Microsoft today announced a small but important update to its popular Surface Laptop. As predicted by rumors last month, the device does not come with much in the way of aesthetic updates, but instead offers users an upgraded set of components.
Most notably, the Surface Laptop 4 lets you readily choose between an Intel or AMD chipset, the latter which was only offered on the 15-inch model before.
The 13-inch model gives you the most variety. You can choose between Intel Core i5 (1135G7) or i7 (1185G7) and the Ryzen 5 (4680U). Business users get the additional options of a slightly more powerful Core i5 (1145G7) or Ryzen 7 (4980U).
The 15-inch model, meanwhile, only comes in the Core i5 and Ryzen 7 options. The AMD chips are labeled ‘Microsoft Surface Edition,’ with Microsoft claiming they have been optimized for the Surface hardware, although it’s not clear what tweaks have been made exactly.
The Intel options use the greatly improved Xe graphics, while the Ryzen models use AMD graphics, naturally. You can choose between 8, 16 or 32GB of RAM and 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB of NVMe storage, but only the Intel models get the top configurations.
As before, the 15-inch model isn’t really more powerful than the 13-inch model, unless there are additional thermal optimizations. It simply offers a larger screen for those who want it.
It’s also unfortunate that the company isn’t using the latest 5000-series Ryzen CPUs, but the company is claiming the Surface Laptop 4 is “up to 70% faster” than the Surface Laptop 3, so we’ll have to see if any of those improvements are applicable to the AMD versions as well.
The other spec sheet change is improved battery performance. Microsoft claims you can get up to 19 hours of battery life on the 13.5 inch model with the Ryzen R5 processor, making it the longest-lasting Surface yet. The Intel models get slightly less, with the Core i5 model claiming 17 hours.
Otherwise, it appears to be basically the same Surface Laptop as before. The same 3:2 screen with 201 ppi, the same classy design, the same port selection with one USB-A and one USB-C.
There is one visual upgrade though: it now comes in a snazzy Ice Blue. Unfortunately, this also means the company abandoned the gorgeous Cobalt Blue that first made me fall in love with its design, but honestly I’m just happy someone is making blue laptops.
It’s not exactly the most exciting upgrade in the world, and I reckon this is the last year Microsoft can get away with the nearly four-year-old design — as nice as it is. Still, it’s nice to see Microsoft giving users more choice between Intel and AMD, with AMD starting at $999 for the Ryzen R5 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The Core i5 model starts at $1299, but also bumps up the storage to 512 GB. I’m just going to go ahead and post this image with all the consumer SKUs:The Surface Laptop 4 can be ordered today and begins shipping on April 15th in the US, Canada, and Japan, with other regions landing “in the coming weeks.”
Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.