The new Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 shows why Microsoft is still a top software developer but still struggling to create its own hardware. This is an update to its decent predecessor, the Surface Laptop 4, but with a boost from new chips, colors and builds. The question is, is it enough?
The quick answer is, yes, but just about. The specification and build of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5, which uses 12th generation Intel i5 and i7 processors for extra speed but from a design point of view, this feels like a dated laptop.
You will have to spend to get the best performance, ensuring that the answer is ‘yes’ with the caveat that you have to go beyond the entry level model, ensuring that the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is not the best value despite being It’s a solid laptop. If you need to measure up to the competition, read our guide to the best laptops for graphic design and the best MacBook you can buy.
For this review I spent a few weeks with the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 and tested it running basic office apps, intensive digital art software, including Rebelle 6, as well as general web browsing and game streaming through Xbox Game Pass for your computer. You can find out more by visiting our page on how we test laptops, PCs and workstations.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review: price and specifications
Overall Microsoft’s new laptop seems reasonably priced and has a good balance of features. Intels 12th gen processors offer solid power and speed, but the basic build will need to be developed and cost more if you want to get serious and use this laptop for more than everyday tasks. It means that while the initial pricing below looks good, you’ll need to shell out a bit more cash to get a worthwhile laptop.
Surface Laptop 5 specifications
Processor 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U / i7-1255U
Display size 13.5 inches / 15 inches
Display 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI) / 2496 x 1664 (201 PPI) resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, 10-point multi-touch
Graphics Intel Graphics Iris Xe
Links USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, Connect Connect port
Network Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
OS Windows 11
Battery 17/18 hours
Weight 13.5-inch model: 1,297 g; 15 inch model 1,560 g
Dimensions 13.5-inch model: 308 x 223 x 14.5 mm; 15 inch model: 340 x 244 x 14.7 mm
Camera 720p HD front, Windows Hello Face Authentication
Speakers Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos 4
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 starts at $899 / £999 for the 13.5in version with an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but naturally prices start to rise when you go up to the Intel i7 build – $1,699 £1,699 – or more the 15-inch model that starts at $ 1,199 / £ 1,299 for the Intel i7 version with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. The 15-inch model is $2,099 / £2,399 for an Intel i7-powered black metal finished laptop with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD.
Considering the price, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is in the same category as Apple MacBook Pro (2021). Or you could drop down to the Apple MacBook Air (2022) or check out our guide to the best HP laptops for another Windows 11 laptop with good specs.
On the surface, ahem, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a bit overpriced for the spec, and there are some good alternatives on the market. But below I take a deeper look at the new Microsoft Surface 5 laptop and reveal why this laptop impresses, if money is not an issue.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review: design
The biggest issue, or biggest plus, for the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is that it is largely the same design as previous models. It still looks and feels solid and premium; the slick aluminum chassis gives it a high-end look, the keyboard is a nice size and its matte rubber keys feel great to tap on (it’s about the size of a MacBook Pro), and the trackpad is responsive, if smaller than you might expect. expect from a laptop that’s geared for work.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 has the same inclined wedge design as older models, ensuring that it doesn’t close flat like a MacBook Pro but comes to a point, which feels great in the hand. However, the screen has wider bezels than I would have expected, even compared to older 2021 Apple laptops, and the smaller trackpad is a bit frustrating.
This new model comes in a range of swish colours, such as Sage, Black and Sandstone – a kind of rose gold. These colors complement the original Platinum (read silver) nicely.
This new Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 can feel a little dated since it’s almost the same design as the Surface Laptop 4 and earlier models (it hasn’t really been changed in five years) but the colors are new that’s nice, especially Sage, and using an established design guarantees that Microsoft’s series of accessories all work with the Surface Laptop 5, which is an advantage if money is tight.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review: performance
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a good workhorse; a reasonably complete laptop for work and play. The Intel i5 and i7 processors perform well in my benchmarks (see results on the right) and while you won’t be blown away these processors can handle most tasks with ease – browsing is done web, desktop software and image editing with little effort. .
This laptop will handle Photoshop and other intensive image and video editing software and does so quietly and without freezing or overheating. However, you will find that it can slow down if you try to run multiple apps at the same time.
Microsoft says the Surface Laptop 5 has a battery life of 17 to 18 hours, but during my time with this laptop I found it topped out at around 10 hours – the test model this is the intel i7.
This laptop does just fine for connectivity, with USB Type-C, USB Type-A, an audio jack, and a USB Connect port. This last one, used for charging, feels a bit dated. Although it can be charged quickly, it’s a loose connection that can fall out if you wake up the laptop – I just find a charging connection on the right-hand side too restrictive.
Surface Knee 5 benchmarks
CPU (multicore): 6221 pts
CPU (single): 1089 pts
MO Ratio: 5.71x
Geekbench 5 Score
In total: 4,229
Web Browsing: 7,988
Digital content creation: 4,880
Photo editing: 7,437
Video editing: 4,704
3D rendering: 3,232
The webcam remains at 720p and most of the new 2022 and 2023 laptops have a 1080p resolution. It’s fine, but one would expect more. Where the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 trumps other work laptops with the Windows Hello Face Authentication software that powers the camera; it will automatically track your movement, target speakers and more. If you need a laptop for working from home and video conferencing Microsoft has one of the best solutions.
The touchscreen display is excellent and responsive, and many times in use, I found myself tapping the screen rather than scrolling on the trackpad. If you are after a more modern way of working, this is a good choice. It’s not OLED, however, so if you’re a serious gamer (you can stream via WiFi 6 and Xbox Game Pass) you might want a little more.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5’s OS is a plus; Windows 11 is great. Several new features allow you to have multiple windows open and jump to parts of the screen, making for a great workflow. You can also adjust accessibility options in one app and Windows 11 will be reminded, using your same presets across more than 20,000 apps. The best thing you can save about Windows 11 is that it makes life easy and unobtrusive without ever being obtrusive.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review: should I buy one?
If money is no choice, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a solid laptop that shows just how good Windows 11 can be; but you’ll need to go beyond the basic Intel i5 build and spend a bit more to get a laptop that will last you several years before you run into problems.
As an office workhorse or general laptop the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a good buy, and while it can run intensive editing, video and image processing software you will have problems if you try to run multiple high-end apps at the same time . This means that while the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is great for office work and everyday tasks, it’s not suitable for intensive creative tasks – but if you want to run Photoshop, it’s fine.
Although the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 has been upgraded internally and Windows 11 has some swish new features, this laptop is basically the same design as previous models, so while it’s good- nicely made and finished, it can feel a little dated.
Overall, I’d recommend the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 for everyday use, but if you’re a graphic designer or digital artist you might want to consider a better-suited laptop, such as the Apple MacBook Pro (2021).