Surface Laptop Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by JoeS, May 2, 2017.

  1. alextrela182

    alextrela182 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Microsoft Surface Laptop (i5-7200U) Review

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Microsoft-Surface-Laptop-i5-7200U-Review.228176.0.html

    Pros
    +
    very accurate colors and grayscale before calibration
    +
    bright display backlight; excellent black levels
    +
    excellent construction quality; rigid design
    +
    nearly full sRGB coverage
    +
    unique Alcantara texture
    +
    above average speakers
    +
    Windows Hello support
    +
    quiet system fan
    +
    long battery life

    Cons
    -
    no USB type-C, Thunderbolt 3, SIM, SD reader, Kensington Lock, or fingerprint reader
    -
    bottom of base can become very warm under heavy processing load
    -
    chassis reverberates noticeably during audio playback
    -
    weak integrated HD Graphics 620 performance
    -
    unable to maintain maximum CPU Turbo Boost
    -
    not end-user serviceable or upgradeable
    -
    slightly higher-pitched system fan
    -
    baffling Power button placement
    -
    slow display response times
    -
    DDR3 RAM instead of DDR4
    -
    Core i7 SKU is very pricey
    -
    very slow SSD



    Verdict

    In review: Microsoft Surface Laptop Core i5


    Microsoft advertises the Surface Laptop as "more than a traditional laptop", but our experience has been the opposite. If features like USB Type-C, SD card readers, and NVMe are important, then current flagship Ultrabooks from Lenovo, HP, and Dell pack more than what Microsoft's latest Surface device can offer. The Alcantara base is certainly different and makes for another unique marketing bullet point, but its inclusion feels superficial with no significant practical advantages for end users.
    The biggest reason to own a Surface Laptop is its 13.5-inch display as everything else about the notebook is fairly underwhelming. If the 3:2 panel or Iris Graphics SKU are not must-haves for any reason, then the notebook becomes that much less compelling compared to the plethora of 13-inch and 14-inch alternatives now available. The long battery life, low fan noise, and wide color gamut of the Microsoft notebook can also be found on competitors like the XPS 13 9360 QHD or Notebook 9.
    Microsoft is marketing its notebook to students and so we can appreciate that the quality of the device suffers from no apparent cut corners. With that said, its long laundry list of missing features severely limits the versatility of the Surface Laptop and makes it tough for us to recommend for both students and general users.
    Too little, too late. The Surface Laptop is a solidly built no-frills notebook with a beautiful display. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer much else and is nowhere near as versatile as the Surface Pro 4 or most Ultrabooks currently in the market.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  2. JMac

    JMac Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Well, given the mixed reviews of the Surface Laptop, I decided that I would give it a full week of everyday use before I made a few observations. Given all the different opinions out there, it would be difficult for anyone considering purchasing the Surface Laptop to even be partially sure they were making the right decision up front. That’s why I would say right off the bat – use it for a few days or a week and then come to your own conclusion. That being said, here are a few things to point out. For the sake of clarity and brevity, I’ll tackle the easier ones first and then follow it up with an additional post on the more “controversial” items.


    Hardware – I’ve made mention of it before, but this is a thing of beauty and style. The thinness, weight, balance and aesthetics are fantastic. The only time this got slightly warm was when it was running all the initial updates and downloading OneDrive. Other than that, it’s cool, even on bare legs! No signs of chipping or scratching. I’ve had over a dozen people I work with look at it and hold it. They are amazed how good it looks and that it’s a Microsoft product.


    Screen – I had a hard time telling the difference between the Surface Laptop and the Surface Pro screens. There’s a bit of reflection outdoors but again, hardly noticeable. Absolutely no light bleeding. This is the first time I’ve used a 3:2 screen for any length of time. I’ll never use 16:9 (or even 16:10) again. I really think this is one of those true differentiators and why you have to use it first. If you fall in love with the aspect ratio and the clarity of screen and realize how important it is to what you use it for, then any other OEM laptop, even ones that offer better specs, will give you pause about what hardware to purchase. It’s that good.


