Surface Laptop Two Week Review: Microsoft’s Stunning First Notebook Great For Today’s Use Cases – Forbes

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 2: A view of the new Microsoft Surface Laptop following a Microsoft launch event, May 2, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In May, Microsoft announced their very first ‘conventional’ laptop, the Surface Laptop. This laptop was one of the most recent Surface products Microsoft launched as part of the Surface line and the most conventional in terms of form factor. All the previous Surface devices were more unique in form or function that helped set apart the Surface brand from other OEM brands. With the Surface Laptop, Microsoft had to make the conventional seem unconventional and to give educators, students and consumers a reason to consider a Surface Laptop. Microsoft recently sent me one of their new Surface Laptops to try out and I used it as my primary device for two weeks. In short, I’m very impressed and want to tell you about my experience.

Specifications and configuration

For my use, I loaded up the Surface Laptop with a mixture of desktop applications and Microsoft Store applications. For desktop software, which was mostly for productivity, I used Office 365, OneNote, WhatsApp, Google Chrome, Edge and OneDrive. The Microsoft Store applications I used were Skype, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Photos, Camera, OneDrive, Mail, Calendar, Weather and News. Additionally, I used accessories like the Surface Dock for charging and to simultaneously connect both a 3K and a 4K display.

The model Microsoft lent to me for testing was the Intel Core i5 7200U variant with 256 GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Microsoft offers a Core i7 variant as well with storage capacities of up to 512GB and RAM up to 16GB. The graphics on the Core i5 version is Intel integrated HD 620 graphics while the Core i7 model gets the dedicated Intel Iris Plus 640 graphics chip for higher performance. Unlike previous Surface products, there is no option for discrete 3rd party graphics, which I believe is a pricing, power and space consideration.

Plusses

Even though design is highly subjective, I personally enjoyed the clamshell design of this device. For lack of a better word, this PC really is sexy. Its minimalistic and the aluminum body really caught my eye. It was a very light 2.76 pounds which made it very portable and hand-carry friendly. I like that Microsoft decided to offer the Surface Laptop in four assorted colors (burgundy, blue, silver and gold) that allow it to help them differentiate from the MacBooks. It fit very well in my backpack and was a joy to travel with. Overall, this is a modern device that will work perfectly for college applications and consumer use cases.

New Surface Laptop computers come in 4 different colors Photographer: Mike Kane/Bloomberg

The 13.5” 2,256 x 1,504 resolution PixelSense display with its 3:2 aspect ratio is ultra-thin at 14mm thick with a very responsive touchscreen with support for up to 10 multi-point touch like the Surface Pro. The display colors were vibrant and very sharp. It’s a beautiful display. While 3K or 4K resolution would have been preferred, Microsoft balanced resolution with all the other features.

The Surface Laptop supports Windows Hello face login. It may be my imagination, but as I’ve tested face login on about 20 devices, this seemed the quickest. I mean, literally, I would open the laptop and I’d be in, no password required. This is a great example of where the smartphone and tablet need to catch up with the laptop.

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