2018’s Best Microsoft Laptops [In-Depth Review]

TOP PICK
Microsoft Surface Laptop (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB) - Platinum
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB) - 13.5"
BEST 2 IN 1
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Intel Core M, 4GB RAM, 128GB) with Windows 10 Anniversary Update
BEST PORTABLE
Microsoft Surface Book (128 GB, 8 GB RAM, Intel Core i5)
BEST BUDGET
Microsoft Surface Pro (Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB) – Newest Version
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 SU3-00001 12.3-Inch Laptop (2.2 GHz Core M Family, 4GB RAM, 128 GB flash_memory_solid_state, Windows 10 Pro), Silver
BLW's Score
93
89
88
87
83
82
MSRP
from $696.00
from $1,189.00
from $788.88
from $1,045.21
from $667.99
from $899.99
Processor
Intel Core i5
Intel Core i5
Intel Core M
Intel Core i5
Intel Core i5-6300U 2.4 GHz
Intel Core M
RAM
8GB DDR3L
8GB DDR3L
4GB DDR4
8GB DDR3L
4GB DDR3L
4GB DDR3L
Hard Disk
256GB SSD
256GB SSD
128GB SSD
128GB SSD
128GB SSD
128GB SSD
Display
13.5” PixelSense (2256 x 1504)
13.5" PixelSense (3000x2000)
12.3" PixelSense (2736 x 1824)
13.5" PixelSense (3000x2000)
13.3" PixelSense ( 2736 x 1824)
12.3" PixelSense (2736 x 1824)
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel HD Graphics 515
Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
Intel HD Graphics 620
OS
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10
Weight
2.76 pounds
3.38 pounds
3.3 pounds
3.48 pounds
1.69 pounds
1.7 pounds
TOP PICK
Microsoft Surface Laptop (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB) - Platinum
BLW's Score
93
MSRP
from $696.00
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i5
RAM
8GB DDR3L
Hard Disk
256GB SSD
Display
13.5” PixelSense (2256 x 1504)
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 620
OS
Windows 10
Weight
2.76 pounds
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB) - 13.5"
BLW's Score
89
MSRP
from $1,189.00
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i5
RAM
8GB DDR3L
Hard Disk
256GB SSD
Display
13.5" PixelSense (3000x2000)
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 620
OS
Windows 10
Weight
3.38 pounds
BEST 2 IN 1
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Intel Core M, 4GB RAM, 128GB) with Windows 10 Anniversary Update
BLW's Score
88
MSRP
from $788.88
More Information
Processor
Intel Core M
RAM
4GB DDR4
Hard Disk
128GB SSD
Display
12.3" PixelSense (2736 x 1824)
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 515
OS
Windows 10
Weight
3.3 pounds
BEST PORTABLE
Microsoft Surface Book (128 GB, 8 GB RAM, Intel Core i5)
BLW's Score
87
MSRP
from $1,045.21
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i5
RAM
8GB DDR3L
Hard Disk
128GB SSD
Display
13.5" PixelSense (3000x2000)
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 620
OS
Windows 10
Weight
3.48 pounds
BEST BUDGET
Microsoft Surface Pro (Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB) – Newest Version
BLW's Score
83
MSRP
from $667.99
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i5-6300U 2.4 GHz
RAM
4GB DDR3L
Hard Disk
128GB SSD
Display
13.3" PixelSense ( 2736 x 1824)
Graphics
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
OS
Windows 10
Weight
1.69 pounds
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 SU3-00001 12.3-Inch Laptop (2.2 GHz Core M Family, 4GB RAM, 128 GB flash_memory_solid_state, Windows 10 Pro), Silver
BLW's Score
82
MSRP
from $899.99
More Information
Processor
Intel Core M
RAM
4GB DDR3L
Hard Disk
128GB SSD
Display
12.3" PixelSense (2736 x 1824)
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 620
OS
Windows 10
Weight
1.7 pounds

When you think of Microsoft you probably associate the company with software rather than hardware because of the Windows operating systems.

The US company was founded in the 1970s and is one of the leading tech companies in the world.

Microsoft has produced hardware for many years, including Windows cell phones, Xbox gaming consoles, tablets and laptops.

The current range of laptops from Microsoft includes budget models, compact machines and 2-in-1 laptops. There are also a number of Microsoft accessories that will enhance the laptop and make it more versatile.

If you’re looking for a gaming laptop, then Microsoft is not the manufacturer you should be looking at, as they don’t make one.

Microsoft is missing out on a huge section of the laptop market and it’s unclear why they’ve chosen not to bring out a gaming machine.

Looking at the range of laptops they do make, we would conclude that their ongoing competition with Apple is the main focus for now.

One of the big advantages of Microsoft laptops is the screens. 

