Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 (Core i7), also known as the Surface Laptop 3 for Business, finally delivers on what Microsoft has traditionally promised with its Surfaces: a great screen, a great keyboard, and great battery life. 

The Surface Laptop 3 with Intel’s 10th-gen Core i7 chip achieves roughly 10 hours of battery life. This is more than enough to get you through your workday, and siginificantly longer than what was achieved by the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 with AMD’s Ryzen 5 CPU, or the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 with Ryzen 7. Other than the CPU and storage variations, the Surface Laptop 3 units we’ve tested are largely identical. 

We still admire what AMD has accomplished with its current Surface Edition chips, and look forward to next year when its 7nm process kicks in. For now, however, this Surface Laptop 3 with an Intel Core i7 is the only Surface Laptop 3 we’d recommend. 

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Ice Lake rear Mark Hachman / IDG

Our Surface Laptop 3 (Ice Lake) test unit shipped in Platinum, with a metal chassis.

Surface Laptop 3 for Business (Core i7) basic specs

  • Display: 13.5-inch (2256×1504) PixelSense; 15-inch (2496×1664) PixelSense (as tested); both touch-enabled
  • Processor: 13-inch,15-inch: quad-core Core i5-1035G7/Core i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake)
  • Graphics: 13-inch,15-inch: Iris Plus
  • Memory: 13-inch: 8GB/16GB LPDDR4x; 15-inch: 8GB/16GB/32GB DDR4 (16GB as tested)
  • Storage: 13-inch,15-inch: 128/256/512/1TB (256GB as tested)
  • Ports: USB-C, USB-A, Surface Connect, 3.5mm jack
  • Camera: 720p (user-facing); Windows Hello enabled
  • Battery: 45.8Wh (as reported)
  • Wireless: 13-inch/15-inch: 802.11ax 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Pro (business)
  • Dimensions: 13-inch: 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.57 in. (14.51mm); 15-inch: 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.57 in. (14.69 mm)
  • Weight: 13-inch: 2.89 pounds; 15-inch: 3.36 pounds (tested), with charger: 4 pounds
  • Color: Sandstone (metal, as tested), Matte Black (metal), Cobalt Blue (Alcantara) and Platinum (Alcantara, metal)
  • Price: Orders start at at $1,099 at; $1,599 as tested

Pay close attention to the Surface Laptop 3 prices: There’s a massive $400 bump between the SL3’s 256GB and 512GB SSD configurations. One of the new features of the Surface Laptop 3 is its ability to swap out the SSD, though it’s not exactly user-serviceable

We’ve previously reviewed the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 (Ryzen 5) as well as the Surface Laptop 3 (Ryzen 7), both of which are the “consumer” versions of the Surface Laptop 3 for Business. The 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 consumer models use a semi-custom “Surface Edition” of the AMD’s older Zen+ Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 chips, while the 13-inch consumer and 13-inch/15-inch Surface Laptop 3 for Business use Intel’s 10th-gen Ice Lake chips. (Full disclosure: Intel sent us this Surface Laptop 3 for review, not Microsoft.)

There are other, somewhat substantive differences between the consumer and Business models: the operating system (Windows 10 Pro, versus Windows 10 Home), as well as the wireless. Intel’s chip is paired with an 802.11ax radio, while the AMD chips come with 802.11ac. The first standard offers up more potential bandwidth (9.6Gbps vs 6.9Gbps) as well as broader wireless coverage. The Surface Laptop 3 for Business models also cost about $100 more than a similarly-spec’d consumer model at retail, though recent discounts have pushed the disparity to about $210.

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alt primary Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Ice Lake Mark Hachman / IDG

The Surface Laptop 3 is fairly light for its size.

Chassis: The Platinum option spurns fingerprints

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 offers various chassis options that include either a solid metal finish or the now-traditional Alcantara fabric inside. We tested the Surface Laptop 3 for Business (Core i7) in the Platinum color. Though we would have preferred the lovely “Sandstone” option, it’s not available in the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3.

I actually prefer the look and feel of metal under my palms. It does get a little chilly on your lap, but its conductivity surely helps with cooling. The Platinum model doesn’t soak up fingerprints like the Matte Black option does, and the keyboard and touchpad contrast nicely with the chassis itself.



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