Which color Surface Laptop should you buy?

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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Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

45 Comments
  • "Unless you're an American, Microsoft doesn't like you very much. OK, that's not really the case". ..... I'm an American and even I see there is a bit of favoritism at least. Haha
  • It's just the US is a bigger market and only Americans are foolish enough to buy a new phone every year.
  • 1 - For Microsoft, Europe is actually a bigger market. Because unlike the US, Apple has little to no footing here.   2 - This has nothing to do with phones. Microsoft doesn't do phones.
  • Apple has no footing in Europe??? I don't know where in Europe you are from but in Scandinavia iPhone has about 50% marketshare and the schools and universities are absolutely crowded by MacBooks..
  • Maybe you'd like to look at European marketshares for Apple ;) iOS sits below 20% and macOS has less than 13%.   Just because you see a bunch of people in a niche place with Macbooks it doesn't mean "schools and universities are absolutely crowded by MacBooks". I visit a lot of Universitities accross Europe and I can assure you they are NOT crowded by MacBooks. Which isn't surprising.
  • 20% is little to none? As mentioned iPhones are all dominant in Scandinavia and a disturbing amount of Macs can be seen in every café... Not only this, but everyone in Scandinavia have the money to spare to buy whatever apps and accessories they want, much more so than in, say, Portugal or Greece.
  • its not about foolism if you have money and you are a tech guru or a stupid mofo who needs to have the newest tech in your pocket... than you will buy it.. doesnt matter if you are American, Eu, Indian or anything else
  • Ehh, no. Just check how people buy phones in the US and outside the US. Over here you even get a debt registration when buying a phone >240 Euro's. And that really hurts when you want to buy a house. The last stock crisis started in the US you know.
  • The favoritism is being a U.S. company, where it's less complex to deal with your own nation's laws that you are constantly attuned to. Same reason you see many Japan-exclusive games from Japanese companies.
  • Games are one thing; they're culture-specific, particularly when it comes to Japan. Europe should be a much bigger market than the US for general tech; the buying power is much more evenly distributed across twice the number of people...
  • Color will not make me buy one
  • Burgundy or blue. Can't wait!
  • "Outside the U.S. you have no choice" "Unless you're an American, Microsoft doesn't like you very much." "...it's very much a case of U.S. first, everyone else never." "If you're in the U.S., all four color choices are available to you." "Of course, if you're outside the U.S. none of this matters." Bitter much, Richard? :) I do get your point, and agree that Microsoft seems to focus on America first.  I'm not sure if this is simply to test the market here, because costs to go worldwide outweigh the profits, or because they really don't get the worldwide market.
  • I feel like I made my thoughts perfectly clear, yes :)
  • At least it is good that both Google, Samsung and Apple knows better. Funny that that attetude manage do totally destroy Windows Phones presence in Europe, no Cortana for us, no swiftkey, no nothing. Bitter? No I switched intead to Android.
  • Seriously an article about which colour to buy can only mean it's a slow news day.
  • Of course, because without news Windows Central will surely fail.
  • I actually think its a perfectly reasonable topic for a news article. Its a largish tech spend, gotta get the colour right. (Yeah I said it, coloUr ;) ) Burgundy FTW BTW  
  • I know, an article about device colours sounds better suited for iMore. :) Besides, once Build hits, there'll be plenty of content to read!
  • "Unless you're an American, Microsoft doesn't like you very much. OK, that's not really the case"   No...it actually IS really the case.
  • Perhaps we Europeans do need to understand that Microsoft is all about software. They only make hardware to show OEMS what .... well, you know allready. In The Netherland we can buy a Surface Book. That took a year. No one wants a Book after a year. We still can't buy the Studio and can order the laptop in one colour. So, think again. Microsoft isn't in the hardware business ..... That's just for OEMS....
  • Perhaps you should understand that we don't live in a bubble anymore and that we SEE the different treatment Microsoft gives the US. If Microsoft isn't about the hardware, then there's no reason WHATSOEVER for them to offer more than one colour EVERYWHERE. But no. They presented 4 colours and marketed 4 colours worldwide. And then when you go to buy it, they shove the silver version down your throat because after all the colours they announced are exclusive to their own country.   Perhaps we Europeans should start giving ALL Microsoft products the same treatment we give the Xbox: we start using something else from someone who actually doesn't keep treating us like second rate customers. That different treatment already led to Sony's ABSOLUTE dominance over Europe where consoles are related. Microsoft is definitely asking for us to do the same to Windows and their entire Surface line. Maybe they'll appreciate going back to the 1 billion in losses.
