Microsoft 13.5″ Surface Laptop 2

Last updated date: November 7, 2019

DWYM Score
8.5

Microsoft 13.5″ Surface Laptop 2

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Overall Take

In our analysis of 97 expert reviews, the Microsoft Microsoft 13.5" Surface Laptop 2 placed 4th when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note November 18, 2019:
Checkout The Best Mini Laptop for a detailed review of all the top mini laptop.

Expert Summarized Score
8.4
23 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.1
966 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
It’s still a very thin and light notebook, weighing just 2.76 pounds thanks to its all-aluminum casing.
- Audio Authority
July 3, 2019 | Full review
- Review Meta
The Surface Laptop 2 is essentially the same as its predecessor, only much more powerful. It’s just as thin and light as before, at 0.57 inches (14.48mm) and 2.76 pounds (1.25kg). This means that the Surface Laptop 2 is just as portable as before, which is excellent news for mobile professionals and students alike.
- Tech Radar
July 29, 2019 | Full review
Excellent display. Battery that'll easily last you a day. Lightweight and attractive design
- Trusted Reviews
April 29, 2019 | Full review
The Surface Laptop 2 is sturdy without feeling especially weighty. ide, the Surface Laptop 2’s display reclines to an ergonomically comfortable 45 degrees or so away from the horizontal.
- PC World
January 2, 2019 | Full review
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 lasts long enough that you won't worry about battery life every time you unplug to leave the house. The Surface Laptop 2 is an elegant 13.5-inch touch-screen laptop.
- Laptop Magazine
November 26, 2018 | Full review
The design of the Surface Laptop 2 is fantastic. Microsoft has achieved the thin-bezel look, while still keeping the webcam and Windows Hello IR camera properly located in the upper bezel. The laptop is thin and light, and very easy to carry around.
- Anand Tech
March 28, 2019 | Full review
The Surface Laptop 2 offers up-to-date processors with four cores, a quieter cooling system, slightly improved speakers and a new color variation.
- Notebook Check
January 4, 2019 | Full review
The look is clean, the design is straightforward, and it all adds up to a minimalist, modern-feeling machine.
- PC Magazine
February 22, 2019 | Full review
It has sleek, well-made design and comfortable keyboard and excellent trackpad
- The Verge
October 16, 2018 | Full review
With a brilliant screen, comfortable keyboard and reliable performance, the Laptop 2 is one of the strongest notebooks, and its $999 starting price is reasonable for what it offers.
- Engadget
November 8, 2018 | Full review
The 13.5in high resolution touchscreen is just as beautiful as last year’s, and with the super quick startup and Windows Hello face recognition it makes it a joy to open. It’s definitely one of those machines that begs for a really good desktop background.
- The Guardian
October 23, 2018 | Full review
The Surface Laptop 2 ups the default RAM and upgrades to much faster processors. The new matte black color option looks great.
- CNET
October 16, 2018 | Full review
There is now an optional all-black color option for Surface Laptop 2.
- Windows Central
November 28, 2018 | Full review
The Surface Laptop 2 does have a bit of flair, offering up an Alcantara fabric keyboard, while there's a new black finish to add to the existing platinum, burgundy and colbalt blue. The screen is terrific and there's a superb spec sheet, too.
- Pocket-lint
September 30, 2019 | Full review
I love the extra height, which shows more of documents, spreadsheets and web pages. The 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504 display on the Surface Laptop 2 offers that excellent aspect ratio and is incredibly vivid.
- Tom's Hardware
November 12, 2018 | Full review
Faster internals for more versatile work. Fantastic screen and keyboard
- Stuff
October 18, 2018 | Full review
It’s premium build materials, slick design touches and nippy speed make it one of the most desirable ultraportables available on the market today.
- Alphr
October 18, 2018 | Full review
This laptop has one of the best ultralight keyboards around, epic battery life and soft parts.
- Wired
November 8, 2018 | Full review
This is an Apple-level device with Windows 10, an operating system I’ve grown to love in recent years. The battery is pretty good, at least better than my standard-issue work laptop from Dell.
- CNBC
October 16, 2018 | Full review
It has much better SSD performance and lovely new black color scheme
- Tech Spot
Lightweight and compact, you won't mind slipping it in your bag each day. Thanks to the latest technology inside, its fast and makes light work of everything from word processing to simple photo editing.
