How durable is the Alcantara fabric on the Surface Laptop?

Microsoft's newest goodie, the Surface Laptop, was revealed May 2, 2017. This slim, light, powerful laptop is immediately recognizable as a Surface device, due to its the logo and screen, but especially due to the keyboard covered in "Alcantara" fabric. This material, according to Microsoft, "ages beautifully, growing richer and darker over time, and is wonderfully soft to touch."

This is the same stuff used on the company's Signature Type Cover and Surface Ergonomic Keyboard, so you might already be familiar with it. The fabric is sourced from Nera Montoro, Italy, and is often used in high-end automotive interiors. It's soft and warm, and it looks great. But how does it hold up after a few years of use?

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What the Signature Type Cover and Surface Ergonomic Keyboard have to say

Since we haven't yet had a chance to put the Alcantara fabric on the Surface Laptop through any sort of endurance tests, we have to look at the Signature Type Cover and Surface Ergonomic Keyboard, which currently employ the exact same fabric.

Surface Pro Signature Type Cover

Reviews on the Microsoft Store for the Signature Type Cover are glowing; it currently sits at a 4.3-star rating with more than 40 reviews. Some of the lower ratings — where durability issues were cited — received responses from Microsoft, and it urged customers to reach out because that is not the standard experience when it comes to the Alcantara fabric. The Amazon listing sits at a 4.6-star rating with more than 75 reviews.

Executive Editor Daniel Rubino has been using the Signature Type Cover and the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard for some time, and he has this to say:

Both are still holding up just fine wear-wise, and I haven't had any issues with stains from my palms. Still comfortable and really no issues at all.

If the Surface Laptop is assembled with the same care as other Surface products, there shouldn't be any problems with the Alcantara fabric on the keyboard.

What Microsoft recommends

While the Alcantara fabric should hold up to normal wear and tear, that doesn't mean your hands won't cause a bit of grime to build up over time.

Microsoft has this recommendation for cleaning the Type Cover keyboard:

To clean the keyboard, wipe with a lint-free cloth dampened in mild soap and water. Don't apply liquids directly to your Surface. Do this often to keep your Touch Cover or Type Cover looking great.

As with any keyboard, some dirt is expected to stick to it. If you clean it often, it should hold up just fine.

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More Surface Laptop goodness

While we patiently wait for the June 15 release of the Surface Laptop, be sure to check out these articles with way more information about Microsoft's latest laptop.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.