Should you buy the Surface Laptop 5 13.5 or 15?
Best answer: If you're in need of a smaller device or are looking to save some money, go with the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 5. However, you should opt for the 15-inch version instead if you want a larger display.
Surface Laptop 5: Overview and specs
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The Surface Laptop 5 is the latest device in Microsoft's ultrabook lineup, aimed at folks that need a speedy and efficient machine to use for general productivity work, browsing the web, watching entertainment, and other everyday tasks. Featuring impressive upgrades like Intel Evo-certified 12th Gen Intel Mobile U-series CPUs, the addition of Thunderbolt 4, and a Secured-Core PC certification, the Surface Laptop 5 is considerably more advanced than previous generations of the device.
Notably, the Surface Laptop 5 also comes with certifications for Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos, meaning that you can expect stellar contrast, vibrant colors, and top-notch spatial sound from its displays and speakers. Microsoft says that the camera will be great to use, too, as it will be able to adjust to varying light conditions, different skin tones, and adjustments you make to the position of your head and face.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Surface Laptop 5 13.5||Surface Laptop 5 15|
|OS||Windows 11 Home (Consumer)||Windows 11 Home (Consumer)|
|Row 1 - Cell 0||Windows 11 Pro (Commercial)||Windows 11 Pro (Commercial)|
|Processor||Core i5-1235U (Consumer)||Core i7-1255U (Consumer)|
|Row 3 - Cell 0||Core i5-1245U (Commercial)||Core i7-1265U (Commercial)|
|Row 4 - Cell 0||Core i7-1255U (Consumer)||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|Row 5 - Cell 0||Core i7-1265U (Commercial)||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|Memory||8GB, 16GB, or 32GB LPDDR5x||8GB, 16GB, or 32GB LPDDR5x|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe Graphics||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD||256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD|
|Display||13.5-inch 60Hz PixelSense Display, 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI)||15-inch 60Hz PixelSense Display, 2496 x 1664 (201 PPI)|
|Ports||1x USB-C with USB 4.0 / TB4, 1x USB-A 3.1, 3.5mm jack, 1x Surface Connect||1x USB-C with USB 4.0 / TB4, 1x USB-A 3.1, 3.5mm jack, 1x Surface Connect|
|Audio||Dual far-field Studio Mics||Dual far-field Studio Mics|
|Row 12 - Cell 0||Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Atmos||Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Atmos|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6E: 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1||Wi-Fi 6E: 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Camera||720p HD front facing camera||720p HD front facing camera|
|Security||Windows Hello facial recognition||Windows Hello facial recognition|
|Row 16 - Cell 0||TPM 2.0||TPM 2.0|
|Row 17 - Cell 0||Secured-Core PC certified||Secured-Core PC certified|
|Battery||Up to 18 hours||Up to 17 hours|
|Dimensions||12.1" x 8.8" x 0.57" (308 x 223 x 14.5 mm)||13.4" x 9.6" x 0.58" (340 x 244 x 14.7 mm)|
|Weight||2.80 lbs (Alcantara) or 2.86 lbs (Metal)||3.44 lbs|
|Color||Platinum with Alcantara, Sage, Matte Black, Sandstone||Platinum, Matte Black|
|Price||Starts at $999||Starts at $1,299|
Like with the Surface Laptop 4, the Surface Laptop 5 is available in 13.5-inch and 15-inch versions. For the most part, the two models are identical, with the main differences between them being their price and the size of their displays. Notably, the 13.5-inch version can be configured with both Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, with the 15-inch variant only featuring Core i7 options.
Both models of the Surface Laptop 5 are available to preorder now, with the device expected to begin shipping on October 25, 2022. The price of the 13.5-inch model starts at $999, while the cost of the larger 15-inch one begins at $1,299.
Why you should buy the Surface Laptop 5 13.5
The 13.5-inch variant of the Surface Laptop 5 will be ideal for folks that want something as affordable as possible, as it's considerably less expensive than the 15-inch model. While you'll have to settle for Core i5 12th Gen chips instead of Core i7 ones if you want to save the most money, we expect that they'll still offer great performance for general tasks and will be excellent for day-to-day use.
You should also opt for this model if you're looking for something compact. The smaller size of the display and chassis means that the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 5 will be easier to slip into small laptop bags and backpacks. It's also a full half-pound lighter, too, which is a benefit worth considering if you plan on carrying the laptop with you all day.
Microsoft also claims that the 13.5-inch variant will have a slightly better battery life of 18 hours. This is far from being a major step up from the 15-inch version's estimated 17-hour runtime, but if you often spend a lot of time away from the charging cord, every bit of extra juice helps.
Why you should buy the Surface Laptop 5 15
If you don't mind paying a little extra for it, the 15-inch Surface Laptop 5 will be an excellent choice for people that want a larger display. Many often find larger screens easier to multitask and complete work with, as they give you more real estate to use. Bigger panels are also typically considered ideal for watching movies and TV or playing games (Xbox Cloud Gaming would pair perfectly with the Surface Laptop 5). If you plan on consuming a lot of entertainment media with your new laptop, going with the 15-inch unit may be the right call.
You may also prefer to use the larger keyboards found on 15-inch devices, especially if you have big hands. If you've struggled to type accurately using smaller keyboards in the past, you'll most likely be better off with the bigger Surface Laptop 5.
Ultimately, regardless of which Surface Laptop 5 you decide to buy, you'll end up with what is expected to be one of the best Windows laptops of 2022. Between its quality specs and great new features, the Surface Laptop 5 is poised to please.
Available in the same 13.5- and 15-inch screen sizes as its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 5 gets some notable, but iterative, updates this year, including a better display with DolbyVision IQ support, faster processing power under the hood, and new colorway options.
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