The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a premium Windows ultraportable available in a 13.5-inch or a 15-inch size. You can configure it with an Intel Core i5-1235U or Core i7-1255U CPU and up to 32GB of memory and 1TB of storage. It has a 3:2, touch-sensitive display, a 720p webcam, and Wi-Fi 6. Its port selection includes one USB-A, a USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, and a proprietary Surface Connect charging port. Both sizes—13.5-inch and 15-inch—have the same 46Wh battery capacity. It's available in five colors: Platinum with Alcantara deck, Sage, Sandstone, Platinum with metal deck, and Matte Black.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is good for school use. It feels incredibly well-built and is easy to carry around. It has a sharp and bright display, a spacious and tactile keyboard, and a large and responsive touchpad. The Intel CPU can handle most student workloads like text processing and web browsing, but it isn't ideal for demanding tasks like 3D graphics. The battery lasts around eight hours of light use, so depending on your workload, you may need to plug it in for a quick charge to get through the day.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is inadequate for gaming. It's only available with low-power processors with integrated graphics, which aren't powerful enough to handle graphically intensive games. Also, the CPU's performance drops significantly when performing demanding tasks for an extended period. Its display is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, has a slow response time causing noticeable ghosting, and doesn't support variable refresh rate to reduce screen tearing.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is good for media consumption. It's very portable, thanks to its thin and light design, and its battery life is fair at around five hours of video playback. It has a sharp and exceptionally well-calibrated display, although its taller 3:2 aspect ratio means you'll have black bars at the top and bottom in most content. The speakers sound clear but slightly muffled, and while they get reasonably loud, they sound a little harsh at max volume.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is okay for use as a workstation. The Intel 12th Gen. CPU and integrated graphics can only handle light productivity tasks, not demanding workloads like video editing or 3D graphics. It also has a very limited port selection, with only one USB-A and a USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port. On the upside, it has a great keyboard, and it doesn't get hot or loud under load.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is good for business use. It's available in a 13.5-inch or 15-inch size, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Both models are very portable and feel incredibly well-built. The display is sharp, the keyboard feels comfortable to type on, and the touchpad is very responsive. The Intel CPU performs well and can handle most productivity tasks like text processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. The battery lasts around eight hours of light use, so you may need to plug it in for a quick charge, depending on your usage.
We tested the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 15-inch with an Intel Core i7-1255U CPU, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of storage. You can also get this laptop in a 13.5-inch size. The CPU, memory, and storage are configurable; you can see the available options in the table below.
You can see our unit's label here.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is one of the best premium Windows ultraportables on the market. It stands out for its exceptional build quality, as well as for its sharp, well-calibrated 3:2 display. Its keyboard, touchpad, and webcam are also among the best.
For more options, check out our recommendations for the best laptops, the best laptops for college, and the best business laptops.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) and the Dell XPS 13 (2021) are very similar premium ultraportable laptops. However, there are some small differences. The Surface Laptop 5 has a sturdier build and a better webcam, while the XPS 13 has a brighter display, better reflection handling, and longer battery life. The Surface Laptop 5 is a newer device and is available with faster Intel 12th Gen. CPUs, although there's a more recent version of the XPS 13 with Intel 12th Gen. processors as well.
The Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) is better than the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) for most uses. The MacBook Air has a brighter display with better reflection handling, making it more suitable for use in well-lit settings or outdoors in broad daylight. While both laptops have an outstanding touchpad, the MacBook Air's is larger, and because it uses haptics to simulate mouse clicks instead of physical buttons, it makes actions like dragging and dropping much easier. If you need to connect more than one external display, the Surface Laptop would be better because the MacBook Air can only output to a single external display.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) is a newer version of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 (2019). They're identical in almost every aspect; the only differences are that the Surface Laptop 5 has newer Intel 12th Gen. CPUs, longer battery life, and Thunderbolt 4 support.
The Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022) and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) are both premium ultraportable laptops. The XPS 13 Plus is only available in a 13.5-inch size, while the Surface Laptop 5 is available in a 13.5-inch or 15-inch size. The Surface Laptop 5 is slightly better, as it has a more comfortable keyboard, a more responsive touchpad, and a much better webcam. However, the XPS 13 Plus has more display options, including a 3.5K OLED panel with full Adobe RGB and DCI P3 coverage, making it a better choice for media consumption and color work like photo and video editing.
The LG gram 17 (2021) and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) are very similar ultraportables, but there are some differences. The gram 17 has a much better port selection and significantly longer battery life. Its larger display gives you more room for multitasking; however, its increased size makes it less portable than the Surface Laptop. On the other hand, the Surface Laptop has a more responsive touchpad and a better webcam. The Surface Laptop's display is more accurate out of the box and supports touch input.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 has a sleek and premium design. You can get this laptop in a 13.5-inch or 15-inch size. The two models look very similar; the only difference is that the 13.5-inch model has less space on each side of the keyboard and is available with an Alcantara keyboard deck. Alcantara is a fabric often used in luxury cars. The laptop has a wedge shape, meaning it's thicker at the back than at the front. The lid only has a Microsoft logo in the middle, and there's nothing on the bottom except for the rubber feet. There are no speaker grills; the sound comes through the keyboard. The bezels are a little thick compared to other recent laptops. They're more distracting on the 13.5-inch model because they're the same size but on a smaller device. There are five colors: Platinum (with Alcantara), Sage, Sandstone, Platinum (with metal deck), and Matte Black. The Platinum (Alcantara), Sage, and Sandstone colors are only available on the 13.5-inch model.
The Microsoft Surface 5's build quality is outstanding. Its aluminum chassis feels very sturdy, exhibiting almost no flex in the display or keyboard deck, and the finish doesn't scratch or pick up fingerprints easily. The whole device feels hefty, with evenly-distributed weight. The rubber feet stick very firmly to the bottom. They're hard to remove and will likely break if you try, making them unusable after. The build quality on the 13.5-inch Alcantara model is similar on the outside; however, there's more flex on the keyboard deck, and the Alcantara can stain over time.
The hinge is outstanding. It feels smooth when opening and closing the lid, and it's very stable. It has just the right amount of resistance so that you can make small adjustments and open the lid with one hand. The screen only wobbles a little bit when typing aggressively.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop is very portable. Its power adapter is also compact and easy to carry around. The posted measurements are for the 15-inch model. Here are the measurements for the 13-inch model:
The Microsoft Surface Laptop's serviceability is bad. To access the internals, you need to remove the four rubber feet and T5 Torx screws on the bottom, then lift the keyboard. The keyboard is attached magnetically, and the magnets are pretty strong, so you'll likely need a prying tool. You also need to detach the cable connecting the keyboard and touchpad to the motherboard. The entire process is relatively easy. The problem is that the rubber feet break easily and will likely need to be replaced once you remove them. Microsoft sells replacement feet on their website. Once inside, you can only replace the SSD and the battery.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop is available in a 13.5-inch or a 15-inch size. The 13.5-inch model has a resolution of 2256 x 1504. The two displays look the same in terms of sharpness because Microsoft targets a specific pixel density rather than a resolution. You just get more screen real estate on the 15-inch, which makes split-screen multitasking feel a little more comfortable. The 3:2 aspect ratio is great for productivity, as you can see more information at once when reading a document or website, but you'll get black bars at the top and bottom when viewing standard 16:9 videos.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is only available with a 60Hz display. It has a very slow response time causing noticeable ghosting, so it isn't ideal for viewing fast-moving content or gaming. There's a variable refresh rate setting in Windows, but it doesn't do anything. The 13-inch model's screen is identical.
The contrast ratio is decent and within the typical range of most IPS panels. However, it's still relatively low compared to other display technologies like VA and OLED. This level of contrast makes blacks look gray in dim settings. If you want a similar laptop available with an OLED display, check out the Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022).
The display gets bright enough for use in most indoor settings but not outdoors in broad daylight. You may also have trouble with visibility in well-lit rooms due to the display's sub-par reflection handling. It gets very dim at the lowest brightness setting, which is great for dark room viewing as it causes less eye strain.