Those fitted to every laptop in their range has a crystal clear display. Microsoft machines have high-resolution screens which you don’t find on a large number of laptops. If superb picture quality and vivid colors are important to you, it’s worth looking at the Microsoft laptops.

Their range of laptops has grown in recent years and they now offer a choice of machines with various specifications. We’ve selected six Microsoft laptops from the current range and looked at each one in some detail.

6 Best Microsoft Laptops By Category:

Overall Top Pick:
Microsoft Surface Laptop

Microsoft Surface Laptop Review

​​The Microsoft Surface laptop is fitted with the 7th generation Intel Core i7 7220U processor with a speed of 3.1GHz.

Internal storage is limited to 256GB but an external HDD or flash memory will boost this. The 8GB RAM ensures that the laptop runs smoothly and executes tasks efficiently without glitches.

​Specs

  • ​Display Size: 13.5 Inch
  • ​Resolution: 2256 x 1504
  • ​Battery Capacity: 14 Hours
  • ​RAM: 8GB​
  • ​Processor: Intel Core i7-7200U
  • ​Storage: 256GB SSD
  • ​GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620​
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    I/O: 1 x USB 3.0, Surface Connect Port/Mini Display Port, Headphone Jack
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    Weight: 2.76 lbs
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Benefits

The Microsoft Surface is fitted with a 13.5-inch high-resolution screen that delivers superb images which are crystal clear and a pleasure to look at.

The graphics are sharp with vibrant colors, thanks to the Intel HD graphics 620 processor. Sound quality is good and the built-in speakers do their job well.

This laptop is slim and extremely light, weighing in at 2.76 lbs, which makes it easy to slip into your handbag or backpack. The battery life is excellent at 14 hours on a full charge, which takes away the need to carry the charger when you’re out for the day.

The keyboard on the laptop is well made and does not flex. It’s backlit with a white light that has various brightness levels. The top of the laptop is covered in alcantara, which is a material similar to suede, and it gives the machine a luxurious feel.

Drawbacks

One of the downsides with this laptop is the lack of ports. It has only one USB port and no HDMI output.  This lack of connectivity limits what you can do with the machine.

The large trackpad is smooth but the mechanism can be a little stiff.

Although we like the alcantara material that covers the laptop it’s not for everyone and it’s almost impossible to remove. Offering customers the covering as an option would be preferable.

Extra Features

  • Good resolution
  • Long battery life
  • Stylish and luxurious look

Buying Advice

This stylish and functional laptop is our overall choice for the best Microsoft laptop.

It’s a great choice for the price and it satisfies the needs of browsers, writers, music lovers and movie watchers and it’s lightweight and portable.

The lack of ports is not a major issue for everyone and Microsoft’s Surface Dock can be purchased to expand connectivity.

Runner Up​:
Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2

The Surface Book 2 by Microsoft is equipped with the 7th generation Intel dual-core i5-7200U processor with a speed of 3.5GHz.

Internal storage is courtesy of the solid state drive and with this model you get 256GB. The 8GB RAM handles multiple tasks with lightning fast speed and efficiency.

​Specs

  • ​Display Size: 13.5 Inch
  • Resolution: 3000 x 2000
  • ​Battery Capacity: 17 Hours
  • ​RAM: 8GB LPDDR3
  • ​Processor: Intel Dual-Core i5-7200U
  • ​Storage: 256GB SSD
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    GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
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    I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, SD Card Reader/Headphone Jack
  • ​Weight: 3.38 lbs
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Benefits

The high resolution 13.5-inch screen can be detached from the keyboard, allowing you to use the touchscreen as a tablet. The picture quality when watching movies is superb. The graphics are so sharp they almost appear to leave the screen.

The laptop only weighs 3.38 lbs, making it easy to carry around. If you detach the keyboard it’s even more portable. Battery life is unbelievably good at 17 hours but this does depend on usage.

The laptop is equipped with two USB 3.0 ports for your external drives and other peripherals and there’s a useful SD card reader.

The Surface Book 2 features a well put together keyboard that has a precise action. The touchpad on this laptop is a perfect size and very responsive. The pad is covered with a glass surface which provides the correct amount of resistance when navigating pages.

Drawbacks

The front-facing stereo speakers deliver clear audio but are lacking bass when watching movies or listening to music.

The keyboard on the laptop is noisy when typing, which can be distracting when trying to concentrate on various tasks.

Another drawback of this laptop is the lack of internal storage and Microsoft could do better in this department, we feel.

Extra Features

  • SD card reader
  • Detachable keyboard
  • Lightweight and slimline design

Buying Advice

This versatile laptop just missed out on being our overall choice and is relegated to runner-up. It does everything you want a laptop to do and it looks sleek and stylish.

