As the title details, the Surface Laptop 5 is bringing more power and Thunderbolt support in its fifth iteration, albeit the same MacBook Air design circa 2008.
The Surface Laptop hasn't been around nearly as long as the MacBook Air wedge design it has garnered inspiration from, but in its seventh year of availability, its minimalist design may be wearing a bit thin for fans looking for the device to keep up with more modern aesthetic influences such as thinner bezels and more port selections.
Never the less, the Surface Laptop 5 is back with at least more power and support for a more modern connection option in Thunderbolt 4.
Fans of the sleek design should be pleased with having Intel's 12th Gen Core i5 and i7 U-processor meeting the branded Evo platform standards with Windows 11. Stuffing a 12th Gen chip in the Surface Laptop 5 Microsoft is now promising over 50 percent more power from the last Surface Laptop experience as well as "all-day battery life."
The Surface Laptop 5 will come in its customary 13.5 and 15-inch display options housing the exclusive 3:2 PixelSense touchscreen panel with Dolby Vision IQ at 2256x1504 (201 PPI) and 2496x1664 (201 PPI) respectively.
The Laptop 5 retains its lightweight footprint at 2.86lbs for the 13.5-inch option and 3.44lbs for the 15-inch model.
Microsoft is bringing back its signature Alcantara keyboard materials but will offer them in Platinum, Sage. Matte Black and Sandstone to match the anodized aluminum color options of each 13.5 Laptop 5 exterior this year. 15-inch Surface Laptop models are relegated to the standard Platinum and Matte Black options as previous years.
Unfortunately, Microsoft will maintain its delineation between the Surface Laptop and Surface Laptop Studio when it comes to GPU performance with the Laptop 5 sticking to Intel's Iris Xe graphics and the Laptop Studio supporting the beefier NVIDIA GPUs.
The Laptop 5 will come with the standard configuration options of 8,16, and 32GB (15-inch models) LPDDR5x RAM, 256, 512 or 1TB of removable solid-state storage all paired with Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.
Other familiar features of the Laptop 5 include the 720p HD front facing camera with Windows Hello Face Authentication enabled, 1 USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4 support, 1 USB-A 3.1, a 3.5mm audio port and proprietary Surface connector with quick charge support.
Speaking of charging, Microsoft is claiming the Surface Laptop 5 should get 18 and 17 hours of battery life with 'typical device usage', for the 13.5 and 15-inch laptops respectively.
We get a bit of a disclosure as to how Microsoft arrives at its battery claim numbers for the Surface Laptop 5 this year and it may help buyers set expectations for their upcoming purchase.
Up to 18 hours of battery life based on typical Surface device usage on Surface Laptop 513.5” Testing conducted by Microsoft in August 2022 using preproduction software and preproduction 13.5” Intel® Core™i5, 256GB, 8GB RAM device. Testing consisted of full battery discharge with a mixture of active use and modern standby. The active use portion consists of (1) a web browsing test accessing eight popular websites over multiple open tabs, (2) a productivity test utilizing Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook, and (3) a portion of time with the device in use with idle applications. All settings were default except screen brightness was set to 150 nits with Auto-Brightness disabled. Wi-Fi was connected to a network. Tested with Windows Version 11.0.22621 (21H2). Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage and other factors.
If Microsoft manages to deliver similar battery performance to its previous laptop with Intel's 12th Gen chip pushing 50 percent more power, that may be all potential Surface Laptop buyers want from the company this year.
The last notable change to the Surface Laptop 5 this year is the exclusion of AMD from the release party. Microsoft may release some AMD variants down the road but as of today, even 15-inch models of the laptop will only rock Intel chips this year.
Pre-orders begin today.
Surface Laptop 5 starts at $999