Microsoft Surface Laptop first impressions
The newly announced Surface Laptop will be released in the middle of June but there are already some demo units in all Microsoft Stores in the US. We’ve also seen them on display in the exhibit halls during the Build Conference 2017 here in Seattle, Washington.
The Surface Laptop compliments the existing PC line-up of Microsoft and sits between the portable Surface Pro 4 and the uniquely-designed Surface Book.
In a way, the Surface Laptop is the standard type of the line-up — no removable keyboard, no tablet mode, no Surface Pen included (but still supports it). However, it still shares a lot of the design signatures of the Microsoft Surface series.
It’s got the same all-metal body in a matte polished finish. This time, though, they come in different colors (Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, and Graphite Gold) which is a departure from the usual silver look.
The design reminded us a little of the Sony Vaio Pro although that one was made out of a much lighter carbon fiber material. It looks really nice, sleek and slim, and slightly lighter than the equivalent 13-inch MacBook Pro or Air (1.25kg vs 1.37kg vs 1.35kg). It’s also less than a hair thinner than the Macbook Pro and Macbook Airi 13 (14.47mm vs 14.9mm vs 17mm).
What’s noticeably lacking are the ports — there’s only one USB 3.0 Type-A and one DisplayPort. No SD card slot or USB Type-C as well which should have been used to double as a charging port and Microsoft could have done away with the proprietary charger.
A unique design touch of the Surface Laptop is the use of an Alcantara covered keyboard which is a synthetic yet soft and durable type of fabric. Alcantara is composed of about 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane that has the look and feel of suede. This is the same material used in the Surface Pro 4.
I liked the keyboard on the Surface Pro 4 and the one on the Surface Laptop is even better. It’s backlit and has good travel, has solid foundation so there’s no flexing like on the Surface Pro 4.
The trackpad is also bigger and wider, is covered with a type of glass and works really, really well for navigation and gestures. Also nice that the colors wrap around from the exterior all the way around the interior, including the keys and the trackpad.
The Surface Laptop features an unusual 13.5-inch display with 3:2 aspect ratio and resolution of 2256 × 1504 pixels. It’s a nice looking display, bright and crisp with a relatively thin bezel. It’s touchscreen and supports the Surface Pen and the Surface Dial.
It’s a gorgeous laptop, well-balanced features and specs though a little lacking in ports. The $999 starting price for the Core i5 and 4GB RAM sounds a little pricey. The claimed 14.5 hours battery life needs to be tested but it can do 10 hours in regular use, that should be more than enough.
Lastly, the pre-installed Windows 10 S operating system looks and feels like the normal Windows OS but this one only allows for apps coming from the Microsoft Windows Store. You can still switch it to Windows 10 Pro for free until December 31.
Microsoft Surface Laptop specs:
13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen display @ 2256 × 1504 pixels
Intel Core i5 or i7 (7th Gen) processor
Intel HD Graphics 620
4GB, 8GB, or 16GB RAM
128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB PCIe SSD
HD 720p webcam
Support for Surface Pen
Dolby Premium Audio
1 x USB-A
1 x Mini DisplayPort
Windows 10 S
14.5mm thin (dimensions)
Up to 14.5h battery life
The Surface Laptop is currently in pre-order and will be released on June 15, 2017.