It’s been eight years since Microsoft first introduced its Surface family of devices. Since then it has gone from just a tablet computer to a whole ecosystem and now includes devices like headphones, desktops and laptops.
Design & Hardware
When the Surface Laptop line was first introduced, it was only offered in 13-inch screen size but now with the Surface Laptop 3, it’s now offered with a 15-inch model.
The looks of the Surface Laptop 3 hasn’t changed all that much from past models, there’s still a thin screen with a Microsoft logo on the back.
I tested the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 that offers a resolution fo 2496 x 1664 at 201 PPI and a 3:2 aspect ratio. I found the screen on the laptop to look good but not as bright as I would like, especially at max brightness.
In the top bezel of the display is the 720p webcam with dual far-field Studio Mics and IR camera for Windows Hello.
The screen is also a touchscreen and works with the Surface Pen and Surface Dial. While it’s great to use the Surface Pen with the laptop, there’s no real place to keep to pen. You can magnetically attach it to where the Surface Connect port but it’ll be covering up that port.
The laptop is available with an aluminum palm rest or an Alcantara one. The review unit I had was the metal option and it makes it feel more premium.
For such a big laptop, the Surface Laptop 3 is fairly thin overall. I did notice some creaking in the laptop when opening up the display but that could just be my review unit.
The keyboard on the Surface Laptop 3 is good but not the best one out there. The laptop’s keyboard is backlit but only has 3 levels.
Powering the Surface Laptop 3 is the AMD Ryzen 7 3750U processor with Radeon Vega Mobile Graphics and 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. Using the laptop in everyday use, there were no major slowdowns.
While the smaller 13-inch Surface Laptop 3 gets Intel chips and Wi-Fi 6 support, the 15-inch model only has Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac).
For ports, the laptop has a USB-C, USB-A and headphone jack on the left side and a Surface Connect port on the right. It would have been great if Microsoft included a few extra ports. While it doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3 support, the USB-C port on the laptop can charge the laptop.
Microsoft claims you can get up to 11.5 hours of battery life, I got closer to 6-7. Thankfully, there’s Fast Charging to get you 80% battery life in one hour.
Here’s the Canadian pricing for the 15-inch model of the Surface Laptop 3.
- AMD Ryzen 5 3580U: 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD – $1,599 CAD
- AMD Ryzen 5 3580U: 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $1,999 CAD
- AMD Ryzen 5 3580U: 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $2,269 CAD
- AMD Ryzen 7 3780U: 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $1,699 USD
- AMD Ryzen 7 3780U: 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $2,809 CAD*
- AMD Ryzen 7 3780U: 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD – $3,569 CAD
*The model I reviewed
When it comes to software, the Surface Laptop 3 is running Windows 10. While there aren’t any special features that Microsoft has added to the device, it does come with a few pre-installed apps including:
- Microsoft Office
- Mixed Reality Portal
If you’ve used Windows 10, then you’ll find mostly the same experience as any other Windows laptop these days.
Overall, the Surface Laptop 3 is a good alternative to the likes of the XPS 13 or even the MacBook Air.
- The all-metal body looks great in black
- Fast charging support (up to 80% in 40 mins)
- Good keyboard
- Windows Hello face login support
- Thin form factor (especially for a 15-inch)
- Not the brightest display
- Battery life isn’t the best