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Microsoft Surface Laptop review: Bold, Beautiful, and Unique
Windows is the name that we associated with computers and laptops. 82.88% of computers (world-wide) are running on the Windows operating system. The Surface Laptop is a device, which is created to offer the unique experience that most of the Windows running laptop do not provide.
- 2K Display with touch
- Battery life
- GPU performance
The Microsoft Surface Laptop has one mission, that is to offer unprecedented Windows user experience. How does this laptop compete against the competition? Is this is the next laptop that you should consider especially with Rs 1,00,000+ price tag? Here is the complete review of the Microsoft Surface Laptop.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop has hands down the best design that we have seen in the recent time. The design of the Surface Laptop is subtle yet beautiful, which makes it one of the best-looking Windows laptops available in India. The design of the Surface Laptop does resemble the Apple MacBook Air, albeit, with some improvements, which makes the design differ from Apple's offering.
The Surface Laptop has a single Microsoft Logo on the back with a full metal unibody design (aluminium body). Do note that, if something goes wrong (on hardware level) then the Surface Laptop cannot be repaired. As the laptop has a unibody design, it does feel sturdy, and there is no flex to it.
Coming to I/O, the Surface Laptop has minimal ports with a full-sized USB 3.0 port, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a proprietary charging pin and a mini display port. There is no SD card slot neither a USB type C, and for the most part, we did not face any issue concerning ports, even while transferring data from a USB device.
As this is a unibody machine, you cannot upgrade any of the internals what-so-ever. Even the replacement of the battery is not possible on the Surface Laptop. The laptop uses premium quality Alcantara fabric, which gives a unique impression to the device. The usage of Alcantara cloth offers enough grip for your palm to rest while typing by providing a unique yet comfortable feel. However, make sure to clean the Alcantara cloth surface using a damp cloth time to time to keep it clean and tidy.
To summarize, the Microsoft Surface Laptop has excellent build quality, and the Alcantara cloth takes it a notch above. However, one thing that we condemn about the Surface Laptop is the fact that the laptop is almost impossible to repair and there is no option to upgrade any of the hardware, like RAM, storage or even a battery.
The Surface Laptop has a 13.5-inch PixelSense IPS LCD screen with narrow bezels on all four sides of the screen. The screen is, again the highlight of the Surface Laptop. The Surface Laptop uses a 2256 x 1504px resolution screen with 201 PPI (pixels per inch), protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The Surface Laptop does have one of the best displays that we have seen on a laptop. The screen is surrounded by thin black bezel on all four sides, which gives the Surface Laptop a premium look and feel.
The display offers an adequate amount of brightness so that the Surface Laptop can be used in both direct sunlight without any issues. The colors reproduced on the Surface Laptop are very much true to life, and we enjoyed watching movies on stream platforms like Amazon Prime Videos and YouTube. If you are looking for a laptop mainly for watching videos, then the Surface Laptop should be on the list of devices that you should consider.
The 13.5-inch PixelSense IPS LCD screen on the Surface Laptop supports touch input (ten points multi-touch), which elevates the overall user experience of the laptop. We were hesitant about the touch option, especially on a laptop. However, the Surface Laptop shows that the Windows 10 OS is built to use on both touch and non-touch user interface.
The touch response is very intuitive and we were impressed by the touch response from the touchscreen. As the device is very light, one can easily use it as a tablet. However, there is no 180 degree or 360-degree screen rotation option, which could have elevated the overall touch response of the laptop.
Sound and camera
The Surface Laptop has a 1 MP camera, which can record 720p videos. The web camera on the Surface Laptop is in-line with the other laptops. However, because the Surface Laptop has a 2K display, the videos and photos taken using the web camera do look a bit grainy even in well-lit conditions. For regular video calling, the camera does serve the purpose without any hassle.
The Surface Laptop has Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio Premium, fitted under the keypad layout. The device does get pretty loud with exceptional voice clarity and bass. The built-in speaker on the Surface Laptop can produce a stereo-like sound effect to enhance the overall user experience. The laptop also has a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which also supports Dolby Atmos Audio and Spatial Sound to offer an immersive audio video experience.
The 2k display combined with Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio Premium speakers, the Surface Laptop is one of the best multi-media laptops for watching videos.
The Surface Laptop does support Windows Hello face sign-in with a dedicated IR camera, which helps to unlock the device even in low-light condition. The Surface Laptop has one of the fastest Face Unlocks that we have seen on any laptop till date. The Face Unlock works well in most of the conditions without any issue and registering for the Face Unlock is also a lot simpler.
