we take the same one and we start again

The ultraportable signed Microsoft returns this year without major changes, except for a twelfth generation Intel chip. Is that enough to climb into the top 3 ultraportable PCs at the end of 2022?

The 2022 batch of Surfaces is here, and the fifth generation Laptop, Microsoft’s “classic” ultraportable, has passed into the hands of 01Lab, in its 13.5-inch version. Microsoft lent us this time a model coated in “platinum” colored Alcantara: its touch contrasts sharply with that of the model we tested last year, all in aluminium. It is immediately clear to those allergic to this rather special finish that they can always fall back on a more classic “metal” case when configuring the device.

Credit: LM / 01net.com // Alcantara, we like it or we don’t like it. But it’s nice to the touch!

On our side, we were not necessarily very convinced at the start by this coating that some in the editorial staff have long called the “toupee” with an ounce of contempt. But it is clear, after long hours spent strumming on its excellent keyboard, that the alcantara is pleasant to the touch, soft and reassuring, and almost comforting during rainy autumn days.

Surface Laptop 5
Credit: LM / 01net.com // Still as well finished, the Surface Laptop has little to envy to the Macs

Yes, we are pouring out a little on the alcantara… Because apart from that, we don’t have much to get our teeth into with this 2022 version of the Surface Laptop from a design point of view. And for good reason: Microsoft has taken over exactly the same box as last year. Classy, ​​refined, solid, well finished: nothing to say, it’s still a beautiful machine… But we would still have liked Microsoft to correct a defect that we had already pointed out: the borders of the screen are still too wide, and it’s a stain, especially when you compare the laptop to other machines released this year, such as the new MacBook Air M2.

Surface Laptop 5: the webcam
Credit: LM / 01net.com // The webcam is still limited to 720p. But facial recognition works perfectly.

In the absence of thin borders, we are still entitled to the webcam and the infrared sensor for Windows Hello. And the latter recognizes your face perfectly with each identification. We regret, however, that Microsoft is still content with a 720p webcam, almost a heresy in 2022. Fortunately, Microsoft is catching up with the quality of the sound produced by the speakers, ample and pleasant, including at high volume.

Surface Laptop 5: Surface Connect Plug
Credit: 01net.com / LM // The proprietary Connect socket is still there for recharging. But you can also charge via USB-C

Finally, we deplore the still minimalist connectors. The Surface Laptop 5 is content, like its predecessor, with a USB-A socket, a USB-C socket, a jack socket and the Surface Connect port (to charge or connect a dock). It’s limit. But we can still be happy about one thing: for the first time, the Surface Laptop is Thunderbolt 4 compatible. And thus has the most modern interface for fast file transfers and the connection of external monitors. It was time !

Surface Laptop 5: Connectivity
Credit: LM / 01net.com // Connectivity, to say the least… limited

A halftone screen

Surface obliges, the Laptop 5 always has a slab in 3:2 format, ideal for working, whether in office automation or in creation. Our tests show, however, that the Surface Laptop 5 panel, without being terrible, is from a technical point of view far from being the best of the moment. It sins in particular in terms of brightness, measured according to our care at 365 cd / m2, which is 13.3% lower than the average of the ultraportables that we have tested recently. The same goes for the contrast, measured by the 01Lab at 1268:1. Again, it’s not great, without being catastrophic.

Surface Pro 5 screen

Curiously, the slab even displays results for some less good than those of the Surface Laptop 4 of last year. Including in terms of color fidelity. With a Delta E 2000 measured at 2.4 in sRGB, the Surface Laptop 5 certainly gets away with the honors… But last year, the Microsoft PC surprised us with a Delta E 2000 at 1.03, quite simply a score excellent. We also find it unfortunate that Microsoft did not see fit to switch to a 120 Hz panel on the laptop (we are content here with 60 Hz) while this is the case on the Surface Pro. Why ? Mystery.

Performance up slightly

In the absence of a new case or improved connectivity, this is the great novelty of this Surface Laptop 5: it benefits from a twelfth generation Intel chip and meets the Intel Evo specifications. Microsoft also offers two different processors: a Core i5-1235U and a Core i7-1255U, which is the one that equips our model under test. Our tests show it: the Surface Laptop 5 manages to rise to the top of the basket of ultraportable PCs of the moment, without however making sparks, nor exploding the scores compared to the machine launched last year.

Surface Laptop 5, PC Mark

Comparing its Geekbench and Cinebench results with other recent laptops confirms these results: the Surface Laptop 5 is a high-performance laptop, but which does not stand out from the competition at the often lower price.

Surface Laptop 5: Geekbench and Cinebench

In 3D, the presence of the Intel Iris Xe integrated circuit will allow you to play a little… not too demanding games, of course. Needless to say, you’ll struggle to exceed 20 frames per second in titles (yet well optimized) like Forza Horizon 5unless you agree to drastically reduce the image definition.

However, the graphics performance of the machine remains very honest. Note, however, that the Laptop 5 tends to throttler, in other words to limit the graphics power when it is very busy, as shown by the stability score in 3DMark Wild Life. It’s a blessing in disguise: the Surface Laptop 5 is also a particularly quiet machine, which ventilates infrequently, for the greatest comfort of our ears.

3D: Surface Laptop 5

Autonomy and charge: not so bad!

The Surface Laptop 5 again shows a slight improvement over its predecessor, with versatile battery life measured by us at 9:48 and video battery life at 7:21. This is far from ridiculous, even if prestigious competitors, like the XPS 13 Plus, do better.

Surface Laptop 5 charger
Credit: LM / 01net.com // The charger has a USB-A port, practical for boosting the connection a little.

But that’s still not enough to deal with the machine that Microsoft is clearly targeting with this product, in other words the MacBooks. Because, miracle of the Mx chips, the Apple machines always send the PCs back to the ropes in this area, as you can see in our table.

Autonomy: Surface Laptop 5

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