I recently returned to studying after a long hiatus. Inspired to expand my knowledge and boost my qualifications, studying seemed like the best course of action. I have studied in the past, and I found the experience daunting. This time, I thought things would be different. I’m no longer an unsure youngster, but a (for the most part) mature and stable adult.

On the first day back at school, I noticed that while many aspects of uni life remain the same, one thing has changed dramatically. At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, the modern student can’t survive without a laptop. As a sea of laptops and tablets stretch out on the tables in front of me, my first class makes me question my lack of laptop, am I missing out?

Time to learn.

Go with the times, buy a laptop, that was the advice from friends. Sure, what should I get? Apple’s range of laptops and iPads was a popular suggestion, but I couldn’t help balk at the price. I love computers, and I am no stranger to spec sheets and input ports, but what can a computer do that a pad and pen can’t?

Well, a lot, apparently! The latest Microsoft surface laptop 3 caught my eye in Harvey Norman. In a brooding matte black, razor-thin and hinting at high-performance credentials. As I fiddled around d with the sleek-looking machine, the friendly salesperson noted that the screen was a touch screen, and coupled with the ‘surface pen’ offered a similar experience to drawing ala pad and pen.

I messed about with the pen, wrote “I like eating cheese” in cursive and then emptied my bank account of nearly $2000. Once I got home, I joyously set up my new Surface Laptop and proceeded to install all the necessary educational programs.

The truth.

Well, it has been a month since I said hello to the Microsoft Surface Laptop, and I am ready to give my thoughts and an honest review. I will say, straight out of the gate, the after-sales care from Microsoft is top-notch. While I haven’t had any problem with my unit, I have read reviews and had friends deal with Microsoft warranty returns, and it seems like a very painless process. Ok, onto the review.

The styling of this machine is amazing; it’s the element that initially sold me on the machine, and it’s still my favorite part. Thin, well proportioned and matte black, what else do you need? The Surface Laptop looks at home in a lecture room or the studio. It’s a welcome departure from the sea of apple logos, and I think it’s a better looking unit than the new MacBook. Looks and portability I will give the surface 4.5/5

What good is looking good if you cant perform? Sorry, I’m talking about computers, of course, and luckily the Surface Laptop 3 is no slouch. As tested, my machine ripped through basic tasks with ease and managed to play some modern games on low settings. While a solid machine, it’s by no means the fastest, for performance and ports I give the Surface 3.5/5

Now here’s where the Surface 3 falls short, value for money. Yes, it’s a premium laptop, yes it has the latest performance parts and yes, its impossibly light and thin with a very nice touchscreen, but at $2000, you don’t get much bang for your buck. Other, budget friendly options may be better suited for a student. Value for money I score this machine 3/5 only because of Microsofts excellent after-sales care.

I love my new laptop, and I’m not sure I would have chosen any other machine. If I’m fair, it’s not an ideal student laptop, yes, it’s portable, but it’s not exactly cheap. A great machine let down slightly by pricing and lack of ports; I give the Surface Laptop 3 a student score of 3/5.