  • I agree with you 100%.
  • In defense of Microsoft: this time we can buy a Surface Laptop in the Netherlands at the same time as in the US.
  • Well they like Brits. Just not as much as Americans. You however...that's a different matter ;-)
  • They do? Last I checked you weren't getting anything special either. No Studio, no Design Lab, no coloured Laptops... :P   (We normally get pretty much everything the rest of Europe gets here. Having a Microsoft Language Development Centre in Lisbon helps ;) So far the only thing we didn't get was the Surface Book but that was because there was no consumer interest whatsoever in it and the teal Surface Type Cover 4 'cause over here apparently everyone prefers only black devices)
  • Well, I'm not in the US and I will let my other half pick the colour.
    She did pick the cobalt blue!
    Well, my new car is cobalt blue too so it's kind of nice.... in my dream MSFT, please come to Asia with colour, we Asian love colours (just see how much red iPhone7 is popular in China)!
  • #teamburgundy It's kind of a big thing.
  • I really want the core i7 in cobalt blue :(  I suspect a few months after lunch they will offer the colors with different specifications. 
  • Surface Design Lab, like Xbox Design Lab, or the old Zune originals. MS love dabbling in customization.  
  • Launch** 
  • I like the blue on the chassis, but find the keyboard hideous and the pricing compeltely out of touch for what you're getting. When I can get double the RAM and SSD for $800 less, what incentive is there to buy this? If it were $700-800 and came with the pen, I'd at least take a look, but at $1,000 with no pen or hybrid design, it's just a touch screen Macbook with worse specs.
  • It does support pen.
  • I know, but it doesn't come with it. So, if you want to use the thing, you're starting at $1,050 for it when you can get a SP4 with similar specs for less, much less if there's a sale going (which isn't uncommon these days). As I've said from the day it was announced, I can get a sub-$700 hybrid from Best Buy with the same specs, and I'd just lose the pen support.
  • Heck, for the price of the i5/8GB Surface Laptop you can get an HP Spectre x360 which has a 360 screen, a pen and a core i7 instead of i5 for the same 8G/256GB. AND it brings Windows 10 Pro out of the box, not that pathetic Windows 10 S. The Surface Laptop is a terrible deal in every single way. It looks great. But that's pretty much it.
  • But then your'e stuck with HP, the worst OEM I've ever seen in tech support history, plus the i7 means almsot nothing to the vast majority of users. Oh, and I totally disagree. I think the Surface Laptop looks pretty bad. It reeks of fashion statements over quality. The Alcantara or whatever looks like something a fashion designer made up without consideration of the market. Can't stand the shades of color that come from it, particularly the blue. It's a pretty weak physical design, especially when you consider it's got no hybrid capability.
  • But using a pen on this is rather... awkward.  The screen cannot be laid flat.  I'm not sure why you would buy this over a Surface Pro 4.  The only benefit is the montor can stand up on your lap better, since it doesn't need a kickstand.  Other than that, Pro 4 all the way...
  • I had a chance to visit my local MS store this past weekend. It had all 4 colors on demo and they all looked gorgeous. In the end, I still prefer Platinum, which is the classic color of the Surface line. BTW, at this time only the i5, 8G, 256G version has all 4 colors. If you want different configurations, you'll only have Platinum. I also noticed on one of the demo devices, the Alcantera fabric was starting to curl up on one corner of the keyboard. This is one concern a lot of people seem to have-durability of the fabric. Another one is, ease of cleaning. I just wish MS would give us an all-metal option.
  • They should get rid of their stocks fast before the Windows on ARM devices will severely cannibalize on the price!
  • Burgundyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
  • They don't have the color I want in the configuration I want. Lame.
  • Well I would have gone for the burgundy, but Microsoft's non-US policy now extends to..colors.  Seriously Redmond? Seriously??
  • "Unless you're an American, Microsoft doesn't like you very much. OK, that's not really the case". That is TOTALLY the case. With every Microsoft Service, like Surface, Bing, Cortana, Groove, XboxLive etc., the rest of the world is way behind in offerings. IF they get them at all.
  • blue!
  • "Unless you're an American, Microsoft doesn't like you very much. OK, that's not really the case" It's very VERY much the case! Where's Cortana? Where's the Surface Studio? Where's the Surface Dial? Where was the Band and Band 2? Where are Bing Rewards? Why was the Surface Book two years on it's way? Microsoft is ridiculously focused on the US, and they're seemingly LESS popular there than anywhere else! Makes no sense...