Microsoft Surface Laptop review: Fresh look, great performance

What is it competing with though?

Geez Microsoft, slow down on the stunners – I can’t keep up.  The Surface Laptop is beautiful and I’ve wanted to get my hands on it since it was first announced and now, I can confirm – it looks great in the flesh too.

Kinda allows you to forget the “Surface Book” of 2016 – I think a device that was an “ok” first attempt, but the follow up is just something to behold.

However, I have one question or perhaps problem with this device.  I’m not sure where it’s meant to sit in the market.

It’s priced like a Pro but doesn’t really perform like a Pro.  Graphics wise it’s good, but it’s not even in the running when head to head with a MacBook Pro (Geekbench 19342 vs MacBook Pro 29343), in fact, it’s closer to the MacBook (16698) – and the only reason I say this is to warn anyone who might be looking at this as a Windows machine for Video editing and the like.

Frankly, almost anything else and it would be totally fine!

With all that said, this is quite possibly the nicest Windows laptop I’ve used in a long time.  Sure HP, Toshiba and Lenovo are doing great things, but this is different.  And different is what stands out, and it’s what senior managers and CEOs want.

There’s something very square about the screen.  It’s an unusual resolution at 2256 x 1504, and perhaps like it’s big brother the Surface Studio is aimed at giving a taller screen for additional workspace.

Given it’s similarities to the Surface Pro, I did find myself wanting to rip the screen off now and then – only to remember it’s a laptop:)

But that keyboard, oh so nice.  Using a similar fabric like coating as has been seen on Surface tablet keyboard covers, the Surface Laptop fabric isn’t “fluffy” at all, it’s just a less smooth feeling than the unibody aluminium machines so common now.  It’s slightly less cool to touch on a chilly morning, but it also just looks nice too:)

Typing is a dream, having been using the MacBook for a little while it’s actually nice to go back to a traditional keyboard feel – if only a slightly light touch.

I could bag it for having a single USB only, but in reality – I rarely need more than one, I’m just happy that one’s there.

This device shipped with the “education” version of Windows, Windows 10 S – now at first this freaked me out, because I went to install an app and it was locked to only allow apps from the “Windows Store”.

I get that, this makes it very safe, reliable and great for families and kids given this is aimed at the education space.

Fortunately, the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro was a quick – and Free process – though I can’t be sure how long it will be Free for.

In the end, that 10 S realisation was the jolt I needed to realise this isn’t a pro machine, this is a high-school or uni machine.

Walking around a Uni campus it’s MacBook here and MacBook there, Microsoft have created a device here that is not only most certainly up to the task, but will stand out in a crowd.  That little shiny windows logo on the lid might just become more common very soon.

It’s a top machine, if you know what you’re in need of – it’s well worthy of your consideration.

Microsoft Surface Laptop
Date Published: 06/13/2017
A whole new way to make a laptop - out with the old in with this - a fabric touch, a sleek design - Microsoft have done it again.
4.5 / 5 stars

 

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Tech

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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