Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch, 2019) review: still a charm for the third time – CNET

<pre><pre>Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch, 2019) review: still a charm for the third time - CNET

Ian Knighton / CNET

Microsoft's Surface laptop series is larger than ever. There are four different versions to choose from. These include the Surface Pro 7, the heart and soul of the family, as well as the brand new Surface Pro X, But it's the new, 13.5-inch Clamshell Surface Laptop 3 that is the most competitive, The Dell XPS 13 has been developed to perfection and HP has played with this year Specter x360, Then there is that MacBook Air, which was reissued last year and appeals exactly to the audience that Microsoft is looking for with the laptop 3.

To like

  • The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 looks and feels like a luxury laptop, even if it's almost identical to the previous year's model.
  • The new processors from Intel ensure a solid increase in performance.
  • Finally, it has a USB-C port.

I do not like it

  • The battery life is not bad, but it is increasing.
  • The starting price of USD 999 is only valid for one color variant.
  • There is finally a USB-C port that does not support Thunderbolt.

With all this heat from all these directions, Microsoft has done an admirable job with the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3. It offers almost everything you would expect from a portable mainstream laptop. It's thin and light, has a fantastic combination of trackpad and keyboard, and offers a remarkable performance boost thanks to a processor upgrade Surface laptop 2018 2,

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch, 2019)

Price as rated

$ 1,299 (GBP 1,269, AU $ 1,999)


13.5-inch pen and touch display with a resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 (201 ppi, 3: 2 aspect ratio)


1.2 GHz Intel Core i5-1035G7

PC memory

8 GB 4 267 MHz LPDDR4


128 MB dedicated Iris Plus graphics (64CU)


256 GB SSD


1 x USB-C, 1 x USB-A, headphone jack, proprietary power supply


Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5

operating system

Windows 10 Home 1903

However, certain disadvantages make it difficult to give the laptop 3 an unreserved recommendation to the competition. The biggest problem is the battery life. While far from terrible, it's far below that of the MacBook Air and HP Specter ($ 600 at Amazon) x360 as well as a step under last year's Windows Surface laptop 2,

So it depends on what you are looking for in a laptop. If battery life is your top priority, you are better off with one of the above-mentioned longevities. If you don't need a marathon machine, the Surface Laptop 3 gives you a lot to love.

Currently running:
Look at that:

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is still a joy


A familiar feeling

This is an incredibly well-designed laptop. The black aluminum version we tested is striking and despite its susceptibility to thumbprints it is always satisfactory to use. The Alcantara fabric models for which the Surface Laptop line stands are even more distinctive. The 2,256 x 1,504 pixel touchscreen with an aspect ratio of 3: 2 is the same first-class display as its predecessor. And at 1.26 kilograms, it's an admirably light laptop.

So what's the problem? I could have copied and pasted the entire paragraph from our Surface Laptop 2 test. The design hardly differentiates the Surface Laptop 3 from its predecessor.

So if you own or have used a Surface Laptop 2, the Surface Laptop 3 won't blow your mind. However, if you bought your last laptop before the Surface laptop line even existed, the Laptop 3 is an eye catcher.

Ian Knighton / CNET

The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 costs from USD 999 (GBP 999, AU $ 1,699). For this price you get a machine with one 10th generation Ice Lake, Quad-Core Intel Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. Here is a catch: In the USA, this configuration is only available in the Platinum Alcantara variant.

The newer metal options launched last year – black or gold – start at $ 1,299 (GBP 1,269, AU $ 1,999), as does the Cobalt Blue Alcantara option. For the additional $ 300, you also get 256 GB of storage instead of 128 GB.

That is crap. The platinum model Alcantara looks classic, but it's disappointing that you have to squirt out so much more if you want the laptop 3 in a different color. As I said, the black version is stunning. Paying a surcharge for a metal finish is fair, but there's no reason there isn't a cheaper black, gold, or blue Surface Laptop 3 with 128GB of storage – like the MacBook Air for $ 1,099 (£ 1,299, AU $ 1,699) ) the case is .

If you're looking for a configuration with higher specifications, the 13-inch Surface Laptop 3 comes with a more powerful Intel Core i7 chip, 16 GB of RAM, and 256 GB ($ 1,599, £ 1,549, AU $ 2,649) and 512 GB ( $ 1,999, GBP 1,949) available, AU $ 3,299) or 1 TB ($ 2,399, £ 2,349, AU $ 3,949) storage. However, this last option is only available in black. There is also a 15-inch version of the laptopthat comes with AMD processors for consumers and Intel for businesses. It starts at USD 1,199 (GBP 1,119, AU $ 1,999) and ends at USD 2,099 (GBP 2,049, AU $ 4,399).

