Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review: Getting All the Basics Right

by birtanpublished on January 8, 2021

The third generation of Microsoft's Surface laptop gets the basics right. This is the quintessential ultra-portable laptop. Yes, it came out after Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro, and yes, it does copy many things that the MacBook and MacBook Pro do well, but this really is the essence of the Windows mobile experience. It starts at $1,000, but unfortunately the options do add up quickly, and so a configuration like you're looking at here with this nice sandstone metal finish, and a core i7 processor will run you close to $1,500 if not more. Part of the additional cost is for storage. You can get a 256 GB SSD in the base model,

But you can increase that to as much as 1 TB of storage space. Some of the best physical parts of the Surface Laptop 3 are the keyboard and the touch pad. Lots of people hate the Apple MacBook keyboard because of it's extremely shallow travel distance. That is not a problem with the Surface Laptop 3. The keys travel 1.3 millimeters which is fairly generous, and that they have a very satisfying thud when you fully press them. I also really like the touch pad, whose clicks are very satisfying, and it's generously sized enough that you can move the cursor around the entire display

Without running out of room. The Surface Laptop 3 has a unique three by two aspect ratio, which means that the 13.5-inch display is actually slightly longer height-wise, which means that it's great for viewing more of a document, a spreadsheet, or a webpage. Under the hood, the Surface Laptop 3 now includes Intel's latest 10th generation processors. This means slightly better performance for every day things like web browsing or light multi-media editing, and much better graphics performance. New for the Surface Laptop 3 is a larger 15-inch screen size. So if you're a fan of additional screen real estate,

You might want to look into that version as well. One of the few things that I really do not like about the Surface Laptop 3 is it's extremely anemic port selection. The variety is okay because you get a USB-C port and a USB type A port, but unfortunately, that's all you get, other than a headphone jack. This means that if you need to plug in any type of peripheral, say a hard drive or a mouse or an external display, you're going to need an adapter or a dongle. Microsoft will sell you a $200 Surface Dock which plugs in right here, and that does expand the port selection a bit,

But that's still really too much to be spending just to get a few additional ports. The Surface Laptop 3 weighs just under 3 pounds which makes it very light, and it's very easy to carry around with you even if you're a frequent traveler, and if you are frequent traveler who doesn't spend much time near a power outlet, you will appreciate that it has pretty long battery life. We got more than 14 hours of battery life in our test, which involves running a locally stored video with screen brightness set to 50 percent, and the laptop in airplane mode. All tolled, the Surface laptop three is really an excellent ultra-portable laptop, but really, that's because it gets the basics right.

There's nothing flashy about this, it doesn't have a 360 degree hinge, and it doesn't have little nice ideas like a webcam cover to thwart hackers, but if all you're looking for is a well designed Windows ultra-portable laptop, the Surface Laptop 3 might be the one for you.

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