Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) Review: Is It Worth It?

In this article, Reviewing Microsoft Surface Laptop 5, Intel i7 variant. I will delve into its various aspects, including its ports, display, hinges, keyboard, performance and gaming, thermals, and battery life, and is it worth it?

Specifications

Display13.5 inch PixelSense Display 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI) Resolutions.
CPU12th gen Intel Core i7-1255U Processor
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe Graphics
Memory8Gb, 16GB, or 32Gb LPDDR5x RAM
Storage256Gb, 512GB, or 1TB, Removal SSD
Battery47.4Wh
Connectivity and WirelessBluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax compatible
Webcam720p HD Front Facing Camera
Build, Dimensions and Weight12.1″ (308 mm) x 8.8″ (223 mm) x 57″ (14.5 mm). Build Metal 1,297g, fabric 1,272g.
Price$1092

Design and Build Quality

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) Review: Is It Worth It?: Design and Build Quality

The Surface Laptop 5 boasts an outstanding all-metal design that exudes premium quality. It introduces a new Sage Green color, which I find quite appealing – it’s a sophisticated greenish-gray shade. The engineering, particularly the hinges, is top-notch. Microsoft has continued its tradition of crafting premium, all-metal builds with the Surface Laptop 5. Despite its slim and lightweight profile, it’s a convenient laptop to carry in your bag while on the go.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) Review: Both Side Ports Close Up

The port selection on the Surface Laptop 5 includes a USB port and a USB Type-C port on the left side. Notably, this Surface laptop introduces a Thunderbolt 4 port for the first time, providing full functionality, including data transfer, charging, and display output. Moving to the right side, you’ll find only the Surface Connect port, and you can also charge via the USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port. However, one notable omission is an SD card reader, which would have been a handy addition to the 13.5-inch Surface 5 laptop.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) Review: Keyboard

The Surface Laptop 5 features outstanding hinge engineering that allows you to effortlessly open the lid with just one finger. The keyboard is another highlight, known for its whisper-quiet operation, which I personally appreciate. Microsoft’s laptop keyboards have always impressed me, and this one is no different. It offers good key travel, tactile feedback, and quiet typing, making it ideal for quiet environments like meetings. Additionally, the generously sized Precision touchpad is highly responsive, handling two-finger scrolling and gestures with ease. It’s a glass touchpad, which adds to its overall appeal.

Read Also: Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Review

User Upgradeability

The Surface Laptop 5 comes with an upgradeable SSD, provided you can access the internals. Microsoft recommends consulting a Microsoft Certified Technician for this task. The laptop utilizes the same small form factor SSD found in Surface Pro 9 devices, which can be a bit challenging to locate, but if you can manage it, it’s a valuable upgrade option.

Display and Speaker

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) Review:  Display

The display on the Surface Laptop 5 is nearly identical to that of the 2021 model. It maintains its 13.5-inch IPS glossy PixelSense display with a resolution of 2256 x 1504, resulting in a pixel density of 201 pixels per inch. It continues to feature a 3:2 aspect ratio.

While I appreciate the 3:2 aspect ratio, it’s worth noting that you may encounter black bars when consuming media designed for a 16:9 display. The display offers deep blacks, decent contrast, and a Delta E score of 1.57, indicating good color accuracy. However, its color gamut coverage is decent but not exceptional: 93% sRGB, 69% Adobe RGB, 68% DCI-P3, and 64% NTSC. Content creators may find better options for color grading in software like Lightroom, Photoshop, and video editing applications.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) Review: Screen Picture Quality

For most users, the display’s color accuracy won’t be a major concern, as it’s primarily content creators who might find it lacking. This laptop is geared more towards the general audience, and for most people, the display is perfectly sufficient. However, it’s hard to ignore the dated large bezels, which haven’t been slimmed down in this 2022 version as some had hoped. On the bright side, the display is responsive, supports multi-touch, and even has pen support. While it’s not a convertible laptop, the ability to take notes and do some digital sketching is a nice bonus.

The speakers on the Surface Laptop 5 are the same OmniSonic speakers found on its predecessor. They deliver impressive sound for a 13.5-inch laptop, offering good volume, decent bass, and clear mids. Microsoft continues to excel in the audio department, and the speakers remain a strong point on this laptop.

