Surface Laptop 4: What to know and what to buy

We answer all the questions you have about Microsoft's Surface Laptop 4.

Microsoft surface laptop 4 13.5-inch 15-inch
Microsoft

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Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 is Microsoft’s latest general-purpose laptop, complete with a choice of Intel’s latest 11th-gen Core (Tiger Lake) chips or Microsoft’s second-generation Ryzen Surface Edition processors, which Microsoft co-designed with AMD. 

There’s a lot of information to process: What Surface Laptop 4s can you buy? How much does each Surface Laptop 4 cost? How fast is the Surface Laptop 4, compared to the competition? We have all the answers that you’re looking for, below.

What is the Surface Laptop 4?

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 is the fourth generation of the Surface Laptop family. Compared to Microsoft's Surface Pro 7+, which is a premium 2-in-1 tablet with detachable keyboard, or the Surface Book, which is a high-performance laptop, the Surface Laptop is more affordable and is designed for mainstream users and students.

The Surface Laptop 4 replaces 2019’s Surface Laptop 3. Like the Surface Laptop 3, this traditional clamshell laptop is available in both 13.5-inch and 15-inch display sizes.

On the outside, the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Laptop 4 are nearly identical. We reviewed three 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 variants: the Surface Laptop 3 with the Ryzen 5 Surface Edition, the Ryzen 7 Surface Edition, and the Surface Laptop 3 for Business (Core i7).

Depending upon the Surface Laptop 4 model, you’ll have the choice of four colors (Matte Black, Platinum, Cobalt Blue and Sandstone) and a keyboard deck lined with either Alcantara fabric or clad in metal.

Is the Surface Laptop 4 good?

We compared the Surface Laptop 4 to other Surface devices, and we reviewed the Surface Laptop 4 against a variety of competitors. As a Surface device, the Surface Laptop 4 is an excellent upgrade over any other Surface Laptop. It does very well against other laptops, too.

What’s new for the Surface Laptop 4?

Microsoft offers the choice of two processor families for the Surface Laptop 4: Intel’s 11th-gen Core (Tiger Lake) and the latest generation of its Ryzen Surface Edition processors, which Microsoft co-designed with AMD. Microsoft is also touting substantially longer battery life, though our testing shows that Microsoft dims the laptop to bolster that longevity.

Microsoft surface laptop 4 resized Microsoft

What are the Surface Edition processors inside the Surface Laptop 4?

The Ryzen 5 4680U Surface Edition and the Ryzen 7 4980U Surface Edition were co-designed by Microsoft and AMD. They are used exclusively for the Surface Laptop 4 and aren't sold by AMD otherwise.

You might wonder why the Surface Edition chips are based on Ryzen 4000 mobile chips built on AMD’s older Zen 2 architecture, rather than the Zen 3 foundations of the newer Ryzen 5000 Mobile chips. According to Microsoft, the Ryzen 5000 technology wasn't available when the company started working with AMD on the design over a year ago.

The Ryzen 5 4680U is a 6-core, 12-thread chip, while the Ryzen 7 4980U is an 8-core, 16-thread chip. That’s significant, because the Ryzen 5 3580U and the Ryzen 7 3780U inside the Surface Laptop 3 were both quad-core processors. We have more details within our story on the new Surface Edition chips.

Should you buy the Intel or AMD versions of the Surface Laptop 4?

We've reviewed the Surface Laptop 4 with Ryzen 7 CPU, but we haven't yet seen one of the Intel versions. Interestingly, Microsoft has some advice on which Surface Laptop 4 version you should buy. Microsoft thinks most people should buy the Surface Laptop 4 with its own AMD Ryzen Surface Edition processors.  

What's different about the consumer and business versions of the Surface Laptop 4?

Microsoft's Surface Laptop 4 for Business configurations are slightly more expensive than the consumer versions because they come with the Windows 10 Pro operating system. The consumer versions use Windows 10 Home. The business and consumer models are otherwise nearly identical, save for some differences in configuration. 

How expensive is the Surface Laptop 4?

Prices for the consumer editions of the Surface Laptop 4 range from $999 to $2,399 (MSRP). The Surface Laptop 4 business versions cost from $1,099 to $2,499.

Where can I buy the Surface Laptop 4?

Most major retailers now sell the Surface Laptop 4, including the Microsoft Store, Amazon, and Best Buy. It began shipping on April 15.

What colors does the Surface Laptop 4 come in?

The four Surface Laptop colors are Matte Black, Platinum, Ice Blue, and Sandstone. Not all colors are available in all configurations. 

Microsoft surface laptop 4 family resized Microsoft

What versions of the Surface Laptop 4 can I buy?

Here are the versions of the Surface Laptop 4 you can buy. We’ve provided Amazon shopping links to the consumer versions. You’ll need to select your color preference at the Amazon site. Not all configurations will be available in all of the color options.

13.5-inch:

15-inch:

Surface Laptop 4 (Commercial) available configurations

13.5-inch:

  • Ryzen 5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD: $1,099 (Platinum)
  • Ryzen 5/16GB RAM/256GB SSD: $1,299 (Platinum), available in eight weeks
  • Ryzen 5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD: $1,699 (Matte Black)
  • Core i5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD: $1,199 (Platinum)
  • Core i5/8GB RAM/512GB SSD: $1,399 (Platinum, Ice Blue, Sandstone, Matte Black)
  • Core i5/16GB RAM/512GB SSD: $1,599 (Platinum, Ice Blue, Sandstone, Matte Black)
  • Core i7/16GB RAM/256GB SSD: $1,499 (Matte Black)
  • Core i7/16GB RAM/512GB SSD: $1,799 (Platinum, Ice Blue, Sandstone, Matte Black)
  • Core i7/32GB RAM/1TB SSD: $2,399 (Matte Black)

15-inch:

  • Ryzen 5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD: $1,399 (Platinum)
  • Ryzen 7/16GB RAM/512GB SSD: $1,799 (Matte Black)
  • Core i7/8GB RAM/256GB SSD: $1,499 (Platinum)
  • Core i7/8GB RAM/512GB SSD: $1,699 (Platinum, Matte Black)
  • Core i7/16GB RAM/256GB SSD: $1,699 (Platinum, Matte Black)
  • Core i7/16GB RAM/512GB SSD: $1,899 (Platinum, Matte Black)
  • Core i7/32GB RAM/1TB SSD: $2,499 (Matte Black)
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