Hands-on With AMD-Powered Microsoft Surface Laptop 3: Good Keys, USB-C

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Microsoft unveiled the Surface Laptop 3 in two flavors here at an event in New York: a 13.5-inch Intel Ice Lake model and a 15-inch version with custom AMD silicon. The former will start at $999 and the latter at $1,199 when they release on October 22.

The 15-inch is new to the family, as previously the Surface Laptop only came in a 13.5-inch size. This model on display at Microsoft's press event had an AMD Ryzen 5 3850U with Vega 9 graphics, though there's also a Ryzen 7 3780U.

The new display will please holdouts who went for the heftier Surface Book but didn't require a graphics card. It's still quite light, but the display feels much larger, especially with the 3:2 ratio. 

Perhaps my favorite part of both devices is the keyboard, with 1.3mm of travel. In my short time with both models, I found the keys clicky and extremely satisfying to type on. The touchpad is now 20% larger, and it feels more in line with what you see on other high-end notebooks.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The 15-inch version ditches Alcantara for a new all aluminum design, as do professional versions of the 13-inch model. I was always fond of how Alcantara looks, but this feels much better and you don't have to worry about staining it.

Oh, and both models finally have USB Type-C. Neither have Thunderbolt 3, including the Intel model, which is slightly disappointing.

The colors, including cobalt and the new sandstone design, look beautiful as ever, though I suspect many will still get the Surface Laptop 3 in an ever popular black.

We hope to review these when they release later this month.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
-Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch)Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch)
CPUUp to 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7Up to AMD Ryzen 7 3780U (Up to Intel Core i7-1065G7 in commercial models)
GPUIntel Iris Plus 950Up to Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics
RAMUp to 16GB LPDDR4X, 3733MHzUp to 32GB DDR4 2400MHz (Up to 16GB LPPDR4X, 3733MHz on commercial models)
Display13.5-inch PixelSense, 2256 x 150415-inch PixelSense Touchscreen, 2496 x 1664
StorageUp to 1TB removable M.2 NVMe SSDUp to 512GB removable m.2 NVMe SSD
Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.

  • f0xnewz
    Does the USB-C port support charging the laptop so we do not have to plug in a 2nd power cord when connected to docking station?
  • BulkZerker
    f0xnewz said:
    Does the USB-C port support charging the laptop so we do not have to plug in a 2nd power cord when connected to docking station?

    These are the hard questions that need answered.
  • alextheblue
    custom AMD silicon
    Well, not really. It's a custom model, sure, but the silicon is the same. They just enabled one more CU for the Ryzen 5 variant, and enabled ALL the CUs for the Ryzen 7, like the existing desktop variant. Not sure about clocks, but they are probably using premium samples so clocks and overall performance within the 15W envelope should be good.