Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition review: Doesn’t quite bite the apple

Qualcomm throws a beautiful pass, and Microsoft trips over its own feet

Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition, 2024)
(Image: © Future/Rami Tabari)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition offers stellar performance and long battery life, but a shallow keyboard and poor display keep it from the limelight.

Pros

  • +

    Svelte design

  • +

    Bright display

  • +

    Soft touchpad

  • +

    Strong performance

  • +

    Long battery life

Cons

  • -

    Display could be more colorful

  • -

    Severe display ghosting

  • -

    Shallow keyboard

  • -

    Disappointing graphics

Why you can trust Laptop Mag Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The Surface Laptop and Surface Pro have earned praise over the years, but Microsoft couldn’t quite achieve the same glory as its fruit-shaped competitor. Surface products brimmed with potential but never excelled to the top. Does Microsoft stand a chance now that it has the much-anticipated Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chip inside? The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition says… “eh.”

For $1,999, the Surface Laptop hits the club with powerful performance from its Snapdragon X Elite X1E80100 processor, 15+ hours of battery life, and a satisfying touchpad, all packed into a premium chassis. Unfortunately, while it sports a bright display, it suffers from severe monitor ghosting. Top that off with a shallow keyboard that I hated typing on.

While I can’t recommend the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition for our best laptops page, it’s got enough going for it that some users will overlook its flaws.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Price$1,999 (starts at $999)
CPUSnapdragon X Elite X1E80100
GPUQualcomm Adreno
RAM32GB
Storage1TB SSD
Display13.8-inch, 2304 x 1536, 120Hz
Battery15:44
Size11.85 x 8.67 x 0.72 inches
Weight3.67 pounds

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Price and configurations

I reviewed the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition that runs for $1,999. That big number gets you a Snapdragon X Elite X1E80100 processor, a Qualcomm Adreno GPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 13.8-inch, 2304 x 1536, 120Hz display suited in a black chassis.

You can bump that up to 64GB of RAM for $2,399. However, the base model costs only $999 and features a Snapdragon X Plus CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD in a Platinum chassis. Unfortunately, if you want any of the other colors, like Black, Dune, or Sapphire, you’re forced to upgrade to a 512GB SSD, which brings you to a total of $1,199.

Want something even cheaper? Check out our best laptops under $1,000 page.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Design

Ready for a quick rant? Why in all mythological creation are we limited to the single most basic color when going for the most expensive configuration of a laptop? Want 32GB of RAM? Sorry, you’re stuck with black. Not the cool Sapphire, or the warm Dune, just black. Rubs temples to avoid yelling and waking my child from a nap.

Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition, 2024)

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

That aside, the anodized aluminum chassis presents an air of elegance. Svelte curves and a compact body make this machine look like the only real choice in a lineup of laptops at Best Buy. Even the glossy Windows logo on the lid is blacked out, looking like the button you’d hit to enter The Matrix (Windows isn't that cool).

Popping the lid revealed a deck uniform with the exterior. The keyboard is depressed into the chassis with keys blacker than the deck, while the touchpad under it matches that color. The bezels on the display are pleasantly slim, including the typically sizable bottom bezel.

At 3.7 pounds and 11.9 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition crushes its competitors on width by opting for a slightly smaller 13.8-inch display. Measuring over 12 inches in width are the Dell XPS 14 (3.7 pounds, 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches), Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (Q425M) (3 pounds, 12.3 x 8.67 x 0.59 inches), and Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023) (3.4 pounds, 12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches).

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Ports

Microsoft is learning the wrong lessons from Apple. And it’s even missing two ports that the MacBook Pro offers — an HDMI port and SDXC card slot.

Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition, 2024)

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

However, the Surface Laptop 7th Edition features the elusive USB Type-A port on its left side, along with two USB4 ports and a headphone jack. The right holds room for only the Surface Connect port.

Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition, 2024)

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

Need more ports? Check out our best USB Type-C hubs and best laptop docking stations pages.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Display

Break out the sunglasses because this baby is bright. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition’s 13.8-inch, 2304 x 1536 looks vibrant; however, it’s a bit duller than its competitors. While it is also designed to deliver a smooth visual experience thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, I saw some severe ghosting on two different Surface units. Ghosting is when quick visuals appear to leave a trail behind them; imagine the Flash except you get a little nauseous looking at him.

Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition, 2024)

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

I immediately noticed the ghosting effect while watching the Borderlands trailer. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, as the screen looked a little blurry at first. I knew it was weird since the Surface sports a sharp panel. Then I went to testufo.com/ghosting to confirm my suspicion, and I soon noticed it on the desktop experience, particularly the cursor. Monitor ghosting can cause motion sickness for some people. I reached out to Microsoft for comment and am waiting to hear back from its representatives. Once I do, I’ll update this review with their response.

