Surface Laptop: Everything you need to know

The Surface Laptop stole the show at Microsoft’s May 2 event. The focus may have been on education, Windows 10 S, and affordable laptops for classroom use, but the oohs and ahhs went to the Surface Laptop for its beautiful display and Alcantara-clad keyboard, not to mention its light weight and long battery life. College kids are the Surface Laptop’s purported target user, but a lot of regular folks are intrigued by this new addition to Microsoft’s premium Surface family—and, frankly, many students won’t be able to afford it anyway. 


Interested? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about the Surface Laptop. We have the pricing and release date, answers to your most burning questions, our video coverage, and all the specs. Click a link to the left to jump to a specific section, or just start reading. 

Pricing and release date

You can preorder the Surface Laptop now. Units will begin shipping June 15.

Pricing starts at $999, and quickly goes up from there. We’ve summarized the pricing per configuration below, and detailed specs follow:

Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD: $999

Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: $1,299

Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: $1,599

Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD: $2,199  

Note: Those prices don’t include a Surface Pen, let alone the Surface Dial.

microsoft surface laptop row Microsoft

The Surface Laptop is aimed at college students who might otherwise choose the MacBook Air.

Frequently asked questions

The Surface Laptop’s debut hand-in-hand with Windows 10 S has created a lot of confusion. Here are some answers, and we’ll keep posting more as we learn more. 

What is the Surface Laptop?

The Surface Laptop is a thin, light, high-design laptop that Microsoft unveiled May 2 as part of a larger event about education. Distinguishing features include a gorgeous display, a laser-cut keyboard tray made of Alcantara fabric, and a claimed battery life of up to 14 hours. At the same event, the company introduced the secure, manageable Windows 10 S operating system, which will come preinstalled on the Surface Laptop as well as a lower-cost flock of laptops intended for K-12 classroom use.

Who’s it for?

Microsoft is aiming the Surface Laptop at style-conscious, MacBook-Air-loving college students, though many non-student users are clearly intrigued by it.

How does it relate to the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4?

The Surface Laptop’s clamshell design adds another form factor to Microsoft’s premium line of Surface products, all of which boast beautiful displays and unique features. The Surface Book is the most expensive of the family: a premium 2-in-1 laptop with a striking Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge. The keyboard base is stuffed with extra battery and, in some configurations, a discrete GPU. The Surface Pro 4 is a 2-in-1 that leans more toward a tablet, with a kickstand and the option of a lightweight keyboard. Given the Surface Laptop’s pricing, the Surface Pro 4 is now the lowest-cost product in the family.

surface laptop hero Microsoft

The Surface Laptop runs Windows 10 S, but you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

How much does the Surface Laptop cost?

The base model starts at $999, and the most expensive model costs $2,199.

Why is it so expensive?

Looking at the Surface product line’s history, Microsoft has focused on high-end “halo” hardware that can inspire other hardware vendors to make similar products (that probably won’t be quite as expensive). This is a way for Microsoft to lead hardware innovation without being overly competitive with other vendors. 

When does it ship?

The Surface Laptop will ship June 15. You can preorder now.

Does it come with Windows 10 S?

Yes, Windows 10 S is the installed operating system regardless of where you buy it.

What if I don’t want Windows 10 S?

All Windows 10 S products, including the Surface Laptop, will be upgradable to Windows 10 Pro. For students and some other users, that upgrade will be free, with some deadlines and conditions. It’ll cost you $49 otherwise, so read the fine print and Mark Hachman’s detailed explanation.

surface laptop holding Jorge Arzac/IDG

A nearly invisible hinge secures the display to the base.

First impressions 

PCWorld’s Mark Hachman posted his first impressions of the Surface Laptop when it debuted May 2. Leaked images had suggested a laptop would be announced along with Windows 10 S, but no one expected it to be a high-end flagship such as the Surface Laptop clearly is. This is a device meant to compete with the MacBook Air and thin-and-light Windows machines.

