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Surface Laptop 3: tech specs and details you need know

Is the Surface Laptop 3 the new MacBook killer? Best answer, likely. The new laptop now comes in a 15-inch model powered by an AMD Ryzen CPU with the choice of Alcantara or all-metal finish.

Surface Laptop 3 metal finish

Microsoft has a new version of its clamshell laptop, the Surface Laptop 3, and this time around, it’s more than just a simple refresh of the previous generation. Although the new device still shares most of the design characteristics of older models, there’s three big differences, including two different sizes, custom AMD Ryzen processor, and the option of all-metal or Alcantara fabric.

Starting with the third generation of the laptop, you can still pick the 13.5-inch with the 3:2 aspect ratio touchscreen, but there’s the choice of a 15-inch model as well. Also, there’s a USB-C version 3.1 port that replaces the Mini Display port. The new port can be used for data transfer as well as for changing, but it doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3.

As for the internals upgrade, the 13.5-inch model comes with the options of an Intel quad-core 10th generation Core i5 or Core i7 processor, while the 15-inch model is available with a custom AMD Ryzen processor with Radeon Vega 9 graphics. Microsoft says a 15-inch model will be available with Intel processors, but it’ll only be available for business customers. Also, both models have the option of 8GB or 16GB of memory and update 1TB of internal storage.

Surface Laptop 3 tech specs

Here’s the tech specs for the Surface Laptop 3 15-inch and 13.5-inch:

 Surface Laptop 3 15-inchSurface Laptop 3 13.5-inch
Dimensions13.4” x 9.6” x .57” (339.5 mm x 244 mm x 14.69 mm)12.1” x 8.8” x .57” (308 mm x 223 mm x 14.5 mm)
WeightPlatinum and Matte Black: 3.40lb (1,542g)Sandstone and Matte Black: 2.84lb (1,288g)
Cobalt Blue and Platinum: 2.79lb (1,265g)
DisplayScreen: 15” PixelSense Display
Resolution: 2496 x 1664 (201 PPI)
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Surface Pen enabled
Touch: 10 point multi-touch
Screen: 13.5” PixelSense Display
Resolution: 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI)
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Surface Pen enabled
Touch: 10 point multi-touch
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 3580U Mobile Processor (Microsoft Surface Edition)
Integrated Radeon Vega 9 Graphics
Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G7 Processor
Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 Processor
GraphicsAMD Radeon Vega 9 Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition
AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition
Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Memory8GB DDR4 RAM
16GB DDR4 RAM
8GB LPDDR4x RAM
16GB LPDDR4x RAM
StorageRemovable solid-state drive (SSD) options:
128GB
256GB
512GB
1TB
Removable solid-state drive (SSD) options:
128GB
256GB
512GB
1TB
WirelessWi-Fi 5: 802.11ac compatible
Bluetooth Wireless 5.0 technology
Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax compatible
Battery lifeUp to 11.5 hours of typical device usageUp to 11.5 hours of typical device usage
Ports1 x USB-C (no thunderbolt support)
1 x USB-A
3.5 mm headphone jack
1 x Surface Connect port
Compatible with Surface Dial off-screen interaction
1 x USB-C (no thunderbolt support)
1 x USB-A
3.5 mm headphone jack
1 x Surface Connect port
Compatible with Surface Dial off-screen interaction
SecurityFirmware TPM
Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
Firmware TPM
Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
Cameras, video, and audio

Windows Hello face authentication camera (front-facing)
720p HD f2.0 camera (front-facing)
Dual far-field Studio Mics
Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Windows Hello face authentication camera (front-facing)
720p HD f2.0 camera (front-facing)
Dual far-field Studio Mics
Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
SensorsAmbient light sensorAmbient light sensor
ColorsPlatinum
Matte Black
Sandstone
Matte Black
Cobalt Blue
Platinum
CasingAluminum
Platinum with metal palm rest
Matte Black with metal palm rest
Aluminum
Sandstone with metal palm rest
Matte Black with metal palm rest
Platinum with Alcantara material palm rest
Cobalt Blue with Alcantara material palm rest
OSWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 Home

In addition to the USB-C port, the devices also come with a USB-A port and 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll still find the Surface Connect port, but now, it’s been updated to support fast charging. According to Microsoft, the port can charge the Surface Laptop 3 from zero to 80 percent in less than an hour. (This technology is available across the 2019 Surface line of devices.)

Surface Laptop 3 USB-C port
Surface Laptop 3 USB-C port

As for battery life, the company claims up to 11.5 hours on a single charge, but take that with a grain of salt as the reality is often less than the number advertised.

Although both devices include wireless connectivity, the Surface Laptop 3 13.5-inch comes with the faster and more advanced Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), while the 15-inch model ships with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac).

Surface Laptop 3 removable hard drive

Also, these devices now have removable hard drives like the Surface Pro X. However, it’s something that Microsoft is touting as a privacy feature for organizations to make sure that data can be destroyed properly. According to the company, you should still be able to replace the hard drive for a bigger capacity, or replace a broken drive, but it’s recommended to use a specific Surface certified solid-state drive (SSD) as an off the shelf SSD is not guaranteed to work. Also, this should be handled by an authorized technician.

Surface Laptop 3 removable hard drive
Surface Laptop 3 removable hard drive

Alcantara and metal finish

Unlike previous generations, consumers will have the option to pick the new laptop with all-metal or Alcantara palm rest. The new option is available because the company is now recognizing that people has different taste on style, and as a result the all-metal finish model slightly heavier than one with the Alcantara finish.

Surface Laptop 3 13.5-inch vs 15-inch
Surface Laptop 3 13.5-inch vs 15-inch

Either the 13.5-inch or 15-inch model offers a new keyboard that should make typing more comfortable with a full 1.33mm key travel, and now with a 20 percent larger glass trackpad.

Finally, the laptop is available in four colors, including Sandstone, Matte Black, Cobalt Blue, Platinum, but the 15-inch is only available in Platinum and Matte Black.

Price and availability

Pricing starts at $999 for the 13.5-inch base model, and $1199 for the 15-inch base model. You can preorder these devices now, and they are expected to be available on October 22, 2019.