One month with the Surface Laptop: how is it holding up?

Before the Surface Laptop launched, there was a bit of controversy over the Surface Laptop's use of Alcantara for the keyboard base of the device. Due to Microsoft's previous attempts at Alcantara, many users were worried that the Surface Laptop would eventually get dirty and gross, and considering the keyboard base on the Laptop is non-removable, once it gets dirty there's nothing you can do about it.

Microsoft says that the Alcantara on the Surface Laptop is different from the Alcantara on the older Type Cover devices in that it is far more resistant to dirt. Despite this, many refuse to believe Microsoft's claims, saying that the Surface Laptop will suffer the same fate as the older Alcantara Type Covers. Well, it's been about a month since the Surface Laptop launched, and I've had several people asking me how my Surface Laptop has been holding up.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Surface Laptop: Which laptop should you buy?

Dell XPS 13 vs. Surface Laptop: Which laptop should you buy?

Now, a month isn't nearly enough time to make any concrete claims as to whether the Surface Laptop is resistant to dirt unlike the older Alcantara Type Covers, but it does give us a good idea as to how well the Surface Laptop is holding up thus far. A month in, and my Surface Laptop still looks brand new, as if it has never been touched. There's no dirt, grease marks, or stains on the Alcantara whatsoever. I'm yet to find anyone online complaining that their Surface Laptop is suffering from any discoloration too.

Surface Laptop Review

I'm using the Platinum Surface Laptop, as that was the only color available in the UK at the time. I think the platinum color looks fantastic, and I've had no issues or complaints with it so far. I've had no hardware issues or defects either, battery life is still superb, and the speakers are loud and clear. I've also not run into any hibernation issues, of which some Surface Pro users have been complaining about. It doesn't look like that issue is affecting the Surface Laptop, which is good.

Regarding Windows 10 S, I did, in fact, upgrade to Windows 10 Pro quite quickly, but not because I couldn't put up with Windows 10 S. As I've mentioned many times in the past, I do believe in Windows 10 S, but only on certain devices. I'd not be a happy camper if I were stuck with Windows 10 S on a desktop PC with a GTX 1080 and 32GBs RAM, but on devices that are low-spec, Windows 10 S makes plenty of sense.

I purchased the Surface Laptop as a replacement to my Surface Book, which I use to edit videos and other productive things. Unfortunately, the video editing programs I use are not in the Windows Store, so I was unable to continue using Windows 10 S. If I had purchased the Surface Laptop as a replacement to my Surface 3, or my HP Spectre x360, I'd have absolutely been able to put up with Windows 10 S on it.

The Laptop doesn't get all that hot under the base. I'd say the hottest it has ever got was "moderately warm," and was never uncomfortable on my lap. The fan is incredibly quiet, and it hardly ever comes on. When it does, it's there, and it is noticeable, but it isn't loud or distracting. I'm using the Intel Core i5 with 8GB RAM and 256GB Storage model.

One thing I have done is swapped out the Surface Laptop charger with my Surface Book one. The Surface Book charger is slightly more powerful than the one that comes bundled with the Laptop, which means the Laptop charges faster with the Surface Book charger. Something to keep in mind.

Surface Laptop display

Surface Laptop display

So, a month in using the Surface Laptop, and I love it. I haven't picked up my Surface Book since I started using the Surface Laptop, and that's the highest possible compliment I can give such a device. I haven't missed the ability to detach my screen because I never detached the screen on the Surface Book anyway. Of course, your opinion on whether the Surface Laptop is a viable Surface Book replacement may vary. But I am very happy.

If you've been using a Surface Laptop since launch, I'm curious as to what your experience has been like. Make sure you let me know in the comments!

