If you’re looking for a laptop revolution, the Surface Laptop 4 isn’t for you. The new model, in short, is the Surface Laptop 3, with updated processors from the Intel and AMD models. Yes, not only that, the TL;DR version offers faster performance and longer battery life in the same laptop.
That might not sound exciting, but as the Surface Laptop 4 proves, sometimes a few tweaks are all it takes to perfect a less advanced product like its predecessor. The new chip addresses our biggest complaints about the previous model, which was poor speed and stamina. With those major flaws ironed out, the 15-inch Surface Laptop 4 finally shines with its sleek design, color display, and excellent keyboard and touchpad.
Without some annoying omissions, the Surface Laptop 4 would be the ideal Windows 10 laptop for those looking for a portable device with a big display. Regardless, it serves its purpose well and should be on every buyer’s shortlist as one of the best laptops out there.
Down to business
Microsoft only offers AMD processors in its consumer-oriented models, but it offers both AMD and Intel processors in its Surface Laptop 4 for Business line. What differentiates the two sales channels is the variety of configurations and Windows editions offered—Windows 10 Home versus Windows 10 Pro. Commercial prices are about $100 more.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (15 inch)
|Price as reviewed||$1,700, £1,649, AU$2,699|
|Display||15-inch 2,496 x 1,664 (201 ppi, 3:2 aspect ratio) pen and touch display|
|PC CPU||2.0GHz AMD Ryzen 7 4980U|
|PC Memory||16GB 4,267MHz LPDDR4|
|Graphics||AMD Vega 8|
|Ports||1 x USB-C, 2 x USB-A (1 in power brick), headphone jack, 1 x proprietary (Surface Connect port)|
|Networking||Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX200, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows Home (2H20)|
|Weight||3.4 lbs/1.5 kg|
AMD starts at $1,300 (£1,469, AU$2,499) for the 15-inch model and $1,800 (£1,799, AU$2,849) for the Intel, but the base AMD model only comes with 8GB of RAM. You really can’t run Windows 10 well in 8GB, except for lightweight cloud-based apps and enterprise-grade remote PC software like Citrix Desktop. The downside is that 32GB is overkill for most of the software you’ll be running on this laptop. So if you’re opting for the 15-inch Surface Laptop 4, I’d recommend the 16GB storage and 512GB SSD model.
You still pay a lot for what you get compared to the competition: 2-in-1 laptops like the Lenovo Yoga 9i, which are smaller at 14 inches but better in almost every other way, And the price is hundreds of inches less. Sales may vary. This model even has a discrete graphics card for gaming; with the integrated Intel Iris Xe or AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, there’s not much graphics performance here. Heavyweight multiplatform shooter Outriders is choppy even on the lowest graphics presets, but recent award-winning indie lightweight Hades runs flawlessly.
Overall, the AMD CPU in the Surface Laptop 4 is a solid performer for this size class. At 11-12 hours, battery life is a significant jump from the previous generation’s ~2.5 hours and is pretty competitive for its size.
Add to that some erratic USB-C and touchscreen behavior I’ve experienced – both stop working until random reboot fairies sprinkle some magic dust on them – and it’s hard to get the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 into what we consider to be the top The model series has been tested over the past few years. But you’ll probably be perfectly happy with it, especially if your IT department bought it for you
Surface Laptop 4 Keyboard and Touchpad
Like sitting on a comfy couch after a long workout, my fingers immediately felt comfortable when I started typing on the Surface Laptop 4’s plush keys. Seriously, Microsoft knows how to make a damn good keyboard — even the detachable keyboard it sells for the Surface Pro 7 is great. what makes her so good
The 1.3mm of travel is nice, but the main reason is the bounce switch, which acts as a stepping stone for your fingers as you navigate from one letter or number to the next. The chiclet-style backlit keys are just the right size and spacing, so from the moment you start typing on Surface Laptop 4, you’ll feel right at home.
I typed at 105 words per minute with 97 percent accuracy on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is slightly slower but less error-prone than my 109 wpm average of 95 percent accuracy.
The 4.5 x 3-inch touchpad is Batman’s Robin on the keyboard, and feels like 22 Momme silk on my fingertips. Thanks to the Precision driver, I had no trouble performing Windows 10 gestures, such as two-finger scrolling or three-finger swiping to switch windows. There’s room in the deck to make the surface even wider if Microsoft wants to come to Apple, though I doubt even those with large hands will have any trouble with the current setup.