The new Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 shows why Microsoft is still an excellent software developer, but still struggles to create its own hardware. This is an upgrade to the decent predecessor, the Surface Laptop 4, but with a boost of new chips, colors, and trims. The question is, is it enough?
The quick answer is yes, but almost. The specs and build of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5, which uses 12th-gen Intel i5 and i7 processors for speed, but from a design standpoint, it feels like a dated laptop.
You’ll need to spend to get the best performance, making sure the ‘yes’ answer comes with the caveat that you’ll need to go beyond the entry-level model, ensuring that the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 isn’t the best value despite being a laptop solid. If you need to gauge the competition, read our guide to the best laptops for graphic design and the best MacBook you can buy.
For this review, I spent a couple of weeks with the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 and tested it running basic office applications, intensive digital art software including Rebelle 6, as well as general web browsing and game streaming via Xbox Game Pass for PC. . You can learn more by visiting our page on how we test laptops, PCs, and workstations.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review: Price and specs
Overall, Microsoft’s new laptop appears to be reasonably priced and packs a good balance of features. Intel’s 12th-gen processors offer solid power and speed, but the basic build will need to be fleshed out and will cost more if you want to get serious and use this laptop for more than everyday tasks. It means that while the starting price below looks good, you’ll need to factor in a bit more money to get a laptop that’s truly worth your time.
Surface Laptop 5 Specifications
Processor 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U/i7-1255U
Screen size 13.5 inches/15 inches
Show 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI) / 2496 x 1664 (201 PPI) resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, 10-point multi-touch
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
connections USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, Surface Connect port
Grid Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
operating system windows 11
Battery 17 / 18 hours
Weight 13.5-inch model: 1,297 g; 15-inch model 1,560 g
Dimensions 13.5-inch model: 308 x 223 x 14.5mm; 15-inch model: 340 x 244 x 14.7mm
Camera 720p HD front-facing, Windows Hello Face Authentication
Speakers Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos 4
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 starts at $899 / £999 for the 13.5-inch version with an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but naturally prices start to rise once you go up. to Intel i7 ($1,699 £1,699) or larger the 15-inch model which starts at $1,199 / £1,299 for an Intel i7 version with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The 15-inch model tops out at $2,099 / £2,399 for a black metal-finish Intel i7 laptop with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.
Considering the price, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is in the same category as an Apple MacBook Pro (2021). Or you could go down to an Apple MacBook Air (2022) or take a look at our guide to the best HP laptops for a well-specced alternative Windows 11 laptop.
On the surface, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a bit pricey for the specs, and there are some good alternatives on the market. But below, I take a deeper look at the new Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 and reveal why this laptop impresses, if money isn’t an issue.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review: Design
The biggest problem, or biggest advantage, for the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is that it’s largely the same design as previous models. It still looks and feels solid and premium; the sleek aluminum chassis gives off a high-end look, the keyboard is a good size, and its matte rubber keys feel great to touch (it’s about the size of a MacBook Pro), and the trackpad is responsive, albeit on the smaller side. that you. expect from a laptop released for work.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 features the same sloping wedge design as older models, ensuring it doesn’t close flat like a MacBook Pro, but instead tapers to a point, which feels great in the hand. However, the screen features wider bezels than you’d expect, even compared to older 2021 Apple laptops, and that smaller trackpad is a bit frustrating.
This new model comes in a variety of stylish colors like Sage, Black, and Sandstone, a kind of rose gold. These colors nicely complement the original platinum (read silver).
This new Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 may feel a bit dated given that it’s pretty much the same design as the Surface Laptop 4 and previous models (it really hasn’t changed in five years), but those new colors are nice, particularly Sage, and it uses a set design. guarantees that Microsoft’s suite of accessories will work with the Surface Laptop 5, which is a bonus if money is tight.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review: Performance
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a good workhorse; a decent all-around laptop for work and play. The Intel i5 and i7 processors perform well in my benchmarks (see the results to the right), and while you won’t be surprised, these processors can handle most tasks with ease: web browsing, desktop software, and streaming. Image editing is done without complications. .
This laptop will handle Photoshop and other intensive image and video editing software and it does so quietly and without freezing or overheating. However, you will find that it can slow down if you try to run multiple applications at once.
Microsoft says the Surface Laptop 5 has a 17-18 hour battery life, but in my time spent with this laptop I’ve found it drained in around 10 hours – this test model is the Intel i7.
This laptop is fine for connectivity and features a USB Type-C, a USB Type-A, an audio jack, and a Surface Connect port. The latter, used for charging, feels a bit dated. While it may charge fast, it’s a loose connection that can become disconnected if you push the laptop around; I also find having a load connection on the right hand side too restrictive.
Surface Laptop 5 benchmarks
cinema bench R23
CPU (multicore): 6221 points
CPU (simple): 1089 pts
MO Ratio: 5.71x
Geekbench 5 Score
Web browsing: 7,988
Digital content creation: 4,880
Photo editing: 7,437
Video editing: 4,704
3D rendering: 3232
The webcam is still 720p, while most new laptops of 2022 and 2023 feature 1080p resolution. It’s okay, but I expected more. Where the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 trumps other work laptops is with the Windows Hello Face Authentication software that powers the camera; it will automatically track your movement, focus on the speakers and more. If you need a laptop for working from home and video conferencing, Microsoft has one of the best solutions out there.
The touchscreen is excellent and responsive, and countless times in use I resorted to tapping the screen instead of scrolling the trackpad. If you are looking for a more modern way of working, this is a good option. It’s not OLED though, so if you’re a serious gamer (you can stream over WiFi 6 and Xbox Game Pass), you might want a bit more.
One plus in the corner of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is its operating system; Windows 11 is excellent. Some new features allow you to have multiple windows open and snap to sections of the screen, making for a great workflow. You can also make adjustments to accessibility options in an app, and Windows 11 will remember it, using your same presets in over 20,000 apps. The best thing you can save from Windows 11 is that it makes life easier and unobtrusive without ever being flashy.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review: Should you buy one?
If money isn’t an option, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a solid laptop that shows just how good Windows 11 can be; but you’ll need to go beyond the basic Intel i5 build and spend a bit more to get a laptop that will last you several years before you run into trouble.
As an office workhorse or general laptop, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a good buy, and while it can run intensive editing, video, and image-processing software, it will struggle if you try to run several high-end applications at the time. This means that while the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is great for office work and everyday tasks, it’s not ideal for intensive creative tasks – although if you just want to run Photoshop, that’s fine.
While the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 has been updated in-house and Windows 11 has some neat new features, this laptop essentially has the same design as previous models, so while it’s well-made and well-finished, it can feel a bit dated. .
Overall, I’d recommend the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 for everyday use, but if you’re a graphic designer or digital artist, you might want to consider a more suitable laptop, like the Apple MacBook Pro (2021).