    Battery/Windows – Pleasant surprised. For the heck of it, I used only 10S for the first 3 days just to see what it would be like before I upgraded to Pro. I expected Panos’ claim of 14.5 to be BS, but I was getting almost 12 hours running 10S. What’s interesting about it is that it’s pretty easy to toggle between the better battery life level and better performance level depending on what you’re doing. Even the lowest screen brightness setting is fairly easy to read so no need to go over 50%. That’s a testament to the quality of the screen. It’s going to take awhile, but I like and see where they’re trying to go with 10S. I had zero issues with downloading apps (including Office 365) and even found some that I like that I had no idea existed. As far as battery life with Windows Pro, I’ve been averaging anywhere between 8.25 – 9.0 hours daily. In essence, all day battery life and haven’t used my charger during the day; just charge overnight. Like I said, pleasantly surprised.
     
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  3. JMac

    JMac Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Now to the more controversial talking points:


    Keyboard – Might as well get this one out of the way. If you just don’t like the feel of the Alcantra material on the keyboard or because you are worried about staining it because of Cheetos, soda, wine, chocolate, sweat, or whatever: don’t bother even considering this and look at something else J If you like it or are not worried: both key travel and key spacing are great. I wondered if there would be any “fraying” of the edge of the material, but so far, it’s still in pristine condition. There’s a tiny bit of flex but no big deal (less than SP). Has 3 levels of backlighting including an additional light on Fn key. Function keys make sense. Only thing slightly different is the power button to the immediate left of the Delete key but hasn’t caused me any problems. I’ve been reading about Windows Hello issues with the new SP. I’ve had zero. Super fast.


    Ports – I said in my initial post that this didn’t concern me because I only used A-type peripherals and my external monitor was DP. That’s still true for the foreseeable future. Upon reflection, even if they kept the USB –A & the Surface Connector, why MS didn’t replace the mDP with a USB-C Data is dumb. The MS presentation said the SL was designed to last a college student from the time of their freshman enrollment to their graduation. So when do they forecast USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 will be more mainstream? Seems disingenuous now. A real missed opportunity.


    SSD/Speed – The Toshiba SSD benchmarks are testing 1/3 of their OEM competitors. For the tech enthusiast, this is a no-go. But running Office products, web apps, web browser (even Chrome), YouTube videos, and Photoshop – I had absolutely no issues. Depends on what you feel is the minimum read/write benchmark.



    Conclusion/Misc – Power users will obviously pass, better off getting a SP, SB or an OEM competitor. But for the student and/or casual user, if you start using this and like the keyboard, this thing screams quality, reliability and it would be pretty hard to take it back. I have a desktop to do my heavy lifting and wanted a laptop only that I knew would serve me for several years. With my education discount, tax & Microsoft Complete, my total cost is $1398 (8gb/256gb). FYI – MS gave me an extra 3 months of Microsoft Complete because I’m willing to buy the SL.


    I still have 3 weeks in my return window and I plan on using it all to further evaluate. I also plan on going back and testing some of the other laptops I initially tried before purchasing the Surface Laptop. I want to really make sure. But my initial impression is pretty positive. It really is a solid piece of hardware. You just have to get your hands on it.
     
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  4. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Point 1 - this may sound stupid, but wonder if you could at least "Scotchguard" the palmrest area (cover keys and trackpad, and spray away)?

    Point 2 - I have come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no reason not to replace the mini-DP with a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 compatible port - and I've been shamed and shunned for saying that. I don't care if more chips were needed on the SP or SL - it is just inexcusable to not ditch the outdated mini-DP, BECAUSE Thunderbolt 3 supports DP out and you get so many more options in the future.:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
     
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  5. JMac

    JMac Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Don't laugh - I thought the exact same thing! :p

    Seriously though, I've read in several publications that MS has indicated that there's an extra polymer layer to the SL keyboard (and now the nSP Alcantara keyboard) that wasn't on the SP4 one. Whether that really makes a difference, only time will tell. But I've got my can of Scotchguard at the ready just in case!!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  6. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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  7. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    But the point is you HAVE to do something to keep it clean - something you would never think about your Surface Book keyboard tray - very dumb idea just for design (ala their overlords at Apple - Jony "Aluuumineumm" Ive). Besides that, it renders the Surface Laptop unreparable.:vbeek::vbconfused::vbrolleyes:
     
  8. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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  9. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    A lawyer's curse in life...
     
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  10. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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