Surface Laptop 3 - First Impressions

I got it in the mail today! Hooray for me!

I got the AMD Ryzen 7, 15 inches, 16GB RAM w the 512 SSD. Platinum. Note that most of the review models were Black Ryzen 5.

Wanted to give you all my first impressions. I’ll be sure to update the thread after I put it through it’s paces likely after this weekend.

First I’d like to echo what most all reviewers are saying and say the build quality of this machine is outstanding. You can immediately feel the quality of the chassis, keyboard, and trackpad. Typing is an absolute pleasure and thin bezels around the outside make the screen seem even bigger than it’s 15 inches. It also seems Windows Hello is snappier and better than it has been with my 5th Gen Surface Pro. So yes, it’s a quality machine and looks and feels very well built.

The Verge article said the Ryzen 5 had stuttering with 4K video and I was hoping the faster processor would be different. On my external monitor the 4k stuttering was noticable but once I moved to the laptop screen it nearly went away. I say nearly because I was using Nature videos on YT to check and when it would show long shots of things like the sky or a big desert you could start to see a little stuttering. The closeup detailed shots were unnoticeable and also beautiful. The screen is great, really looking forward to working on it.

I’ve nearly completed setup. Installed VMWare, Visual Studio, Jetbrains, PIA etc. Gotta do Steam and Civ 5 and I’ll start a game with 12 or so players and see how it holds up once the map is uncovered and it’s processing power can really be tested.

So far so good. A very beautiful machine with excellent build quality. Needs to be pushed graphically to see where it’s at but I’m very pleased so far. Going from the SP 12 inch screen to this small bezel 15 inch was a big jump.



Curious if you can report which AGESA it’s running? I see there is a new in the works, coming in Nov supposedly. They’ve supposedly been tinkering with the scheduler and overclock… I wonder if maybe the laptop form factor makes it throttle more because of heat dissipation issues.

I’ll check if I can check when I get home. While I have not pushed it yet it has stayed very cool so far.

SMU Firmware revision is

Seems it may difficult to know specifically the AGESA version. Googling on how to check the AGESA version yielded references to a bunch of utilities which may not be free, and then this, which I feel may rely on the MOBO manufacturer too much:

I used HWInfo. The thread I read said to check the SMU Firmware version. I have a screenshot!

No expert, but I think SMU is for the added ARM core that runs some of the internal functions, but doesn’t manage the microcode. I think the SMU code is included in the overall AGESA.

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OH you’re right, this is the wrong screen. I’ll check again when I get a minute.

BIOS Version is 1.2016.140

I wonder if I’ll see a firmware update

LOL, that’s an odd accident … It’s hopefully not a year :wink:

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SMU 46.54 apparently.

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Okay I have an update!

General use: So far so good. The battery seems to be about average. I do not typically use it mobile, it’s almost always docked on my desk however for the purposes of this little mini review I took it out with me and tried to use it as much as possible on the go. Mild use, a little coding, web browsing and regular office work. I did not need to charge it before I got home from my work day…probably used somewhere between 70-80% of the battery before getting home.
It is very smooth, the trackpad is a pleasure as well as the keyboard. I have not had any complaints on performance for my daily work (VMWare, Visual Studio, Web Browsing, PDF/Word etc). For comparison my Surface 5th Gen would get pretty choppy when I had everything running (VPN, VMWare, Visual Studio, Word, Outlook, Web). This machine handles everything just fine.

I tested the battery today, I pulled up a 12 person game on Civ 5 to check out battery life and graphics. I realize Civ 5 is not that graphically intensive but for comparison purposes, on my 5th Gen, once I got the entire map revealed wherever wasn’t centered would grey out, and the details would emerge only when you scrolled over to that area of the map. With the SL3 this was not the case. It handles the entire map uncovered just fine, no stuttering or lag. With this fantastic trackpad (movement turned up a little) it’s a real treat for RTS.

Battery life while playing was 100-15% in 2 hrs 46 min. I imagine you’d get a solid 4 from watching movies say on a flight. It recharged from 15-100% in 1hr 22min and that is NOT with the charger than came with it, that is with the Surface Dock.

Overall I’m very happy with this machine, the screen and small bezels are great. It handles everything I can throw at it. Likely not all that great for graphically intensive gaming however the battery life is totally fine for normal use. It’s lappable and the fan does a good job of dissipating heat, I kept it on my lap for the entire 2hrs and 46min and it never got too hot for it. The chassis, keyboard and trackpad are outstanding.

The only issues I’ve had so far are going from mobile > docked. If the machine is unlocked and I put it on the dock it seems to be fine. However I’ve had a problem with plugging it into the dock while closed, opening it up and having only my external monitor working (ie, the settings are correct, laptop screen is on but just dimmed black). Unplugging and retrying while the machine is unlocked fixes that. However it seems to get a little confused if you’re opening it up while at the same time plugging in the dock etc. This may simply be a Windows 10 issue, it isn’t known for being the best playing nicely with external monitors.

That is my only complaint so far. Photos incoming.

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Sorry, one other thing I’d like to add:

The surface port is in the wrong place. It’s a little hard to get it plugged in when the laptop is sitting at the desk. I can’t tell if it’s too low or too high but you naturally want to put the plug on the desk and slide it home but it’s too high for that. If you are grasping the plug head, your finger under the bottom of it makes the port too low. You have to kind of grab it from the top and bottom instead of over the side without the male end. It’s awkward and a little weird and really not that big of a deal but I thought I would mention it.

Okay thanks!

I wonder if you can request the $300 back or if you have to return it (or threaten to)?

I got the student discount anyway so I think that almost evens out. Plus I’m overseas so I’d have to first ship it to family in the states and have them do the return. So avoiding that is worth whatever the difference would be.

This is a great overview. Thank you Philip (@godfrey)!
I noticed you have the Ryzen 7 3750U. The store is offering a 3780U. I am still trying to figure out the difference between the silicone.

The business version of this unit comes with Intel’s top-end Ice Lake processor in the 15W TDP class, the i7-1065G7. However, It looks like the Radeon has an advantage over the Intel Iris Pro G7. I wonder if the external monitor blip exists in the I7 model?

Listening to Paul and Brad, on First Ring Daily ( ) Brad says that AMD CPU is under performing… and recommends you get the Intel CPU.

I wonder if this will change from any firmware updates? What is it that is making it under perform.

@LouMM I noticed the Ice Lake! I have never owned an AMD machine and thought I would give it a try. So far no regrets and I got an LG Ultra Wide FreeSync to go with it. It looks beautiful.