The reflection handling is sub-par. The display's glossy finish struggles a lot with direct, mirror-like reflections, so it's best to avoid having bright light sources directly behind you. The reflections are visible even with the screen at maximum brightness.
The horizontal viewing angle is decent. The image looks dimmer and more washed out from the side. The picture quality is still good enough to share documents or casual content with someone else; however, you need to be close or directly in front of the screen if you need perfect accuracy.
The vertical viewing angle is okay. Like the horizontal viewing angle, the image dims and washes out from above and below. You need to look at the screen almost straight on to get an accurate image, which might be hard in tight places where you don't have much space to tilt the screen, like a bus or airplane.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop's display accuracy is fantastic out of the box. Most color and white balance inaccuracies are hard to spot. The color temperature is very close to the standard 6500K target, and the gamma follows the sRGB curve very closely except in very bright scenes where the image is a little too dark. These measurements were taken with no color profile activated. The sRGB color profile is very similar but has a slightly higher color dE. The Enhanced color profile is also less accurate, as it oversaturates some colors to make them appear more vibrant.
The display's color gamut is great. It has full sRGB coverage, the color space used in most content. The Adobe RGB and DCI P3 coverage is very good, but it isn't enough for photo editing or for producing HDR content. Again, the 13.5-inch model's display is identical.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop has a great keyboard. It has high-quality keycaps and a spacious layout that's easy to get used to. The keys feel relatively stable, have a good amount of travel, and provide satisfying tactile feedback. They also don't require much force to actuate, so they don't cause fatigue over an extended period. It's worth noting that the typing experience is slightly different on the 13.5-inch model with an Alcantara keyboard deck. The Alcantara provides a softer surface to rest your wrist; however, as mentioned in the build section, there's also more flex on the deck, making the typing feel slightly mushier. As for typing noise, it isn't the quietest keyboard, but the noise isn't loud enough to be bothersome in noise-sensitive environments. You can adjust between three backlight brightness levels or turn it off completely.
The touchpad is excellent. It could be larger, considering the amount of available space on the deck, but it's large enough to use comfortably. It feels very smooth and tracks all movements and gestures well. Palm rejection also works well, and there are no issues with actions like dragging and dropping or zooming in and out of images. Clicking on the touchpad feels relatively satisfying, and you can click anywhere, although it's harder to press toward the top. The 13.5-inch model's touchpad is the same size as the 15-inch model.
The speakers are decent. They sound clear but slightly boxy and hollow, which is to be expected because there are no speaker grills, and the sound is coming through the keyboard. They're best suited for speech-heavy content, not music or movies. Unfortunately, although they get reasonably loud, the sound becomes harsh and shouty at max volume.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop's webcam is excellent. The image has a lot of fine details even though it's only 720p, and the colors look accurate and true to life. There's some noise in the background, but it's barely noticeable. Voices sound clear and natural over the microphone with little to no background noise.
The port selection is sub-par. The USB-A port supports USB 3.2 Gen. 1 data transfer speed of up to 5Gbps. The USB-C port supports Thunderbolt 4, allowing you to transfer files at up to 40Gbps and connect up to two 4k displays at 60Hz with a single cable. The proprietary Surface Connect port is similar to Apple's MagSafe. It attaches magnetically to prevent the laptop from getting pulled off a table if you trip on the cable.
The wireless adapter is an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop is available with the following CPUs:
They're both low-power processors typically found in ultraportable laptops and designed to handle general productivity tasks like text processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, presentations, and video playback. They both have two performance and eight efficiency cores; the only difference is that the Core i7 has faster clock speeds, giving it a slight performance boost. Also, the Core i5 is only available on the 13.5-inch model.
This laptop is only available with Intel Iris Xe. It's an integrated GPU that can only handle general productivity tasks, not demanding workloads like video editing or 3D graphics. You can play some causal, puzzle-like games, as well as older or extremely well-optimized titles, but even then, you might have to play at a lower resolution or with low graphics settings to achieve playable frame rates.
You can configure the Microsoft Surface Laptop with 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of memory. The 32GB option is only available on the 15-inch model.
