premium laptop that clearly hopes to use content creators who might use Thunderbolt 3 devices.
The USB-A port and headphone jack remain as does the Surface Connect port - we think it's high time this was canned.
The PixelSense display looks fantastic with the 15-inch size, with everything looking shart and clear, with colours that are punchy and decent contrast - although we can't really gauge accuracy at this point. The 13-incher's display is on par with the Surface Laptop 2 in that it's still very good, with punchy colours and rich contrast.
Overall, this is an expected upgrade but one Surface Laptop fans will appreciate. One of the best Windows 10 alternatives to the MacBook Air and Pro 13, though the likes of the Dell XPS 13 also do a good job at filling that spot.
The Surface Laptop 3 15 is a proper MacBook Pro rival and a top addition to the Surface family; a few more ports and an SD card reader would have been ideal though, mind you, not in keeping with the clean aesthetic Microsft is going for.
Photos: Roland Moore-Colyer
Additional words: Dan Grabham