Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 Dumps AMD, Goes All in on Intel Evo

Microsoft Surface Pro Laptop 5
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Microsoft's Surface Laptop 5 looks familiar in a lot of ways. It comes in 13.5-inch and 15-inch sizes, has Alcantara and metal options, a 3:2 display and a classic, clean design. What it doesn't have, however, are AMD Ryzen CPU options. The Surface Laptop 5 is all Intel, all the time.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 13.5-inchMicrosoft Surface Laptop 5 15-inch
CPUIntel Core i5-1235U or Intel Core i7-1255UIntel Core i7-1255U
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe (integrated)Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
MemoryUp to 32GB LPDDR5xUp to 32GB LPDDR5x
StorageUp to 1TB SSDUp to 1TB SSD
Display13.5-inch PixelSense, 2256 x 1504, 3:2 aspect ratio, Dolby Vision IQ15-inch PixelSense, 2496 x 1554, 3:2 aspect ratio, Dolby Vision IQ
NetworkingWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1
Webcam720p720p
Battery LifeUp to 18 hoursUp to 17 hours
Starting Price$999.99 $1,299.99
AvailabilityOct. 5Oct. 5

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

This is also the first time the Surface Laptop (outside the Surface Laptop Studio) is getting Thunderbolt 4. Every single Surface Laptop this year, both business and consumer, are Intel Evo certified.

Microsoft started offering AMD Ryzen processors on the Surface Laptop 3 in 2019, and did so again on the Surface Laptop 4 in 2021, though they were typically on older silicon. Last year's Surface Laptop 4 used Ryzen 4000 chips and still managed to make our list of the best ultrabooks, for awhile.

"With every product and with the goal of delighting customers, we select the right components for the form, scenarios, and customer we envision," A Microsoft spokesperson told Tom's Hardware in a statement. "It is a deliberate process whereby we work closely with our partners to tune and perfect the overall experience. For this product, we are excited about the 12th Gen processors from Intel. Built on the Intel Evo platform, this chipset will help Surface Laptop 5 to achieve the perfect balance of style and power. This balance has consistently led to Surface Laptop being our most loved Surface device."

The 12th Gen Intel chips should still be a nice upgrade for the Surface Laptop lineup, which are a step up in performance over both those AMD chips and also the 11th Gen Intel CPUs. Both the 13.5 and 15-inch Laptop 5 variants use the Core i7-1255U, while the smaller laptop also can use a Core i5-1235U. Commercial versions ship with a Core i5-1245U or Core i7-1265U.

The Laptop will continue to come in platinum and matte black at both the 13.5 and 15 inch sizes, while the smaller model will also get sage and sandstone color optoins. Only the 13.5-inch platinum version will come with an Alcantara wrist rest.

Both laptops will have 3:2 displays with Dolby Vision IQ (on the speaker side, you get Dolby Atmos). Notably, neither of them are getting the bump to 120 Hz that we've seen on the Surface Pro or Surface Laptop Studio, which would have been a nice touch, even if you are less likely to use a stylus with a clamshell notebook. The Surface Laptop is also still on a 720p webcam, unlike the Surface Pro and Laptop Studio.

Storage on the Surface Laptop 5 starts at 256GB and goes up to 1TB. Microsoft suggests the SSDs are removable, though for previous Surface Laptops, that has meant removing the feet and taking off the keyboard. That's likely why the company recommends only having authorized technicians take care of replacements.

Neither model has a ton of ports, but they're a decent mix. You get a single USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 4, a USB Type-A 3.1 port, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and, of course, the proprietary Surface Connect port.

We'll have to test Microsoft's performance and battery claims ourselves, but otherwise, it seems like not too much changed here. I suppose I can live with that, especially if Microsoft kept its keyboards to the same quality as previous versions.

The new Surface Laptop 5 lineup will launch on Oct. 25, starting at $999 for the 13.5-inch model with a Core i5, 8GB of RAM and 256B of storage and $1,299.99 for the 15-incher with an i7 and 8GB of RAM.

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 Twitter: @FreedmanAE

  • zecoeco
    The reason behind this choice is, I think, because Microsoft LOVES E-cores and not to forget that windows 11 scheduler is built for a hybrid architecture.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    I'll give MS the benefit of the doubt and say this is because of Thunderbolt. I don't think USB4 is in Ryzen mobile yet and won't be for a while still, so I'd imagine having TB3/4 is better and it is a selling point for laptops. While USB-C is neat, I still think TB is better, slightly, and better integrated in an all-Intel ecosystem.

    Other than that, I'd say at that price point and power level Intel should be similarly matched to AMD for what these are targeted for, so Intel may have been either cheaper, a better deal in bulk, or easier to integrate in their overall design. Or at least, I hope that was the case.

    I would still prefer an AMD APU in this segment, personally, but I can't deny TB does make a difference for these machines.

    EDIT: I was corrected and current Ry6K mobile does support it, with an asterisk: https://www.pcworld.com/article/703578/usb4-support-amd-ryzen-6000-laptop.html
    Regards.
    Reply
  • rluker5
    18 hours is pretty good.
    Reply
  • thestryker
    In all honesty I wouldn't be surprised if this was more tied to CPU availability than Microsoft not being interested in 6xxx AMD CPUs. If Microsoft can backup the battery life claims these would be the best ADL laptops by far of any I've seen myself.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    I think somebody in MS has a Intel bias or a Anti-AMD bias.

    I'm sure AMD can provide the chips if they were contracted to.
    Reply
  • martinezkier.dacoville
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    I think somebody in MS has a Intel bias or a Anti-AMD bias.

    I'm sure AMD can provide the chips if they were contracted to.
    The only bias here is you, you must really despise Intel :D
    Reply
  • Giroro
    It's a shame the RAM/storage specs are lifted from either a 4 year old entry-level Mac mini, or a phone.
    Windows 11 is way too bloated and ugly to pay the Apple tax for such low specs.
    Reply
  • MasterMadBones
    -Fran- said:
    I don't think USB4 is in Ryzen mobile yet and won't be for a while still
    Ryzen 6000 has USB 4 support.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    MasterMadBones said:
    Ryzen 6000 has USB 4 support.
    OH! Colour me surprised then.

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/703578/usb4-support-amd-ryzen-6000-laptop.html
    You're right and it'll depend on the vendor to "wire" it.

    Now I'm wondering what Intel had over AMD for this one, but I still think TB on its own is quite important, unfortunately.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    martinezkier.dacoville said:
    The only bias here is you, you must really despise Intel :D
    I don't have faith in them delivering compared to AMD.
    AMD has had more consistency this past decade on delivering on it's promises.

    Something that Intel can't claim given all the issues it's had as of the past decade and still have going on.
    Reply