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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15' Test

2024-04-05
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15' Test

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15" with the i5 processor is a typical business device. Typical because versions with Intel processors were not available in consumer stores. Microsoft decided to sell them only to businesses. Now these impressively beautiful devices have arrived, and you can buy them from AMSO for less than 40% of the price. Is it worth it? I had the pleasure of checking it out

Case - Lightweight and Very Rectangular

After two generations of feedback, Microsoft has finally introduced a metal chassis to its third Surface laptop series, sealing the end of Alcantara that defined the series. The metal case has completely destroyed our longing for Alcantara; the smooth surfaces are more touch-sensitive, look more luxurious than the Original and are easier to clean. In fact, the case is one of the best features of the new 15-inch Surface Laptop. Both deformations and squeaks are minimal around the keyboard and outer lid, which gave me a positive impression when touching the laptop. Perhaps the only exaggerated design flaw is the wide screen bezels.

In terms of size and weight, the Microsoft laptop is both thinner and lighter than most traditional 15.6-inch ultrabooks such as the XPS 15 or MacBook Pro 15, with the Surface weighing just 1265g. Nevertheless, the unusual 3:2 aspect ratio means that the case is squarer and longer, making it potentially incompatible with cases for 16:9 devices.

The number of ports in the reviewed laptop has been reduced to a minimum, totaling 3 inputs and outputs. I do not count the charging port, as it does not bring anything except the function that matches its nomenclature. So we have: USB Type-A, USB Type-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack. So if we want to connect an external monitor, we have to connect it via the USB-C port or buy a corresponding docking station. The official one cost 200 US dollars at the time this device was released. Currently, there are many great alternatives like the one from Dynabook available in our country.

Access to the inside

Access to the inside is pretty simple and straightforward. The secret lies in four screws. Underneath the laptop's discreetly hidden rubber feet, you'll find four screws that act like guards to protect access to the fascinating interior. To loosen them, all it takes is a keyed Torx T5 and we're in. There you can clean the laptop, replace the battery and the hard disk. Unfortunately, the RAM is soldered.

Keyboard

The size and layout of the keyboard remain identical to the Surface Laptop 2 with a 13.5-inch diagonal screen, including the oddly placed on/off button. The key response is satisfactory, accompanied by a moderate clicking noise when typing

Touchpad

The Precision-enabled clickpad has dimensions of 11.5 x 7.6 cm. The surface is even smoother than the surrounding metal palm rests and provides adequate resistance for precise clicks during slow scrolling. The integrated keys are relatively quiet, have a shallow travel and a somewhat soft response.

Battery life

The battery capacity is low for a 15-inch laptop at 45 Wh. Nevertheless, the battery life is very good and is just over 7 hours when using WLAN. Charging from empty to full takes around 2 hours. Charging via the USB Type-C port with 130 W power adapters from Dell or 65 W power adapters from Lenovo is also possible and charges the battery in a similar time

Our hero today scores with a screen with Microsoft Pen stylus support, has a long range microphone that's great for video calls, e.g. via Skype, as well as exceptional speakers, and all that in the next few paragraphs.

Microsoft uses the same Sharp LQ150P1JX51 IPS panel in all variants of the Surface Laptop 3, and key features such as brightness and response times have been improved compared to the Surface Laptop 2. In short, the excellent screen of its predecessor is back. It is perfect for office work, internet browsing or watching movies. The Microsoft Surface 3 uses advanced PixelSense technology, which emphasizes excellence in the visual experience. The colors are saturated, the viewing angles are wide and the screen resolution is 2496 x 1664 pixels (201 PPI). The Touchscreen works flawlessly and I never noticed any lag.

Windows Hello - Guardian

Logging in to the device is possible with a traditional password using the keyboard, but it is also worth using Windows Hello - the biometric facial recognition feature that allows quick access to the device and instant working. During the tests, the face scanner worked extremely effectively. All I had to do was stand in front of the device and look at it to log in immediately without even lifting a finger. Importantly, Windows Hello works not only in daylight but also at night

Speakers

The lack of dedicated speaker openings means that the sound comes out from under the keyboard keys. The sound quality is relatively balanced between basses and sopranos. Rocky tracks are therefore slightly muffled. HP EliteBook laptops are louder, making them a better choice for conference rooms where speaker volume is more important than bass response. Higher volume settings won't cause any interference or vibration, but the palm rests will vibrate under the influence of sound. Overall, however, the sound is really good and surpasses the quality of many business laptops from Dell or Lenovo. I place it in second place right behind a laptop from HP from that era. On the other hand, HP laptops from this segment have weaker displays

Performance

The business versions are equipped with two Intel processors - the Core i5-1035G7 or the Core i7-1065G7. Interestingly, Microsoft opted to use 10nm Ice Lake units instead of the faster 14nm Hexa-Core. This choice was probably driven by Microsoft's preference for the graphical potential of the Ice Lake Iris Plus GPU.

As already mentioned, the RAM is soldered and is either 8 GB or 16 GB. These are LPDDR4x modules.

In my case, I received a laptop with an i5 processor supported by 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB hard disk. Everything works smoothly, even with 20 browser tabs open and a video running in the background. The laptop is therefore perfect for multimedia and office applications.

Surface Laptop models are usually characterized by a low noise level in their category, and this latest version is no exception. Under light loads, such as browsing the internet or watching videos, the fans remain inactive, ensuring quiet operation. Under higher loads, such as playing The Witcher 3, the fans gradually increase their speed and reach a maximum of 41 dB. The results are therefore very good for such a beautifully closed design.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15" with the i5 processor is undoubtedly dedicated business hardware, which after a while is also available for private customers at an attractive price reduced by over 60% in AMSO stores. Is it worth it? I can definitely say yes. The device is perfect for everyday work and multimedia activities. You could even say it's a versatile laptop that will last for many years to come.

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