Hands-On with Surface Laptop: Yes, It’s Gorgeous

Posted on May 2, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Microsoft Surface with 60 Comments

Hands On with Surface Laptop: Yes, It's Gorgeous

Surface Laptop presents an interesting quandary to this battle-worn veteran, and I find myself trying to fight off an uncomfortable fanboyish *need*. This is exactly the Surface device I’ve been asking for.

We battled the crowds to get a few minutes of hands-on time, and they hold up: This is everything that was right about Surface Book—that screen, the excellent keyboard, and touchpad—with some neat new color choices, that amazing Alcantara material, and much lower pricing. What’s not to love?

Here are some shots. Including the new Surface Arc Mouse, which also comes in those new Surface Laptop colors, go figure.

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Comments (60)

60 responses to “Hands-On with Surface Laptop: Yes, It’s Gorgeous”

  1. glenn8878

    Lack of sufficient ports is not good.

  2. Delmont

    I am just not getting the fuzzy keyboard thing... why do you want it fuzzy?

    • Waethorn

      In reply to Delmont:

      Because it wears out fast and you'll want a new computer to replace it. (Microsoft consumerism logic)

      • Delmont

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Thanks. But I'm being serious. And I know your reply is with a smile. But still, why this material? Is it something trendy I am missing?

        • JudaZuk

          In reply to Delmont:

          To be honest I do not get the fabric on the laptop either, why do they keep putting Alcantara  on "everything"? Have they gotten a great deal o a batch of Alcantara ? Have they invested in a Alcantara factory?


          Alcantara is great in your car seats, I personally fell it has no place on a laptop at all...ever.

          I do not want a hot blanket to heat my palms and collect my sweat on my computer, who wants that??

    • Harrymyhre

      In reply to Delmont: because that alcantara fabric is cool.
      Why do harley-davidson owners want that V-twin sound? Because it turns people's heads.


  3. Tony Barrett

    The Surface Book and Pro were nice to look at. Unfortunately for many, they turned into the most expensive doorstops in history. Unreliable, buggy and prone to overheating. Don't judge a book by it's cover - if Microsoft's QA problems still remain, expect many problems. Exactly the things schools don't want.


    There is nothing here remotely interesting about this release. In all but name it's RTv2, and do MS really think schools, who are really enjoying their chromebooks by all accounts, are going to come flooding back to Windows with all it's problems that they didn't like before. How well will this stripped back Win10S $200 device really run, because hardware will be paired down to the absolute bottom to hit that price point. Will it still suffer from Windows rot? Is this just MS trying to push it's services and store by another route? Not convinced or impressed.

  4. siko

    INHO and as expressed elsewhere of course, this might get potential mac book owners into the Windows eco system. Or very fancy private schools, or you know ... OTOH, i.e. main stream, there is more power for the bang available from other vendors.

    I know I really like the keyboard on the SB; the trackpad and keyboard feel premium and the system is 98% stable :) Perhaps few more updates and we're at Mac stability ;)


    Forgot to add that 1 port is perfect for me too.... on the go I seldom need more than 1, if ever. At home/work I'm connected to the docking via usb 3, which works very well with all my older stuff I have lying around and still want to work with :)

  5. Waethorn

    Still waiting on the Courier.

  6. chaad_losan

    Not really impressed. There are laptops that are just as powerful or more so for much less. I like the blue. But it's only for one model right now. The lack of modern ports is just inexcusable as well as 4GB memory for the entry level computer for $1000. I got my high school age daughter a core i7 quad dell laptop, with 16gigs of ram, 1080p touch screen, terabyte mechanical hard drive with discrete graphics with a 4 year warranty that covers accidental damage for $1005. She loves it, has had it since September last year. Has zero issues with it. Runs everything she needs for school and art work.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to chaad_losan:

      The biggest key with your Dell purchase--"Has zero issues." Given the track record for MS hardware, there's not much guarantee that Surface Laptop would be the same.

      • siko

        In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

        And still this might be the hotspot mix for attracting Mac users into Surface camp....? (This gen. 2 release of Surface Book - ish config might actually be darn stable and fast).

        • Angusmatheson

          In reply to siko:

          Especially if Apple really does kill the MacBook Air. There are lots of people who love that computer but are lukewarm about the MacBook and MacBook Pro without touch bar. However, I suspect Mac people are Mac people and aren't likely to change. I suspect the people who buy this will be Windows people, who want a great laptop. The problem I see for Microsoft is that these sales will come from the OEM sales. And the OEMs are already struggling. Especially in a shrinking pool, every sale comes at the expense of another company. Maybe a few will be from Apple, but most will be from HP, Lenovo, Dell, Asus, and so on.

