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Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review

It's safe to say the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is a cleverly designed device that really looks to help boost productivity for students and remote work.

microsoft surface laptop 5 review

Our Verdict


A truly admirable bit of tech, the Surface Laptop 5 feels narrow in it's appeal but absolutely nails the requirements of it's target audience and that has to be applauded.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is arguably one of the best laptops on the market for anyone looking to hyperfocus on their studies or while working in a hybrid environment. The versatility on offer is unmatched, even by similarly sized MacBook laptops. 

Don’t let its size fool you though, the Surface Laptop 5 also packs quite the punch and can keep up with anything you throw at it. The Surface name has become one of the bigger laptop brands in recent years and for a good reason. Let us here at Gear Nuke take you though why we’re such big fans of this little miracle worker.

Here are the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 specs:

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 specs
CPU Intel Core i5-1235U or i7-1255U
GPU Intel Iris Xe
RAM 8GB, 16GB or 32GB
Display 13.5 or 15-inch, PixelSense, Gorilla Glass 5, Dolby Vision IQ
Battery Up to 18 hours of use
Storage 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD

Speed & performance

While the specs for the Surface Laptop 5 won’t leave you breathless, you have to view them contextually against the purpose of the machine. Whether you opt for the 13.5 or 15-inch model, there’s more than enough speed to handle whatever work you throw at it. 

You can choose between the Intel Core i5-1235U or i7-1255U CPU in the 13.5-inch model whereas the 15-inch is restricted to the i7 only. We’re talking about 12th gen intel hardware here, and you can pair it with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM to ensure that you can enjoy life with as many Google Chrome tabs open as you desire and still experience no memory issues.

We found that the Surface Laptop 5 handled high workloads really well but 8GB of RAM will feel like a limitation in the long term, so consider future-proofing your laptop by upgrading to the 16GB at the point of purchase.

Graphically, once again there’s nothing remarkable to shout about, but the Intel Iris Xe graphics chip is almost misleading with how powerful it is considering it’s just an evolution of integrated graphics. Not that we would ever suggest playing games on a business-first laptop, but if you were to consider it, the Surface Laptop 5 could handle entry-level gaming with titles like Valorant, League of Legends, and World of Warcraft with ease.

As for your storage, it’s either a 256GB or 512GB SSD for the 13.5-inch model or up to 1TB of SSD storage for the 15-inch variant. This should be more than enough but you can always look towards an external hard drive if you are still struggling for space and finding it difficult to delete files. Overall, there’s more than enough hardware here to keep you moving and handle a busy work/life balance.

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Versatility, design & portability

The Surface Laptop 5 in its 13.5-inch form is portability personified. Coming in at just 2.86 lbs for the all metal model and 2.8 lbs for the fabric coated design. You’ll have no issues finding a suitable laptop bag to carry the Surface Laptop 5 around and keeping it safe is also a breeze thanks to its sturdy build quality. The aluminum casing is very hardy and we’ve found it almost impossible to leave any permanent marks on it (not that we’ve been trying). 

There are quite a few design options available for the Surface Laptop 5 and the model that we tested was the black metal one which was incredibly pretty if we do say so ourselves. Your other choices are Platinum, Sage, and Sandstone for the metal chassis and the Platinum color also comes available in the fabric Alcantara configuration.

The Surface Laptop 5 also has no issue with connecting to external displays. Granted, you will need a USB-C to HDMI or DisplayPort cable but they’re not too hard to find. Other ports available to you are limited to one USB-A 3.1, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect port. We highly recommend buying a USB hub to ensure you can still connect multiple devices like a mouse and keyboard if looking to use the Surface Laptop 5 as a workstation.

When it comes to the 3.5mm jack, it may seem a bit outdated now but comes in use if you’re limited in your audio options. It’s far easier to connect a set of headphones or earbuds via Bluetooth though for ultimate ease. The built in speakers are fine but nothing to shout about, hence why we mention using headphones or earbuds outright. 

Finally, we’re on to the display which utilizes PixelSense with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 for the 13.5-inch model and 2496 x 1664 for the 15-inch variant. Gorilla Glass 5 is included with both, ensuring the display is incredibly durable, not that we recommend putting this to the test, but know that it should hopefully take more than one minor accident to do any real damage. The display is also color calibrated and has Dolby IQ vision (the speakers are also Dolby Atmos which is a bonus). It is also a touchscreen and you can either use your hands or the official Microsoft Surface Pen (sold separately)

surface laptop 5 review - all sizes and colors


We’re big fans of the Surface Laptop 5 as a device that shamelessly knows what it’s good at. If you’re a student dealing with mountains of assignments or someone trying to overcome the challenges with remote/hybrid work, there really are few options that will be as revolutionary.

It may be the case that no single feature of the Surface Laptop 5 is going to change the industry forever, but some many right decisions have been made and instead of creating some overpowered, overpriced Frankenstein’s creature-type laptop, it actually all comes together beautifully and for a very reasonable price.