13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 review: a traditional, but excellent Windows laptop - VnReview

13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 review: a traditional, but excellent Windows laptop – VnReview


Although Microsoft's latest Surface Laptop line, despite some minor flaws, is still one of the best Windows laptop models on the market today.

Microsoft announced the Surface Laptop 3 with 15-inch screen and USB-C port

It was possible to upgrade components for the Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3, but it was still very limited

Even a child can now open Microsoft's Surface Laptop 3 laptop

Below are some detailed reviews of Surface Laptop 3 of The Verge (USA), VnReview.vn, please introduce again to readers.

This year, Microsoft offers users a more spectacular "party" than any other year, with lots of rich choices. If you want to buy a 2-in-1 "hybrid" tablet, you can choose between Surface Pro 7 or Surface Pro X. If you want to buy a traditional laptop with a "clamshell" design, choose the Surface Laptop 3 version 13.5 inch or 15-inch. Reporter The Verge had the opportunity to experience the Surface Laptop 3 version with a screen size of 13.5 inches, and initially gives us an overview of this device.

The 13.5-inch version is probably the more "traditional" Surface Laptop 3, and this is the most suitable choice for most users who are intending to buy this laptop model. It has an excellent keyboard and mouse (trackpad), a bright touch screen, a sharp display quality, a thin and light design, but still rugged, great performance for everyday tasks – those characteristics that users often expect in a 13 inch screen laptop model.

The Surface Laptop 3 is not without its own problems: you can find 13-inch Windows laptops on the market with larger battery life and a wider range of ports, such as the Dell XPS 13 or HP Specter X360. The device sometimes encountered a few problems that forced users to shut down or restart the device to solve. If that doesn't bother you, though, the Surface Laptop 3 is truly a "traditional" Windows 10 laptop, but excellent.

Microsoft hasn't changed much of the overall design of the Surface Laptop 3 compared to its predecessors – a machine designed in the form of a traditional "clamshell" opening and closing, the outer shell made of aluminum, a bit beveled for users. Easy to put into the bag. 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 weighs about 1.31 kg, located between MacBook Air (1.25 kg) and MacBook Pro (1.36 kg). This is not the thinnest 13-inch laptop on the market, but so is also very impressive.

There are two major design changes for this Surface Laptop 3 model. First, the Alcantara fabric lining – an "icon" of the original Surface Laptop – is now only an option depending on the color of the device you choose. This fabric is available in silver and blue versions; But in the yellow and black versions, it is replaced by traditional aluminum.

Reporter The Verge experienced the yellow version (Microsoft called the "sandstone" – sandstone), with a beautiful exterior design, without fingerprints or oil like the black version. Although quite "regret" the softness of Alcantara fabric, but experience with traditional aluminum material like other laptop models still not cause much discomfort. Therefore, if you are concerned about the durability of this Alcantara fabric, you can absolutely choose a different color version to "avoid" that material (However, that will cost more, because the Surface version Standard 3 laptop priced at 999 USD (only about 23.2 million VND) is only silver and comes with Alcantara fabric; if you want to change to another color, you need to pay at least 1,299 USD (about 30.1 million VND). )).

Another change that Microsoft has made is to replace the traditional Mini DisplayPort connector with USB-C, a change that Microsoft should have made since the first Surface Laptop version launched in 2017. You can use USB-C port to charge a laptop battery (with a proprietary Surface Connect port located on the opposite side of the device), connect to an external monitor, or use other peripherals connected via USB- C. Unfortunately, this port does not support the high-speed Thunderbolt 3, so you'll be limited to USB-C 3.2 (10Gbps); and therefore cannot use external graphics cards (GPUs), high-speed external SSDs, or Thunderbolt-connected docks with Surface Laptop 3. Most other laptops in the price range support Thunderbolt 3, because So this is an annoying feature of this device.

Besides the USB-C port, the other interfaces on the Surface Laptop 3 include a USB-A port, a 3.5mm headphone port, a Microosft-specific Surface Connector, and a 65-watt charger. watts come with the box.

Microsoft has made some improvements to make the new generation model easier to repair and upgrade than previous Surface Laptop models; But that doesn't mean it has to be that easy. The only component that can be replaced is an SSD, but Microsoft says users will not be able to replace the component themselves – you need to take the device to an authorized service center for assistance.