- Good Housekeeping
March 1, 2019 | Full review
Sound quality is excellent. Surface Laptop 2 provides surprisingly strong dual speakers, as before, which offer crisp, spatial, and loud audio quality. You’ll have no problem filling a hotel room with sound on road trips.
- Thurott
November 25, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
The display does not detach from the keyboard, nor does it rotate on a hinge as many other convertible notebooks do.
- Audio Authority
July 3, 2019 | Full review
Microsoft doesn’t include its Surface Pen stylus, which is unfortunate because it is essential if you were to take full advantage of the touch display.
- Tech Radar
July 29, 2019 | Full review
It has no USB-C ports and this is expensive.
- Trusted Reviews
April 29, 2019 | Full review
The Surface Laptop 2 still lacks the microSD slot of the Surface Pro 6 and the USB-C port of many of its other rivals. There’s no rear-facing camera, either.
- PC World
January 2, 2019 | Full review
Slow, pricey SSDs; No Type-C ports; Need to pay more for color options.
- Laptop Magazine
November 26, 2018 | Full review
The real controversy with the original Surface Laptop is unfortunately not fixed though. Offering just a single USB port is a strange decision, since it is not very user friendly.
- Anand Tech
March 28, 2019 | Full review
This laptop has limited selection of ports, performance isn't quite as fast as some competitors and the touchpad clicks are loud.
- PC Magazine
February 22, 2019 | Full review
No USB-C ports and no SD card slot.
- The Verge
October 16, 2018 | Full review
However, the socket is so shallow the charger dropped out of the laptop at the slightest provocation. Sure, it has magnets to help hold it in place, but that wasn't enough to keep the charger from falling right out when I accidentally flicked the wire.
- Engadget
November 8, 2018 | Full review
no USB-C, no SD card reader, no fingerprint scanner, limited configuration options
- The Guardian
October 23, 2018 | Full review
Other than a CPU/RAM bump, there's very little new about this. The black color option is only available on more expensive configurations. No USB-C, a rarity for premium laptops.
- CNET
October 16, 2018 | Full review
However, the black version is not as resistant to fingerprints as lighter colors and still requires an occasional wipe down. No Type-C or Thunderbolt 3. No option for 4G LTE.
- Windows Central
November 28, 2018 | Full review
The Laptop 2 still has no USB-C. This is a bit of a letdown for such an expensive device.
- Pocket-lint
September 30, 2019 | Full review
But at its premium price, it really needs Thunderbolt 3 (or at least USB Type-C) to match the features of other top-tier Windows PCs.
- Tom's Hardware
November 12, 2018 | Full review
That carpeted keyboard still has the potential to get mighty dirty without too much of an effort on your part, and there’s no real way round that problem.
- Stuff
October 18, 2018 | Full review
The most disappointing design element of the Surface Laptop 2 is its lack of connectivity options.
- Alphr
October 18, 2018 | Full review
Missing key ports, namely USB-C. Slightly expensive versus the competition.
- Wired
November 8, 2018 | Full review
Lacks SD card slot and no Thunderbolt 3 option.
- Tech Spot
The screen suffers from glare in bright light. There's just one USB 3.0 port and no card reader
- Good Housekeeping
March 1, 2019 | Full review
Surface Laptop 2 doesn’t offer a fingerprint reader, which I’d prefer.
- Thurott
November 25, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Go beyond the traditional and think in color with the new, next-generation Surface Forks. Sleek and light, with improved speed and performance, and rich tone-on-tone colors to complement your style. Slip it in your bag and make every day easier, a touch more luxurious, and more productive - now with the latest 8th Generation Intel Core processor for faster multitasking. Disclaimers: Sold separately. 1 Surface Laptop 2: Up to 14.5 hours of local video playback. Testing conducted by Microsoft in September 2018 using preproduction Intel Core i5, 256GB, 8 GB RAM device. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during local video playback. All settings were default except: Wi-Fi was associated with a network and Auto-Brightness disabled. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors. 2 Colors available on selected models only. Available colors may vary by store, market, and configuration. 4 System software uses significant storage space. Available storage is subject to change based on system software updates and apps usage. 1GB = 1 billion bytes. 5 Cortana is available in select global markets; experience may vary by region and device. 6 Based on average times; battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors.

