Surface Laptop 3 Review | 15-inch MacBook Pro Replacement?

by birtanpublished on May 24, 2021

There are a couple types of people who are out there on the hunt for a 15-inch laptop just like this one these surface laptop three now the first of these are just in it for the extra screen real estate they don't need a bunch of extra power or anything like that they just want plenty of space to do their work on and that's exactly the type of person the surface laptop three was made for because if you're out there and you need some extra power or a super accurate screen for photo editing or anything like that you might have to look elsewhere the design itself should look very familiar if you've seen any of the

Surface laptops before yes this one here is 15 inches rather than the standard 13 inches but outside of that the main difference that you'll see in the design right away is that it's made completely out of aluminum so that Alcantara material that the surface products are kind of famous for it's not available on the 15 inch version so if you're a fan of those you'll have to stick with a smaller one the black version that we have here is one of the two options you can get and it's not the most eye-catching laptop in the world it's definitely pretty basic despite how

Sleek and thin it is I kind of do miss that Alcantara fabric and it made me realize how much of a unique character that brings to this laptop outside of that the 15 inch surface laptop 3 really is a stretched-out bigger version of the 13-inch little brother the keyboard and touchpad are both really comfortable and precise the build quality is fantastic of course you get the touchscreen and most importantly for me you still get that 3 by 2 aspect ratio on the display that I've really grown to like so there's not necessarily

Anything wrong with the design or the look of this laptop but boy are there some missed opportunities here first the bezels and look I'm just as tired of complaining about Microsoft's bezels as you are about hearing about it but honestly these are still some of the biggest you'll find in a laptop today and I know that's not something that everybody cares about but come on and when you set it side-by-side with a 15-inch MacBook Pro you really start to see where some of these missed opportunities come into play the keyboard and touchpad are exactly the

Same size as on the 13-inch model the speak are still under the keyboard rather than out on the keyboard deck and you don't get any more ports they're still just looking at one USB a port one USB C port and the surface connect dock for power don't get me wrong I'm happier than anyone that Microsoft finally brought a USB C port to the surface laptop 3 but when you look at it compared to pretty much any other 15-inch laptop out there this is the bare minimum in terms of port selection and honestly the empty space that's on this keyboard deck is a

Little disappointing it just doesn't feel like Microsoft is playing to the strengths of this larger form factor and I get it these are creature comforts the surface laptop 3 has the basics down and if you're gonna spring for that $1200 base configuration that might get you by but if you dare spent over $2,000 on this laptop you might just end up looking at your friend's XPS 15 or MacBook Pro with a little bit of jealousy because that's really what it comes down to you because the performance on this machine is just not its strong suit especially for this

Category of laptop there's a reason companies like Apple don't even offer their 15-inch MacBook Pro for the specific crowd because those people are few and far between and are often looking for the cheapest laptop possible that's just not apples demographic and honestly it's not Microsoft's either instead the 15-inch space is dominated by a entirely different crowd professionals who need creative tools content creation folks who actually need powerful laptops and super accurate screens for their programming video editing and photography work and that's

Why you won't find a MacBook Pro at least not a 15-inch version that comes with less than a 6 core processor and 16 gigabytes of RAM and that's where the surface laptop 3 just can't really compete now there is something interesting happening with this laptop with its performance Microsoft made waves when it announced that it would be using an AMD chip instead of an Intel chip for this 15-inch service laptop 3 and I was really excited about this especially since they said that they were working really directly with AMD for a custom chip for this laptop now

That chip which is called the Rison 5 Microsoft Surface Edition is what came in review unit and it's fine the performance is pretty similar to what you get with 8th gen Intel Core i5 that's and that's you series so this is again not the kind of chip we would expect to see in a 15-inch laptop you can of course jump up to a risin 7 with Vega 11 graphics but that's gonna cost you a whopping $2,100 despite just giving you 4 cores for that price you could get a powerful XPS 15 with a 6 core processor and a gtx 1650 on the

Graphics side of things those 2 extra cores and those more powerful graphics go a really long way towards making this a more capable video editing and coding and photography laptop so no you shouldn't really be using this laptop as a content creation device beyond making a few simple photo edits and even there you're gonna run into issues with the screen it's plenty sharp and colorful enough for daily usage but if you're a professional and you really depend on the accuracy of your screen you're still gonna have to go with something like a macbook pro or even a 4k XPS 15 I don't

Know if Microsoft was limited by the thermal restraints or if this is just AMD selection but this kind of limited performance does make the surface laptop 3 a little bit less exciting it's a similar situation with the graphics in gaming again i'm sure that vega 11 will do a bit better but the vega 9 that came in my review unit it was a stretch to get really any games playing on it even a lighter game like Fortnight was pretty much impossible to play without cranking the settings all the way down to the point where Fortnight didn't really look like itself

Anymore I haven't tested it yet but I have a feeling that the iris plus graphics that come in the 13 inch surface laptop 3 are actually kind of fair a little bit better than this larger one which is a real shame the one thing that the 15 inch model has going for it is that the Vega graphics do come in the base configuration which is a little bit rare usually companies charge a little bit extra for their graphics options so hey there's that the surface laptop 3 also does get pretty good battery life I was getting anywhere between seven and eight

Hours in light usage on a single charge it's not amazing and it's not quite as good as the XPS fifteen but it kind of meets the standard from what I'd expect on a laptop like this I should say we haven't tested the 13 inch version of the surface laptop 3 yet but it comes with some more standard Intel isolate processors and it's in a category that Microsoft is a little more familiar with I have a feeling I'm gonna like that laptop a little bit more than this one so yeah the 15 inch surface laptop 3 is not for gaming it's not a content

Creation device it's really just for people who need a basic quad core laptop with a larger 15-inch screen and that's you and you like the design of this laptop here's what I'd recommend go for the $1200 base configuration right now Microsoft is charging an extra $300 to go from 128 gigabytes it's a 256 gigabytes of storage and here's the reason you can now get into this laptop pretty easily and swap out that storage yourself so I'd recommend going for the cheaper version and then upgrading your storage yourself because honestly those higher-end models just don't stack up to

The competition very well hey thanks for checking out this review of this new surface laptop 3 please let me know if you think this 15 inch version is the one you're going to be getting or if you're more excited for the 13 inch version leave a comment below letting me know and make sure to subscribe for more videos from digital trends

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