Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13.5-inch review: have a normal one

Microsoft has given us more choices than ever with Surface products this year. If you need a 2-in-1 tablet, you can now choose between Surface Pro 7 or Surface Pro X. If you want an existing clamshell laptop, you can opt for a 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 or later. Inch model. We have already looked in depth at the latter Laptop 3, so this review focuses on the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3.

$ 999 ($ ​​1,599 in testing) is a 13.5-inch model. If you think you are buying more "traditional" laptops 3, most people think you should buy this one. There is an excellent keyboard and trackpad. Clear and bright touch screen; Stylish design and solid structure; Excellent performance for everyday productivity tasks most likely to use a 13-inch laptop.

Notebook 3 is flawless and has better battery life and better port selection On other 13-inch Windows laptops like Dell's XPS 13 or HP Specter X360 Also occasionally buggy until you shut down and reboot your laptop Occurs. Nevertheless, if these aren't in your favor, Laptop 3 is a great and traditional Windows 10 laptop.

Microsoft has not changed much of the laptop 3's external design compared to its predecessor. Slightly folded aluminum clamshell notebook that can be easy on the shoulder. The 13.5-inch model weighs 2.89 pounds, between 2.75 pounds of MacBook Air and 3 pounds of MacBook Pro. It's not the lightest 13-inch laptop, but it's not sexy.

There are two noticeable changes in design. First, the signature Alcantara cloth deck, a signature on the Surface Laptop line, is now an option based on color. In the silver and blue models, but in the gold and black models, it is replaced by a much more traditional aluminum keyboard deck.

I've been testing the gold version (Microsoft calls it "sandstone" but humans call it gold). Like the black model, fingerprints and grease are hard to see. . I miss Alcantara. The aluminum deck looks great but feels like any other aluminum laptop and doesn't have the soft feel that Alcantara has to offer. But if you are worried about the durability of Alcantara, now you have an option to avoid. (The $ 999 base model comes only in silver and comes with Alcantara fabric, so you'll have to pay at least $ 1,299 to get another color.) For the USB-C port, it was probably in the first Surface Laptop version of 2017. is. You can use the USB-C port to charge your laptop (in addition to the other Surface Connect port), connect an external display, or use a variety of USB-C accessories like a hub. Unfortunately, it doesn't support Thunderbolt 3 speeds, so you're limited to USB-C 3.2 (10Gbps) devices, so you can't use it with an external GPU, faster external SSD drive, or Thunderbolt desktop dock. Most other laptops in this price range and size range support Thunderbolt 3, so I'm disappointed that laptop 3 doesn't.

In addition to the new USB-C port, the other I / O on the laptop 3 is a single USB-Microsoft's proprietary Surface connector that connects to the port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a 65-watt charger in the box.


Surface Laptop 3 has a USB-C port but is not supported. Unfortunately Thunderbolt 3.

Microsoft has done a few things to make this generation of services and upgrades easier than its predecessor Surface Laptop model, but that doesn't mean you can open Laptop 3 and upgrade it. The only part that can actually be replaced is an SSD, and Microsoft says it can't be replaced by the user. To complete the work, you need to take the notebook 3 to an authorized service center. The 13.5-inch touch screen display has not changed from its predecessor and retains the signature 3: 2 aspect ratio seen on all Surface devices. It's bright and clear, has a good viewing angle and color, and likes the larger aspects of working with documents or reading websites. This aspect ratio is better than the traditional 16: 9 screen for all the other things you do on your laptop because there's a little letterbox when watching widescreen video at full screen.

This is a touch screen even if it's not a 2-in-1 convertible and isn't the primary way to interact with a laptop. When using a laptop without a touch screen, being able to reach out and press the screen casually is a convenience I miss.

One thing that bothered me during the test was the unusual behavior of the display's auto-brightness feature. After a few minutes, before raising the screen again, sometimes the brightness of the screen is randomly lowered to an uncomfortable level. This problem occurs when the notebook is in a fixed position and the lighting does not change.

Like the 15-inch notebook 3, the 13.5-inch model features an excellent keyboard that offers excellent spacing, movement and feedback. Perhaps it's the laptop keyboard I've been using for a long time. Similarly, the trackpad, which is 20% larger than the laptop 2's trackpad, has excellent tracking and palm removal, making it smooth and easy to use. This keyboard and trackpad combination is the best you can get in the Windows world and shows how Apple does a laptop keyboard.


The silver and blue versions of the Notebook 3 13.5 have Alcantara on the keyboard deck. Both black and gold models are aluminum.

The 13.5-inch notebook 3 has Intel's latest 10th generation Ice Lake quad-core processor with a Core i5 or i7 option. I have tested the Core i7 (specifically i7-1065G7) model and it provides excellent performance for all the productivity tasks I want to achieve. It also has great ability to handle Lightroom and Photoshop, and there's nothing wrong with playing 4K video as seen on AMD processors on 15-inch models. (These performance results use the same processor as the 13.5-inch model, so it can be applied to the Intel version of the 15-inch model that Microsoft sells for business.)

In fact, the 13.5-inch model is 5 minutes 33 seconds 4K in Adobe Premiere Pro. Offers much better performance than the 15-inch version when exporting H.264 video . 13.5 was able to throw that task in 15 minutes and 26 seconds compared to 3 hours which took 15 minutes. It's much faster than the 2016 dedicated 15-inch MacBook Pro can manage with a dedicated graphics card. I would not recommend the Laptop 3 as a game console or a hardcore video editing workstation, which is a thin and light computer. But if you need to complete video editing at once, it's for sure. On the other hand, battery life is less than stars. It takes about 7 hours to charge my laptop 3 in a daily workload test that sets the screen to 50% brightness and juggles between dozens of browser tabs, Slack, email, word, twitter and other productivity apps. Less than six hours of time seen on the 15-inch model (iFixit's decomposition says that both the 13.5 and 15-inch versions use the same capacity battery), it's far from class and doesn't work all day.

Laptop 3 has a new fast-charge feature that allows you to charge your laptop 80% in less than an hour. My test matches that. 30 minutes of charging allowed me to switch to 39% in the dead. However, the fast charge feature only works when the laptop is closed and sleeping. You do not get fast filling speed while using the machine.


Finally, this is a surface device, which has caused a number of strange bugs. Used throughout the test period. I've already mentioned about the display auto brightness bug, but I've seen aggressive battery discharge, fans increase to 100% during charging, and the trackpad randomly stops scrolling in the app. If you shut down and restart your laptop completely, most of the bugs will go away, but it's all disappointing that you'll have to experience the first week of using a completely new laptop. Microsoft typically updates its Surface devices with bug fixes and patches on a regular basis, so we hope that the issue will be resolved in the next few months, but now laptop 3 experience may not be right.

With its annoying bug and battery life alone, the Laptop 3 13.5 is a very good laptop, and most people looking for a premium Windows 10 computer will be happy with it. There are no nagware or bloatware commonly used on computers from HP, Dell and Lenovo, and there are some of the best keyboards you can get from a laptop. Surface Laptop is not cheap and you pay for these benefits, but in most cases it's worth it.

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Updated: October 28, 2019 — 11:42 pm