With so much attention on the Surface 2-in-1s, it can be easy to forget how accomplished Microsoft’s traditional clamshell laptops are. The Surface Laptop line has been extremely well received since launching in 2017, providing a lightweight alternative to the more high-end Surface Book.
An update to the latter came in the form of June’s Surface Book 3, and it now looks like the Surface Laptop 4 is on its way in the next few weeks. Here’s everything we know so far.
When will the Surface Laptop 4 be released?
The release schedule of the previous Surface Laptop generations suggested a new one will arrive before the end of 2020: the original launched in June 2017, the second generation in October 2018 and then Surface Laptop 3 in October 2019.
Windows Central’s Zac Bowden was one of the first to suggest that might be different this time round, and so it proved: the Surface Laptop Go and Surface Pro X (2020) were released in the laptop’s usual October release window.
Now, the signs are pointing to the Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Pro 8 being released in January 2021. Bowden’s November 2020 article suggests it will be sometime in the middle of the month, and a more muted release in keeping with Microsoft’s coronavirus-era releases.
The focus of the article – both devices apparently passing certification in China – suggests that isn’t too far wide of the mark. That’s based on a tweet from user @cozyplanes, with this process usually a key indicator that the devices aren’t far away.
서피스 2021 신제품
서피스 랩탑 4 (가칭)- 모델명: 1950- 파생모델: 1951, 1952, 1953, 1958, 1959, 1978, 1979
서피스 프로 8 (가칭)- 모델명: 1960- 파생모델: 1961 (LTE)
; 제조국: 중국; 제조사: Maintek Computer (Suzhou) Co Ltd pic.twitter.com/9A99BoNvsF
— cozyplanes (@cozyplanes)
November 27, 2020
How much will the Surface Laptop 4 cost?
Again, details are lacking in this area, so we’ll have to speculate using previous models as the example. Here are the what the base models of the last three versions cost when they were launched:
Surface Laptop 1 – £979/$999
Surface Laptop 2 – £979/$999
Surface Laptop 3 – £999/$999
In the wake of the coronavirus, prices are now more uncertain than they might first appear. With the stock market in turmoil, people losing their incomes and components facing shortages due to the reduction in manufacturing, it’s hard to say with any authority whether Microsoft will stick to the sub-£1000/$1000 price tag for the Surface Laptop 4.
What’s new with the Surface Laptop 4?
Although we’re hoping for a slimming of the bezels and a potential new 14in screen size, there’s currently no evidence such a move is in Microsoft’s plans.
One of the few concrete rumours so far comes courtesy of hardware leaker @TUM_APISAK, who tweeted a 3DMark score for a mystery Microsoft device.
AMD Ryzen 7 4800U pic.twitter.com/GjI6o9uf0i
— APISAK (@TUM_APISAK)
June 16, 2020
Many are speculating that this might be the Surface Laptop 4, as it’s unlikely that an AMD Ryzen chipset would make its way onto a convertible such as the Surface Pro 8. It’s likely Microsoft would continue to only offer these processors on the 15in model, sticking with Intel for the 13.5in version.
Speaking of Intel, most configurations are expected sporting the company’s new 11th-gen ‘Tiger Lake’ processors. Core i5 and i7 seem the most likely once again, as well as 8/16GB RAM and storage options up to 1TB.
A previous Twitter leaker also quoted 3DMark scores when showing the performance of a 2.7GHz Tiger Lake chip, which hadn’t been released at the time.
Big News !!
Microsoft started testing 2.7GHz TigerLake-U
3dmark 11 Performance
Physics score : 8412Graphics score : 5540 (just under R7 4800U)
Same SSD as Surface Laptop 3Windows 10 20H1WDDM 2.7 iGPU Driver pic.twitter.com/CUrYFIsXkK
— _rogame (@_rogame)
March 26, 2020
Tiger Lake processors are intended to work with Project Athena objectives outlined by Intel last year, with the aim of providing always-on connectivity, waking from sleep in less than a second, all-day battery life, and the same performance capabilities when working from either battery power or a mains connection.
As with the Surface Laptop 3, current rumours suggest that there will be two sizes of device (13.5in and 15in) with the larger using AMD Ryzen 4000 series processors rather than Intel Core chips. In our review of the Surface Laptop 3, we found the higher end Intel i7 outperformed its AMD Ryzen counterpart both in speed and battery life. Hopefully the anticipated new AMD chips will address these shortcomings and deliver a more balanced account of themselves.
The benchmark leak also indicated that the new Surface Laptop 4 will come with the same 256GB SSD as its predecessor and 16GB of RAM, although there’s a good chance that this will not be on the base model as the Surface Laptop 3 begins with 128GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. The comparable model (with Intel i7, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD) currently costs £1,549/$15,49, which is quite a bit more than the entry level machine.
It’s early days in terms of solid details, but from what we’ve learned so far it looks like the upcoming Surface Laptop 4 should be a comfortable upgrade on last year’s model and one that could have a few other manufacturers looking over their shoulders. We’ll be updating this feature as more information becomes available, so be sure to bookmark it and check back regularly to see what we can uncover.
If you can’t wait until January, check out the best laptop chart to see some great alternatives that are already available to buy. We also have a separate guide to the best Microsoft Surface.