Microsoft Surface Laptop Preview

Posted on May 2, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 76 Comments

Microsoft Surface Laptop Preview

Today in New York, Microsoft announced Surface Laptop, a new premium offering that runs Windows 10 S and corrects some of the design mistakes in Surface Book.

I’ve already written a lot about this device, in a way: In March, I wondered aloud about “an affordable Surface Book 2 Laptop.” And back in January, I looked ahead to the ways in which Microsoft might improve on its gorgeous but too expensive Surface Book design this year.

So there’s no need to rehash the past, other than to point out my most obvious point: Nobody was asking for a large, detachable Surface-branded laptop. What customers were asking for, however, is a Surface-branded MacBook Air. A non-detachable Surface-branded laptop, in other words.

Ladies and gentlemen, Microsoft just announced that product.

And, seriously, kudos to the software giant for not wasting two or three years arriving at the obvious: As originally released, Surface Book was too expensive, and its design—with that goofy and unreliable hinge—was compromised. Surface Laptop solves these problems. It’s a laptop, the form factor people really want. And it’s less expensive—much less expensive—than Surface Book.


While it is very reminiscent of Surface Book, Surface Laptop is more stylish than other Surface devices: It will come in four colors—Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, and Graphite Gold—and will include an Alcantara-covered keyboard. The form factor is basically that of Surface Book, with the same 13.5-inch screen, but it appears to be thinner (9.9mm at the front tapering to 14.47mm at the rear) and, at 2.76 pounds, it’s a bit lighter.

The ports are minimal: On the left, we see USB 3 and miniDisplayPort, only, plus a headphone jack. And there’s a Surface Connect port (boo!) on the right. Yes, that’s everything. (And no, there’s no USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. It looks like Microsoft is milking its peripheral compatibility for another year.)

This machine looks amazing. AMAZING.

More soon.

And kudos to Walking Cat for the leaks.


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Comments (76)

76 responses to “Microsoft Surface Laptop Preview”

  1. scumdogmillionaire

    I've owned:

    Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, and the Surface Book, which is my daily PC... I'm over the "felt" of the keyboard though. I'd rather this be a keyboard like the Surface Book.

  2. tremblaymax

    No USB Type C is an error, but not a deal breaker : I still don't have any USB Type C peripherals and in 4 years i'm pretty sure there still will be USB Type A peripherals out there.

  3. alf

    "We got this great new Chrome OS competitor -- a hobbled version of Windows 10. Don't worry though, we left the ads in file explorer. Designed to compete with low-end Chromebooks in the "edu" market, and designed as the premier host for Windows 10S, we bring you the Surface Laptop -- an educational tool affordable only to trust fund babies attending CEO school on the East Coast."

    What a giant load of steaming crap all the way around. Still, better than that P.O.S. new "Touchbar" Macbook.

  4. Waethorn

    The cloth material on the keyboard wears out too fast. And unlike a Surface tablet, you can't replace this one.

  5. 2ilent8cho

    That is one of the most ugly laptops i have ever seen, and that mouse YUCK! I was not a fan of the Surface Book either with its ugly hinge.

  6. Curtis Quick

    I realize that Paul and many others really wanted a Surface Laptop but for me, a physics teacher, I really wanted a laptop that had a detachable (or at least a foldable) keyboard. Sadly, I do not see how the pen will be very usable when in front of class solving science problems wirelessly on the big screen, unless the keyboard comes off and I can hold the screen in my hands as a tablet while I draw out solutions to physics problems. Also, I am not really sure how a student will be able to take notes with drawings and annotations with the pen during class as the screen will be mostly vertical instead of mostly horizontal. It is a beautiful laptop, but it would have been so much better if at the end of the presentation Panos had pulled the screen off the keyboard (or folded it all the way back) for those of us who needed tablet functionality. I guess I will just have to stick with my Surface Book (which I love to death, but wish it was as stylish and light as the new Surface Laptop) for now. As it stands, a Surface Pro with a pen is a much better device for education than the Surface Laptop. Perhaps a 13.5 inch Surface Pro 5 will make me happy in a few weeks/months.

  7. feinburg

    At $999 the base price, 8GB of RAM should be the standard. 4GB of RAM should not be an option anymore.