Let’s get back to the trailer. Despite the Surface’s glossy display, the protagonists in the Borderlands trailer didn’t get lost in the glare as they tore through the dimly-lit warehouse. The red in Cate Blanchett’s hair popped on screen. However, I noticed an issue with the contrast, especially as the team stood at the forefront of a bright mountainous background. It overexposes whites — so bright visuals overtake the surrounding content.

According to our colorimeter, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition covers 73.3% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is far from the 90% premium laptop average. It’s more vivid than the XPS 14 (64.5%), but that’s a low bar. The Surface would have slid by if it beat the Zenbook 14 (79.8%) and MacBook Pro (81.3%), but they covered a wider range of colors.

However, at 568 nits of brightness, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition outshines the competition. That includes the XPS 14 (461 nits), Zenbook 14 (339 nits), MacBook Pro (558 nits), and the average premium laptop (457 nits).

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Keyboard, touchpad, and touchscreen

Tapping on individual keys produced shallow feedback, but its subtle bounce was initially promising. I was wrong. Typing away at it felt clunky and unsatisfying.

Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition, 2024)

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

I got a measly 76 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which falls short of my usual 81-wpm average. It felt like pressing against the deck and lacked proper feedback to send me onto the next key.

I have mixed feelings about haptic-feedback touchpads, but in almost every case, they’ve been the softest and smoothest to use by far. And that’s no different on the Surface Laptop’s 3.2 x 4.7-inch touchpad. Maxing out the haptics, the feedback is pleasantly hefty.

Meanwhile, the touchscreen experience felt incredibly smooth. The hinge doesn’t extend 180 degrees, so I’m not sure how much use you’d get out of it overall.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Audio

Reminiscent of Apple in more ways than one, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition’s speakers fire out indiscriminately under the keys on the deck. It produced solid audio, but it’s limited by constrained bass and a tight soundstage.

I listened to RAKEL’s “Follow You Into The Dark” (no, I’m not over Alan Wake II), and the opening piano’s gentle notes dulled against the following vocals, which came in crispy. The bass in the percussion sounded flat, and the background synths were so far behind that they distorted into the rest of the track.

Tuned with Dolby Atmos, these speakers can connect to the Dolby Access app. I didn’t see it installed, but since we reset the PC, it might’ve been removed. If you can’t find it, you can download it on the Microsoft Store. The overall sound isn’t bad, nor is it good, so you can tinker around with presets like Dynamic, Movie, Game, and Music until you find your preferred settings.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Performance

Now is the moment of truth — the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition comes in with its shiny new Snapdragon X Elite X1E80100 processor backed up by 32GB of RAM. It didn’t break a sweat when I threw a couple dozen Google Chrome tabs and a handful of YouTube videos at it while Spotify blared in the background.

Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition, 2024)

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

On the Geekbench 6 overall performance test, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition scored 14,426, which topples the average premium laptop (8,799) and the rest of its competitors. With an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor, the XPS 14 and Zenbook 14 got 12,711 and 12,615, respectively. Meanwhile, the MacBook’s M3 hit 11,968. On top of that, the Surface Laptop beat the MacBook Pro M3 Pro too, which landed 14,357.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition took 5 minutes and 10 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark, taking a break to get a snack before the average premium laptop (7:45) could finish. It once again dominated the XPS 14 (5:44), Zenbook 14 (6:36), and MacBook Pro (5:38).

Microsoft’s 1TB SSD tells a slightly different story, however. It sports a transfer rate of 1,116 megabytes per second. That’s not bad, but not nearly as fast as the average premium laptop (1,454 MBps) or its competitors, the XPS 14 (1,503 MBps) and Zenbook 14 (1,236 MBps). The MacBook Pro could run only the BlackMagic Read/Write test, which scored 2,956/3,359 MBps, and taking the same test, the Surface Laptop scored only 1,880/2,118 MBps.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: AI performance and features

The age of AI is here, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition is one of the few Copilot+ PCs to launch recently. We put the Snapdragon X Elite X1E80100 processor to the test, and how we did that is explicitly detailed in our article on how we test AI PCs. Of course, this is as new to us as it is to you, so our methods will adapt as necessary. But let's jump in to see how the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition fared.