Overall Product Rankings

Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330
1. Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 16
RCA 7″ Voyager Pro
2. RCA 7″ Voyager Pro
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 4
Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11
3. Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 4
Microsoft 13.5″ Surface Laptop 2
4. Microsoft 13.5″ Surface Laptop 2
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 23
Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook 3
5. Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook 3
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 4
Lenovo 11.6″ Thinkpad Yoga
6. Lenovo 11.6″ Thinkpad Yoga
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 5
Simbans 10″ TangoTab Tablet
7. Simbans 10″ TangoTab Tablet
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 13
HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop
8. HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 3
XAMMUE 7″ One Netbook
9. XAMMUE 7″ One Netbook
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 2

An Overview On Mini Laptop

If you haven’t shopped for a laptop lately, you may not realize the many options now available. You don’t have to choose between one expensive laptop or another. But if you’re just writing college papers or doing presentations, there’s an easier way. You can find a mini laptop that will do the job without the expense.

In large part, this is thanks to Google. Chromebooks have created an entire market. These lightweight laptops started out as limited, but they seem to improve with each generation. Instead of being the laptop you buy for your child or use as a backup, they now can be your main laptop. Best of all, they won’t break your budget.

But you’ll need to understand their limitations before you buy. If you’re a gamer or video editor, you may find the processors on many of these laptops lacking. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a mini laptop that will handle all your needs. You may need to shop around a little, though. As you compare more expensive laptops, are the extra features worth it?

Mini laptops are, by their very nature, smaller than other laptops. That means you may be looking at a smaller screen. Molly Thornberg, technology and parenting blogger at Digital Mom Blog, advises consumers to look closely at the screen size they’ll need before investing in a smaller laptop.

“Mini laptops typically have screen sizes ranging from six inches to 12 inches,” Thornberg says.

In some cases, a smaller screen won’t be a problem. Having a smaller screen is, after all, a trade-off for having a more portable laptop to cart around. But smaller screens can be frustrating. If you’re editing pictures or designing a PowerPoint presentation, that smaller surface area can be a challenge. Keep that in mind before making a buying decision.

You’ll also probably need to plan on relying on your headphones for sound. Mini laptops limit speaker power, so you won’t be able to set it up for background music at your next party. But if you’re like many consumers, you rely on headphones or speakers for sound anyway, so this may not be an issue.

But there are many benefits to a mini laptop. Some have a design that lets you easily switch them from laptop to tablet mode. Flip the screen around, and the switchover is instant. You can also set some mini laptops up in “tent mode,” which is best when streaming your favorite TV show or a movie.

As mini laptops have advanced, manufacturers are adding features. In fact, it’s getting harder to tell the difference. You can find mini laptops that have Windows if you prefer that over the Chrome operating system. You’ll also have access to the same apps you’d find on a standard laptop, including the Microsoft Office suite. For many people, a mini laptop will be more than sufficient to meet their daily computing needs.

DWYM Fun Fact

If you don’t know much about Google Chromebooks, you may not realize that the operating system is a version of Linux. The same goes for Android. Both took the Linux kernel and expanded on it to create the operating system used on many devices around the world. Linux is an open-source operating system that has been around since the ’90s. It’s used in many Internet of things-type devices, including refrigerators and thermostats. If you have a computer without an operating system, you can get Linux for free. But it’s most popular with software developers who are coming up with operating systems for devices.

