Surface Laptop

There's a choice of colors for the first time in the Surface lineup. But which one is right for you?

Thinking about colors isn't something Surface buyers have had to do before. It's like that old saying from Henry Ford regarding the Model T: You can have it in any color as long as it's platinum (not black, obviously). Or the saying goes something like that, at least. With the Surface Laptop, things have changed, perhaps in part due to the target audience Microsoft is shooting for with its first traditional notebook.

Which color looks best, and which should you get? It's not necessarily as simple as picking which one you think looks the best.

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Outside the U.S. you have no choice

Surface Laptop

Unless you're an American, Microsoft doesn't like you very much. OK, that's not really the case, but when it comes to colors it's very much a case of U.S. first, everyone else never. Or at least that's the current state of play. If you don't like platinum, you're not going to like what you can buy.

Chances are the platinum will be just fine, and it looks really smart. It's the traditional Surface color, and if you're ever going into a meeting room or somewhere else where a red laptop probably won't do your image much good, it's the one to go for anyway.

If you're in the U.S., all four color choices are available to you.

Colors and specs

Surface Laptop

Choosing a color on its own would be too easy. Instead, Microsoft opted to make some of the choices available only with certain specifications. So you'll have to pay above the base cost if you want color options, as well as being limited by the internal hardware.

At present, Microsoft is only accepting preorders for the burgundy, blue and gold Surface Laptop models with the Core i5 chips and 256GB of storage, which cost $1,299. The cheaper $999 i5 model, as well as both Core i7 models, are currently only available in the platinum finish.

So in addition to deciding which color you want the most, you have to decide whether the solitary model available right now in non-platinum is right for you. In other words, you can't have 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM without also going with platinum.

Which should you choose?

The decision ultimately comes down to balance. You have to decide first and foremost if a Core i5, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is enough for you. If the answer is no, then you have to go with platinum, there's no alternative. Likewise, if you want the absolute cheapest Surface Laptop, you have no color choice.

Assuming you're happy with the $1,299 model, the choice is mostly going to come down to preference. The Alcantara keyboard matches the exterior color, which means if you're looking for a little subtlety, you should go blue or gold. Both look terrific on the outside and aren't so in your face on the inside. If you're looking to stand out from the crowd, the burgundy will be best.

The bezels around the display are black on all models of the Surface Laptop, so there's nothing to consider there. And that's a good thing. The black bezel is not distracting, and it just disappears into the background while you're working.

Of course, if you're outside the U.S. none of this matters. You have to get platinum ... at least for now.

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