Microsoft typically updates its Surface hardware every October and typically focuses on both the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop. This fall, we didn't see the highly anticipated Surface Laptop 4 and instead got the budget-friendly Surface Laptop Go.
According to rumors, Microsoft is planning the Surface Laptop 4 for next year instead. We haven't officially heard much about the device, but there are a lot of rumors going around. Here you will find everything we currently know and want about Microsoft's new Windows 10 flagship.
Price and release date
We expected the Surface Laptop 4 in October 2020, but now it looks like it could come in 2021 instead. Microsoft has really changed its typical product launch schedule, possibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other supply and demand issues in the PC industry.
According to Windows Central, the Surface Laptop 4 could be released in the first half of 2021, a few months after the Surface Pro 8 launched. We don't have a precise schedule, but it looks like spring 2021 is likely.
Not much is known about pricing yet. The current 13-inch model of the Surface Laptop 3 starts at $ 1,000. We therefore expect a 13-inch Surface Laptop 4 to be in the same price range. The 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 now costs $ 1,200. We therefore expect the larger 15-inch Surface Laptop 4 to be in the same price range.
Aside from Surface Pro X, Microsoft doesn't update the design of its main Surface products often. It was a "rinse and repeat" cycle. That means the Surface Laptop 4 might not look very different from the Surface Laptop 3. Rumor has it that the Surface Laptop 4 is more of an internal spec update than a design update.
That rumor is fueled by some leaked photos of the Surface Laptop 4 from a round of certification tests in Korea. It looks like Microsoft will offer the Surface Laptop 4 in a matte black color as before. In the photo we can see that the alleged Surface Laptop 4 (code name 1950) looks almost identical to the previous year's model.
With that in mind, expect the same design as before. The Surface Laptop won't go the way of the Dell XPS 13 or the Razer Book 13. It is unlikely to have super-slim bezels and, like before, could have its chins and signature 3: 2 aspect ratio. But we hope for a change (more on that later).
The latest from Intel and AMD inside
With the introduction of the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft integrated AMD chips into one of its products for the first time. The 13-inch versions of the Surface laptop included Intel processors and the 15-inch versions came with custom AMD Ryzen "Surface Edition" processors. We expect that to be the case again this year, with one big change.
According to Windows Central, the Surface Laptop 4 will again be available in two different versions. You can expect 13-inch versions with the 11th generation Tiger Lake processors from Intel and 15-inch versions with the new Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 "Surface Edition" chips from AMD. The Surface Laptop 3 used the previous generation Ryzen mobile chips, which was disappointing. With AMD's potential Ryzen 5000 mobile chips on the horizon, it's possible Microsoft was holding the launch back to schedule it with the new AMD processors.
Even better? For the first time, Microsoft was able to offer these AMD Ryzen chips in 13-inch versions.
In addition to this rumor, there are some benchmarks discovered online. Geekbench benchmarks for a product codenamed "OEMWY" and "OEMGR" were first noted by Windows Latest and showed a listing for two devices. The first includes AMD's new Renoir chips and the second shows Intel Tiger Lake U. It should also be noted that Microsoft has used similar device code names in the past when testing on Geekbench.
Geekbench entries can be manipulated. It's best to take this rumor with a grain of salt. However, if that's true, the Surface Laptop 4 could gain an edge in terms of lightweight gaming and video editing. This is thanks to the new Xe graphics from Intel on the 11th generation CPUs. Even AMD's new Renoir and Ryzen chips have proven to be extremely powerful compared to the latest Intel chips. This is important when you consider that we were really disappointed with the performance of the older Zen + -based chips in the Surface Laptop 3 last year.
Unfortunately, we don't officially know much about the Surface Laptop 4, but we want a lot. We hope Microsoft can shrink the bezels of the Surface Laptop and bring them up to speed with the XPS lineup.
It would also be great if an external graphics card could be added to allow the laptop to provide additional pressure for light gaming. Of course, things like that would require a massive design change from Microsoft, so it's best not to hold your breath for now.
If you're waiting for Thunderbolt to finally get to the Surface Laptop, you'll have to wait for this feature too. Microsoft made a decision to avoid Thunderbolt even when it comes to the top performing Surface devices, including the Surface Book 3.