The Mini Laptop Buying Guide

  • A smaller laptop doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice too much on screen. If screen size is important to you, you’ll prefer the Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330, which provides plenty of viewing space.
  • The screens on the Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330, RCA 7″ Voyager Pro and Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11 also include touchscreen functionality. If you plan to spin your screen around to use it as a tablet, that’s an especially important feature.
  • The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 and Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11 also operate in something called “tent mode,” which makes streaming video much easier.
  • On any laptop, the keyboard is essential. Unlike desktop computers, you’ll be relying on the built-in keyboard. The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 has highly responsive keys, making typing a breeze. The keyboard on the Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11 is ergonomic, and the mouse pad has been redesigned to be more responsive.
  • Even if you rely on headphones for sound, it can be nice to have a laptop with decent speakers. The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 provides impressive audio, even at a low volume. With many other mini laptops, you’ll likely find the audio distorts as you increase the volume, but not the Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330.
  • Each mini-laptop comes preinstalled with software, from the operating system that runs everything to the apps you can access. Thornberg notes that software is a personal choice.

“Choose an OS that you are familiar with and enjoy using,” Thornberg advises. “Determine which programs will be installed on your computer, what files will be stored locally and how much storage the OS will require.”

  • One thing that sets the HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop and Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11 apart is that they both run Windows 10. If you aren’t a fan of the Chrome or Android operating systems, this may be a big decider. With the HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop, you’ll also get a full year of Office 365 for free. RCA 7″ Voyager Pro comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop, which brings its own unique set of useful apps. The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 comes with Google Chrome installed.
  • The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 includes MediaTek SoC, designed to improve Android compatibility. This will give you access to the many apps available in the Google Play store.
  • The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 also comes with virus protection. This may or may not be a dealmaker, though, since you can find virus protection at little to no extra expense.
  • Laptops have always challenged consumers with battery life. They usually start out strong and dwindle with use. Mini laptops can be especially problematic in this area. The HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop busts the stereotypes by providing a more than 12-hour battery life out of the box.  Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 also impresses, offering an 11-hour battery life. Compare this to the four-hour battery power of the RCA 7″ Voyager Pro and the two-hour life of the Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11. That difference can show you how valuable all-day battery power is.
  • The battery on the Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11 may last only two hours, but that’s after 15 minutes of charging. This quick-charging feature can come in handy for the traveler, as long as you have access to power outlets wherever you go.
  • Although mini laptops are appealing due to their attractiveness, they do vary in price. The most affordable mini laptop you’ll find is the RCA 7″ Voyager Pro, which is smaller than other mini laptops but very inexpensive.
  • Storage doesn’t come into play as much as it used to, thanks to cloud options. But if you want to store documents, videos and images on your laptop, you’ll need to look for one that offers space for it. The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 and Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11 offer the most, at 64 GB. With the HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop, you get 32 GB, and the RCA 7″ Voyager Pro offers only 16 GB. But the RCA 7″ Voyager Pro gives you the option of a microSD card for extra storage.
  • Since portability is one of the biggest draws of mini laptops, it’s important to pay attention to weight and size. The RCA 7″ Voyager Pro is the lightest, at only 1.1 pounds. But the Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 and Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11 come in at less than 3 pounds, making them worth considering. The HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop, the heaviest, is still fairly lightweight, at only 4.4 pounds.
  • Laptop manufacturers seem to consistently look for ways to reduce the number of ports to keep things simple. The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 comes with USB-C, USB-A and HDMI ports. With the Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11, you get a USB, Type-C and HDMI port, as well as a 4-in-1 card reader. The RCA 7″ Voyager Pro and HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop have one USB port each.
  • Mini laptops sacrifice DVD-Rom drives for simplicity. But this isn’t unique to mini laptops. Today’s larger-size laptops also lack this feature. If you think you’ll at least occasionally need to use a CD or DVD, make sure you purchase an external optical drive that will connect to one of your USB ports.
  • You may not think about it at the time of purchase, but eventually, you might want the convenience of a webcam. The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 and RCA 7″ Voyager Pro have built-in 720p webcams.
  • If you’re a gamer, you may find most mini laptops limiting. But for most everything else, today’s mini laptops can easily keep up. The Lenovo 11.6″ Chromebook C330 has a 2.1 GHz MediaTek processor, while the Lenovo 11.6″ Flex 11 features an Intel Celeron quad core processor. The 1.3 GHz quad-core processor on the RCA 7″ Voyager Pro works fine for basic games and video streaming. One of the best things about the Celeron N4000 on the HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop is that it runs cool, which means you won’t have a cooling fan. This helps keep things nice and quiet.