The Face Unlock data is secured on the device using a TPM chip, which offers Enterprise-grade protection.
The Surface Laptop has a full-size QWERTY keyboard with backlighting, with three different brightness levels. The keyboard does offer a decent amount of travel, which enhances the overall typing experience. The keys are placed evenly with a right amount of space between the keys.
In our extended usage period, we tested out the keyboard vigorously, and we have nothing to complain about the keyboard on the Surface Laptop.
The Surface Laptop has a glass-trackpad with support for multi-touch gestures. Hands down, the Surface Laptop has the best trackpad that we have seen on any Windows laptop. The trackpad is very responsive and fun to use.
However, it does lack some of the gestures present on the Apple MacBook Pro.
The Surface Laptop is running on the 7th Gen Core i5 7300-U CPU with integrated Intel HD 650 GPU (1 GB) with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. There is a high-end model with Intel Core i7 processor as well.
When it comes to day to day tasks, the Surface Laptop can handle most of the tasks without any worries. Opening a ton of tabs on Google Chrome, multi-tasking by running different office apps simultaneously, streaming 4K videos etc.
However, when it comes to GPU intensive tasks the laptop does lag a little. Do not consider the Surface Laptop if you are looking for a device which can handle gaming. We did try to run some games like GTA V, and the performance was underwhelming. Here are the actual benchmark results of the Surface Laptop.
On Geenbench 4, we ran both CPU and GPU benchmark. The laptop scored 4021 points on single core CPU performance and 7879 points on the CPU multi-core performance. Similarly, on OpenCL (GPU benchmark), the device scored 23835 points.
On Cinebench R15, the Surface laptop scored 47.37 point son OpenGL and 339 CB on CPU benchmarks.
Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
On Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0, the Surface Laptop scored 266 points with an average FPS of 10.6fps on 1080p resolution. On native resolution, the average fps on the Surface Laptop was around 8fps.
The Surface Laptop does offer Bluetooth 4.1 with Wi-Fi: 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking with IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible. The laptop does support both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi networks without any with a better download and upload speeds compared to the other laptops with similar configuration.
Microsoft claims that the Surface Laptop can offer up to 14.5 hours of video playback on a single charge. In our testing period, the device did last for 8+ hours on a single charge while surfing the web and watching videos.
The laptop does support fast charging, where the Surface Laptop can be charged from 0 to 100% in 2 hours. The Surface Laptop offers impressive battery life because the device has a 2k display. The device can last one complete working day (8 hours) on a single charge. The device comes with a propriety charger, so, if you forgot to bring the charger, then you will not be able to find one around.
Missing features on the Surface Laptop
The Surface Laptop does have some shortcomings, which makes the Surface Laptop a nearly-perfect notebook. Here are some of the features that are miss out on the Surface Laptop.
- No support for 180-degree screen rotation to use it as a standalone tablet
- No dedicated GPU
- Single USB port with no USB type C port
- Hard to find the propriety charger
- No SD card slot
- No repair or even battery replacement option
- No memory or storage expansion
What we like about the Surface Laptop
- Gorgeous 13.5-inch 2K display with touch input
- Amazing battery life
- Windows Hello Face Unlock
- Keypad and trackpad
- Built-in speakers
The Surface Laptop is an excellent device for those who like to carry a lightweight notebook, which is powerful and offers an impressive battery life. This device will be for those, who travel a lot with their device and for those who watch a lot of content and does not want to compromise with the quality.
The Surface Laptop is one of kind laptop, as both hardware and software are tailed made for each other from Microsoft. If you are looking for a laptop to experience the fullness of the Windows 10, then the Surface Laptop is the device.
The Surface Laptop is built like a tank and looks premium from every parameter. Be it the display, speaker setup, or the Alcantara cloth finish, which gives a unique proposition of the laptop.
If you are in the market for a high-end laptop with a premium fit and finish and you are ready to spend at least Rs 1,00,000, then the Surface Laptop is a great device, especially considering the Amazing display and speakers.
The touch input support on the Surface Laptop makes it a notch ahead of the competition. The Surface Laptop is also for those, who are switching from the Apple MacBook series and looking for a device with impeccably built quality with premium features, then the Surface Laptop is the device. In a single sentence, the Surface Laptop is the Microsoft's answer for the Apple MacBook series.