Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 Test

We check out the latest laptop from the Microsoft family. Surface Laptop 4 is supposed to be a fusion of interesting design with a very good configuration. Is it really so?

The Surface line is one of the most interesting laptops on the market, a viable alternative in the clash on the design front with MacBooks and a way to stand out in the crowd of similar Windows mobile computers. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is the successor to the model that went on sale in the fall of 2019. In the Surface family, it represents the equivalent of a versatile laptop for multiple tasks – how does the Surface Laptop 4 live up to its name?

Design and performance

Microsoft’s new computer looks phenomenal. Once again, distinctive aluminum and a single, cohesive body are used. The model we tested had a screen with a diagonal of 13.5 inches, we can still find a model with a 15-inch screen on the market.

After opening the lid, we will see the space between the large touchpad and the keyboard covered with Alcantara, a material made of synthetic ultra-microfibers. It is soft, so it gives comfort to our wrists, while giving character to the device itself. The keyboard is in a class of its own – the work culture is flawless, the keys were made for typing, there is no question of any problems.

Microsoft, following the Apple blow, reduced the number of ports to a minimum – one USB 3.0/3.1 port, USB 3.1 Type C port (supports charging and video/audio signal transfer), line out audio and that’s it. On the other side, you’ll find an input for the charger included with the Surface. Unfortunately, Microsoft did not opt for a Thunderbolt 4 port. The weight of the device is 1.31 kg, which together with the dimensions of 308 by 14.5 by 223 mm gives a very comfortable laptop to use.

All in all, the design of the Laptop 4 is a typical evolution – as with the MacBooks, it relies on proven patterns and design. As a matter of fact, the only design element that stands out from the modern rest are the screen bezels – other top Windows models have managed to make them smaller. On the plus side, we should credit the lack of any stickers on the laptop.

Video and audio

The screen of the tested Surface is a distinctive element of the whole. First of all, the distinguishing feature remains its aspect ratio – 3:2. You should know about it before a potential purchase, not many devices use such a solution. The PixelSense touch display has a resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels (201 PPI) and a nominal brightness of 400 nits. Colors and brightness levels remain at a good level. The coating unfortunately likes to reflect light.

On top of the screen there is an HD camera. The video and audio quality (studio microphones) is a characteristic advantage of the Surface family. It’s a bit of a shame that they didn’t opt for a Full HD camera, but HD will probably be a fully sufficient offering for many users.

Staying in the audio and video spectrum, the computer has speakers supporting Dolby Atmos Omnisonic technology. Indeed, the speakers will perform well when listening to music or watching movies. Overall, the Surface Laptop 4 is a good option for a movie experience, provided that the screen aspect ratio doesn’t bother us.

Configuration and work culture

On the market we can find versions of the Laptop 4 with Intel Core processors of the 11th generation or AMD Ryzen Mobile (last year’s model) with Radeon graphics, in a specially prepared version called Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition (8 cores). We tested the Intel variant (i5 1135G7 2.4 – 4.2 GHz) with built-in Intel Iris Xe Graphics. The computer had 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and a 512 GB SSD. What can you expect from such a combination?

Synthetic Benchmarks:

Geekbench 5 – CPU Benchmark: 1242 pts. (single-core), 4731 (multi-core).

Geekbench 5 – Compute Benchmark: 14,903 points.

Cinebench R23: 4764 pts. (multi-core); 1282 pts. (single-core); MP Ratio: 3.72 x.

Daily usage:

The configuration presented is a top-of-the-line configuration for a standard all-around laptop without a separate graphics card. It will perform well in many tasks: from office work, through studying, to multimedia, including video editing and graphics processing. However, in the case of the latter (video and graphics), we are talking about basic use only – this is not a computer for creating professional materials for a video service. As you can easily guess, on the front of everyday work or study the computer performs flawlessly.

During even heavy use, the computer does not get hot enough to affect the comfort of work. Thermal management remains good. The operating noise does not cause any problems.

This is not gaming equipment, but Iris Xe, after lowering the graphics settings, will cope even with more graphically advanced games (Control, RDR2), if we do not mind playing at 30 frames per second. Less demanding, but still popular titles (Fortnite, Apex Legends) work more than well.

Battery life

How does the Surface 4 battery perform in “battles”? In short, we can count on between 9 and 11 hours of work, depending on what we do (not counting games). In the case of watching video, we are talking about about 9 hours. Standard work or study is about 11 hours. This is only a correct result – on the market you can find computers in this segment that can do better without the sight of a charger, but Microsoft’s equipment catches the “national average” of modern, contemporary laptops.

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