Windows 10 to MacBook wear. Almost.

March 31, 2022 0 Comments

A detailed review of Microsoft Surface laptops

In June last year, Apple re-updated its 2010-born MacBook Air without a new processor that clocked at a slightly faster speed. Meanwhile, Microsoft has just finished building a new weapon in Washington’s Redmond to launch a new attack on Apple-Surface laptops, strengthening the rather modest lineup of Surface devices.

It’s been more than a year since the launch of the Surface laptop and the light update of the MacBook Air. The updated MacBook Air continues to sell in India, but the Surface Laptop (and the Surface Book 2) have just joined us. Let’s see what we get.

Construction and design

The Microsoft Surface laptop is a clear round rectangle when the lid is closed. The aluminum cover looks like a clear slate with a small tiled mirror (Microsoft logo) in the middle. The back is almost evenly spaced if you leave small round rubber feet and engraved Microsoft badges at the four corners. Like the MacBook Air, the base of the Surface laptop taps to the front. Gripy feels holding the laptop in his hand. What makes it fresh is that it is extremely light to carry. Its 1.2-kilogram body weighs evenly on all sides and does not feel heavy on one side.

As advertised by Microsoft, the Surface laptop can be opened with one finger while resting on a table. This feature of the laptop is a big reason for users who are constantly moving from one table to another with a phone or coffee mug in one hand and a Surface laptop in the other. It’s also a testament to Microsoft’s thoughtful design.

The lid is easy to open and the laptop shakes a bit but it stays firmly in place. A disappointment for me is that the lid does not open more than 135 degrees. I think it’s a frustration for multiple reasons. A lid that folds the whole 180 degrees (if not in tablet form) is more convenient for seamless work positions. Also, it prevents flexibility when using the touchscreen, especially with a Surface Pen stylus. Pushing the lid back out of its range on one side reveals some flex on the surface of the lid. It’s a bit scary to look at but the lid won’t crack unless you want to damage it.

Inside the lid is a laser-cut glass, which, according to Microsoft, is not widely produced due to its quality. A half-inch piano black bezel surrounds the 13.5-inch display and gives the laptop a classy look. The area around the keyboard and touchpad is made of Alcantara, a durable microfiber material that is also spill-proof.

All in all, the build of the Surface laptop is promising, even with the Flex mark on the lid and keyboard. These laptops should survive scratches and, luckily, occasional falls. If there’s anything annoying about the Surface laptop’s build, it’s that the click buttons on the touchpad can be frustrating when the lid is closed and pressed hard.

Display, audio and IoT

The Surface laptop has only one display option: a 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen unit. On a screen of that size with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels, the pixel density sits comfortably at 201 pixels per inch. Accustomed to seeing the letterbox format on the screen all my life, I personally like to see the 3: 2 aspect ratio on the Surface laptop. It’s a refreshing change from today’s widescreen and a trip back to memory lane.

The colors on the Surface laptop’s display are vivid and the brightness of the screen is extra. The contents of the display are clearly visible in all conditions, whether bright or dark. The ointment I see here is the presence of a glossy finish on the display. This makes the screen highly reflective, and thus, more difficult to read the content at certain angles. The IR camera on the Surface laptop works instantly and keeps you logged into Windows without a fight nine out of ten even if the room around you is dark.

The touch response on the Surface laptop display is fast and precise. Palm rejection works properly when writing and drawing. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to test the performance of a Surface Pen stylus on a PixelSense display, but I did find finger inputs as spots.

I only have one grouse with the Surface laptop display. This is because its hinges do not push the display backwards and go more than 135 degrees. Given that the device has support for a highly capable stylus like the Surface Pen, this limitation seems like a missed opportunity to me. Then again, allowing the display to be fully folded would be a Surface Flip or a Surface tablet, not a Surface laptop, if combined with the base. Nevertheless, a folding angle of 180 degrees would be more effective. Sadly, Microsoft felt that it was more important to reduce the distance between the base and the display because of the aesthetics.

Part of the reason the base of the Surface laptop is so clean is that it doesn’t have a speaker grille. So where did the speakers go? Microsoft cleverly puts them under the keyboard. According to Panos Panay, vice president of the company’s Xbox and Surface brands, this has been done to achieve more ‘enveloping sound’. You would imagine that the speakers are hidden under the keys on a keyboard so that the sound is interrupted or weakened, but there is nothing here. The speakers on the Surface laptop are powerful enough to fill with loud music when the volume of a quiet bedroom at 25 x 25 feet is set at eighty percent. The base output is weak, but the vocal and high frequency keys can be heard playing smoothly.

There is a cost to maintaining a slim figure. To stay as thin and light as possible, the Surface laptop has lost some essential ports that could come in handy for power users. The total number of ports on a Surface laptop can be calculated with one hand. On the left is a full-size USB port, a mini displayport and a 3.5mm audio jack for the headset. There is no Surface Connect power port on the right and nothing else. In the process the Surface Laptop does not mention HDMI, USB Type-C, and additional full-size USB ports. If port availability is important to you, you may want to look away from the Surface laptop or prepare yourself to buy a bunch of greasy dongles.