On the Geekbench ML 0.6 AI performance test, the Surface Laptop hit an ONNX/CPU score of 2,871. That doesn’t quite cut it against the XPS 14 (3,010) and Zenbook 14 (2,971). It’s possible that Qualcomm’s CPU isn’t optimized for Geekbench ML 0.6. Keep in mind, this doesn’t solely test the NPU, which is where Qualcomm outshines the competition.

Copilot+ PCs take a leap with new software and features. The biggest and most controversial feature is Recall. Imagine how your browser history works — now expand that feature to the entirety of your PC. You can scroll through your history and see exactly what you were doing an hour ago. According to Microsoft, this information is stored locally and does not touch the cloud. You can also adjust the type of information saved. Due to the controversy, Recall is limited to users in the Windows Insider program and disabled by default.

A few of our favorite Copilot+ PC features include Windows Studio Effects and Live Captions. There’s also plenty of AI-art generated programs, which come with its own serving of controversy. An interesting feature I noticed on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition is Automatic Super Resolution (AI makes supported games play “smoothly”), but it actually broke the resolution in a couple of games I tested. Since it’s on by default, I recommend disabling it.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Graphics

This is where Qualcomm starts to showcase its shortcomings, as the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition’s Qualcomm Adreno GPU doesn’t quite cut it, even against the integrated graphics chips from Intel. 

On the 3DMark Fire Strike synthetic graphics benchmark, the Microsoft Surface Laptop scored 5,792, falling short of the average premium laptop (8,992). The XPS 14’s RTX 4050 GPU (12,932) and the Zenbook 14’s Intel Arc Graphics (8,064) surpassed the surface by a wide margin.

For the MacBook’s sake, we ran it through the 3DMark Wildlife Extreme benchmark, where the Surface Laptop scored 6,499. However, that didn’t beat the MacBook Pro’s 7,861.

On the Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm benchmark (Medium, 1080p), the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition averaged 21 frames per second. Ouch. That doesn't even hit the minimum 30 fps for playability. Meanwhile, the XPS 14 (88 fps), MacBook Pro (51 fps), and Zenbook 14 (31 fps) all produced playable results.

While it’s not a gaming laptop, Qualcomm made a few claims about gaming on it, so naturally, I tried gaming on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition... I wanted to cry.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Battery life

Does Qualcomm bring the heat? Heck yeah! The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition lasted 15 hours and 44 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, which continuously surfs through web pages over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness.

It sped past the average premium laptop (11:05), and the XPS 14 (10:09~10:58). The Zenbook 14 survived just 8 minutes longer than the Surface, while the MacBook Pro hit a stellar 17:16. Yet, the Snapdragon X Elite outlasts the MacBook Air (15:13).

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Webcam

Even with a 1080p camera, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition made me look like a pixelated mess.

Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition, 2024)

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

White bled into my ceiling due to the poor contrast attempting to balance the light fixture above and the window behind me. My face looked rosier than usual, and the sun on my shirt looked bolder. The image looked like it got sandblasted by an earthbender (translation: it looked fuzzy). You might want to check out our best webcams page.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Heat

Despite its compact design, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition stayed relatively cool on the bottom. But the top is a bit toasty.

After streaming a 15-minute video, the underside hit 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just slightly over our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the touchpad dropped to 86.5 degrees, but the center of the keyboard climbed up to 112.5 degrees. The other hottest spot was above the F10/F11 keys, which registered at 111.5 degrees.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition: Software and warranty

The only significant software in the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition that isn’t part of the usual Windows 11 repertoire is the Surface app. This app includes device information, battery and charging settings, help and support, warranty and services, touchpad settings, and privacy settings.

Naturally, there’s also Copilot and the other AI features, which we discussed above.

The Surface Laptop 7th Edition comes with a one-year limited warranty. See how Microsoft performed on our Tech Support Showdown ranking.

Bottom line

The performance and battery life are pulling all the weight for the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition, and that spark comes from Qualcomm. I wanted to love the Surface Laptop, but too many cons started stacking on one another. The monitor ghosting is assuredly the last chip to get me to fold.

If you’re looking for a premium laptop that can do almost everything you need, go with the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023). Longer battery life and a cheaper price will comfort you.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7th Edition is not a bad laptop, but a disappointment considering it comes from the biggest name in tech and the company with the leading PC operating system.

Category
Arrow
Arrow
Back to Apple MacBook Pro
Brand
Arrow
Processor
Arrow
RAM
Arrow
Storage Size
Arrow
Screen Size
Arrow
Colour
Arrow
Screen Type
Arrow
Storage Type
Arrow
Condition
Arrow
Price
Arrow
Any Price
Showing 10 of 511 deals
Filters
Arrow
Load more deals
Rami Tabari
Editor

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.