New Surface Laptop has a bigger screen, 20-hour battery life, and is cheaper and 'faster than MacBook Air'

animated gif showing the microsoft surface laptop 7th edition in all four new colours

The new notebook from Microsoft, known as Surface Laptop 7th Edition, is powered by a system-on-a-chip from Qualcomm that unlocks faster performance, better battery life, and exclusive AI tricks

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 21/05/2024

- 12:23

Updated: 21/05/2024

- 12:29

"This is the fastest, most intelligent Surface Laptop ever," Microsoft executive has promsied

  • Surface Laptop is one of a slew of new Copilot+ PCs
  • It's equipped with a Snapdragon chipset with a dedicated NPU
  • This unlock exclusive AI features within Windows 11
  • Microsoft has also increased screen size and improved the webcam
  • Available to preorder now, prices start from £1,049
  • Surface Laptop 7th Edition release date is scheduled for June 18

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Microsoft has redesigned its Surface Laptop from the ground up to compete head-to-head with the latest MacBook Air, powered by Apple's custom-designed M3 chipset launched back in March. According to Microsoft, the new Surface Laptop offers improved performance for a cheaper price tag.

During the announcement, Microsoft executives compared the new Surface Laptop — one of a slew of new Copilot+ PCs that unlock exclusive features within Windows 11 — directly to the MacBook Air. Chief Marketing Officer Yusuf Mehdi said the Surface Laptop offers a 58% boost in speed compared to the 15-inch MacBook Air over sustained multithread performance.

Battery life is also improved, the Microsoft Executive Vice President claiming the 15-inch Surface Laptop is capable of enduring 22 hours of video playback or 15 hours of web browsing between charges. That's 20% more battery life than the M3-equipped MacBook Air with the same 15-inch screen size, Yusuf Mehdi added.

surface laptop 7th edition pictured in all four colour options on a table

The refreshed Surface Laptop is available with either a 13.8- or 15-inch screen. These new laptops can be configured up to 1TB of SSD storage and 32GB of RAM. Microsoft offers a choice of four colours — Platinum, Black, Dune and Sapphire


"You’re going to have the most powerful PC ever," Yusuf Mehdi told The Verge during a briefing for the new devices, held at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters in Seattle. “It’s going to outperform any device out there, including a MacBook Air with an M3 processor, by over 50% on sustained performance."

Of course, we'll need to take a look at these supercharged new Surface Laptops ourselves to check Microsoft's numbers, but it's an encouraging sign that Windows 11 PCs have finally caught up with the processing power and efficiency seen on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models since the switch from Intel chips back in 2020.

Like Apple, which now relies solely on its own custom-designed M-series processors based on the ARM architecture widely used in smartphone and tablet chipsets for the last decade, Microsoft has turned away from industry-heavyweight Intel to enable these dramatic gains in power and efficiency.

Surface Laptop is powered by the Snapdragon X Plus and Snapdragon X Plus system-on-a-chip from Qualcomm — a brand synonymous with performance on Android smartphones like the Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24 Ultra, and OnePlus 12.

This chipset boasts a dedicated NPU, Neural Processing Unit, which is designed to handle all AI tasks on-device. In fact, it can race through 45 trillion operations per second.

animated gif showing how to scroll back in time on windows 11 pc using the recall featureRecall is the headline feature of this slate of Copilot+ PCs, which lets you scroll back through everything that has happened on your Windows 11 machine and jump back in time with a click. Everything is searchable as AI has trawled through the images and text on-device MICROSOFT PRESS OFFICE

Microsoft will unlock a slew of new AI features within Windows 11, including Recall, Cocreator in Paint, and real-time translation, provided you have the correct hardware.

Devices that meet this criteria will be branded Copilot+ PCs.

Surface Laptop is one of the first devices to ship with these powerful new AI tools. But it's not only about the speed, battery life, and software tweaks — the team within Microsoft has taken the opportunity to refresh the hardware too.

The new Surface Laptop comes equipped with a larger 13.8-inch display without significantly expanding the overall footprint of the notebook. To do this, Microsoft has trimmed the bezels around the screen.

"Our new 13.8” display provides a larger viewing area than a traditional 14” laptop in a more compact design," Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Devices Pete Kyriacou penned in a blog post about the new design.

The touchscreen display has a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR technology, Dolby Vision IQ, and Adaptive Colour that adjusts the white balance automatically so that it matches your surroundings.

Compared to an earlier model, Surface Laptop 5, Microsoft says its refreshed notebook offers a 86% performance boost. It can also power three external 4K monitors for the first time.

As mentioned above, the Surface Laptop comes equipped with the longest battery life of any Surface device ever shipped by Microsoft — up to 22 hours on the 15-inch Surface Laptop, and up to 20 on the 13.8-inch Surface Laptop. When it's finally time to top-up the battery, you can recharge using the magnetic Surface Connector, which is bundled in the box. Surface Laptop supports 65W fast-charging.

Microsoft has equipped its laptop with lightning-fast Wi-Fi 7, although you'll need to upgrade to a new Wi-Fi router to take advantage of the improved stability and speed offered by this new standard.

Elsewhere, there's a 1080p HD Surface Studio Camera that supports AI-powered Windows Studio Effects like Automatic Framing, Portrait Blur, Creative Filters and Voice Focus – all handled on-device, so you won't need to worry about internet speed scuppering your appearance on a video call. Microsoft says it's worked on "AI-enhanced sound" with its new omnisonic speakers that are Dolby Atmos certified.

The case is made with a minimum of 67.2% recycled content, including 100% recycled aluminium alloy. Microsoft is offering the Surface Laptop in four new colours: Platinum, Black, Dune and Sapphire.

Prices start from £1,049 for the 13.8-inch variant of the Surface Laptop, maxing out at £2,049 for a model with a 1TB SSD, 32GB of RAM, and the beefier Snapdragon X Elite chipset.

If you'd rather take delivery of the 15-inch model, Surface Laptop prices start from £1,349 and top out at £2,149 for the same specifications as the flagship 13.8-inch model.

Certain configurations of the Surface Laptop are already marked as "Out Of Stock" on the Microsoft Store, despite the first Copilot+ PCs not scheduled to ship until June 18, 2024. Those who preorder will be amongst the first to take delivery of the all-new laptop models.

For comparison, the latest generation of MacBook Air — equipped with a custom-designed M3 system-on-a-chip and a choice of 13.6- or 15-inch screen size — starts from £1,099 for 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, and a 13.6-inch display. The 15-inch model starts from £1,299.

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