Ian Knighton / CNET

Which laptop model you use will of course depend on your storage requirements. Personally, thanks to various streaming services and Google Drive, I save almost nothing on my computers. For someone like me, a well-designed and solid machine is a bargain price of $ 999 – but I also have the luxury of not needing more than 8 GB of RAM for my work-related applications. Still, $ 1,299 is a very good deal for what is offered.

And hey, who said beauty is cheap?

What's new?

Much of what is remarkable about Laptop 3 was included in Laptop 2 last year. What's new this year? A few improvements and a disadvantage.

First, the impairment of the 10th generation Intel processor is significant. Microsoft claims the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is three times more powerful than the MacBook Air 2019; This is not difficult considering the low performance of the Air with its old dual-core processor compared to the quad-core processor of the laptop 3. More importantly, our benchmarking showed a dramatic improvement over last year's Laptop 2.

Anecdotally, the laptop 3 always felt lively and nimble. I also tested the gaming performance of the laptop because Intel's new Iris graphics are said to be an improvement over previous integrated graphics. They generally fall into the same class as Nvidia MX150 / MX250 graphics. Don't expect blockbuster games here, but I was able to play Overwatch with medium graphics settings at 1080p with only occasional drops below 30 frames per second. That means this will be a good machine for World of Warcraft, Counter Strike and similarly well-optimized games.

Ian Knighton / CNET

You could You can use Photoshop on the 13.5-inch basic laptop 3 and easy video editing on the i7 version. Since there is no dedicated graphics card in either model, creatives looking for a machine on which to do most of their video editing should choose something with more power.

However, this is to be expected. The performance offered here is above average for a slim and light laptop. But it has a price. As already mentioned, the Surface Laptop 3 is significantly more powerful than the MacBook Air of the same price and significantly more powerful than the previous model. But the battery life is the victim.

In my test with looped video stream, I achieved a much longer battery life with the MacBook Air: 13 hours and 27 minutes for the Air compared to a little more than 8 hours for the Laptop 3. This time again with the ultra-low processor of the Y- Series This is not surprising. Disappointingly, the battery life of the laptop 3 was shorter than that of the Surface 2 and slightly shorter than that of the Dell XPS 13.

I used the laptop for 5 to 6 hours in my daily life before it needed to be charged. Which is not bad, just OK. Remember I'm using the i5 version. The i7 can deliver different results.

A final note on the battery is a new quick charge function. Microsoft says you can go from 0 to 80% in one hour: I have 74% that I consider close enough.

Ian Knighton / CNET

The next big improvement is ports. One of our few problems with last year's machine was the lack of a USB-C port. Microsoft has carefully abandoned the Mini DisplayPort connection and instead replaced it with a USB-C port that complements the USB-A port. This means that you need a dongle to connect to an external monitor via HDMI via the USB-C connection if your monitor doesn't have a Thunderbolt or USB-C Alt Mode connection, which is still not very much is common. There's also the 3.5mm headphone jack and Microsoft's proprietary charger. However, the USB-C connector does not support Thunderbolt speeds, which means that it will not work with certain external GPUs.

And finally, the trackpad is 20% bigger. It feels super smooth and has just the right amount of grip, and the additional, um, surface is welcome. The keyboard is also excellent, with just the right distance between the keys and a satisfactory 1.3 mm of travel.

I have a confession: I'm one of the geeks who really love the flat keyboards of Apple's new MacBook Air and Pro laptops – but I even prefer the keys on the Surface Laptop 3 over them.

With a little more juice, the Surface Laptop 3 would be hard to beat in this ultra-competitive category. The strong combination of trackpad and keyboard, the improved performance and the smart (if only slightly changed) design make the Laptop 3 affordable.

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2019

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch, 2019)


NOTE: Longer bars mean better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2019

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch, 2019)


NOTE: Longer bars mean better performance

system configurations

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2019

Apple MacOS Mojave 10.14.5; 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-8210Y; 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133 MHz; 1536 MB Intel UHD Graphics 615, 256 GB SSD

Dell XPS 13 (2019)

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7-8565U; 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM, 2,133 MHz; 128 MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 620; 512 GB SSD

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3 GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM 3.733 MHz; 128 MB (dedicated) Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 512 GB SSD

Lenovo Yoga C930

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7-8550U; 12 GB DDR4 SDRAM, 2,133 MHz; 128 MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 620; 256 GB SSD

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-8250U; 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM 1,866 MHz; 128 MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620; 256 GB

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch, 2019)

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1903); 1.2 GHz Intel Core i5-1035G7; 8 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM, 4,267 MHz; 128 MB dedicated Intel Iris Plus graphics card; 256 GB SSD