First Impressions: Microsoft’s gorgeous new Surface Laptop

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop launches in 20 countries today, along with the Surface Pro and the Surface Studio. The Surface Laptop is arguably one of the most interesting Surface devices Microsoft has released recently. It doesn’t have any crazy hinge and it also isn’t a convertible — it’s just a good old laptop that focuses on getting the fundamentals right.

I had pre-ordered the Core i5 variant with 8GB RAM of the Surface Laptop, and as per Microsoft’s indications, received it just a few hours ago. As such, these are my first impressions and not a full review which will be forthcoming.

The Surface Laptop is a gorgeous laptop. The device’s aluminium finish looks absolutely stunning, and the lack of speaker grills makes the device look much cleaner. Like Microsoft’s Surfaces tend to be, this high resolution display is also quite beautiful and matches displays offered by other PC makers like Apple, Dell etc. There’s one flaw which I’ve picked up so far and that is that it’s VERY reflective which means if you use the Surface Laptop outdoors on a sunny day, you’ll probably be very disappointed by the reflections on the display. The viewing angles and colours look just like you would expect on a premium laptop, and the Surface Laptop doesn’t disappoint at all here.

To go off on a bit of a display related tangent here, I’ve noticed that the display of the Surface Laptop tends to wobble quite a bit if you attempt to use it as a  touch laptop. While the device isn’t meant for drawing but it does have a touch display, and when you try to interact with it using the touch screen, the display will start wobbling. If you aren’t going to use the touch display much, you probably won’t notice the issue but once you start using it, things do get kind of annoying.

Now, the Surface Laptop comes with an Alcantara keyboard that everyone has been talking about for a while now. Alcantara on the keyboard actually feels really nice and there are no doubts about that. The fabric gives a unique feel to the Surface Laptop and puts it apart from all the aluminium designs that we get to see on most of the premium laptops nowadays. I haven’t had much time with the Surface Laptop just yet, so I can’t really comment on the durability of the Alcantara keyboard. However, I honestly feel like you’ll have a hard time getting this thing dirty — and even if you manage to make it dirty, you can clean it off with damp cloth really easily.

Other things like the speakers are impressive too, and that’s mainly because there aren’t any speaker grills on the Surface Laptop at all. Microsoft actually integrated the speakers underneath the keyboard, but they still sound very good which was certainly a bit surprising to me. As for the ports, it is kind of disappointing to see the lack of a microSD card slot as well as a USB Type-C port. I personally don’t have many Type-C gadgets or use a microSD card regularly, but I can totally see how it may be a major issue for those who already have a lot of Type-C devices or need to frequently transfer files from microSD cards or wish to expand their storage cheaply – especially as the other Surface devices offer microSD or full sized SD card support. There’s only one USB 3.0 Type-A port on the device along with the Mini DisplayPort, but there’s also another Type-A port on the power brick for some reason.

The Surface Laptop also comes with the usual bloatware that ships with Windows 10, including things like “Dragon Mania Legends” and “Hidden City: Mystery of Shadows.”  Never heard of those games? Yep, me neither.

To be honest, this isn’t really a Surface Laptop issue, but it’s still very disappointing. I mean, I don’t expect a manufacturer to put a bunch of crappy bloatware on my brand-new $999 laptop. Sure, you can uninstall all of them whenever you want, and that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t really appreciate bloatware on a premium laptop.

I am going to be testing the Surface Laptop over the next few weeks to see how it works out. The device has been doing very well in the past few hours, but I’ll need to put it through its paces to get a much better understanding of its true power and durability. For that, you’ll need to wait for our full review of the Surface Laptop.