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The fifth Microsoft Surface Laptop

The fifth Microsoft Surface Laptop. Because the Surface Laptop 3 was such a fantastic piece of hardware, Microsoft made as few changes as possible to it in the Surface Laptop 3’s successor and made even less in the Surface Laptop 5 model. That means the fifth model won’t be very appealing as an upgrade option, but if you’re using an older Microsoft laptop or one from a different brand entirely, there’s still a lot to like here. That is if you can get past the design, which is starting to look a little dated, and if you are okay with it, Intel has replaced AMD as the primary processor.

Does the Surface Laptop 5 make a good purchase today?

The most recent iteration of Microsoft’s lightweight laptop is still the Surface Laptop 5. Microsoft is skipping a year, as the Surface Laptop 6 is not anticipated until at least 2024, despite its launch in 2022. It implies that nearly all of the content in this review is still relevant. Though not the most current these days, the Surface Laptop 5’s design still needs to look better. The keyboard on the 12th-generation Intel CPU is among the best on any laptop, and the performance is more than sufficient for daily use. Even if you’re searching for a Windows 11 laptop, there are still more affordable options available. However, it gets much simpler to suggest the Surface Laptop 5 if you can locate a cheap unit. You can still find discounts on the Laptop 5 at Microsoft or from online stores like Amazon. The latter’s deals aren’t necessarily unique to Prime subscribers.

Create & Construct

  • It has the same style as the last two iterations.
  • thick bezel encircling the display
  • Options for two sizes: 13.5 in. or 15 in.

The Surface Laptop 5 is an attractively designed piece of hardware, but it’s starting to feel a little dated, and we’ve seen it all before. Because Microsoft decided not to upgrade the design, we are left with the same straightforward metallic exterior featuring a reflective Windows logo and a minimalist interior featuring a roomy keyboard and trackpad. The screen is the only part of it that truly displays its age—it looks fairly sharp. I’ll address the display itself in a moment, but for now, let me say that there is an excessive amount of empty black space surrounding it in a thick bezel that other manufacturers have long since abandoned. This results in the laptop being larger overall than it needs to be for the screen size, adding bulk and weight to your travel companion. I expect the smaller 13.5-inch model to be more forgiving because that issue is definitely greater on the larger 15-inch one I’ve been reviewing, which is downright heavy at over 1.5 kg. Every time I lift my backpack, I remember this thing is in there.

The fifth Microsoft Surface Laptop

Speakers & Screen

  • Focused on work, this 3:2 aspect ratio display
  • “PixelSense” LCD touchscreen
  • Good speakers with Dolby Atmos support

Microsoft still uses LCD screens for the Surface Laptop 5, dubbed “PixelSense,” rather than switching to OLED panels in its laptops. Furthermore, it maintains the industry standard 60Hz refresh rate instead of switching to a more responsive display. Other than resolution—2256 x 1504 for the smaller model and 2496 x 1664 for the larger—there isn’t much of a difference between the screens on these two sizes, with 201 ppi in both. In any case, it makes use of the increasingly common 3:2 aspect ratio, which provides you with a display that is taller, boxier and more productive. You’ll gain a little more screen real estate for emails and documents, but you’ll also likely have to put up with black letterboxing every time you watch a Netflix movie. Most of the actual screen quality is impressive. Although this panel lacks the deep blacks and wider dynamic range of an OLED meeting, it is still bright enough to work in a variety of lighting situations. It offers vivid colors and a lot of information. In addition, it has a touchscreen, which provides you with another method of interacting with Windows. The fifth Microsoft Surface Laptop. It is compatible with the Surface Pen stylus, which is an add-on item. Regarding music, you’ll get two built-in speakers in addition to the 3.5mm headphone connection, which is no longer a given on a contemporary laptop. These are firing, which is wonderful, but less so is shooting through the keyboard. Although there is a noticeable lack of bass, especially by laptop standards, the quality is passable with lots of clarity. Support for Dolby Atmos could be beneficial, especially while playing video games or watching movies, although it won’t really matter at this resolution level.

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Trackpad, keyboard, and webcam

  • an ergonomic keyboard
  • large touchpad
  • Typical 720p webcam

Overall, the Surface Laptop’s big keyboard is outstanding. It’s not the best Windows laptop typing experience, but it’s alright, too, thanks to comfortable key spacing, good travel, and three backlighting choices. With one exception, though. Just now, while I was writing this review, the Surface Laptop 5, which I’ve been using for just over a month, had an odd flaw: a squeaky space bar. I’ve only noticed this sound today, but it’s intermittent and bothersome, and it makes me question the keys’ long-term durability. Located beneath the keyboard is the roomy glass trackpad. Glass reduces drag and friction and produces a smoother pad than plastic. There isn’t anything to be upset about other than the lack of support for the haptic feedback that many high-end laptops currently provide. The webcam comes next. One of the components that is long overdue for an update is this one; the grainy quality and 720p resolution are just too low. This works well for simple video conversations when combined with the two microphones, but it won’t make you seem your best. The fifth Microsoft Surface Laptop.

