Microsoft Surface Laptop (7th Edition) review: Reliable with mid AI

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it’s safe Say that Microsoft’s Surface lineup has been directionless over the past few years. Instead of revolutionizing these Windows PCs with new and interesting designs, insanely fast processors, or intuitive features, the company has been refreshing Surface hardware with minor spec bumps year after year.

The recent forays with Copilot+ PCs have been exciting – especially with the announcement of the new Surface Laptop 7th Edition and Surface Pro 11th Edition. Can artificial intelligence breathe new life into the Surface name? The Surface Laptop has a bigger and brighter screen, thinner bezels, a higher refresh rate, a haptic touchpad, and a brand new Qualcomm processor to boot. I’ve spent a few weeks with it, and while it’s a great laptop, the Surface Laptop 7th Edition isn’t as big a step up as Microsoft wants you to think.

Timely touch-ups

With the new Surface Laptop, you can choose between a 13-inch or 15-inch version (just like Apple’s latest MacBook Air models). Microsoft sent me the smaller size, which is now slightly larger. The display still has a 3:2 aspect ratio, but the size has grown from 13.5 inches to 13.8 inches. With thinner bezels, the machine is still just as portable.

The 2K-resolution LCD screen is brighter, reaching a maximum of 600 nits (up from 400 nits in its previous model), plus the 120-Hz refresh rate makes everything on the screen look smoother. You can turn on the dynamic refresh rate, which adjusts between a low and high refresh rate to save battery life.

Front view of a laptop placed on a wooden table, an image of an island on the screen

Photo: Brenda Stoliar

Overall, the screen is a nice upgrade. Movies and shows look vibrant and sharp even in daylight, though I had to crank the brightness up past 80 percent when I was in sunlight. I didn’t use it much, but whenever I touched the touchscreen, it was responsive. I wish there was an option to add a nano-texture or matte finish (like on Apple’s iPad Pro), as the glare on the display can be distracting. My main complaint, however, is that Microsoft should really offer an OLED display option, especially if you choose some of the higher-end configurations on this laptop. It offers it for the Surface Pro 11th Edition, so why not here?

Microsoft has finally upgraded the 720p webcam to 1080p, which is the minimum in 2024. You’ll also have access to Windows Studio Effects, which uses AI to improve the way you look on video calls (more on this later). My picture quality looked great in my meetings, but I noticed it still struggled with lighting. Despite the abundance of natural light in my home office, the camera would sometimes cast a deep shadow before adjusting back to normal lighting conditions.

Another notable upgrade is the new haptic touchpad. You can customize the feedback through the settings, depending on how intense you like the clickiness. If you don’t like the clickiness at all, you can turn it off completely. I kept the haptic feedback on the highest intensity during testing, and the clicking was a breeze. Anything It was very satisfying. I’m glad Microsoft finally added this feature.

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