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

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Microsoft Surface Laptop: Final Thoughts and Ratings

Microsoft’s attempt at a traditional clamshell laptop leaves us a little conflicted. The look, feel, and usability of the Surface Laptop is outstanding. The Alcantara-covered keyboard is unique and a pleasant surface (literally) to rest your palms on for long term use. It's key cap feel is excellent with good travel, and the Microsoft PixelSense display is gorgeous as well.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop exudes luxury and gives you many reasons to appreciate its first impression presentation and premium build quality. That is, until you realize some of its allure is only skin deep, at least compared to more current laptops on market. Resting within its highly refined exterior is a budget SSD and previous 7th generation Intel platform hardware that holds back its performance and makes it a harder sell versus more recent alternatives. To be fair, the machine did launch back in May of this year, just before Intel 8th gen Kaby Lake-R was officially on the scene.
Microsoft Surface Rear
It’s an excellent first attempt from Microsoft for a full-featured laptop, but there was already tough competition available when the Surface Laptop launched. Devices like Dell's XPS 13, the Lenovo Thinkpad X1, the ASUS ZenBook, and HP's sleek Spectre x360 all throw down strong alternatives, some at lower price points, others with more current Intel 8th Gen processors.

Microsoft Surface devices raised the bar for other manufacturers and partners in the 2-in-1 category and actually helped define it, so much so that Apple felt compelled to follow suit with the iPad Pro. However, the Surface Laptop has a tougher row to hoe in the mature, and more competitive laptop category. It doesn’t bring anything functionally new nor does it do anything better than what was already available, but it does offer a very well-built machine, with a premium look and feel, along with classic Microsoft styling. We expected something more than simply form over function from the Microsoft Surface Laptop family, but then again, competition in the premium notebook market is pretty strong these days.
Microsoft Surface Open
Overall, the Microsoft Surface Laptop is a solid option if its build quality, industrial design, plush Alcantara keyboard and 3:2 aspect ratio display strike your fancy. Starting at $799, or roughly $1K as configured, it's a competent Windows laptop with a few caveats, but a unique, clean design signature.  

approved hh

 hot not 
  • Impeccable materials and build quality
  • PixelSense display
  • Alcantara covered keyboard
  • Windows Hello face sign-in
  • Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio
  • Windows 10 S
  • Budget SSD
  • Only one USB port
  • No SD card reader

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