The 13.5-inch touchscreen is unchanged from its predecessor, retaining the "iconic" 3: 2 aspect ratio found on every Surface device. The screen offers bright and sharp display quality, good display from various viewing angles and vibrant colors. Reporter The Verge especially preferred the large width of the screen, allowing users to easily process documents or read web pages conveniently. However, due to this, when watching movies at widescreen aspect ratio (16: 9), the top and bottom edges of the screen appear two black bands (letterbox). However, for all other tasks, the aspect ratio of 3: 2 is still much better than 16: 9.

The touch screen is a highly appreciated detail, although this is not the main method we often use when working with a laptop. Being able to easily raise your hand to perform an operation on the touch screen, instead of having to "track" to the mouse is also a very convenient experience.

One of the things that made reporters The Verge The most dissatisfied is the automatic brightness adjustment function of the screen. It usually drops the screen brightness below the required level in some random cases, and then increases again after a few minutes. This happens even when the laptop is securely in a position and the lighting conditions in the room do not change.

Similar to the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3, the 13.5-inch version has an excellent keyboard, key spacing, key travel and feedback. This is probably one of the best keyboard laptops this year. Similarly, the trackpad is also increased by 20% in size compared to the Laptop 2, providing a smooth and easy-to-use experience, good feedback and resistance to error manipulation when users accidentally touch it. part of the hand on the trackpad position while typing. The keyboard and trackpad combination on the Surface Laptop 3 is one of the best in the Windows world, and is also a lesson that Apple should learn.

Inside, the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 features Intel's latest 10th-generation Ice Lake processor, with two options: Core i5 and i7. The Verge reporter tested the Core i7 version (i7-1065G7) and found excellent performance when performing daily tasks. It also handles two photo editing software, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as no problems playing 4K video, similar to the AMD processor equipped on the 15-inch version (This result also has can be applied to the 15-inch version using the Intel chip of Surface Laptop 3 that Microsoft sells separately for businesses, because the processors used on these two models are exactly the same).

Through actual testing, the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 gave much better performance than the 15-inch version when exporting a 4K video file, H.264 compression standard 5 minutes 33 seconds by part Adobe Premiere Pro software. The 13.5-inch version completes the job in just 15 minutes and 26 seconds, while the 15-inch version "takes" up to … 3 hours. This performance is even better than the 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro, equipped with discrete graphics. I don't recommend using the Surface Laptop 3 for gaming or heavy video editing, though – this is just a very thin and light computer – but if you need to edit video in moderation, You can still use it.

However, the battery life of the Surface Laptop 3 is not really impressive. In the reporter's test The Verge For common tasks, the screen brightness is set at 50%, constantly switching between dozens of browser tabs, and software such as Slack, email, Word, Twitter and some basic business applications. On the other hand, the device has about 7 hours of battery life. This battery life is better than the 15-inch model (only 6 hours) (despite the "dissection" screen iFixit, these two models use two batteries with the same capacity), but not enough to "burden" a long working day.

The Surface Laptop 3 is also equipped with a new fast charging feature that, according to Microsoft, can fully charge a laptop from exhaustion to 80% in less than 1 hour. Practical tests have also proven this – we can charge the battery from 0% to 39% in just 30 minutes. However, the quick charge feature only works when the laptop is closed and the screen is closed in "sleep" mode (sleep); You will not be able to charge quickly if you use it while it is charging.

Finally, following the "tradition" of the Surface family, Surface Laptop 3 also encountered some "weird" errors during testing. Earlier, we mentioned the error of automatically adjusting screen brightness; Along with that, the battery capacity is reduced rapidly, the cooling fan operates at maximum capacity when charging, the trackpad sometimes suddenly stops unexplained when the user is scrolling the page … However, most of these errors They are all gone after the user shuts down and restarts. Microsoft regularly updates patches for Surface devices, so we can expect in the future. However, at the present time, the user experience of Surface Laptop 3 is still quite … "bad luck".

In addition to the above, the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is a very good quality laptop; and I think most people who are looking to buy a high-end Windows 10 computer will feel happy with it. It doesn't come with any bloatware software from the manufacturer, which is common on HP, Dell and Lenovo products, and it also has the best laptop keyboard on the market today. In terms of price, the Surface Laptop is obviously not a cheap device; But in our opinion, the money is totally worth the quality you get back.

Quang Huy


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