  8. dallasnorth40

    I am going to get this machine! Beautiful!!!

  9. Nonmoi

    The question I have is that, this is affordable to whom exactly?

    As it is marketed at announcement, it seems to target the education market.

    However, no parents of K-12ers will be rich enough to fork over 1000+ dollars per device for their kid, especially one that looks so elegant and with unchangeable textile keyboard that surely will be totally hygienic with those little dirty hands.

    Paul, and other tech bloggers seems to understand it as a cheaper Surface Book for general consumers, but even in that market a i5 machine with 4GB of RAM at $999 (and not sure if it come with W10S or Pro, if S then there is assume to be another $49 upgrade fee?) isn't exactly affordable either.

    Anyhow, it surely isn't for the 3rd world kids and poor immigrant families that the rich Microsoft execs talking about today.

    • edboyhan

      In reply to Nonmoi: They were pretty clear at the event that the Surface Laptop is targeted at the post K-12 market segment (university students and profs). K-12 will be handled by OEM's at much lower price points.

      • JudaZuk

        In reply to edboyhan:

        No professional have use for a low powered laptop with 4GB of RAM .. ever need to to spin up a VM, Hyper V or similar..forget about it . Need to compile some code, 4GB of RAM.. yeah forget about it if it is more then "my first app project".

        Photo editing on 4GB .. yeah no way if you are doing more then adding stupid "instagramesque" filter, and if you use RAW files, there is no way at all

        Video editing, yeah, that is basically a no go as well

        you are a student and use MathLab to do complicated calculations, look else where.

        So unless you are a professional Cat video viewer, this computer is just not good enough.

        If you are an author, or just browsing the web, then fine, you are good, but for the rest of the professionals in the world, this is not an option at all .

        So just get a proper laptop from Lenovo or Dell instead, and get a proper version of Windows 10, Windows 10 Pro, and don't bother with Windows 10 S. It will also be cheaper.

        Windows 10 S is great for kids in school where you really want to lock things down, and if you can get some more browsers and other apps in there it is totally okay. But if you are a student at a real university, and actually learning something (...and not just burning cars and rioting, or the better option chilling drinking beer and slacking) Windows 10 S is not an option

        So basically , if you are a student at the age of 8 - 14 Windows 10 S is perfect for a school, and S stands for Student

        If you are at the age 15 - 21+ it is just as pointless as a Chromebook, (only benefit it has is that t you can upgrade to proper Windows 10 Pro, a Chromebook will always be a limited Chromebook. .. ) ether way, in this age bracket, S must stand for Stupid

        • crfonseca

          In reply to JudaZuk:

          Ya know, I'll bet with you that the ratio of pros that don't ever need VMs is to the ones that actually need them is easily at least 1000:1.

          Thing is, not even most IT folk need them. VMs are a very, *very*, niche requirement. And now that Windows has pretty decent Linux support (and that might be the greatest embrace, extend, extend so much that there are no real alternatives coup MS ever threw that the Linux fanboys never saw coming) there's even less need for them.

          Most people also have no desire to edit photos or videos. Sure, everyone does some cutting and tweaking, but for them even the stuff the Photos app does is more than enough. And a laptop with 4 GB of RAM can easily handle that.

          And did MS say that this is a device for pros? Does it have "pro" in the name, like some other device by a certain fruity company?

          Also, did MS announce that from today, no more OEM PCs will be available?

          The Surface Book is too expensive, too underpowered, too whatever for you? Buy something else. There's a reason it's called "free market".

          For kids going to school, MS did say you'll have Windows 10 S devices starting from USD 189.

          Oh, and most of the same is valid for Chromebooks. I get that their limitations are too much for you, but that's probably because they're not designed for you. But for schools with limited budgets and no real IT staff they're a godsend.

          And that's the market that Microsoft is going after, for now.

          And you can think of the Surface Laptop as that crazy expensive Chromebook Google launched some years ago, the Pixel, iirc.

          • JudaZuk

            In reply to crfonseca:

            Yes "Windows has pretty decent Linux support" and that is great .. but Windows 10 S have Zero Linux support... you have to upgrade to Pro do use that. So why not just buy a better laptop that is cheaper that comes with Windows 10 Pro already.

