Surface Laptop 5 boasts 17-hour battery and sage colour

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Surface Laptop 5 enjoys a bright new Sage colour option …as well as some upgrades under the bonnet (Image: MICROSOFT)

Microsoft announced Surface Laptop 5 during its latest Surface event, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the hardware range. If you were hoping this milestone would result in a dramatic upgrade for the Surface lineup …you’re going to be sorely disappointed. That’s because Microsoft’s Laptop 5 is not a radical shake-up of the popular laptop model.

In fact, aside from a bold new sage colour option – only available on the smaller 13-inch model, the outside of the Laptop 5 looks identical to its predecessor.

But don’t let the identical exterior deceive you, like the announced at the same event, there are some worthwhile upgrades to be found on the inside. Surface Laptop 5 is fuelled by Intel’s 12th generation Core processors, built on the Intel Evo platform. Microsoft says the new chipset not only improves the amount of power under the bonnet, but also extends battery life thanks to the extra efficiency. Surface Laptop 5 owners should expect up to 17 hours of battery life, Microsoft claims.

Of course, we’ll need to get our hands on the 13-inch Laptop 5 to test those claims, but if Microsoft’s battery tests are accurate, that’s more than a day of work before you need to reach for a charger. For those who like to work from a coffee shop or library …that should be a game-changer. For comparison, Apple’s M2-powered MacBook Air promises 18-hours of boxset bingeing and 15-hours of wireless web browsing before you’ll need to refill the battery. We found those claims to be pretty spot-on in our .

Like the Surface Laptop 4 before it, the new model arrives with a choice of either 13- or 15-inch PixelSense displays. Both of these variants have a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is taller than you’ll find on most laptops, which tend to opt for the cinematic 16:9 so there are no black borders when streaming Netflix shows or watching movies on-the-go. Microsoft says the taller 3:2 screen is better for productivity since it allows more vertical content to be displayed – perfect when editing documents, reading webpages, managing your inbox, and more.

As before, Microsoft has fitted touchscreens on its Surface Laptop 5, so you’ll be able to tap, swipe and pinch the display to interact with your favourite apps.

In the past, this hasn’t been massively useful, but Windows 11 includes native support for Android apps from the Amazon App Store. Installing Android apps, primarily designed to be used with a touchscreen, alongside desktop applications like Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Photoshop, the touchscreen makes a lot more sense. Laptop 5 owners will be able to play some of the biggest Android games and scroll through social media apps with the PixelSense display.

microsoft surface laptop 5 release date price uk

Speedy file transfers are supported with the arrival of Thunderbolt 4 port (Image: MICROSOFT )

New for the Surface Laptop 5 series is support for Dolby Vision IQ, which Microsoft says should dramatically improve the quality when watching movies, bingeing a boxset from Netflix, or gaming with Xbox Game Pass. For the latter, Surface Laptop 5 owners can instantly pair an Xbox controller with their laptop, picking up where they left off on their console. And since everything is streamed via Microsoft’s servers – there’s no need to dedicate gigabytes of space on the hard-drive to colossal game files to be able to play.

Dolby Atmos sound is also supported, although that’s the case with the Laptop 4 too.

If you spend a lot of time on video calls, Surface Laptop 5 could offer a much-needed upgrade.

Microsoft says it’s worked hard to boost the performance of the built-in camera, which now automatically adjusts the lighting conditions so skin tones look natural during calls. AI is used to work to separate the subject of the call, so that a bokeh-style blur can be applied to the background.

Surface Laptop 5 comes fitted with a pair of far-field studio microphones which should keep you sounding loud-and-clear, no matter what is going on around you. Again, Microsoft made a big play during its announcement about the power of AI to quash background interruptions – from lawn mowers, traffic, and people chatting excitedly in the office. Of course, we’ll need to test this ourselves, but the demo looked mightily impressive.

Of course, these features are widely available via video conferencing tools like Google Meet, Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft’s own Teams. The difference with using these features on the Surface Laptop 5 is the AI processing is handled by a specific partition in the chipset, so you won’t notice any slowdown of performance from the rest of the laptop – despite the huge amount of computational grunt needed for these effects to be applied in real-time. 

If you’ve struggled to multi-task or present a document during a video call, this could be a real game-changer. 

microsoft surface laptop 5 release date price uk

Only one colour, the Platinum, enjoys the warm Alcantara finish (Image: MICROSOFT )

As you’d expect, the upgraded webcam setup built into the Laptop 5 supports Windows Hello, so you’ll be able to login with a quick glance as you open the laptop lid.

Microsoft has refreshed the colours available with the Laptop 5 …although there isn’t as much choice as the all-new Surface Pro 9. Instead, you’ll need to settle for a new Sage option, as well as the Sandstone, Matte Black, and Platinum (which has the soft-touch Alcantara coating around the keyboard to make typing more comfortable) we saw with the launch of the Surface Laptop 4. It’s nice that Microsoft isn’t afraid to bring some colour to its flagship laptop series …but we’d like to see a little more choice in future.

Charging is handled with the magnetic Surface Connect port, although you can refill the battery with the USB-C port too. Laptop 5 supports Thunderbolt 4, which means this laptop can handle two external displays at a time. Microsoft still includes a USB-A port, so there’s no need to pack an adapter if you’ve got older peripherals around.

Surface Laptop 5 arrives at the same price point as its predecessor, starting from £999 in the UK for a 13-inch model with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of built-in solid-state storage, and a 12th generation Intel Core i5 processor. Microsoft will bundle 15-months of its Office 365 subscription service for the price of 12 for all Surface Laptop 5 owners. The 15-inch model starts from £1,299. Both variants will start shipping from October 25, with preorders are available now for those who want to be amongst the first to get their hands on these new models.

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