Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review: MacBook Pro Alternative?

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7.3Total Score
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review Summary

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 has a lot of admirable features. It has an interesting flexible nature and it can be converted into a tablet. However, it is a bit expensive. Nonetheless, it is a good laptop that I would recommend for graphics designers.

Design, Dimension & Weight
8
Processor (CPU) Performance
7
Memory (RAM) Performance
6
Storage Options & Performance
8
Graphics Card Performance
7
Battery Life & Performance
8
PROS
  • 1. Slim and lightweight
  • 2. Sharp and vivid display
  • 3. Attractive design
  • 4. Comfortable keyboard
CONS
  • 1. Limited port selection
  • 2. Expensive
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Have you been searching for a Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review that thoroughly analyses the laptop? This review does just that.

Specifically, you will get full details about the laptop’s performance. I will offer a full review of the laptop’s CPU, RAM, storage, battery life, and GPU performance.

At the end of this review, you would have answers to your questions about Microsoft Surface Laptop 3. In the next section, I will kick-off the review with my initial thoughts.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review: My Initial Thoughts

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review: My Initial Thoughts

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is Microsoft’s top of the line Notebook. It is a continuation of the Microsoft Surface 2 product line from a few years ago.

Just by looking at this new Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, you will hardly detect that it is a new model. This is because there are hardly any physical changes between this laptop and the previous Microsoft Surface Laptop 2.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is the spitting image of its previous model. The hinge design and almost everything about both models is the same – except for very few design & build changes.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Design, Dimension & Weight Review

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 comes in an all-aluminum chassis. It has a very neat and attractive design.

For someone who has seen the previous Microsoft Surface laptops, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 will be very familiar. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 has the same design with just increased dimensions.

Although, Microsoft did not maintain the fancy Alcantara coating that has been the Surface family trademark since its release. Nonetheless, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 comes with refined elegance in its build.

Moreover, Microsoft offers this laptop in black or silver colors.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is one of the most portable 15-inch laptops. It measures 339.5 x 244 x 14.69 mm and it weighs 1542 g.

In comparison, this laptop is considerably lighter than the Dell XPS 15 (2005 g) and Apple MacBook Pro (2540 g). Although the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is not as portable as the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 carbon (1130 g).

However, it is quite disappointing that Microsoft did not take full advantage of the laptop’s 15-inch form factor. Features like top-firing speakers, increased ports, SD card reader, larger trackpads, and better keyboard travel could have been added.

Nevertheless, the keyboard and trackpad remain excellent. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3’s trackpad is very smooth to touch and sensitive, while the keyboard offers a comfortable typing experience.

Although we finally get a USB-C port on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, its still port selection is still limited. On this laptop’s left side, you only get a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack.

Meanwhile, the only port you get on the right is a power connector.

Apart from the limited port selection and the improper utilization of its size, this laptop’s build is, otherwise excellent.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 has a very attractive design and therefore scores an eight in this review.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Processor (CPU) Performance Review

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Processor (CPU) Performance Review

Microsoft offers two processor configurations for the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3. You can buy the laptop with either AMD Ryzen 5 3580U or an AMD Ryzen 7 37800 processor.

These processors are both quad cores with 4 MB cache memory. Though they are both powerful processors, the Ryzen 7 can attain a higher maximum frequency than the Ryzen 5 3580U.

Additionally, there was a lot of anticipation about the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3’s performance because of its new AMD processors. Surprisingly, this laptop delivered a good performance even though it didn’t do very well in comparison with its competitors.

This laptop has enough power for daily tasks like web browsing, 4k content streaming, photo editing, or working on Spreadsheets. However, it is not powerful enough to breeze through high-res video editing or compiling large pieces of software.

On a Geekbench 4 test, this laptop scored 11,612, ranking below the MacBook Pro (31,012) and XPS 15 (28,882). Also, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 couldn’t surpass the Thinkpad X1 carbon (16,649) and the category average score of 16,069.

As a result, it scores a seven for its slightly below average CPU performance in comparison with its competitors.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Memory (RAM) Performance Review

Microsoft equipped the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 8 GB DDR4 RAM. However, this laptop’s RAM size can be increased to 16 GB.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3’s 8 GB RAM hardly impressed in the RAM performance tests that were carried out. Therefore, I decided to test the laptop with an upgraded 16 GB RAM capacity.

