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Microsoft 15-inch Surface 3 laptop review – impressive device for everyday users

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  • VERDICT

The Microsoft Surface 3 laptop has an impressive design, an excellent 15-inch touchscreen and decent battery life and is perfect for mid-range users who want a decent computing and entertainment experience.

The new 15-inch Microsoft Surface 3 laptop certainly looks the part – it’s thin and reasonably light and it’s the first time the company has offered a larger display.

A bigger screen to us means Microsoft means business.

The 13-inch models have done well before and for the new 15-inch Surface 3 we had really high expectations.

On the design side, this laptop delivers what customers are looking for – a sleek look that’s pretty thin (14.69mm) and not too heavy (1.542kg).

The impressive 15-inch touchscreen PixelSense display has a resolution of 2496 x 1164 with 201ppi (pixels per inch).

A touchscreen is one thing you won’t find on a Mac laptop.

The screen almost goes edge to edge but with thinner bezels it could have achieved a 16-inch size just like Apple’s new 16-inch MacBook Pro which is only a shade larger than its 15-inch version.

At the top of the screen is a camera that’s useful for Skype. It’s also there to unlock the laptop with Windows Hello which worked to unlock the laptop quickly nearly every time.

But while the screen got bigger, the keyboard didn’t – it’s exactly the same as the keyboard on the 13-inch.

Keys are well spaced and typing on it was fine but we don’t get any extra keys or functionality.

We don’t even get any speaker grilles – they’re actually on the bottom of the laptop.

And as a result sound quality is good not great.

Microsoft could have taken a leaf out of Apple’s book here – its MacBook Pro to be precise.

On the connectivity side, the Surface 3 laptop comes up a little skinny as well with just one USB-A port and one USB-C port. There’s also a headphone jack.

The USB-C port does not support Thunderbolt 3 – which could have allowed users to connect and external monitor to mirror or extend the desktop.

On the other side – no that’s not an SD card slot – but the charging port that’s really fidgety to connect to recharge the laptop.

Under the hood Microsoft has the AMD Ryzen 5 processor which is about a mid-range strength chip that’s on par with an Intel Core i5.

But the Ryzen 5 struggled with processor heavy applications like video and image editing. And this is even with 16GB RAM onboard.

It can handle full HD games reasonably well along with streaming content as well.

For the average users the Microsoft Surface 3 laptop is a decent choice.

But power users who need to extract as much power as they can from their laptop for editing and graphic design work on the go might need to look elsewhere.

Battery-wise, the laptop is listed to run for up to 11.5 hours but for our testing we managed around eight and a half hours before we had to plug in the charger.

The Microsoft Surface 3 starts at $1,599. The one we had for review with 16GB RAM, Ryzen 5 processor and 265GB SSD (solid state drive) storage is $2,239 which is about the starting price of a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

VERDICT

The Microsoft Surface 3 laptop has an impressive design, an excellent 15-inch touchscreen and decent battery life and is perfect for mid-range users who want a decent computing and entertainment experience.