Microsoft Surface Laptop Review: Plush, Premium Design In A Competitive Category

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Microsoft Surface Laptop: Battery Life and Acoustics

Battery life testing is performed using Battery Eater Pro and a custom 1080p HD video loop test we developed here at HotHardware. We conduct the tests with Windows 10 quiet hours enabled and the displays' brightness calibrated as close to 115 lux on our meters as possible.

Battery Life Testing
Heavy-Duty Workload And Light-Duty Battery Life Performance Tests

Brightness calibration is vital to ensure a fair comparison with other notebooks in our group, since it greatly affects battery life. However, every notebook has different brightness ranges, so it’s critical to rely on a light meter instead of a Windows brightness setting percentage.

video loop surface laptop


bep surface laptop

The Surface Laptop’s worse-case scenario battery life is a disappointing 118 minutes, which is far behind competitors, like the ASUS ZenBook 3, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 and Dell XPS 13. Battery life is much better in our light duty 1080p Video Loop test, albeit it still falling behind the Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. You can expect the Surface Laptop to last around 6:39 minutes so you can enjoy the entire original Star Wars trilogy completely on battery power, as a frame of reference. Generally speaking, unless you're grinding heavy workloads on this machine all day long, it's going to hold up just fine for most other mainstream use cases. 

Acoustics
Noise performance

The Microsoft Surface Laptop doesn’t make a single peep at idle – its completely silent. Its not passively cooled, however. There’s a single blower fan that ramps up under heavy loads, but we didn’t notice it during typical use. The noise is noticeable when taxed with sustained heavy work-loads, like when we ran BatteryEater Pro. However, heat is distributed well across the Surface Laptop. The bottom of the Surface gets warm to touch under load, but the typing surface remains cool. There weren’t any hot spots concentrated anywhere on the Surface Laptop.

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