  7. dstrauss

    Why didn't they just replace the mini-DP port with USB-C? No monitor uses mini-DP in, so you have to have a mini-DP to DP cable in the first place - same for HDMI, DVI, or ancient VGA...USB-C can also deliver those video outputs AND avoid both obsolescence and tech press criticism. It's nearly as stupid as a fingerprint reader right next to your phone's camera lens...

    OK folks - MIND BLOWING TIME. Over at Tablet PC Reviews user kvoram spotted something extraordinary in the Microsoft quality video, where they show how they attach that new fuzzy keyboard to the Surface Laptop base - it is a prototype with TWO USB-C and one USB-A port on the right side! At the 1:02 mark - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HCVUCqZoHI

    I think I'll wait for the Surface Laptop 2...

  8. captobie

    I seem to remember you and Mary Jo (and Leo) making fun of Alcantara on Windows Weekly, making me feel bad about my Alcantara type cover. Now it's amazing?

  9. Gavin Groom

    I really dig that Arc mouse.

  10. misterstuart

    THIS is a laptop I'm excited about! I have the current high-end Surface Book and I would give it up in a heartbeat for one of these!

    • victorchinn

      In reply to misterstuart: I too have a Surface Book (i7-16GB) and pre-ordered a Surface Laptop (need to wait until mid-August though). Not so sure I would switch so quickly because of going from a 3000x2000 at 267 ppi to 2256x1504 at 201 ppi screen might be a downgrade. Need to see it to believe it.


  11. victorchinn

    How does typing on the keyboard feel ? Solid? or is there a spongey/springy feel to it from the gap between the bottom of the keyboard and the table ? From one photo it looks like the hinge slightly raises the keyboard but in another it does not.

  12. sharpsone

    I love my current arc mouse but this one looks even better. The curve appears to be a natural fit for the hand.

  13. michael.dice

    Did you see this footnote? "Four colors available in U.S. only on i5-7200U 8GB/256GB model"

  14. quikah

    does WSL work on Windows 10 S? if I can run bash I can probably use it for work.

    • rameshthanikodi

      In reply to quikah:

      it doesn't. But what OS it ships with doesn't matter for the time period they're offering the free upgrade to pro. Just upgrade. I mean, who wouldn't want to upgrade (other than schools)?

  15. SherlockHolmes

    And does MSFT really think every parents can afford a 1000 $ laptop for their kids? Specially when they have more then one in college at the same time? Oh, Microsoft! Also thinking about the high-end market and not of the "normal" people.

  16. jbuccola

    How far back does the screen open? The SB had limited range with the fulcrum hinge.

  17. George Rae

    Much lower price? Yeah but I just priced an I7 16GB 512GB only available in Platinum $2199. shipping in August. My Lenovo Yoga 910 4K screen, I7 16GB 1TB with W10 Pro cost $1500 from Lenovo. With a keyboard that won't show Cheeto and beer stains :)

  18. digiguy

    much lower pricing? In Europe it starts at almost 1200€ and goes to almost 2600€ for the 512GB model, It' exacty half way between surface pro 4 and surface book (not taking sales into account)

    • BrickPrinter

      In reply to digiguy: But in Europe, that price has to include the VAT tax of like 20%. In US no VAT tax in price but tacked on according to state tax rate-from 0% to 10%. Really not as much difference as it appears.


  19. BeckoningEagle

    The ports are a deal breaker for me. I still think one of the new HP Spectre are a better buy.

  20. Daekar

    Looks like a nice aspirational device. I'm sure all of Microsoft's partner companies will fill in the lower cost Windows 10S machines that will actually compete with Chromebooks and the like for K-12.


    The college students at the large university where my wife works drive new cars, have new iPhones every 2 years, and use new Mac laptops if they don't have PCs. Price will not be an issue if the product is good.

  21. Angusmatheson

    In what world is a thousand dollar laptop for education? I don't know what schools Nadel sends his kids to, but every school I know does not have kids use beautiful expensive ultra books. They make all this big deal about education for everyone, then release this laptop, which means 1) they have understanding of the laptop market or 2) they don't really care about education and they just wanted a pretty story to tell before they realized their very expensive laptop designed for the 1% like them. This is a beautiful looking laptop. And there is nothing wrong with releasing a very expensive laptop. But own it, and say we make the best laptop for decerning costumers, not this is a laptop to help kids in India who would otherwise be day laborers.