A long battery life, combined with portability, makes this machine a useful everyday tool.

The quality of the graphics on the high-resolution screen also makes this laptop stand out from others of a similar price.

Best Portable:
​Microsoft Surface Book

Microsoft Surface Book Review

​​The Microsoft Surface Book is fitted with the Intel core i5-6300U processor with a speed of 2.1GHz.

Internal storage on this laptop is limited to 128GB and you’ll probably need some external storage if you have a large number of files. 8GB RAM is sufficient, and the laptop is more than capable of multitasking with ease.

​Specs

  • ​Display Size: 13.5 Inch
  • Resolution: 3000 x 2000
  • ​Battery Capacity: 5 Hours
  • ​RAM: 8GB DDR3
  • ​Processor: Intel Core i5-6300U
  • ​Storage: 128GB SSD
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 520​
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    I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, SD Card Reader/Mini Display Port, Headphone Jack
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    Weight: 3.48 lbs
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Benefits

The 13.5-inch screen provides clear images and the color balance is good. The screen can be detached and used as a standalone tablet, which is useful. The screen is connected to the keyboard with a dock that’s sturdy and easy to use.

The compact size and a weight of 3.48 lbs make the laptop easy to carry around in a laptop bag or backpack. A 5-hour battery life per full charge makes this everyday machine even more portable, as you won’t need to plug in and charge. There are enough USB ports to connect a couple of devices when you’re out and about.

The keyboard on this laptop is comfortable to use and the keys are soft to the touch. The trackpad is responsive and accurate, and the cursor goes exactly where you need it to. The trackpad has some nice features, including two-finger scrolling and pinch to zoom.

Drawbacks

The built-in speakers offer a decent volume level but the sound quality could be better at high volume. The sound tends to distort a little and there’s a slight vibration which is frustrating.

The laptop is a little top-heavy due to the way that the screen and keyboard are joined with the dock. It’s tricky to get the screen at the correct angle to prevent the laptop tipping.

Another downside of this model is that, when you’re typing, the keyboard is quite noisy.

Extra Features

  • Detachable keyboard
  • Soft touch keys
  • Well located ports

Buying Advice

If you’re looking for a functional laptop that can be used for work or play, and is also very portable, this is the machine for you. It’s our choice of best portable Microsoft laptop due to its size, weight and looks.

The machine is well-made with quality components, making it durable and a good everyday laptop suitable for all at a great price.

Best Budget:
Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro

​​The Microsoft Surface Pro is powered by the Intel Core i5-6300U with a speed of 2.4GHz, which can be boosted to 3GHz. The laptop only has 128GB of internal storage which limits what you can store on the device.

4GB SDRAM keeps things running smoothly and multiple programs run together with no problems.

​Specs

  • ​Display Size: 12.3 Inch
  • Resolution: 2736 x 1824
  • Battery Capacity: 13 Hours
  • ​RAM: 4GB SD
  • ​Processor: Intel Core i5-6300U
  • ​Storage: 128GB SSD
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
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    I/O: 1 x USB 3.0, SD Card Reader/Mini Display Port, Headphone Jack
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    Weight: 1.7 lbs
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Benefits

The 12.3-inch touchscreen provides great, clear images, and it’s an ideal laptop for watching movies on the go.

The screen can be operated by finger touch or by using the Microsoft Surface pen which is sold separately. The built-in speakers deliver adequate sound quality for a laptop in this price range.

Measuring only 0.33 inches in thickness and weighing 1.7 lbs, this is a laptop you can take anywhere with ease. Its portability, combined with an excellent 13-hour battery life, makes it a perfect machine for travelers, students and commuters.

The keyboard on this machine is nicely laid out, which makes for quick and accurate typing. You also have the option to use the Surface pen to make notes, draw diagrams and navigate menus. The touchpad is large and easy to use and it’s responsive to touch.

Drawbacks

This laptop only has one USB port which is disappointing. You would have to purchase the Microsoft Surface Dock to solve this problem.

Internal storage is limited and could be improved if Microsoft were to fit a 256GB SSD to this machine.

The Microsoft Surface pen is not included in the price and has to be purchased separately.

The sound quality could be a lot better, although it can be improved by using external speakers. Microsoft could pay more attention to sound quality and fit better speakers to some of their machines.

Extra Features

  • Touchscreen technology
  • Light and super slim
  • Long battery life

Buying Advice

If you’re on a limited budget and want a Microsoft laptop, the Surface Pro is an excellent choice.

It’s reasonably priced and very versatile, being a laptop and tablet in one package.

A few things could be improved such as storage, ports and sound but these are not major issues and the low price makes up for these shortfalls.

