I walked away from the Surface Laptop. Without question, it’s just as attractive and sleek of a product as anything else in the Surface line up to this point. It’s powerful enough to handle any productivity task you throw at it, it’s slim enough to fit in any bag and it’s affordable enough to compete with the MacBook.
The most important element of the Surface Laptop is its design. While the Surface Book is a slick device itself, it doesn’t attempt to compete with the slimmest laptops on the market. The new Surface Laptop does, and while you can feel its heft at 2.7 pounds, you won’t have to strain to pick it up.
The Surface Laptop is thinner than 15mm at its thickest point, which means that you will be able to find space for it no matter where you’re going. Furthermore — and this might seem minor — you really can open it with one finger. Microsoft spent a significant amount of time during its event talking about how it doesn’t want technology to get in the user’s way. I’ve spent the past few months using a Dell XPS 13, and as much as I love it, I hate having to brace one hand on the device to pry it open. You’ll never have that issue with the Surface Laptop, which opens as gracefully and fluidly as any laptop I’ve used.
We might as well get to the elephant in the room: the keyboard and palm rest of the Surface Laptop are covered in fabric — Signature Alcantara, to be specific. Microsoft says that the fabric is durable, resists stains and can be wiped clean, but we’d have to spend way more than a few minutes with the device to put these claims to the test. What I can say is that the fabric was genuinely more comfortable than the plastic my hands are resting on as I type up this preview, but I’m still skeptical in the long term.
Moving to the other side of the (nearly invisible) hinge, we find a display that doesn’t quite measure up to that of the Surface Book, but looks great for Full HD. The 13.5-inch PixelSense LCD touchscreen display is the thinnest ever on a laptop, according to Microsoft, which is an impressive feat as well. The 3:2 aspect ratio could take some getting used to, but I came away impressed with the display.
Having such limited time to test out the Surface Laptop, I can’t comment much on its performance, but it felt speedy switching between apps and opening up multiple tabs on the Microsoft Edge browser. It’s also incredibly refreshing to be able to open a laptop and have the home screen immediately lit up. Seriously — the display on the Surface Laptop turns on faster than the light in a refrigerator.
Perhaps most importantly of all though, Microsoft says that the Surface Laptop is not only faster than the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, it also has a better battery life (14.5 hours). Plenty of consumers are already ingrained in one platform or the other, but for those who are willing to take a chance and switch from macOS to Windows 10, the Surface Laptop is faster and cheaper than the cheapest MacBook.
You can check out the rest of the specs in our post from the announcement earlier today. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop launches on June 15th and will start at $999 for the 4GB RAM, Intel Core i5 model.