Review in two minutes
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 arrives at a strange time, when many people are working remotely due to the global pandemic. Ultrabooks similar to it have always shined in the commuter world, which has meant that they’ve lost some of their sparkle.
The Surface Laptop 4’s lockdowns are temporary, which is a good thing. Many people will adopt a hybrid work style, splitting their work week between home and work. It is important to have something lightweight and portable, as well as durable and long-lasting. The Surface Laptop 4 is a thin, powerful laptop that will shine.
The Surface laptop is lightweight and portable, yet powerful enough for most daily tasks. It’s also a joy to use thanks to the stunning PixelSense display and the most comfortable keyboard we’ve ever used. This is the laptop that we envision ourselves using to get to work once it’s possible again. Even in the shadows of the Surface Laptop Studio, which was announced at the Microsoft Sept 22, event .
It’s very affordable for the price it is. The base model costs $999 (PS999 or AU$1,599) and includes the 13-inch Surface Laptop 4, a Ryzen 5 processor and 8GB RAM. It also comes with a 256GB SSD.
Although it might not be the most affordable, it is about the same price as a similar spec’d Dell 13 – even though that one does not have the Ryzen processor. The Surface Laptop 4 is so easy to use, that specs are not important.
This is how our work looks, which is why this laptop is our top pick right now.
Surface Laptop 4 Price and Availability
Surface Laptop 4 is priced at $999 (PS999; AU$1,599). This price includes the 13.5-inch model with AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
You can upgrade to a 15-inch Surface Laptop 4 for $1,299 (PS1,299 AU$2,199). Thisstarting configuration includes an AMD Ryzen7 processor, 8GB RAM, and a SSD of 256GB.
The CPU is what makes the difference between the Surface Laptop 4’s 15-inch and 13-inch sizes. The AMD Ryzen 5 4680U has a 6-core, 12-thread CPU, while the Ryzen 7 4980U has an 8-core and 16-thread CPU. The 15-inch will perform better in multi-threaded tasks like video editing. The rest of the features are identical.
Although the 15-inch laptop has a higher resolution, it still has the same pixel density. There is no noticeable difference in the resolution of either laptop’s screen. It has 201 PPI. A bigger screen on a laptop is still a better screen.
If you require more power, you can upgrade the rest the laptop’s hardware. The higher configurations are made with Intel hardware and not AMD. The 15-inch Surface Laptop with the 11th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 32GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD is the most powerful. It costs $2,399 (AU$3,999),
This configuration is definitely unusual, as the workloads that require the most RAM are also the ones that would benefit from the Ryzen 7 4980U’s extra processing power. We hope Microsoft will add that configuration in the future. We’re sure that there is a traveling video editor who would love it.
Surface Laptop 4 has been an amazing piece of hardware. We received the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 4 for review. It is light and thin and doesn’t feel heavy to type on.
You can choose from four colors, while we chose the Platinum option. It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. The Platinum Surface Laptop 4’s lid is platinum-colored. There is only one mark on the laptop: a square with the Microsoft logo in chrome. Although the bottom looks identical, the keyboard tray is a slightly darker shade.
It is only 0.57 inches thick, and it weighs in at 2.79 pounds (1.3kg), making it easy to transport around while you commute. The Surface Laptop 4 is still extremely robust, despite being so thin.
It is made from aluminum and has no flex. And unlike many touchscreen laptops, the hinge on the display is so strong that you don’t need to adjust the screen or brace it with another hand. This makes the touchscreen feel less gimmick-like and much more user-friendly.
The keyboard deck’s story is as much about comfort as it is solid. The Surface Laptop’s keyboard and trackpad are protected by Alcantara, a soft and comfortable material. It is a microfibre pile that looks like suede. Because it doesn’t have the same hard metal as other laptops, typing is much easier because it’s soft and comfortable.
However, there is a downside. It can get messy if you spill something or get crumbs during lunch break. It should be clean if you are mindful of hygiene and aren’t trying to stuff your face with the task at hand.
The lack of ports is one of the greatest losses of the small size. The Surface Connect port is on the right. It has one USB-C, one USB–A, and a headphone socket. Although we appreciate the fact that the laptop still features a USB-A connector, which is far from guaranteed nowadays, it doesn’t allow for much expansion for those who don’t want to spend the extra money for a Surface Dock.