You can configure the laptop with 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage. The 1TB option is only available on the 15-inch model.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop has a great overall score in the Geekbench 5 benchmarks. The Intel Core i7-1255U is fast enough to provide a smooth experience in light workloads, like text processing, web browsing, and video playback. However, it'll struggle in demanding workloads like video editing or 3D graphics. The numbers are lower than expected for an Intel Core i7-1255U because the Recommended power profile throttles the CPU's performance to prolong battery life. Switching to the Best Performance mode boosts the single-thread score to 1,659 and the multi-thread score to 8,903. The jump in performance is significant, but it still doesn't make this laptop suitable for heavy, sustained workloads. If you need to perform intensive tasks, it's best to get a laptop with a faster H-series CPU and a more effective cooling system. As for the GPU, the integrated Intel Iris Xe performs poorly and isn't suitable for tasks like image processing.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop's overall score in Cinebench R23 is excellent. However, you can get far better performance on a mobile workstation or gaming laptop with an H-series CPU. The Intel CPU in this laptop is very capable; it just can't operate at full speed due to significant thermal throttling.
The performance in Blender is okay. The CPU can complete 3D renders relatively quickly; however, it's likely still too slow for professionals with tight deadlines. If you need to perform 3D renders for work, it's best to get a laptop with a dedicated GPU. Most GPUs can complete the renders significantly faster, even entry-level ones.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 performs poorly in the Basemark GPU benchmark. Its Intel Iris Xe isn't bad for integrated graphics, but it's still slower than even an entry-level discrete GPU. It can only handle simple, puzzle-like games at 1080p. You can play some older or extremely well-optimized titles; however, you'll have to play at a lower resolution or with low graphics settings to get playable frame rates.
The storage drive performance is outstanding. It's a little slow for a PCIe Gen. 4 NVMe SSD, but it's still plenty fast for a general productivity laptop. The 1TB SSD is likely faster, as larger SSDs tend to perform better.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop's battery life is okay. You can get through a typical 8-hour workday on a full charge, but it's pretty tight, so depending on your usage, you may need to plug it in for a quick charge. The 13-inch model will likely have a slightly longer battery life due to its smaller, lower-resolution screen.
Borderlands 3 isn't playable at 1080p on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5, as the Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU can't handle such a graphically demanding title. The gameplay is very choppy, even at the lowest graphical settings.
Civilization VI runs poorly on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5. The frame rates are very consistent but too low, even for a strategy game that doesn't require precise aiming. That said, it's playable if you lower a few graphical settings. The average turn time is okay but slow for this particular CPU, the Intel Core i7-1255U, and also slow compared to other laptops with an Intel 12th Gen. CPU, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (2022).
The performance in CS:GO is mediocre. Although the average frame rate is above 60 fps, the game stutters a lot due to frame drops. Lowering the graphical settings helps, but it's still too choppy for an FPS game.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider runs poorly on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5. The game is too choppy at 1080p, even with low graphical settings. You can expect similar performance in other graphically demanding AAA titles. The large frametime spikes are scene changes and aren't representative of the laptop's performance.
The Microsoft Surface 5 has decent thermal and noise handling. In an idle state, the keyboard is only mildly warm, and the fans are completely silent. The keyboard gets hotter under load, but it isn't uncomfortable. Likewise, the fans are audible but aren't annoying or distracting.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop's performance over time is bad. Neither the CPU nor the GPU gets very hot, but they still throttle, especially the CPU. The performance loss is normal for thin and light laptops like the Surface Laptop 5, as light tasks like text processing, web browsing, and video playback only require the CPU and GPU to work in bursts, not continuously over a long period at near maximum capacity. There's less throttling in the Best Performance mode—17% on the CPU and 1% on the GPU—but the temperatures are higher. The CPU reaches 77°C, while the GPU reaches 66°C.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop has a few pre-installed applications, including:
The Microsoft Surface 5 has a Windows Hello facial recognition IR camera. You can use it to log in quickly, authorize purchases in the Windows Store, and auto-fill saved passwords on supported websites. The display supports pen input, but you have to buy the stylus separately. Any Microsoft Pen Protocol stylus will work.