Details and functionality

  • 12-generation Intel CPUs
  • Absent Intel choice
  • RAM and storage loads

This time, Microsoft has decided for you: it’s Intel or bust. The Surface Laptop 4 offered customers the option of an AMD or Intel processor. Although you are restricted to the low-power U-series models, Microsoft is at least utilizing the 12th-generation Intel chips, which were the newest at the time of introduction. Though the 15-inch laptop only has the i7 chip, if you choose the 13.5-inch model, you can still choose between the i5-1235U and the more potent i7-1255U. The processor has up to 16GB of RAM on the smaller model and up to 32GB on the larger one. The storage capacity is divided similarly, with the smaller laptop having up to 512GB of storage and the larger model having up to 1TB. Benchmark-wise, the Laptop 5 performs roughly as one might anticipate; it’s not the most powerful device available, but it’s on pace with the majority of rivals that offer flagship computers at comparable prices. While some do better than others, they all perform roughly the same.

Life of battery and charging

  • Good battery life but nothing special
  • USB-C or Surface Connect charging

The Surface Laptop 4 with an AMD CPU has one distinct benefit over the previous model: longer battery life. You can’t get that benefit with the Laptop 5 because it doesn’t have an AMD alternative, but on the plus side, this year’s Intel hardware has improved in terms of power efficiency. About a full day, way too much Slack discussion can be done on my i7-powered 15-inch model. Relying on benchmarks, it falls in the middle of the field for devices of a comparable size. Even so, it’s not quite comfortable for a whole day, and if I were out and about, I would definitely want to have a charger on hand because trying to extend this to a full shift still causes a little bit of battery anxiety. The good news is that any USB-C charger with enough power may be used to charge the laptop, or you can use the included Surface Connect charger. This implies that your phone charger works fine, saving you from having to carry about an additional wire and power brick and eliminating the annoyingly complicated Surface Connect connector. This is by no means the fastest laptop charging available, returning 37% of the battery in 30 minutes, but it is ultimately rather standard. Surprisingly, little has been written about the Surface Laptop 5’s software, which comes pre-installed with Windows 11. Despite being Microsoft’s flagship device, the company trusts that this laptop will function as a showcase for the common Windows experience rather than over-loading it with unique features or tricks, as it does with its Pixel phones.

Beyond Microsoft 365 and Xbox Game Pass’s regular month-long free trials, you don’t even receive any further software bonuses. On the other side, you won’t have to put up with a ton of pre-installed apps and garbage as you would with certain Windows competitors; this is Windows at its purest.

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Cost and accessibility

The 13.5-inch edition of the Surface Laptop 5 with an i5 CPU costs $999/£999, while the bigger 15-inch model costs $1,299/£1,299 in the UK. Though they start fairly cheaply, the costs add up rapidly. For $2,399/£2,399, you can purchase a fully loaded 15-inch laptop with an i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. Since it came out in 2022, there might be some discounts available right now. Other than that, though, many other laptops are more affordable.

The fifth Microsoft Surface Laptop

Decision

With the Surface Laptop 5, Microsoft may have oversold its features—all it actually did was add Thunderbolt 4 and the newest Intel chips and call it a day—but luckily, the device started strong enough to get away with it. The laptop still looks good and performs well, but some features, like the 720p webcam and the thick black bezel surrounding the monitor, are definitely outdated. The fifth Microsoft Surface Laptop. Although I dislike the complicated Surface Connect socket, a wide variety of ports is helpful, and those who already possess Surface devices and are holding onto accessories will find its design appealing. Although significant changes from Microsoft are imminent, the Surface Laptop 5 is still a compelling option for the time being.

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Specifications

  • 3:2 PixelSense LCD touchscreen; 13.5-inch (2256 x 1504) and 15-inch (2496 x 1664) displays
  • Intel Core i5-1235U and i7-1255U processors
  • Display Type: Intel Iris Xe
  • Memory: 256/512GB/1TB SSD Storage: 8/16/32GB LPDDR5x RAM
  • Ports: 1 USB-A 3.1, Surface Connect, 1 USB-C 4.0/Thunderbolt 4, 1 3.5mm audio jack
  • Front-facing 720p camera that supports Windows Hello
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi 6 (802.11ax).
  • System software: Windows 11 House
  • Colors: Matte Black, Platinum, Sage, and Sandstone
  • 1.56kg (15in Platinum/Matte Black), 1.3kg (13.5in Black/Sage/Sandstone), and 1.27kg (13.5in Platinum with Alcantara) in weight

 

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