See Surface Laptop at Microsoft

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

27 Comments
  • I saw this at Best Buy the other day.  It looks awesome and I want one, but there's no way I can rationalize buying a new laptop right now because all my other devices work great and probably will for a long time.
  • And there you have the decline of the PC market. Even if you did buy a new one, you may be tempted to sell or give your old one, or one of your old ones, to someone, who then won't be buying one. 
  • Then why even comment. So ridiculous. It's like saying, 'I love that restaurant. But I've never eaten there.'
  • NO it's not.  If your using resturants its like looking at an all you can eat buffet,  and saying that looks good but I will just eat a normal meal instead.  or,  Hey,  WOW that 150 dollar meal at a fine dining resturant looks great but I can cook the same thing at home for 7 bucks.  
  • Great to see that its holding up very well. It could never, however, replace my surface book, and I'm anxiously waiting for a surface book 2
  • I'm willing to acknowledge I may be different than many users, but I fail to see the concern about Alcantara covers getting dirty is more than just another of the usual internet fake controversies. I've used the Alcantara Signature Type Cover since it was released on my Surface Pro 4, a device I carried to and from work daily since it came out. The cover looks as good as new. My wife is now using the SP4 and Signature Cover. She wears makeup, which I've read can be a problem for the covers, but there are no stains or marks a month in since I got the new Surface Pro for myself.  I bought the burgundy Alcantara cover for the new Pro. It did have a distinct odor for the first two days out of the box, but that has faded entirely and the cover has held up just fine.  I love Doritos (never been a Cheetos guy) but I don't eat them around any of my computers. Coffee and my grandson's sticky fingers have gotton on the Signature Type Cover of the SP4 in the past, but the cover was easily cleaned. Alcantara is optional on the Surface Pro and while it isn't on the Surface Laptop, there are LOTS of other laptop options out there without fabric covers. If your use case and work style cause you to worry about an Alcantara typing surface, you have choices. 
  • Agree! When I read about all these concerns about Cheetos on keyboards, I just thought, what kind of slob are you people that don't wipe your hands? I wipe my hands clean when I use a remote control.....but here, people have apparently been typing away with grime on their fingers.
  • Thanks for the real-world description
  • I'm going to be getting a laptop to replace my wife's aging, and underpowered HP Stream 13. Really looking at getting a Surface laptop, but hard to justify the price. However, perhaps I'll just have to say it will also "replace" my Surface 3.
  • Surface laptops are pretty much expensive. Hp stream 13 holds up well for the price only lack of storage is the concern. If you want a laptop for heavy industrial software such as solidworks,cad,catia etc then go for surface lineup. Otherwise hp stream 13 is the best option for normal activities in such low budget.
  • The HP Stream did hold up for what we originally purchased it for, however our lives have changed to where it isn't working for our situation anymore.
  • You can update it to the latest version of windows 10 and it works like a charm.
  • If something slim and good looking is what you're after have you considered the HP Spectre 13 Laptop? It's a lot more affordable and the HW is real nice
  • I'm actually still between these two, but I really like the Surface laptop.
  • I won't lie, I'd choose the Laptop over the x360 in a heartbeat, but I'm just a sucker for the Surface experience. The x360 is a fantastic laptop and a fantastic value. HP hit it out of the ballpark with hardware and price.
  • I won't lie, I'd choose the Laptop over the x360 in a heartbeat, but I'm just a sucker for the Surface experience. The x360 is a fantastic laptop and a fantastic value. HP hit it out of the ballpark with hardware and price.
  • I wish they made a 16:9 version of the Surface Laptop. I dislike 3:2.
  • 3:2 is the only way to go.
  • I appreciate Surface because only they make 3:2 screens..it is so much better to work on a tall display..but, maybe it would be better to have options..
  • Not a big fan of alcantara but I agree that one month is not enough to do justice for Microsoft's effort and bravery in using different material. Microsoft might consider using mainstream material should this effort failed to satisfaction.
  • ""I'd not be a happy camper if I were stuck with Windows 10 S on a desktop PC with a GTX 1080 and 32GBs RAM, but on devices that are low-spec, Windows 10 S makes plenty of sense."" There are hardware intensive games and apps in the store.
    So this comment makes plenty nonsense.
  • There are hardware intensive games and apps in the store.
    So this comment makes plenty nonsense. Why does this invalidate the point? There are plenty of games and other software which are not in the Windows Store which one may want to run. Like the author, I too would be wanting to run many of them if I had a powerful machine.   
  • The author is making the assumption that Windows 10 S is not designed for high-end hardware.
    If that was the case, it would have launched in tablet form like RT, instead MS chose a laptop form factor.
  • I'd say for a $1000+ for what's basically just thin & light laptop that took over 2 years to get to market, it should damn well be holding up well enough after only a month of use. No?
  • so, it is possible to edit videos on the surface laptop? and can anyone tell me should I get this laptop or the MacBook air? I am a student and will be doing some video editing there too. I am using a 9 year old machine (yes, I know, it's absolutely **** now, yet on windows 10 it somehow still works) and I badly need an upgrade..this thing gets hot like a heater.. I don't have a desktop pc either, so the laptop will be my only device. Please help. and, I won't be looking for an upgrade very soon..which one will be more future proof?
  • I certainly would not get the MacBook Air if you care at all about "future proof" as you mention.  I can't think of another laptop so old (obsolete) in design....
  • yes, design wise, but I read somewhere that it was refreshed this year.. well, anyway, can you please suggest me what I should get?