Great Windows Laptop Is The Surface Laptop 5
The Surface Laptop 5 should not be purchased for a variety of reasons. The newest flagship laptop from Microsoft is essentially the same as the model from a year ago, maintaining the same hefty construction and substantial display bezels that appear out-of-date in comparison to the current crop of ultra-thin designs and practically borderless panels. It only has a 720p webcam and doesn’t significantly outperform the Surface Laptop 4 it replaces, save from upgraded ports and marginally faster processors.
And yet, I can’t help but touch it.
The Surface Laptop 5 keeps everything that made its predecessor one of the best Windows laptops available despite its flaws and lack of innovation. This includes a fantastic keyboard, slick overall performance, and a very tall and colorful display that outperforms rivals with a larger, brighter working area. Oh, and the green color is stunning.
A lovely, vibrant pattern
The Surface Laptop 5 has a design that is essentially the same as its most recent two predecessors, but that doesn’t make it any less attractive in my opinion. My review unit was the brand-new Sage green variety, which has a stunning two-tone appearance and has become a lovely focal point in both my living room and workplace. I’m always delighted to see laptops adopt true color options for individuals who are sick of silver because technology has become such a huge part of our everyday lives, especially because so many of us work from home. In the case of the Surface Laptop 5, these also include a pinkish Sandstone, a plain Black, and a Platinum model covered with plush Alcantara.
Thankfully, the Laptop 5 operates just as well as it looks. This is a thin, light laptop that I loved having in my lap and had little trouble transporting around the apartment, despite not being quite as slender as the MacBook Air M2 or the very small Dell XPS 13. Even if the lack of a right Ctrl key requires me to slightly rewire my muscle memory, its fast keyboard is still among the best I’ve ever tested. The laptop looks so amazing that I didn’t care that my metal Sage model doesn’t have the same luxurious Alcantara coating as the Platinum version.
If you don’t mind bezels, a beautiful display
Speaking of stunning and useful, the Laptop 5 features one of the best notebook displays available. The 13.5-inch PixelSense screen from Microsoft (there is also a 15-inch variant) produces deep, bright colors that really stood out when I started playing an 8K nature film with pleasant greens, blues, and oranges. This panel has a level of richness and depth that is almost OLED-like. Heck, even working in Google Documents or chatting on Discord was enjoyable because most word appeared on the screen in a sharp, inky, and easily readable format.
The Laptop 5 has the benefit of a 3:2 display ratio, like most other Surface panels, which provides more vertical space than a normal MacBook or Windows laptop, making it excellent for seeing more spreadsheet rows or lines of code at a glance. It’s a small distinction, but it made working on the Laptop 5 without an external display simple. For those who prefer to doodle or take notes by hand, Microsoft’s screen is also touch-friendly and supports the majority of Surface Pens, including the superb Surface Slim Pen 2. The Laptop 5 has one of the most colorful, feature-rich displays you can get on a notebook, but neither its glossy display, which reflects a lot of sunlight, nor its thick bezels, which make it look antiquated, much detract from that.
The dual speakers on the Laptop 5 are also excellent. Coworkers could be heard clearly during calls, and rock songs like “Cat’s Cradle” sounded crisp and gratifying at maximum volume rather than distorted and tinny like they did on the XPS 13.
Good battery life and general performance
The Surface Laptop 5 performed swiftly and smoothly while I switched between programs, navigated dozens of memory-intensive Chrome tabs, and streamed numerous hours of video on YouTube and Twitch. It held up well against my regular workday and beyond. I don’t often enjoy working on a laptop by myself, but the notebook’s dependable speeds, along with its unusually tall screen and excellent keyboard, made it simple.
On our benchmark tests, Microsoft’s laptop, which we tested with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, performed admirably. The Dell XPS 13 (powered by the newest Core i5 processor) and the Surface Pro 9 (powered by Microsoft’s SQ3 chip) were both outperformed by the Laptop 5 on the Geekbench 5 multi-core test, which is a fair indication of a laptop’s overall productivity capabilities. While it couldn’t quite keep up on our standard Shadow of the Tomb Raider test with all graphics settings turned up, the Laptop 5 managed to produce perfectly playable frame rates of about 30 frames per second (fps) with the visuals set to low. The Laptop 5 can also handle some light gaming.
The class-leading MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Pro M2, both of which are better choices for more intensive video editing and graphics work, outperformed the new Surface Laptop in benchmark tests, but as far as real-world performance goes, this is a notebook I’d be happy to use as my primary work machine.
The good battery life of the Laptop 5 is undoubtedly helpful. Microsoft’s laptop outlasted the new MacBook Air by a few hours and nearly tied the Dell XPS 13 (8:31) in our battery test with an outstanding eight hours and 14 minutes of nonstop 4K video playing. It’s not quite as long as the roughly 12 hours we got out of the Surface Pro 9 with 5G, but that device has to make some fairly significant performance compromises to get there. For the majority of users, the Surface Laptop 5 provides a superior balance of battery life and performance, lasting long enough to get through a typical workday while avoiding the sporadic, unpleasant slowdown we noticed on its Pro 9 cousin.
Although the Surface Laptop 5 doesn’t offer many novel features, it has a lot of positive aspects if you’re in the market for a new notebook. It boasts one of the greatest laptop keyboards available, a stunning variety of color options, and a very tall and colorful display that’s particularly perfect for multitasking (and sketching) on the road. But there are also considerable trade-offs associated with these benefits.