If this is a consolation, the Surface Laptop’s Petite Power Brick has a full-size USB port for those many moments when you only need one USB port for power, not for data. Initially I disliked the Surface Connect power port’s magnetic connector for being too loose and locked in a little tug, but then I accidentally realized a lot of things after stepping on the power cord where it saved me. Considering all those moments, I think the magnetic connector is a blessing.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard of the Surface laptop is one of its best features. Despite being flat, the keyboard keys have the ideal features: key pitch (distance between keycaps) is appropriate. The original travel (how far down a pressed key goes) is enough despite the thinning of the foundation. Key resistance (how hard each keypress is) is also ideal; The keys are not too hard or too soft, making each keystroke extremely easy to register.

Keyboard F-keys can be locked by a single press of the Surface Laptop’s keyboard function button, which is good news for those who rely heavily on them. Microsoft is thoughtful enough to easily include the context menu key on the keyboard for right-clicking. This is a button that is very unusual in today’s laptops; So it’s still comforting to see the work done, especially on devices made by Windows OS manufacturers. To accommodate this, Microsoft had to move the Ctrl key on the right. This makes it an exact pain using the key combination on the right side of the keyboard. You can’t get everything in life, can you?

All in all, the Surface laptop keyboard is perfect for anyone whose job (or hobby) involves a lot of typing. I think this is the next best thing on a ThinkPad keyboard. Personally I would love to see dedicated keys for Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down functions, but I don’t think you can do that on a keyboard of this size. I also find the overall layout of the keyboard pleasing to the eye; It’s like a small block of keys looking like a freshly wrapped bar of white chocolate.

The touchpad of the Microsoft Surface laptop is a perfect unit, which is not surprising since Microsoft is keen to make each new laptop touchpad more powerful with a more precise specification. The touchpad is neither too small nor too big. Tap, click, and swipe all occur smoothly and precisely. What I found a little uncomfortable was that there was an accidental click when I pressed some area around the outer perimeter of the touchpad.

Performance

The Surface laptop spec sheet has somewhat sad images because it has last year’s Intel Core series of processors but made for it in real-world-use situations. The model I got for review had a seventh generation Intel Core i5-7300U processor. There was a healthy 8GB of RAM and an acceptable 256GB of storage. Graphics were taken care of by an Intel Integrated 620 UHD GPU.

The Surface laptop scored moderately well in the benchmark test. The smooth Microsoft device lost the Lenovo IdeaPad 530S by nearly 300 points in the PCMark 8 Accelerated Creative test. In graphics benchmark tests like 3DMark’s Fire Strike and Sky Diver, the Surface laptop scored less than half of the IdeaPad 530S. This drop score is expected because the Surface laptop is equipped with an Intel Integrated 620 UHD graphics GPU and has no dedicated video memory.

In the real world, lumbering elephants are exposed by the aggression of speeding midgets. Running eleven applications at the same time (where there was a YouTube page playing videos) showed no signs of lag or trial. Switching between Windows and the virtual desktop was a breeze, and the animation never ceased. The heat builds up under the laptop when installing the app, but not too much.

With the graphics settings set to Medium, the Surface laptop runs Metro: Last Light at 20 frames per second and Doom at 11 more frames per second. Doom’s gameplay was apparently backward and difficult. What’s more, the game didn’t recognize the unusual shape and resolution of the laptop’s unusual shape. The CPU package temperature has risen to more than 70 degrees Celsius, and heat can be felt under the hinges of the display and when moving around the keyboard.

Of course, the Surface Laptop is not a gaming machine with a frame rate like this, but the work gets done when your workday creates a litany of annoying spreadsheets, documents and web pages. The Surface laptop is capable of crunching numbers very well, but don’t ask it to render graphics in the same way. This is a great machine if you are into a lot of research and writing.

Battery

Microsoft says the Surface laptop’s battery is designed to hold a charge for up to 30 days when it is turned off and shelved. This is another indication that Microsoft is shooting directly at MacBook users. The laptop scored 4 hours and 12 minutes in our battery benchmark test, which is quite decent, considering it is about an hour and a half longer than the IdeaPad 530S.

When I had a Surface laptop, the device lasted me 5 to 7 hours on battery power. Most of the time during this test, my Wi-Fi was on and Bluetooth was off, and seven applications were running at the same time. On a five-hour flight where airplane mode and keyboard lighting were on, the Surface laptop lasted the entire duration, leaving about 40 percent charged. 7 hours for a laptop of this size and above is a decent figure but its price is not too much for a laptop.

The last row

The Microsoft Surface laptop is an excellent computing device for anyone looking for a slim and lightweight laptop for the office and on the road. This is ideal if you want to do a lot of typing and browsing, but not so much when you want to play with graphics and videos.

The Surface laptop is definitely worth buying if you are looking for a MacBook that runs Windows and it runs well. You will love its build, finish, performance and portability. Since there is a huge price difference between the 128GB and 256GB SSD models, we recommend that you get the previous one if your work can stop external storage.

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