With a wonderfully thin but solid design, a great feel and a new big-screen option, Microsoft’s latest Surface Laptop is closer than ever to representing a first-party MacBook-style device for Windows users. It comes with Apple-level price tags too, but those hoping a larger Laptop might mean Pro-level performance may be disappointed.
Starting at $1699, the 13.5-inch Surface Book 3 keeps the same beautiful 3:2 aspect touchscreen as its predecessor, the same 8GB or 16GB of RAM, but upgrades to the latest 10th-generation Intel Core processors. In addition to the soft Alcantara material finish of last time, there’s also new all-aluminium options in black or sandstone.
More notably, there’s a brand new 15-inch device that drops Intel chips entirely for AMD’s Ryzen line, and drops Alcantara for a choice of either black or platinum metal. My review unit was a black 15-inch model, and it’s an extremely nice device to the look and touch, if quite minimal. The taller than usual display is great for work and browsing, with plenty of room for multiple windows, and at less than 1.5cm thick and around 1.5kg in weight it’s surprisingly backpack-ready for a big laptop.
For me the Ryzen chipset didn’t offer an obvious upgrade over machines with comparable ninth-generation Intel processors, but this is a snappy laptop that had no issues multitasking various work apps and Chrome tabs. It doesn’t get hot or noisy even when working very hard, and the Windows Hello camera combined with “Instant On” means it’s generally ready to go within a second of opening the lid.