The Surface Laptop hits a lot of high notes. There’s the gorgeous 13.5-inch, 2256×1504 display, for starters, plus Core i5 and Core 17 CPUs and SSD storage. Then there’s the keyboard, with a nice 1.5mm travel and a tray made of laser-cut Alcantara fabric from Italy. What really pricked up our ears was the claimed 14 hours of battery life. 

Sure, something this thin and light isn’t going to satisfy everyone. The Surface Laptop’s ports are startlingly sparse, with a single USB 3.0 Type A and no USB-C in sight. Integrated graphics will limit its gaming prowess. 

The lingering question is: What’s a beautiful laptop like this doing with a constrained operating system like Windows 10 S? We foresee many buyers will squirm out of its Windows-Store-only clutches and upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. And we’ll dig deeper into the Surface Laptop’s performance, features, battery life and more when we do our full review. 

Our video coverage

We posted video from Microsoft’s May 2 event, which you can view here. 

Specs and features

Microsoft emphasizes performance in the Surface Laptop design, and you can see that in the CPU and memory choices, as well as the battery life. In the quest for thin and light, however, we lost a few things, including physical port selection. We also don’t yet have specific part numbers or types for the key CPU, memory, and storage specs, but we’ll add them if we get them. 

CPU 

All CPUs are from Intel’s 7th-generation Kaby Lake family:

Intel Core i5

Intel Core i7

Memory

Your memory amount vary with your CPU choice, as follows:

4GB: Core i5

8GB: Core i5 or Core i7

16GB: Core i5 or Core i7

Storage

Your SSD size will vary with your memory size, as follows:

128GB with 4GB of RAM

256GB with 8GB of RAM

512GB with 16GB of RAM

Graphics

The graphics is tied to the CPU.

Core i5: Intel HD 620

Core i7: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640

microsoft surface laptop overhead Microsoft

The Surface Laptop has a high-resolution, 3:2 aspect-ratio display and a keyboard with Alcantara fabric cover.

Display

Corning Gorilla Glass

13.5-inch (diagonal) PixelSense Display

Resolution: 2256×1504 pixels, 3.4 million pixels, 201 ppi

3:2 aspect ratio

Surface Pen-enabled (sold separately)

10-point multi-touch

Keyboard

1.5mm travel

Alcantara fabric surface laser-cut around the keys. According to Microsoft, you shouldn’t see any light leakage around the fabric. 

surface laptop keyboard Jorge Arzac/IDG

The Surface Laptop keyboard features keys with a generous 1.5mm of travel, and a tray made of Alcantara fabric laser-cut to fit snugly, with no light leakage.

Software

Windows 10 S

Free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro until Dec 31, 2017

Office 365 Personal one-year subscription is included

Ports and connectivity

One of the first complaints about the Surface Laptop is its lack of physical connectivity: no USB-C, no storage card slot, and the list goes on. Here’s what it does have: 

USB 3.0 Type A

mini DisplayPort

3.5mm headphone jack

SurfaceConnect for charging

Wi-Fi: 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n compatible

Bluetooth 4.0 LE

surface laptop open wide Jorge Arzac/IDG

The Laptop seems to recline a bit further than the Surface Book. But note the stingy allotment of ports.

Audio/visual

Windows Hello face sign-in camera

720p HD front-facing camera

Stereo microphones

The speakers (Microsoft calls them “omnisonic”) nest underneath the Alcantara keyboard tray, and the fabric itself is part of the sound system. 

Battery life

Microsoft has touted the long battery life on the Surface Laptop. The company claims up to 14.5 hours of video playback. We’ll be sure to test this.

Exterior dimensions

12.13 x 8.79 x 0.57 inches

Weight

2.76 pounds

Chassis

Aluminum

surface laptop group Jorge Arzac/IDG

The Surface Laptop comes in four colors: Burgundy, Platinum, Cobalt Blue, and Graphite Gold.

Colors

Burgundy

Platinum

Cobalt Blue

Graphite Gold

Warranty

One-year limited hardware warranty

Included in the box

Surface Laptop

Power supply

Documentation


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