Webcam

Unfortunately, the front-facing camera on the 2022 Surface Laptop 5 remains at 720p HD resolution, unlike the Surface Pro 9, which offers a 1080p camera. This decision is somewhat surprising and disappointing, considering that many brands have moved to 1080p cameras in 2022. Microsoft, as a flagship device, could have set an example, but they chose not to upgrade the camera. However, it’s worth noting that it does have an IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition.

Performance

BENCHMARK PlatformSurface Laptop 5 (Intel Core i5-1235U)Surface Laptop 4 (AMD Ryzen 5 4680U)
PCMARK 104,0984,700
GEEKBENCH 5 (Single-Core)1,5571,087
GEEKBENCH 5 (Multi-Core)8,4515,785
CINEBENCH R203,0622,478
CINEBENCH R151,518 cb | 88.49 fps1,291 cb | 65.1 fps
CINEBENCH R23Single-core 1,279, Multi-Core 6,789Single-Core 1,163, Multi-Core 7,073
3DMARK Time Spy1,6751,006
3DMARK Fire Strike3,7782,761
BENCHMARKS

The Surface Laptop 5 is equipped with the Intel Core i5 1235u, a 10-core processor featuring eight efficiency cores and two performance cores. It represents an improvement over the 2021 Surface Laptop 4 with the AMD Ryzen 5, although the upgrade is not substantial.

LaptopsSingle-CoreMulti-Core
Apple MacBook Pro 13 (M2)1,9198,978
Apple MacBook Air (M2)1,8978,942
HP Pavilion Plus 14 (Core i7-12700H)1,7269,180
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 ( Core i7-1260P)1,7118,623
Dell XPS 13 Plus (Core i7-1260P)1,7079,786
Surface Laptop 5 (Core i5-1235U)1,5578,451
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 (Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U)1,5318,775
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7 (Core i7-1260P)1,44710,508
Geekbench 5 Single and Multicore Score

The Surface Laptop 5 primarily excels in multi-core performance due to its increased core count. However, when compared to other laptops in its thin and light category, it doesn’t stand out. For everyday tasks like Microsoft Office, email, and web browsing, it performs adequately. It’s essential to note that this isn’t a gaming laptop; it relies on integrated Iris Xe Graphics, which aren’t suitable for gaming, so gaming enthusiasts should explore other options.

Fan Noise and Surface Temps

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) Review: Surface Temperature

When subject to the Prime95 stress test, the Surface Laptop 5 did experience power throttling to keep clock speeds lower and manage temperatures. The positive aspect is that it maintains a quiet fan noise, never exceeding 34 or 35 decibels, which is notably quiet. Additionally, it doesn’t become excessively hot, although there are a few warm spots.

Battery Performance

LaptopHours + Minute Performance
Surface Pro 9 with 5G (SQ3)14 hours 04 minutes
Surface Laptop 4 (AMD) 13 hours 12 minutes
Surface Laptop 5 (Intel)12 hours 22 minutes
Surface Pro 9 (Intel)10 hours 55 minutes
Battery life Performance Hours/minutes

The Surface Laptop 5 is equipped with a 47.4-watt-hour battery. It achieved a battery life of 12 hours and 22 minutes on my continuous web browsing test over Wi-Fi at 115 nits. While this is slightly less than the previous year’s Laptop 4 with the AMD Ryzen 5 processor, it’s worth noting that AMD processors are generally more efficient than Intel’s. Unfortunately, the Surface Laptop 5 doesn’t offer an AMD processor option. On the positive side, it charges quite quickly, taking approximately 90 minutes to reach a full charge with the included power charger.

Conclusion

The Surface Laptop 5 impresses with its three-to-two PixelSense touch display, elegant minimalist design, and addition of the Sage Green color option. It showcases improved CPU performance, particularly in multi-core tasks, although the absence of an AMD processor option is disappointing. The inclusion of Thunderbolt 4 and upgradeable SSD are definite positives, and the whisper-quiet keyboard enhances user experience. However, it retains the same 720p webcam, lacks options for a higher refresh rate and webcam shutter, and falls short in battery life compared to its AMD predecessor. Considering these factors, it’s advisable to explore the Surface Laptop 4, as the Surface Laptop 5 doesn’t offer a significant upgrade over its predecessor.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5, also referred to as the Laptop 4A, introduces the new Sage Green color while maintaining a premium design largely unchanged from its predecessor. Key updates include the introduction of a new 12th-gen processor, Thunderbolt 4 support, and decent battery life. However, it retains the same 720p webcam, thick bezels, and lacks an AMD variant. While it may find its audience, existing Laptop 4 owners may not find compelling reasons to upgrade.

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