PCWorld (USA)

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 5 adds Thunderbol­t and Intel’s latest CPUS

Wave goodbye to AMD’S Ryzen chip for this gen of Microsoft’s laptop.


Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 5 continues Microsoft’s tradition of providing a general all-around productivi­ty laptop, though there’s one pronounced change for this generation: Microsoft has settled on a 12th-gen Alder Lake Core chip from Intel—and that’s it.

The Surface Laptop 5 won’t offer us the chance to directly compare Intel’s latest

Core against AMD’S latest Ryzen processor, as was demonstrat­ed in our Surface Laptop 4 review ( fave.co/3jfyvii). But it will still offer you a choice—between a 13.5-inch display and a larger 15-inch version. Inside, you’ll find the same processors used on the new

Surface Pro 9: a choice between the Core i5-1235u and Core i7-1255u, with a faster i5-1245u and i7-1265u reserved for commercial versions.

Preorders for the Surface Laptop 5 begin today. Prices will range from $999.99 to $1,699.99 for the 13.5-inch consumer version, and $1,299.99 to $2,399.99 for the 15-inch version. They’ll ship October 25. Commercial versions will be about $100 more expensive, probably due to the inclusion of Windows 11 Pro. All told, that’s the same price range that Microsoft offered for the Surface Laptop 4 ( fave.co/ 3RTKNDV), meaning that inflation, surprising­ly, won’t play a role.

A key addition for the Surface Laptop 5 is Thunderbol­t 4. Yes, Microsoft retained the legacy Surface Connect port for charging, but now you have the option of connecting to a Thunderbol­t dock ( fave. co/3vta0be) or Microsoft’s new Audio Dock. Either way, the Surface Laptop 5’s expansion capabiliti­es increase tremendous­ly because of it.

Only commercial customers will have the choice between Windows 10 and Windows 11; consumers will receive a Surface Laptop 5 preloaded with Windows 11, the first time Microsoft has shipped a laptop with its latest OS.

Other than that, the difference­s are minimal: The Surface Laptop 5 weighs just a smidge more (2.80 versus 2.79 pounds for the 13.5-inch version; 3.44 versus 3.40 pounds for the 15-inch version) and the screens now support Dolby Vision IQ, an HDR technology. The 15-inch Surface Laptop 5, however, has less (!) battery life than the 13.5-inch version, though a slight bump up from the Surface Laptop 4. Memory and storage options remain the same, other than a jump from LPDDR4X to LPDDR5X memory. The 3.5mm audio jack remains, though Microsoft removed it from the Surface Pro 9.

Users also have a new color option: Sage, in addition to the existing Matte Black and Sandstone. Remember, too, that the Surface Laptop 4 and 5 also offer you the option of an Alcantara fabric coating instead of a metal chassis, in Platinum. Every Surface Laptop 5 is part of Intel’s Evo platform ( fave.co/3gosmx3).


Processor: 13.5-inch (consumer): Core i5-1235u, Core i7-1255u; (commercial): Core i5-1245u, Core i7-1265u; 15-inch

(consumer): Core i7-1255u (commercial): Core i7-1265u

Display: 13.5-inch (2256×1504, 201 ppi); 15-inch (2496×1664, 201 ppi) with Dolby Vision IQ, Pixelsense with touch

Memory: 8GB/16GB/32GB LPDDR5X

Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB M.2 NVME SSD

Graphics: Iris Xe

Ports: 1 USB Type C (USB 4.0/Thunderbol­t 4), 1 10Gbps USB-A, Surface Connect, 3.5mm jack

Security: Windows Hello camera

Camera: 720p (user-facing)

Battery: 13.5-inch: 18 hours typical usage; 15-inch: 17 hours typical


Wireless: Wi-fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1

Audio: Dual far-field Studio Mics, Omnisonic speakers, Dolby Atmos

Operating system: Windows 11 Home (consumer)/windows 10 Pro or Windows 11 Pro (commercial)

Dimensions: 13.5-inch: 12.1×8.8×0.57 inches (14.5mm); 15-inch: 13.4×9.6×0.58 inches (14.7mm)

Weight: 13.5-inch: 2.80 pounds (fabric) to 2.86 pounds (metal); 15-inch: 3.44 pounds

Colors: 13.5-inch: Sage, Matte Black, Sandstone, plus a Platinum Alacantara option; 15-inch: Platinum and Matte Black

Prices: 13.5-inch consumer, $999.99 to $1,699.99; commercial, $1,099.99 to $2,399.99; 15-inch consumer, $1,299.99 to $2,399.99, commercial, $1,399.99 to $2,499.99

As is the case with most of the other modern Surfaces, several parts are replaceabl­e by a trained Microsoft technician, including the SSD, display enclosure, motherboar­d, battery, and thermal module. The Surface Laptop 5 will ship with a 60W power plug, and will continue to be Microsoft Pen compatible.

Remember that Intel’s Alder Lake architectu­re makes a jump to a mix of performanc­e and efficiency cores, so that 12th-gen mobile Core performanc­e jumped up quite significan­tly ( fave.co/3sbkwch) from the prior generation. Microsoft characteri­zed the Surface Laptop 5 as “50 percent more powerful” than its predecesso­r, the Surface Laptop 4. How Microsoft tuned these 12th-gen Core chips, and how well they’ll fare against their mainstream competitio­n, we’ll have to wait to find out in our own testing.

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 ?? ?? The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 will be available in a variety of colors, including the new Sage green option.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 will be available in a variety of colors, including the new Sage green option.
 ?? ?? The Microsoft Surface Laptop will continue to ship in either a 13.5-inch or a 15-inch version.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop will continue to ship in either a 13.5-inch or a 15-inch version.
 ?? ?? The Surface Laptop 5 has a Pixelsense touchscree­n display.
The Surface Laptop 5 has a Pixelsense touchscree­n display.
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