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Opinion | Microsoft Surface Laptops are missing the point on why people prefer Windows in the first place

Microsoft Surface Laptops are missing the point on why people prefer Windows in the first place (Image source: Microsoft)
Microsoft Surface Laptops are missing the point on why people prefer Windows in the first place (Image source: Microsoft)
It says something when even Huawei can create a better Windows laptop than Microsoft can. The Apple-like approach of the Surface Laptop series has forgone almost everything that makes Windows laptops great in the first place.

If you're in the market for a new laptop, you'll have two major options to choose from: MacBook or Windows. Each come with their own set of pros and cons to fill specific niches or scenarios depending on the buyer. In the case of Windows, these laptops tend to offer better software compatibility, more raw horsepower, easier serviceability, and more connectivity options than the typical MacBook.

Microsoft began offering its own lineup of Surface laptops in 2017 to mixed results. Even after three years and two refreshes, Surface laptops still can't top the flagship Windows Ultrabooks that most other OEMs are already offering. They lack the two key characteristics that people love about Windows laptops: easy end-user upgrades and a wide selection of ports. Having the ability to easily upgrade or service your own RAM, SSD, battery, or Wi-Fi module is invaluable to many users and the same can be said for having integrated HDMI, SD card readers, Kensington Locks, and multiple USB ports. Microsoft has been focusing too much on creating a minimalist MacBook-like experience instead of a "proper" Windows laptop with hardware features that Windows purists actually care about.

We've already revewied a handful of Surface Laptops ranging from the original 2017 Surface Laptop to the 2018 Surface Laptop 2 and 2019 Surface Laptop 3. In every case, we criticized the systems for their closed nature and barebones ports relative to other similarly-priced Windows laptops like the Huawei MateBook X Pro, HP EliteBook 1040, or the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. These alternatives are proof that it's possible to offer thin designs, serviceable parts, non-proprietary ports, and even discrete graphics all in a single package. Microsoft ought to go back to the drawing board to create a more "open" Surface Laptop 4 that can better appeal to consumers and business users alike.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 02 > Microsoft Surface Laptops are missing the point on why people prefer Windows in the first place
Allen Ngo, 2020-02-19 (Update: 2020-02-19)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.