They are thin, smart (and smart-looking), speedy with ideal performance for education needs.

For a long time when it came to fashion & beauty, slim was in. Nowadays, curvy and even ample proportions are more popular, especially when it comes to helping combat eating disorders.

But computing? Slim is still very much in and will be for the foreseeable future – and a Noel Leeming spokesman says Ultrabooks (ultra-thin and light laptops) like Microsoft's Surface Laptop 3 are becoming hot demand items for students.

Far from the modern social scourge of skinny-shaming (a rebound from fat shaming), the pencil-thin Ultrabooks are still the recipients of some envious looks.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Photo / Supplied
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Photo / Supplied

"It's back to school time for university students – and college students," says Morgan McKeen, Microsoft Education Manager for Noel Leeming, "and we know from experience this is when many choose the laptop they want to take them through their degree course.

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"However, there's a bewildering range of laptops out there and that's why we think Ultrabooks like the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 are perfect for students' needs."

Ultrabooks aren't a brand or even a description of a system – they are a trademarked definition by chipmaker Intel as being under one inch thick (2.54cm). They include Intel technology that means an UIltrabook can wake up and load Windows in five seconds or less and which has performance faster than that of a conventional laptop, meaning software is more responsive and web pages load faster.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Photo / Supplied
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Photo / Supplied

"In the age of streaming and cloud storage, new solid-state drives (SSDs) in Ultrabooks like the Surface Laptop 3 are all you need. They're fast, thin, and light – the Surface 3 weighs just 1.2kg. So wherever the job, family, friends, or the weekend takes you, you can keep up.

"That's great for students," says Mckeen. "They don't want to be sitting in a lecture, hear something of real interest and relevance – and then have to wait for their old laptop to power up and get ready."

However, Ultrabooks go deeper than just being speedy and slim. Security is a big deal – not just online security but keeping your content safe should you lose your laptop or have it stolen.

The Surface Laptop range was built specifically to showcase and harness Microsoft's Windows 10 to its full ability. In security terms, with Windows 10 is at the heart of your computer, you can use technologies like Intel's Anti Theft and Identity Protection Technology. The latter lets websites check your computer's ID (proving that you are really you).

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Photo / Supplied
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Photo / Supplied

Anti Theft, meanwhile, means your laptop can disable itself if it is lost or stolen and can detect suspicious activity (like excessive log-in attempts), locking itself down at a hardware level but protecting your vital software and content.

The other big plus for students, says McKeen, is battery power. By definition, an Ultrabook has to be able to perform for at least five straight hours on a charge – although most say they do more than that and Microsoft themselves, when launching the Surface Laptop 3, said it would last 11.5 hours based on typical usage.

"The new solid-state drives (SSDs) consume less power, which gives you longer battery life - on average, seven-plus hours of video playback," says Mckeen, "and they have fewer moving parts, meaning less can go wrong. In other words, you can expect them to be a good investment."

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Microsoft have also provided a new fast-charge capability which they say can take the battery from zero to 80 per cent charged in an hour – again, a handy figure for an on-the-move student.

Along with the slim good looks is a platinum or sandstone finish – and the power boost provided by Intel's 10th-generation processor is significant enough that Microsoft have claimed the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is thinner * and three times faster than the 2019 MacBook Air**.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Photo / Supplied
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Photo / Supplied

Morgan McKeen says user reviews have positively mentioned the display on the 13.5 inch screen, the excellent keyboard and trackpad and its surprisingly resonant speakers.
For more on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, including pricing and specification, visit noelleeming.co.nz

*Comparison of Laptop 3 13.5" pre-production units (14.51mm) as measured by Microsoft and 2019 Macbook Air published data from https: www.apple.com/macbook-air/specs/ (15.6mm) in July 2019.

** 3DMark11 score comparison of Laptop 3 13.5" Intel i5 processor with Apple MacBook Air i5 processor, based on a Windows installation. All tests run on Surface pre-production HW and pre-production Retail image. Each result is based on an average from 3 runs. Machines have been left to cool down for every other run. Power mode set to best performance. Measured in August 2019 by Microsoft.