            "You can think of the Surface Laptop as that crazy expensive Chromebook Google launched some years ago, the Pixel," Yes and I do .. and what happened to the Pixel .. it failed, hard .. and now Google more or less dropped it

      • Nonmoi

        In reply to edboyhan:

        Still not affordable for that market by any mean, as there are many more powerful and cheaper laptops from reputable OEMs at the price level, running the full Windows Pro. Heck, this isn't even more affordable than Surface Pro 4 even before the discount.

        Come to think about it, this is the perfectly wrong device to showcase today for both Windows 10 S and education market. There's no need to proof to anyone a $1000+ laptop can run Windows 10 fine, so unless Win10S is even less efficient than Pro what's the point that MSL is trying to prove here? And how is MSL exemplary of MS' dedication and innovations in education market? Can it do anything that a similar priced laptop, MBP or Linux laptop cannot do? Does it enable the next level of communication and team work over Slack? Does it revolutionized the teacher's ability to teach and communicate with students and their parents? Does it redefine the way students learn in class that no other devices can? Does it at the very lease, reduce the price of modernization of education infrastructure, or as SV people like to call it "democratised" edu? To me, the answer is a clear NO as these questions can not be addressed by an inspirational hardware, but consistent development in software development and system engineering. Microsoft maybe better off to showcase a $300 Surface Mini, or no hardware at all today, and hold off this piece of nice to have, but none essential laptop for next week's Build.

    • JudaZuk

      In reply to Nonmoi:

      totally agree, $999 for 4GB RAM, are they insane?? And no USB-C either, great that it has a classic USB, but it should have that as well as a USB-C port. And of course a proprietary charger as well.

      And fabric around they keyboard?? Who thought that was a good idea? It will get dirty the first week, and then your laptop will look crap after that, and you can't do anything about it.

      This is definitely not for students, I honestly don't know who it is far at all. It is possible even worse then a Macbook, only redeeming feature compared to that is that it has a proper keyboard

  10. StephenCWLL

    I'm unsure what everyone is getting excited about? These aren't much cheaper than previous surfaces.

  11. Careyy Price

    I don't know whats up with all the negative comments, I'm really interested in this device and can't even believe Microsoft created this laptop in the first place! Exciting times!

  12. Stokkolm

    Looks like I'm going to stick with my planned 5th Gen X1 Carbon purchase, I was so hoping for Thunderbolt 3 here as I've been a loyal Surface Pro/Book owner since the Pro 2, but I can't (don't want to) wait another year to see if they will offer it.

  13. Narg

    Surface Connect I don't mind, in fact like it due to magnetic connection. USB-C/Thunderbolt? That was a mistake.

  14. crfonseca

    I have to say, I still don't get why Microsoft did the Laptop.

    I get the other Surface devices, even the ill fated Surface RT showcased Windows RT, but that was because Windows RT needed a device to run on and no one else was going to make one.

    The Laptop isn't really needed to showcase Windows 10 S, is it? Pretty much any moderately recent PC is capable of running it, so that's not why it was needed.

    Is Microsoft going head on against Apple? It kind of seems to, since the Laptop really aims at the Macbook Air. But if that's the case, will they follow through with it or do what they did with the Lumia devices and dump it in two years?

    Fan service? I get that *a lot* of people were begging Microsoft to make a real laptop, but was there really a need for it? There are already plenty of very high quality ultrabooks in the market...

    Also, did Microsoft just declare war on its OEM partners?

  15. wright_is

    I could understand USB-C + Surface Connect Port, but no USB-C today seems a little silly.

    For existing users, having the Surface Connect Port to connect to their existing hardware is a good thing. For new users, having USB-C would be better.

    We have dozens of docks for our laptops, but the new generation means we can start to throw our expensive docks away and buy new ones...

  16. ruusterc

    i have a macbook running windows 10 and micorsoft until now has never really created anything in the laptop area that i would consider leaving my macbook or anything i could aford until today they just announced the product i was hoping surface book would of been in 2015 i think this is the best product they have ever made i just wish they had have announced this last year when i was in the market for a new notebook

  17. bbold

    Does the pen magnetically attach to the side as it does with the Pros?

  18. robincapper

    Just decided my next laptop will be a Surface Book, but wait till v2...? When?

