Surface Laptop 4 Review (13" & 15") – Don't Make a Mistake!
5 and 15 inch surface laptop fours, and if you do enjoy The video and find it useful a cheeky little subscribe and a ding of that bell icon would be lovely now, except for the new ice blue color, which microsoft helpfully didn’t send me these two are visually identical to the 2019 surface laptop 3.. The big changes are on the inside with new 11th gen intel processors and new custom amd ryzen 4000 series chips, both of which microsoft claim are up to 70 faster than before and that’s. Despite having pretty significant spec differences between the two chips, so we’ll dive into that a little bit more in a second plus we’re, also getting a longer battery life up to 19 hours, with an amd, spec and 17 hours with intel. You can also now swap out and upgrade the m2 storage yourself a first for the surface laptop and also the speakers now support dolby atmos for better surround sound, so faster longer battery life and also for the first time you can actually mix and match the specs, Because previously, the 13 only came with intel chips to 15 on the amd. Now you can get both with either, which makes for some interesting configurations but that’s pretty much it. Sadly, there’s no super sexy new feature i can show off and make some click baity thumbnail or title about it’s, just a spec bump, but that’s no bad thing at all and bar a couple of issues i do still have.
I still think these are two of the very best thin and light laptops you can buy the beautiful 3×2 pixel sense, touchscreen, genuinely one of my favorite keyboards and touchpads top notch build quality, although i must admit if i put the latest dell xps 13 side by Side with these, the design while very well made, is starting to look perhaps a little long in the tooth. With these big chunky bezels, this looks like a proper next gen 2021 laptop. These still feel a little bit 20 20., but i think the whole if it ain’t, broke don’t fix it saying kind of applies here. But then, if you do look at the competition, whether it’s, the bezel, less xps series, the super lightweight, lg grams, the oled screen options on the xbs or samsung’s latest galaxy books, which also offer lte or indeed the revolutionary m1 chip in the macbooks. Can you hear that it’s a bloody pigeon outside so the competition is fierce, which is great for you and me as consumers, there’s more choice, uh there’s, more innovation, but it does also maybe mean that chucking, a new processor, perhaps isn’t, really enough to keep up anymore And there’s still no thunderbolt, three or four support. Usbc charging will be a lot more convenient than the surface charger. The 720p webcam is still good, but it hasn’t been updated when these have become more important than ever and while the starting prices are pretty good.
Actually, once you spec an i7 and 16 or 32 gigs of ram, these start to get very expensive, so there’s room for improvement. But these are still really really good laptops and actually, what i would do is just go for the cheapest entry level 13.5 inch and it will cost you a thousand pounds or a thousand dollars which isn’t bad at all and actually is the exact same price. As my macbook air, which i’m actually using for uh notes here, which actually makes this a really interesting comparison, because they are the same price and also a similar form factor, although of course we do have the m1 chip in here, which is awesome. If you want a full triple threat to comparison between the xps 13 surface laptop 13.5 and the macbook air yeah, would that be interesting? Would you guys like to see that if you could take away one of these laptops right now, which one would you go for? Let me know in the comments, so the 13 starts at a thousand pounds or a thousand dollars, and the 15 starts at 1300 pounds salmon dollars according to microsoft’s website. So this does cost a little bit more, although you are getting the same performance and battery life near enough there’s, no fundamental difference between them, but really you are just paying the extra uh for the extra screen space, both sizes top out with 32 gigs of ram And a terabyte of storage, but then you’re paying over two grand and it all starts to get a bit silly, because these really aren’t supposed to be proper workstation laptops, there’s, no dedicated graphics card option.
The ports are still a little bit limited. So, for me i would just go with the cheapest 13 inch and if you are just working streaming, netflix, maybe a bit of doodling or note taking using the touchscreen really. This is all you need, but the biggest question, aside from whether you go 13 or 15 is, do you want an alcantara fabric or anodized aluminium metal finish on the laptop. Sadly, the alcantara is only on the 13. You don’t have the option on the 15, which is a bit of a shame, because i do quite like it it’s not for everyone it’s a little bit like marmite. You either love it or you hate it, but i find that it doesn’t pick up fingerprints or smudges as easily as the metal and also it never gets as hot or as cold as the metal surface does on this. So the only minor thing i’ve noticed is that as the alcantara uh sort of tapers down at the front, it becomes a little bit sharp. So you do occasionally feel it rubbing into your wrist, but on the whole i would probably go with the alcantara on the 13 and well. You don’t have a choice on the 15., but just like the screen, whichever size or material you go for, you get the same fantastic keyboard and in fact i know a lot of my journalist. Friends absolutely love the surface for his keyboard and i completely agree you get three levels of backlighting well, spaced keys with 1.
