Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Microsoft. A company that I had thought I'd seen the last of years ago. And I don't mean in an "out of business" way, but just as a "I'm over it" way. They didn't really have anything I needed. Everything I did on a laptop was online. Everything I did online was Google. So when the Pixelbook was announced it was an easy buy in for me. It had more than enough power to support Chrome OS. It was sleek, sexy, and solid. At the time...however, as life moved on and tech moved forward. Circumstances changed in life. And I needed to do just a little bit more. More than Chrome OS had to offer. And thus, that brings me to this article. Microsoft. In 2019 the gave consumers more choices than they knew how to comprehend. And the choice that resonated with me with me was the 13.5 inch clam-shell Surface Laptop. Now this "review" aren't reasons you SHOULD pick this bad boy up. These are points to take into consideration in you're in the market for a new device.
First and foremost and honestly most important to me let's talk design. I opted to go with the rose gold version over the matte black, or the versions with the "soft touch" Alcantara. And I did this for two reasons. 1) The matte black is dope. Make no mistake, but it's boring. And me being who I am, if I'm gonna go Microsoft, I'm gonna go big. 2) That soft touch nonsense just seems like a mess waiting to happen. As I stated in the beginning, I own the Pixelbook and that device has the silicone palm rests. And those get really dirty, and can be a pain in the arse to clean. AND THAT'S SILICONE! I can only imagine how difficult in not damn near impossible cloth can be to maintain. So yeah, I went Gold and it's freaking gorgeous!
You get 2 USB ports. A "C port" and an "A port". A 3.5 mm headphone jack. Microsoft’s Surface Connector, which connects with 65-watt charger that comes in the box. A 13.5-inch touchscreen display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. And an outstanding keyboard, with some of the nicest travel and feedback. I've experienced on a Laptop. And lets not forget about the track-pad. Now I know I plan on purchasing a mouse for some of my more complex tasks or gaming. However, the track-pad is butter my friends,. 100%, Californian cows' butter. Easy to use and perfect palm rejection. Google could really learn a thing or two from this device.
But lets be real. It's not all about the looks and feel. I'm just not that shallow. And it's what's on the inside that really counts. And inside this sexy beast you have Intel’s latest 10th Gen Ice Lake quad-core processors. Yea, it's like that! You can opt for either Core i5 or i7. I opted i5 because after doing a lot of research on the matter...and I do mean A LOT. I discovered that the improvements the i7 delivers are hardly noticeable depending on what you plan on doing. And since I don't edit video or plan to do HEAVY 60 fps, 4K quality gaming on this thing. i5 was the perfect fit. BUT, I digress. This device gets the job done and shows up for any task I throw at it.
And that's why I purchased it. To do more. For Christmas my amazing girlfriend got me a Wacom Intuos and it just wasn't compatible with Linux, Chrome OS, none it. The programs it came with weren't compatible. The Pixelbook lost it's value as my primary device. Microsoft stepped in. It's handles Clip Studio, Corel Painter, and Corel After Shot like a champ. Netflix, Hulu, Chrome? Let's go! Windows on Windows open? Doesn't even hit a wall. This device is power at your finger tips; and even if all you do is surf the web and utilize the Google ecosystem. If you plan on spending $1000 for a laptop, a PC is probably the best way to spend that money, because you never know what task you might need done, and Chrome OS will undoubtedly let you down.
And before I get into the things Microsoft could have done better. I would like to mention that the sound on the baby is BEAST! Like I can't believe how quality these speakers are. It's just enough everything to create an immersive experience. That being said, this screen is great for a lot of things. Crisp picture, vibrant colors, gorgeous details. Also the fact that it’s a touchscreen, even though it isn’t a 2-in-1 is a great choice. Being able to reach up and tap the screen is a something I love being able to do considering how much I do it even when I'm not on a touch-screen device. (Yeah, I'm spoiled). However, all that said. The brightness on this thing is TRASH! It's not unbearable and it's probably better for the eyes and battery life, but I often find myself wishing it got a little brighter.
The screen on the Surface Laptop 3 just doesn't get bright enough, but damn is it a beauty...
And speaking of Battery, this is the best I've had in a long time on a laptop. Not since my days as a mac book user have I seen hours like this. I rock it with brightness all the way up (clearly), and have it running on "better performance" mode. And I get a good 5 to 6 hours screen on time. And I'm sure that's not amazing numbers, but coming from a device that maybe got me 3 tops. This is a big jump for me so I'm not complaining. And that 65 Watt charger sees to it that I spend as little time plugged in as possible seeing how i can go from dead to 75 percent in under an hour. The only caveat to the the fast-charging feature is that it only works when the laptop is closed, off, and/or sleeping.
The other thing I really dislike is Cortana. She is useless. Did I mention I'm coming from a Pixelbook. When "OK Google" gets it done. Meanwhile Cortana can't even find the information I'm looking for whithout bringing up the web. And DAMN is she sooooooooo ssssssllllooooooooowwwww....It's really painful an experience. So I just use my phone for my trivia, where is, etc needs.
All and all this device is money! And a value. $999 is a more than reasonable price for what you're getting. And only you can decide if this laptop is for you, but I think that if you're in the market, and are looking to drop these many bones. Search PC. Doesn't even have to be Microsoft. Chrome OS is still young. And honestly, it's for kids. That's how I feel after almost 3 years with a 1000 dollar Pixelbook. And hey, my Pixelbook is still fun. I can play Play Store apps, read digital books, and watch solid media on it. It's a nice little fun stop. However, if you want to get REAL work done. PC is it. And Microsoft is making a sexy 13.5 piece of hardware. One with a sturdy build; an outstanding keyboard, an on point track-pad; a beautiful (even if not bright enough) touchscreen, with a heart that delivers excellent performance. What more could you really ask for?