  19. Josh Durston

    3:2 display is awesome

    No USB-C/Thunderbolt... lame

  20. vernonlvincent

    Can you use a USB 3.0 to USB-C cable to essentially use Thunderbolt features on this device? Found a cable on ShowMeCables that would let me do this. I know I won't likely get charging - but was thinking more of the eGPU functionality. If that works, it could turn the device into a decent desktop device.

  21. rameshthanikodi

    That's a really great design, too bad it's marred by software that general consumers don't want, bad pricing (goes up really quick), and bad port selection.

    Windows 10 S is only really for managed environments, the pricing makes the Surface Pro 4 look sane, and having no Thunderbolt ports is surely arbitrary to make this appear like a low-end product when it shouldn't have been.

  22. Chris Payne

    I'm "meh" on this too. I'm not sure how this at all advances MS's stated ambitions to advance technology for educational needs (and the masses) or give a perfect device to demonstrate the "soul" of Windows.

    This is just filling out their model lineup. Which is fine if you are trying to be a hardware retailer. But that's not what they said they were trying to be. And doesn't jive with their other work so far.

    If they're going to introduce a generic laptop, why did they kill their generic phones?

    Frankly, this device kind of upsets me. Not the device itself, but what it signifies.

  23. Ugur

    I quite like the device overall for this price range it is really sleek and nice.

    I wish the screen could be folded over fully (since it nicely has pen support).

    I also want pro models in 15 and 17 inch with out of the box win 10 pro, highest end gpu options etc for of course then higher price.

    But yeah, considering this one at this price, too, sounds like a great laptop for the couch and on the go =)

  24. Simard57

    Does it have a pen loop?

  25. edboyhan

    Color is only available on certain I5 configurations -- for all the rest it's only in platinum. I also thought I saw that color will only be available in the US market?

  26. jjaegers

    This looks waaaayyyy nicer than the latest MacBook machines with that goofy touch strip.  I LOVE the idea of the fabric covered base.  I have a surface book that I never take the screen off of... I will be trading up to one of these pretty quickly! The blue one looks fantastic!

  27. SaadElBoury

    I wonder how far back the hinge reclines, can you lay the screen almost flat.

    That was the main reason I picked the Surface Pro over the Book

  28. Daekar

    Touchscreen? Tell me the price, tell me the hardware, and tell me I can easily upgrade it to full Windows when I discover that none of my peripherals work without Win32 compatibility and installers. And as one of the Premium posters commented, no laptop without at least one full-function USB-C port will get my money...

    I've been wanting a Surface Laptop to recommend to family and friends, and if they check enough technical boxes I can do that - it certainly is visually appealing. They won't care about USB-C for a while.

  29. paladintom

    So Windows 10 "S" is tied the Windows App Store?! What a disaster! At least you can "upgrade" (i.e. unlock) to Win10 Pro for only $50.

    Prediction: Windows 10 "S" is dead in a year.

    Also, at that price, there's no way this is a competitor to Chromebooks.

  30. Ron F

    I wonder how much time this alcantara cover will last considering my undergraduate students' higiene. Still, it is an impressive piece of hardware for the price. Does it supports the pen too?

  31. dcdevito

    I really wish it had USB-C. Bummer

  32. Rob_Wade

    I watched this and I was just 'meh'. It does nothing for me. At all.

  33. wunderbar

    I said this on the post of the leak last night, but port selection makes me very sad.

    I'm in the market for a nice midrange laptop, but will not buy a new computer in 2017 that doesn't have USB C ports, and doesn't charge over USB C.

    IT's 2017. This should be the standard. Instead they took the Surface Pro 4 ports and put them in a laptop.

  34. DerOi

    @Paul You just looked so in love with this device on the livestream ;)

  35. Brian560

    I am not going to compare it against the Surface Book, I am curious on how it compares to the Surface pro 4 (m3 and i5) and the Dell XPS 13's .10 S is also compared to Windows RT, and lets not forget the older non-pro lineup of Surface devices.

  36. bbold

    I can't decide between burgundy and blue... omg omg... first world problems ;) Thank you for your reporting, Brad and Paul! Did you manage to steal that nice young lady's Surface Laptop yet? haha ;)

  37. eq07

    How come you cannot tap the photos to see or zoom in on bigger photos???

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