The key question is, however, does it do enough to overhaul the best in the business? My answer to that would have to be: not quite. With uninspiring GPU performance and middling battery life denting its appeal, even the switch to AMD and Intel CPUs across the range can’t drag it level with the M1 MacBook Air.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is a good laptop, but it feels generic compared to its rivals with a processor upgrade its only real upgrade over the Surface Laptop 3. It looks outdated with its chunky bezel and lacks a fingerprint reader. Despite these shortcomings it still offers reasonable value at this price.
It's also a pretty small upgrade over the third-gen model, as the screen bezel is still too thick, but there's no doubting that the fourth-gen Surface Laptop is still an absolute favourite. Indeed, as we said up top, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 might just be the best Windows 10 laptop money can buy right now.
New silicon gives Microsoft's ultraportable even better battery life and a healthy performance boost. It's still not perfect, but can continue to trade blows with the MacBook Air.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. The display is beautiful but falls short outdoors, while performance and battery life are solid but not standout. Microsoft could’ve pushed harder with its port selection, and honestly it would’ve been good to see options like integrated 4G/5G. While the $1k starting price is competitive, you’re looking at $700 more for this particular configuration, and that still falls a little short of what Apple’s M1 is capable of in raw performance terms.
The Surface Laptop 4 might just be one of the best laptops for writers, with one of the best keyboards we've ever used. It could use a few more ports, but it's an easy laptop to recommend to anyone that is going to be typing a lot.
Microsoft's Surface Laptop 4 offers strong performance, impressive audio, a comfy keyboard and good battery life in a sleek (if slightly dated) design
A lot of people just want a plain-old traditional laptop that looks nice, feels nice, and is generally hassle-free in terms of performance and battery life. Though it’s a little dated by its bezels, it’s a testament to the strength of the original design that the Surface Laptop 4 still looks and feels so good. At the end of the day, it’s the overall experience that matters, not how ‘new’ it is.
I was fairly disappointed with the various corners the company cut on the Surface Laptop Go last year. Of course, the entry-level 13.5-inch Laptop is $300 more than the 12-inch Laptop Go. But if you’re looking to do more than just the basics, this is probably is a wise investment.
The Surface Laptop 4 is a mostly great all-around laptop with some unique perks that help it stand out against the competition. Its large and tall display is great for multitasking, its keyboard is one of the most comfortable we’ve ever used (especially if you opt for an Alacantara model) and its mix of USB-A and USB-C ports allows it to play nice with a wide range of accessories. Our Core i7 model also delivered solid performance under heavy workloads, and even handled some light gaming well.