With the 16 GB RAM, this laptop didn’t slow down when it was running 20 Chrome browser tabs (three were streaming 1080p YouTube videos). This laptop continued to run smoothly when I added 5 more browser tabs.

In conclusion, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3’s ability to multitask is good enough for your computing operations. Hence, it scores an eight in this review.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Storage Options & Performance Review

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Storage Options & Performance Review

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 comes with a 1 TB Solid-state drive. This laptop doesn’t come with an SD card storage option.

Moreover, the 1 TB storage is a large capacity that will conveniently house most of your documents and multimedia files. More so, computing operations are quite fast because of the laptop’s SSD.

On a CrystalDiskMark test, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 recorded a read speed of 2049.3 MBps and a write speed of 800 MBps.

Moreover, Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 also performed well in a file copy test. It copied a 4.97 GB multimedia file at 510.6 MBps – slightly surpassing Dell XPS 15’s 508.8 MBps and the ThinkPad X1 carbon’s 424.1 MBps.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 also slightly exceeded the premium laptop file copy rate of 510.2 MBps. Therefore, it scores an eight in this review for its fast storage speed and large storage capacity.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Graphics Card Performance Review

Like its CPU, Microsoft offers two graphics configurations for the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3’s GPU. You can buy the laptop with either an AMD Radeon Vega 9 GPU or an AMD Radeon RX Vega 11.

Both GPUs are integrated but neither of them comes with a dedicated VRAM. Also, they both have just about the same base and boost frequencies.

This review focuses on the AMD Radeon Vega 9 GPU. Although you shouldn’t expect an over the top performance from this GPU, it performs considerably better than most laptops that are equipped with Intel’s integrated graphics.

On gaming tests, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 played Dirt 3 at a smooth 58 FPS rate surpassing the ThinkPad XI Carbon that recorded a 31 FPS rate. However, for the same game, Apple MacBook Pro recorded a better rate of 120 FPS.

Also, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 nearly matched the 60 FPS category average rate. Therefore, it scores seven in this review because it offers playable frame rates during gaming sessions.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Battery Life & Performance Review

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Storage Options & Performance Review

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 features a 45.8 Wh Lithium-ion battery. Microsoft claims that this battery can last up to 11.5 hours.

In an attempt to determine the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3’s battery life, I played a 1080p YouTube video over Wi-Fi at 50% screen brightness. This laptop lasted for 9 hours on the battery life test.

However, it lasted 8 hours 30 minutes on a continuous web surfing test. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 surpassed Dell XPS 15 that lasted 8 hours 7 minutes.

Moreover, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 slightly exceeded the average premium laptop runtime of 8 hours and 14 minutes. But the Apple MacBook Pro lasted longer, at 10 hours 20 minutes.

Overall, Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 has good battery life. Therefore, it scores eight in this review.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Good?

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is a premium Windows 10 laptop with many things to love about it. It has a beautiful screen, a top firing speaker, and impressive hardware components that enable it to offer good overall performance. However, it is a bit pricey.

2. Does The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Have Touchscreen?

Yes, it does. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 has a 15-inch display with a QHD (2496 x 1664) resolution. Its display is surface Pen enabled with 10 point multi-touch.

3. Does The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Have A Camera?

Yes, it does. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 offers a 720p HD f2.0 Webcam.

4. Is The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Good For Students?

Yes, it is. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is a premium laptop with good hardware components. It is light and portable, which makes it suitable to move around.

5. Can The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Run Games?

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 can run most of the popular PC games. It can run League of Legends, Civilization V, Fortnight, and The Witcher. However, you may need to reduce game settings to enjoy some of these games.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review: My Final Thoughts

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review: My Final Thoughts

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is an attractive laptop that offers a good price per performance ratio. However, the laptop tends to lag in some areas when compared with its competitors.

Moreover, Microsoft could have better utilized the increased size of the laptop to offer more lacking features.

Nonetheless, it is a great laptop for work and students.

I hope you found this Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review helpful?  If you found the review helpful, click Yes to “Was this post Helpful?” below.

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Finally, for more laptop reviews, visit our Laptop Reviews page. You may also find our Laptop Specs page very helpful.

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Adesoye Olatunbosun is a technical writer at Itechguides.com. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Software Engineering. Ola is an art and philosophy enthusiast. When he is not writing, he reads, watches football, or codes apps. Ola writes reviews, buying guides, and best pick articles for Itechguides.com.

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