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First Impressions

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 Copilot Plus is a big step forward for AI PCs and the power and battery life that is being touted here is very exciting.

Key Features

  • Qualcomm chipArm-based Quaclomm Snapdragon X Plus or X Elite chip
  • Two screen sizes13.8-inch and 15-inch LCD options


Microsoft has just finished announcing its complete rethink of the PC, and the latest iteration of the Surface Laptop is one of the standout devices. 

Ahead of its Build developer conference, Microsoft took to the stage at its new Seattle campus to showcase its vision for the AI PC – and the results are something that should give Apple pause for thought.

Announced under the Copilot Plus PC moniker, the Surface Laptop 7 (or Surface Laptop Copilot + PC) has AI at its heart, and the version Microsoft showed off is powered by the Snapdragon X series of Arm chips, which promise improved performance, battery and AI power when compared to the previous offerings in the series.

Headline software features include Recall, a new way to find anything from files to old internet tabs with natural language searches and an improved Copilot assistant that’s built into the very core of Windows.

When Apple announced the first M-series Arm chips in 2019, it touted two main improvements: performance and battery life. More than three years later, Microsoft is having its M1 moment, and it’s clear it has Apple in its sights.

In its high-end version, the Surface Laptop is powered by the Snapdragon X Elite chipset although there will be a version powered by the X Plus too. Microsoft reps told me that the AI performance would be the same across the two, however they were tight-lipped about whether or not we’d see an Intel version announced somewhere down the line.

Surface Laptop 6 Copilot Plus PC front
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

With the X Elite, Microsoft has said the latest Surface Laptop is 86% faster than the Surface Laptop 5 – and 58% faster than a MacBook Air running the M3 chip. Now, as with any claims like these, it’s worth taking them with a pinch of salt until we can get them in for testing but the signs are good.

Microsoft has tried Arm Surface devices before, and the app compatibility was an issue. It looks like things will be different this time though. The best performance will come from native apps, and big names like Disney Plus, Spotify and most of Adobe’s suite of apps are already built with Arm support. For those apps that aren’t native there’s an emulation layer, similar to Apple’s Rosetta, called Prism that’ll help apps function, and Microsoft says 90% of apps should work.

There are some big battery claims too. Microsoft said the Laptop 7 can run for 22 hours in a local video playback test. Again, we’ll need to properly test these claims ourselves and focus more on real world tests but there should be some definite improvements over the Surface Laptop 5.

Surface Laptop 6 Copilot Plus PC side in blue
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The NPU (neural processing unit) in these Snapdragon X chips is what enables the selection of Copilot AI features and Microsoft has said that AI is built into Windows 11 at a very deep level, ensuring it can affect all sorts of aspects of the system.

A stand-out AI addition from my time with the Laptop is Recall, a clever feature that can look inside apps – Teams for instance – and throw up results from a natural language search. 

An example a Microsoft rep showed me consisted of them wanting to find a blue chart inside a presentation but they couldn’t remember whereabouts it was saved. A search of ‘blue chart’ into Recall immediately found the slide inside a Teams chat, with deep linking available to take you straight to the message. This will work with other apps too, and an app won’t necessarily have to be updated with the relevant APIs to be compatible with Recall.

If the insides of the Surface Laptop 7th gen feel like a monumental step forward, the jump in design is a little more modest. There’s been a freshening up of the overall look, with slimmer bezels around the 13.8 or 15-inch display and four nice colour options, including a very tasteful blue that has an almost shimmery finish.

The screen remains an LCD, rather than the OLED found on the Surface Pro, but it’s brighter (600 nits) with Dolby Vision IQ and support for the P3 colour gamut.

Surface Laptop 6 Copilot Plus PC keyvoard in blue
The Copilot key – Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The touchpad now has a nice haptic response when pressed and there’s a Copilot key on the keyboard for easy access to the assistant. There are still two USB-C ports, a USB-A and a Surface Connector for charging.

Overall, it’s a good looking portable machine that’s well built and the updated display does give it a welcome modern look.

Early Verdict

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 is a big step forward for AI PCs and the power and battery life that is being touted here is very exciting.

A 'hands on review' is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it's like to use. We call these 'hands on reviews' to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don't give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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