Here’s everything you need to know about the third version of Microsoft’s Surface laptop, available in both 13.5-inch and 15-inch models.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 is a thin, lightweight, midrange Windows PC designed to compete with rival devices such as the Apple MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Announced at Microsoft’s Surface event on October 2, 2019, the Surface Laptop 3 also aims to outshine its two predecessors with beefier specs and more versatile features as well as a choice of a 13.5-inch or 15-inch screen.
This guide will describe the details of the new Surface Laptop 3, and it will be updated on a regular basis as new information becomes available.
What is the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3?
The Surface Laptop 3 is the third generation of Microsoft’s midrange Apple MacBook challenger, following the original Surface Laptop in 2017 and the Surface Laptop 2 in 2018. The Surface Laptop 3 comes in two flavors: A 13.5-inch model with a price tag that starts at $999 and a 15-inch model starting at $1,199. Currently available for preorder, the two models start shipping on October 22, 2019.
What are the new features in the Surface Laptop 3?
The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is powered by a quad-core 10th-generation Intel Ice Lake processor, which Microsoft says is twice as powerful as the chip in the Surface Laptop 2 and three times more powerful than the chip that drives the MacBook Air. The 15-inch model boasts an Advanced Micro Devices Ryzen 7 Microsoft Surface Edition processor, which Microsoft calls “the fastest processor for any laptop in its class today.” The graphics are powered by an AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 processor.
The new Precision Trackpad is 20% larger than the one on the Surface Laptop 2. The keyboard has a reduced key travel distance of 1.3mm vs. 1.5mm in the Surface Laptop 2. Microsoft says that the keys were designed for a relatively silent typing experience.
There’s no need to push a power button and then wait for the laptop to boot up—with the new Instant On capability, opening the lid immediately turns on the Surface Laptop 3. The new machine adds a USB-C port so you can connect to all the latest USB peripherals and accessories; a USB-A port is also available to connect to older devices. A fast charging connection promises to charge the computer to 80% in less than an hour.
SEE: Mobile device security: Tips for IT pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
The Surface Laptop 3 is designed with a machine aluminum finish. The laptop’s modular design should make it easy to replace the removable hard drive. To swap out the drive or another component or have the laptop serviced for repairs, the keyboard deck come off easily with the right tool. That’s a distinct contrast with Apple’s MacBook laptops, which can be difficult to take apart to replace or repair internal components. In the interest of design, the Surface Laptop 3 has no speaker holes or rubber bumpers around the screen.
The Pixel Sense Display comes with a touch screen. Omnisonic speakers deliver the sound, and Studio mics serve as the microphones. Weighing in at 3.4 pounds, the Surface Laptop 3 is a half a pound lighter than its predecessor.
Microsoft promises all-day battery life on a single charge, which is the same claims it made for the original Surface Laptop and the Surface Laptop 2.
What are the specs for the Surface Laptop 3?
- CPU (for 13.5-inch model): Quad-core 10th-generation Intel Ice Lake Processor
- CPU (for 15-inch model): Advanced Micro Devices Ryzen 7 Microsoft Surface Edition processor
- Graphics Processor: AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics processor
- RAM (for the 13.5-inch model: Up to 16 GB
- RAM (for the 15-inch model: Up to 32 GB
- Storage (up to 1TB SSD)
- Trackpad: 20% Larger Precision Trackpad
- Finish: Machined Aluminum Finish
- Power: Instant On operation
- Ports: USB-A and USB-C
- Charger: Surface Connect port for fast charging
- Screen: Pixel Sense Display Touch Screen
- Sound: Omnisonic speakers
- Microphone: Studio mics
- Weight: 3.4 pounds
- Colors (for the 15-inch model): Matte Black and Platinum
- OS: Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro
How can I get the Surface Laptop 3, and how much does it cost?
The laptop is available to pre-order now. Prices start at $999 for the 13.5-inch model and $1,199 for the 15-inch model. Both models start shipping on October 22, 2019.