The Surface Laptop 4 display looks amazing. Our 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 4 display is a 3 to2 PixelSense display at a resolution 2,256 x 1,504 which is perfect for its size. It can be a little difficult to watch movies or videos on this laptop, since you will see two black bars when you view 16:9 content. However, when we are working on this thing we love the extra vertical space, especially when we write.
The Surface Laptop 4’s keyboard is the best we’ve ever seen. The Surface Laptop 4’s keyboard is extremely easy to use, and the chassis is thin enough that it allows for plenty of travel. The keyboard of the MacBook Pro is not comparable, which was our favourite laptop keyboard before this one.
It’s even more amazing to see the keyboard travel deep when you consider that the speakers are below it. Microsoft’s design policy is that there should not be visible holes (at least, no ports). The speakers are fine. These speakers are not media consumption devices by any means but they will play music perfectly. Even bass-heavy tracks such as Flamboyant by Dorian Electra sound great, even if the quality is a bit lacking.
The large bezels are what keep the design of this laptop from being too perfect. These bezels look like they were made five to six years ago. Although they don’t affect the experience, it might look a bit out of date if the laptop is compared to the Dell XPS 13.
This Surface Laptop 4 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor and 16GB RAM. It can handle anything we throw at it. The Surface Laptop 4 didn’t slow down even when loaded with dozens of Chrome tabs and listening to YouTube music, as well as chatting on Slack, Discord and Slack.
This is something most laptops should do. But what makes the Surface Laptop 4 so remarkable is its ability to do it all without slowing down, even when we’re using battery power.
It’s possible to relax on the couch and work without worrying about the laptop locking up or tripping our roommates with its power cable.
The laptops are able to speak for themselves when they are plugged in. Cinebench R23 gave the Surface Laptop 4 a solid 4,998 point score, which is close to what we would expect from this processor.
Similar results were obtained in Geekbench 5. The Surface Laptop 4 scored 1,356 points in single-core and 4,918 for multi-core. The Surface Laptop 4 is a great choice for anyone looking for a portable laptop that can do some serious work.
The Surface Laptop 4 is not designed for gaming. However, it was able score a respectable 5,151 points on 3DMark Fire Strike. This means that it should be capable of handling some of the most popular indie games. Don’t think you can run Cyberpunk2077 at maximum settings.
Microsoft claims the Surface Laptop 4 can last up to 19 hours on a single charge, which would be incredible if it did. We found the actual number to be closer to 11-13 hours. This is still nothing to be proud of.
The Surface Laptop 4 lasts for 13 hours and 20 minutes in the PCMark 10 Home Office battery testing, which simulates various workloads, including video chatting and word processing. Although it isn’t exactly the 19 hours Microsoft claims, it is still enough to last you through any international flight.
The Surface Laptop 4 does not perform well in video playback tests, which lasts for 11 hours and 2 seconds. This is still a decent result and should allow you to enjoy a long Netflix binge.
The Surface Laptop 4 is a significant improvement over the Surface Laptop 3. It only lasted 6 hours 28 minutes in the PCMark 8 battery testing. The Surface Laptop 4 actually outlasts the Dell XPS13 by two hours.
Software and other features
The best thing about Surface devices, including the Surface Laptop 4, it that you get a clean version of Windows 10.
The laptop is free of any bloatware, so it boots up quickly every time. You don’t even have to spend the first hour disabling startup programs and uninstalling stuff. This is enough to convince us to recommend the laptop.
It’s also a complete Windows 10 installation unlike the original Surface Laptop. This means you can make the Surface Laptop 4 your own.
Surface Laptop 4 comes with a free Windows 11 update. We haven’t been able to test the new operating system as we reviewed it before its release.
It’s a good deal if:
You are a writer
Surface Laptop 4 is a top-rated laptop for writers. This laptop is easy to use, thanks to its Alcantara fabric and luxurious keyboard.
A device that is primarily used for work
For spreadsheets and documents, the Surface Laptop 4’s 3:2 aspect ratio is a dream come real. The larger vertical space on the Surface Laptop 4 allows for more detail even on a small screen.
Want a sleek laptop?
Surface Laptop 4 is available in four color options. All of them look great. This laptop is one you will not feel embarrassed to show off at your local coffee shop.
It’s not worth the risk if it…
Heavy computing work is required
Even the 15-inch model of the laptop comes with U-series processors. If you are looking for heavy video editing or gaming, an H-series chip may be a better choice.
You are messy
The Alcantara material can get messy fast, no matter how nice it is.