Surface Laptop 3 Review – Design, Performance, Connectivity, and More
Surface Laptop 3 Review
Surface Laptop 3 review the third-gen laptop is more of a nip and tuck socket than the previous generation. It provides more power, and a larger trackpad.
And finally adds a USB-C port (but not at Thunderbolt 3 speeds, which seems odd). A larger 15-inch model is also available, but we’re reviewing the standard 13.5-inch model here.
Design and Connectivity
- Dimensions: 308 x 223 x 14.51 mm / Weight: 1.25 kg
- Finishes: Sandstone, Black, Cobalt Blue, Platinum
- Alcantara in cobalt blue and Platinum
- Metal (aluminium) in other finishes
- Power: proprietary surface connector
- Full-size keyboard (1.3mm key travel)
- 20% larger trackpad than the previous one
- Ports: 1x USB-A, 1x USB-C, 1x 3.5mm jack
- Windows 10 startup
The Surface Laptop 3’s design is sleek and standout, especially in this black finish (which first appeared for the second-gen model):
- There are plenty of finishing options – you’ll see Sandstone as gold and Platinum as silver, actually, with the Cobalt Blue and Platinum options retaining.
- The interior palm rest of the Alcantara microfabricated finish keyboard is comfortable and eye-catching.
- The Laptop 3 has increased the trackpad’s size by 20 per cent compared to the second-gen model, which is a welcome adjustment.
- Big trackpads are king and hot for 2020. The older keyboard allows for comfortable typing for extended periods, with 1.3mm key travel for a decent response.
- Utmost important to the design, however, is the addition of a USB-C port on the side. It ties together the full-size USB-A port.
- But aside from a 3.5mm headphone jack, that’s your lot, and for a laptop like this, we think having more ports would make a lot of sense.
- Oh, and an added downside: USB-C isn’t capable of Thunderbolt 3 speeds, for whatever reason, which is a disappointment.
Screen and Stylus
- 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen
- 2256 x 1504 resolution
- LCD screen with 3: 2 aspect ratio
- Gorilla glass
- Works with Surface Pen (sold separately)
The PixelSense display on the Surface Laptop 3 is unchanged from the original and second-generation model displays. But as the saying goes: if it isn’t overdrawn, don’t fix it:
- That means the Surface family trait of having a 3: 2 aspect ratio display, rather than the 16: 9 ratio seen in many other places, continues to rank highly.
- We reason this is great, as it works well for document-based work but is less designed for wide-screen multimedia use.
- That ratio is also where this is a 13.5-inch diagonal screen, not a 13.3-inch, typical of the competition.
- The panel is high resolution and has brilliant colour and contrast. No, it’s not quite as pixel-dense as the panel on the new MacBook Air.
- But it would be very difficult to suggest that it would make a genuine difference in usage between the two devices.
Performance and Battery life
- Intel Core i5 (1035G7) processor, 8GB RAM (base model)
- Intel Core i7 (1065G7) with 16GB of available RAM
- 128GB storage (base model)
- 256GB / 512GB / 1TB options
Microsoft has opted for 10th Gen Intel Core I processors for the 3rd Gen Surface Laptop. The key choice, we believe, is the Core i5:
- There is also an i7 model available, but we would expect the impact on battery life to be negative and without too big of a boost from the processor, especially since everything runs Intel integrated graphics anyway.
- The chip is the i5-1035G7, which is quad-core with eight threads instead of the lower-voltage dual-core chip in something like the MacBook Air.
- That makes for a respectable performance. A spec setup similar to the excellent Dell XPS 13 puts Microsoft in a very strong position.
- With the basic configuration of the Surface Laptop 3, you get 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. For our money, you need 256GB on a laptop like this.
- But if you store a lot in the cloud, that may not be necessary, especially since increasing the SSD adds 27 per cent to the asking price.