MS Surface Laptop Alternatives – 5 high-end ultraportable rivals

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The new Microsoft Surface Laptop, a non-convertible laptop with touchscreen and a lower entry price has Apple’s MacBook 12 and MacBook Air 13 in its sight.

The biggest question everyone is asking is will Microsoft’s strategy to restrict users to running only Apps via Microsoft’s App Store is going to fly with the customers. While we appreciate that Apps from Microsoft’s App store are vetted and meet Microsoft’s standards, restricting the device to only App from the Store will likely alienate their client base.

In this post, we look at some alternatives including those from Apple, that will do everything that the Surface Laptop does and more. Before we jump in, here is a quick table showing the specifications for the different Surface Laptop models.

Microsoft Surface Laptop: Option 1 Option 3
Processor Intel Core i5 Intel Core i7
Storage 128GB SSD 256GB SSD
RAM 4GB 8GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 620 Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
  • Display: 13.5″ PixelSense™ Display features 201 PPI resolution, 10 point multi-touch and 3:2 aspect ratio.
  • Storage & Memory Options: Solid state drive (SSD) options: 128GB, 256GB or 512GB storage, 4GB, 8GB or 16GB RAM.
  • Dimensions & Weight: 12.13″ x 8.79″ x .57″ (308.1 mm x 223.27 mm x 14.48 mm) and i5: 2.76 lbs (1,252 g)i7: 2.83 lbs (1,283 g)
  • Connections: 1 x USB 3.0, headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, 1 x Surface Connect port, compatible with Surface Dial off-screen interaction.

The one thing that the competition is going to find hard to beat is the battery life. Surface Laptop does offer considerably longer usage time per charge with up to 14.5 hours of video playback. On mixed use, it will be less but it is still a respectable number.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft Surface Laptop runs Windows S, the operating system that is limited to Microsoft Store for its apps. But if you prefer to run non-Store apps, early adopters can switch to Windows 10 Pro for free. This option is only available until the end of 2017 so if you are still convinced after looking at our line-up below that Surface Laptop is for you then grab one before the 31st December 2017. You can always install Store apps from a Windows 10 Pro.


1. Apple MacBook 12

The ultra compact and ultra portable from Apple is priced higher when compared to the Surface Laptop

  • Ultra-portable and ultra-compact premium design
  • 12-inch LED Backlit display with IPS technology 2304 x 1440 (226PPI) resolution 16:0 – SMALLER DISPLAY
  • 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz or 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost to 3.6GHz
  • 8GB configurable to 16GB memory, 256GB/512GB PCIe-based onboard SSD
  • Up to 10/12 hours (Web/Video)
  • Weight: 2.03 pounds (0.92 kg) – LIGHTER

2. HP Spectre 13 Laptop – TOUCHSCREEN

A classy laptop that means business, the HP Spectre 13 not only look the part for has what it takes to pull it off as a premium portable laptop that is sure to win many hearts.

  • Premium design with powerful processing
  • 13.3-inch IPS WLED 1920 x 1080 Touch enabled Display with Corning Gorilla Glass – LOWER RESOLUTION
  • Intel® Core™ i5-7200U (2.5GHz / 3.1GHz) Processor / i7-7500U (2.7GHz / 3.1GHz) Processor
  • RAM:  8GB / Storage: 256GB SSD or RAM: 8GB / Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Up to 8 hours battery life
  • Weight: 1.11kg – LIGHTER

3. Apple MacBook Air 13

The design may be a little dated now but this is the ultraportable that started it all. The original pioneer in premium, super slim ultra portable. With the Surface Laptop priced to match, Microsoft is after those considering a MacBook Air.


  • 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy 16:10 display 1440 by 900 resolution – LOWER RESOLUTION
  • 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz configurable to 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
  • RAM: 8GB / Storage: 128GB / 256GB configurable to 512GB SSD
  • Up to 12 hours battery life
  • Weight: 1.35 kg (2.96 pounds) – HEAVIER

4. Dell XPS 13 Laptop – TOUCHSCREEN

  • InfinityEdge display with near zero bezel
  • 13.3″ Full HD 1920 x 1080 LED or 13.3″ QHD 3200 x 1800 touchscreen LED Display – HIGHER RESOLUTION
  • Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5GHz / 3.1GHz (TurboBoost) or Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7 GHz / 3.5 GHz(TurboBoost) processor
  • 8GB memory/256GB SSD or 16GB memory/512GB SSD
  • Up to 18 hours of battery life – LONGEST BATTERY LIFE
  • Weight: 1.2kg – LIGHTER

5. HP Spectre x360 Convertible 13 2-in-1 Laptop – TOUCHSCREEN, STYLUS 

  • Premium design with powerful processors and big storage options, stylus thrown in
  • 13.3-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 touchscreen or 13.3-inch 4K 3840 x 2160 touchscreen display – HIGHER RESOLUTION
  • Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5GHz / 3.1GHz or Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7GHz / 3.5GHz processor
  • 8GB/16GB memory and 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD – BIGGER STORAGE
  • Up to 16 hours of battery life – BETTER BATTERY LIFE
  • Includes stylus and sleeve
  • Weight: 1.32kg – SLIGHTLY HEAVIER

BONUS: Rivals with 4K and QHD+ Resolution Displays

Lenovo Yoga 910 13.9-inch 4K 2-in-1 Laptop – TOUCHSCREEN

  • Bigger nearly 14-inch display with 7th generation processors and JBL speakers using Dolby Audio Premium sound processor
  • 13.9-inch IPS 4K 3480 x 2160 touchscreen – HIGHER RESOLUTION, BIGGER DISPLAY
  • Intel® Core™ i5-7200U 2.5GHz / 3.1GHz or i7-7500U 2.7GHz / 3.5GHz Processor
  • RAM: 8GB or 16GB / Storage: 256GB or 512GB SSD
  • Up to 9 hours battery life
  • Weight: 1.38kg – SLIGHTLY HEAVIER

ASUS ZenBook UX330 13 Laptop

  • Premium design in beautiful aluminium chassis and powerful processor options but no touchscreen
  • 13.3-inch LED backlit QHD+ 3200 x 1800 display – HIGHER RESOLUTION
  • Intel® Core™ i5-6200U 2.3GHz / 2.8GHz or Core i7-7500U 2.7GHz / 3.5GHz Processor
  • RAM: 8GB / Storage: 256GB SSD or RAM: 8GB /Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Up to 12 hours battery life
  • Weight: 1.2kg – LIGHTER
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