Best Microsoft 2-in-1:
Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

​​The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a 2-in-1 laptop fitted with the Intel core M processor with a speed of 2.2GHz.

The internal storage is provided by a solid state drive that has a capacity of 128GB. 4GB RAM handles most tasks with ease and speed, whether in laptop or tablet mode.

​Specs

  • ​Display Size: 12.3 Inch
  • ​Resolution: 2736 x 1824
  • ​Battery Capacity: 3 Hours
  • ​RAM: 4GB DDR3
  • ​Processor: Intel Core M
  • ​Storage: 128GB SSD
  • ​GPU: Intel HD Graphics 515​
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    I/O: 1 x USB 3.0, Micro SD Card Reader/Mini Display Port, Headphone Jack
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    Weight: 1.7 lbs
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Benefits

The 12.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen is superb and better than many screens on more expensive machines. The colors are bright and accurate and it’s a great laptop or tablet for watching your favorite movies or browsing photos.

Sound quality is good and is provided by a pair of front-facing speakers with Dolby Audio Premium technology.

This 2-in-1 laptop is ultrathin and light. Weighing in at less than 2 lbs makes it one of the most portable machines on the market. For a laptop on the go, there are enough ports for most users.

The keyboard is well made and sturdy, gives good feedback when typing and it’s very quiet, which is always a bonus. Menus can be navigated with the stylus which is accurate, and the standard touchpad is smooth. Microsoft has ditched the plastic coated touchpad and this one is shielded by a thin piece of glass.

Drawbacks

The battery life could be better and you’ll probably need to plug in if you’re out for more than a couple of hours.

Fitting an extra USB port to the machine would be useful, as connectivity is limited with only the one. Having an HDMI port would also come in useful to allow the laptop to be connected to a larger screen.

Extra Features

  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Good quality keyboard

Buying Advice

Although the Surface Pro 4 is super thin and light, and works great as a tablet, it performs as well as many regular laptops when we need it to.

While the price is a bit higher than other 2 in 1 laptops the quality and features more then make up for it.

The display, sound and speed are all good and the only real downside is the short battery life.

Runner Up​
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 SU3-00001

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

​​This is another 2-in-1 laptop from Microsoft and it’s fitted with the Intel core M processor with a speed of 2.2GHz.

Internal storage is provided by the 128GB solid state drive and this can be upgraded if necessary. The 4GB RAM is enough to manage things smoothly and multiple tasks can be carried out with ease.

Specifications:

​Specs

  • ​Display Size: 12.3 Inch
  • Resolution: 2736 x 1824
  • Battery Capacity: 9 Hours
  • ​RAM: 4GB
  • ​Processor: Intel Core M
  • ​Storage: 128GB SSD
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    GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
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    I/O: Bluetooth, 1 x USB 3.0, SD Card Reader/Mini Display Port, Headphone Jack
  • ​Weight: 1.73 lbs
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Benefits

The 12.3-inch touchscreen is responsive and very accurate. High-resolution images are crystal clear, with a good color balance. The screen can be operated by finger touch or with the Microsoft Surface pen. You will have to purchase the pen separately, however, as it isn’t included with the laptop.

The machine has built-in speakers which deliver decent audio when watching movies or listening to music.

It weighs less than 2 lbs so is easy to carry around. You can leave the charger at home, as the battery lasts up to 9 hours on a full charge.

This 2-in-1 machine comes with a handy SD card reader for some extra storage if needed.

The keyboard for the 2-in-1 machine is lightweight and available in a range of colors. At first glance, the keyboard looks a little flimsy, but it is surprisingly solid and easy to use, with very little flex. The touchpad is smooth and responsive and the cursor can be controlled accurately.

Drawbacks

This laptop is slightly bulky and thicker than some other Microsoft machines.

An extra USB port would come in handy. One port is not really enough for many users that have external drives, mobile internet or a wireless mouse.

The keyboard for the laptop is not included and has to be purchased separately.

Internal storage is limited to 128GB and fitting a larger drive would make the laptop more desirable.

Extra Features

  • Good quality audio
  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Excellent battery life

Buying Advice

If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 machine that’s well built by a respected manufacturer, then this is the laptop for you.

The superb display and outstanding battery life make it an ideal choice for people on the move that need a versatile device, for the right price.

The laptop does lack internal storage but this is not a major problem if you have an external HDD or flash drive.

Final Thoughts

Unless you want a gaming machine, Microsoft have a laptop that will suit your needs and your pocket.

From budget laptops to high spec 2-in-1 machines, you’ll find a laptop that does what you need it to do.

Although Microsoft machines are on the expensive side, you are paying for quality and reliability, which is important. The extra outlay when purchasing the laptop is worth it for a durable machine that performs well.

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