3 mil travel and arguably, while the thinkpad keyboard may be a bit better together with this big glass, precision trackpad, i would go as far as To say this is my favorite setup on a windows laptop you’re, also getting the same screen quality. The resolution is higher on the 15, but it matches the same 201 pixel print density of the 13. color accuracy is also impressive, especially the srgb, color gamut and, of course, being a 10 point touch screen, which you can either use with your finger or a windows. Ink compatible stylus. Well, it gives you a lot more flexibility for actually using it. Okay, let’s get nerdy for a minute, because i want to talk about the chips inside here: it’s a pretty big deal, because really this is the biggest upgrade on the surface laptop 4 and it does get a little bit complicated, so bear with me. As i say, we have intel 11th gen and amd 4000 processors in both models and in some respects the amd is a bigger upgrade over last gen. As now we’re getting wi fi six, which only the intel model had previously and also amd, have doubled. The number of cores so on paper amd has a big advantage with six or eight cores over the four core intel chips. However, intel’s tiger lake is a full generation newer than amd’s in here plus we have the advantage of intel’s faster xe, integrated graphics. Now the plan was to get two surface laptop fours one intel one amd and then test them against each other, see which one’s better and actually, because microsoft tell me there isn’t really or you shouldn’t see any major difference in performance between the two sizes.
It wouldn’t really matter which one i go for, unfortunately, the ones they’ve sent me are quite different. This is the i5 with eight gigs of ram. This is the slightly beefier ryzen 7, with 16 gigs of ram, so they’re not directly comparable, but i did still run the tests between them and actually the results are really interesting in these cpu benchmarks. The single core performance is pretty neck and neck, but as you would expect, the 15 inch with the 8 core ryzen 7 is on average 45 faster in multi core. But what is surprising is if we switch to more graphically demanding tests the cheaper and lower spec’d 13 inch here with the i5 comes out on top and it’s a similar story with gaming rainbow six siege was 27 faster on the intel almost hitting that 60 fps Mark and in fortnite it’s actually 34 faster, although neither are exactly smooth and while performance was better on the intel. I did still have a lot of frame drops and some stuttering, but depending on the game, and if you are happy to drop down to medium settings, you can get away with a bit of light gaming on both. And finally, i wanted to see which was faster in my 10 minute: 4k h.264 premiere pro export test. And surprisingly, despite the amd chip having doubled the cores, the intel was actually 24 faster, knocking almost four minutes off the time and again that’s with the lower powered i5 and also half the ram of the amd model.
Most of the time they’re both silent but under load, you can just about hear them, but the 13 was definitely louder and it kind of makes me miss the fanless m1 powered macbook air, if i’m honest. So it is a bit frustrating that i don’t have like for like skus. So take that comparison with a pinch of salt, but from my tests i would recommend going with the intel cpu option, which is not something i’ve said for a while. But then the second big upgrade after performance is the battery life and it’s kind of surprising that they both have the same pretty dinky 46 watt hour batteries for context uh. The macbook pro 16 has a 99 watt tower battery. But somehow microsoft must have put some magic dust in these laptops, because i actually managed to get 11 hours of real world use with both these laptops. To give an example, my one hour youtube test in chrome, with 50 brightness used 11 of the battery on both going by microsoft’s figures. The size and spec you choose does affect the battery by an hour or two, but it’s not overly significant, and so for me, the battery life is a real selling point of these surface laptops. However, i do wish we had usb c charging, so i didn’t have to bring a separate adapter with me for my phone and it’s pretty quick. You get about 50 of your battery in 40 minutes and, as you can see it plugs in to the surface connector.
Now, on the one hand, being magnetic means, if you do trip over the cable it comes out, which is nice, you know pull the laptop with you, but i have also noticed that the connection just isn’t that strong, so i can have it plugged in maybe i’m Rendering or exporting – and i move the laptop slightly and it just falls out so not my favorite. If i’m honest, as i say, usb c charging would be nice elsewhere. The speakers are still notch, it’s, the same setup as before, with the under keyboard speakers firing the sound up towards you, which definitely helps, but now we also have dolby atmos support and all together both laptops, genuinely sound, really you’re good force. 99. Then we have the webcam, so this is being shot on the uh surface laptop four and then this is the m1 powered macbook air. Just for a bit of comparison, i suppose, and what do you guys think which looks better and also which sounds better as i switch between the microphones uh the benefit of the surface laptop? Is we also have an infrared sensor, so you can use this as a uh? What do you call it windows, hello, login? You can use your face to log in but yeah they’re, both okay uh, i suppose, but you know an external webcam will always be your best bet. I think it was back in november 2019 that i reviewed the surface laptop threes, so these were well due an upgrade, and i do think with the new processors and the slightly improved battery life.
These have a new lease of life, but i’d be lying. If i wasn’t a bit disappointed that we haven’t had any kind of design refresh no update to the ports and also we’re missing a few bells and whistles like hdr on the screen, but none of those are deal breakers and for me the build quality. The fresh bloatware free windows, 10 experience fantastic keyboard and touch pad excellent battery and solid performance, particularly with the intel chip and its xe graphics, whether you go for the 13 or the 15. I still highly recommend the surface laptop 4. However, if you’re not first on the touch screen and also don’t mind using mac os for the exact same money, i would recommend going for the macbook air with the m1 chip and also consider, if you’ve got a little bit more money to spend and perhaps want A nicer screen, or at least more screen options, then consider the dell xps 13, which also now comes with an oled option. If you want your super duper, inky blacks like that. But what would you go for the 13, the 15 or none of the above? Let me know in the comments below and also if you’ve got any questions at all. Do let me know, because i read every single one of your comments and i’ll try to respond and answer as many as i can and if you guys did enjoy the video and want to see more of me.
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