Price (RRP): $from 2124
The new Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 has a big brother – a 15-inch using an AMD Ryzen 3000-series 5-3580U or 7-3780U System-on-a-Chip.
Moving the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15-inch to AMD represents a significant departure for Microsoft although it uses AMD processors in the Xbox. It’s a big win for AMD to have its processors in such a mainstream device.
Does AMD make a vast difference over Intel? The tests indicate no. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15-inch is an excellent product with no downsides. And Surface remains the best 3:2 ratio screen option for those that favour productivity over games.
But Intel fans are going to look at some of the Intel i5/i7/i9 options on offer from Dell, Acer, HP, Lenovo and more at competitive prices. Or settle for the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 13.5-inch with 10th generation Core i5-1035G7 or i7-1065G7 processors.
So, if you don’t mind AMD (and you shouldn’t) then read on because Surface ‘anything’ is Microsoft’s licence to give us what it feels we need.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15-inch AMD Ryzen 5-3580U Model 1873
Specs as tested
- 15-inch, 2496 x 1664 , 201ppi, 3:2 display
- AMD Ryzen 5 3580U with Vega 9 graphics (Option Ryzen 7-3780U with Vega 11 Graphics)
- 8GB DDR4 and 256GB PCIe SSD
- One-year limited hardware warranty
- Website here
Price (current special)
- 8/256/Ryzen 5 $2124.15
- 16/256 Ryzen 5 $2379
- 16/512GB Ryzen 7 $2931
If you are a power user, then buy the 16GB version because the ram is not upgradeable. Storage is immaterial as you can get high-speed external 256GB SSDs for under $100.
My first impression
Big and black – did I mention black with a vast touchpad and deck to rest my weary palms. I am glad that they don’t offer that sissy Alcantara faux suede on a ‘man’s machine.’ Give me aircraft-grade, milled aluminium any day.
In reality, it is a perfectly scaled up 13.5-inch Laptop 3. As usual, the Microsoft boffins have put a lot of thought into this new design. For example, the screen is a one-finger lift held down by magnets and lifted from a very slight overhang.
The Surface Laptop 3 display opens about 150° and supports the Surface Pen although I venture that it’s a little harder to use on a clamshell than on the Surface Pro.
In all its one of the sexier all black, slabs I have ever seen.
Why a laptop?
Me, I prefer x360 hinges or the Surface Pro tablet with a kickstand. But some feel more comfortable with a traditional clamshell-style laptop – something that can sit on your lap or desk.
But importantly it is part of the Surface range including the Pro, Pro X, Hub, Studio and more – all with unique Surface styling cues and that almost unique 3:2 ratio screen.
Screen – EXCEED
It is a 15-inch, 2496 x 1664, 201ppi, 3:2 ratio, PixelSense (marketing term), touch and pen capable screen.
In reality, it is a Sharp LQ150P1JX51 panel made especially for the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3. It is Sharp factory calibrated to 100% sRGB, Delta E <1 and also offers an enhanced mode (saturated). That equates to about 64% Adobe RGB. Unfortunately, you can’t adjust the calibration using a Calman camera, but you can find various profiles on the web to change them.
A few very minor quibbles. The laptop screen has a tad of ‘touch wobble’, and a glossy finish impairs daylight readability. The 383 lumens are bright, but we measured .4 nits black, reducing the contrast to 1100:1 (claim 1500:1). Now tests are tests, and for most users, this is a great screen.