Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is a solid package that offers a great combo of features and value. The best thing about the Surface Laptop 4 is it now comes in a host of SKUs with either AMD or Intel processors for consumers to choose from. But is it a superb laptop option in India? India Today Tech answers that in the review.
Surface Laptop 4 by Microsoft is the company’s latest attempt to gain more consumers in India. It is targeted at users who work remotely or in a hybrid work environment, a new work setup coming to life during the pandemic. The Surface Laptop 4 is lightweight and should appeal to users across different age groups.
It brings the signature Surface design mixed with solid SKU choices where consumers can choose from 11th Gen Intel or AMD Ryzen processors. Apart from SoCs, the new Surface Laptop 4 is also available in 13.5-inch and 15-inch display sizes, thus making it more convenient for consumers to choose their preferred screen size.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 looks great and starts at Rs 102,999 in India, making it more accessible for consumers. Microsoft already offers the Surface Laptop Go at an even cheaper price point, starting at Rs 63,499, and now the Surface Laptop 4 tries to provide a reliable experience at around a lakh rupees. But is it worth that much? India Today Tech answers that in this review.
Surface Laptop 4 review: Most comfortable work laptop
The Surface Laptop 4 from Microsoft follows the Surface design language, and that’s not bad. The looks are familiar and should remind you of the Surface line-up right away. I got the 13.5-inch model, which comes with Alcantara material wrapped on the keyboard and palm rest. I don’t remember a laptop I have enjoyed so much in terms of portability and typing. More on that in a bit.
The 13.5-inch model comes with Alcantara material in Platinum colour only. If you want to try out something different, you can try out the regular metal variant without Alcantara material on the keyboard, and it comes in Platinum and Matte Black colours. But trust me on this, the Alcantara material on the keyboard doesn’t just look fantastic but also helps immensely during typing sessions. The feel of a fibre material under your wrist while typing is excellent, and you only understand the beauty when you turn to metal laptops for the same.
The Surface Laptop 4 has been designed keeping in mind convenience, and that shows on the model. The laptop lid can be opened with one finger effortlessly, and it weighs just 1.2 kilograms. It is almost the same weight as the Dell XPS 13 (1.27 kilograms for the touch variant) and slightly lighter than the MacBook Air (1.29 kilograms). The fans are placed at the bottom panel towards the hinge, but you barely feel fan movement while working on the laptop and keeping it on your lap.
It comes with an ultra-thin profile that makes it ideal for portability. There’s hardly anything that goes wrong with the Surface Laptop 4 design. However, if there’s one thing that kept reminding me that Surface Laptop 4 still seems to belong to previous years were the thick bezels around the display. The Surface Laptop 4 has thick bezels around the display, something you won’t find on the Dell XPS 13 or the MacBook Air.
The keyboard comes in full size with a row of function keys, and the keyboard has three backlight settings for user preference, a neat addition. There’s also the Windows key and dedicated buttons for media controls, screen brightness, and backlit. It’s a pleasure to type on the Surface Laptop 4 keyboard and is ideal for long-form typing. I have been a fan of Microsoft Surface keyboards for a long time and said that in as many words during the Surface Laptop Go review, the Surface Laptop 4 isn’t any different. But I wish that Microsoft also added a fingerprint scanner on the Surface Laptop 4. While the Windows Hello face sign-in process is seamless in most conditions, it took too much time in low-light situations and required entering the pin. The fingerprint scanner in such cases would have been more convenient.
In terms of connectivity, the Surface Laptop 4 has limited ports, including 1 USB-C, 1 USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, and the Surface Connect port. Unfortunately, this means you cannot plan to connect too many wired accessories with the Surface Laptop 4.
Surface Laptop 4 review: Display with touch, impresses
The Surface Laptop 4 13.5-inch model features a PixelSense Display which is excellent for viewing videos, browsing websites, and typing long word documents. The 2256×1504 pixels screen resolution means that Surface Laptop 4 offers a slightly better resolution than the Full-HD laptops. Moreover, at an aspect ratio of 3:2, the Surface Laptop 4 becomes even more recommendable for multimedia viewing. For those unaware, Microsoft has been sticking to the signature 3:2 aspect ratio on its Surface line-up for a long time that perfectly scales various things like websites, Word documents, and more. In plain terms, this aspect ratio offers more vertical screen real estate than a typical laptop, and you can feel the experience during daily use.
The touch-enabled screen means that you can comfortably switch between your mouse to make things work with touch. The Surface Laptop 4 13.5 also supports the Surface Pen, which is a neat addition for content creators, especially those who require additional precision while creating a digital painting or something involving a screen and a stylus.
The display on the Surface Laptop 4 is bright and offers excellent viewing angles. The touchscreen experience is seamless and adds to the fun of using the laptop on an everyday basis. It is a delight to use the screen on the Surface Laptop 4, and you will have to use it to experience it.
Surface Laptop 4 review: Specifications
Processor – AMD Ryzen 5 4680U Mobile Processor with Radeon Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition (6 cores)
Display – 13.5-inch PixelSense Display, 2256×1504 pixels screen resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, touch-enabled, Surface Pen support
Connectivity ports – 1 x USB Type-A, 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x USB-A, and 1 Surface Connect Port
Dimensions and weight – 308x223x14.5mm and 1.26 kilograms (Platinum Alcantara model)
Other features – Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0, Windows Hello face authentication camera
Surface Laptop 4 review: Offers top-notch performance
The Surface Laptop 4 is about pure business. If you want a work laptop that can handle multitasking and a number of things, then the Surface Laptop 4 is for you. Similarly, if you want a personal laptop, the Surface Laptop 4 also appeals to you with a stunning display, solid battery life, and an overall package to keep you satisfied. The best part is that this laptop can handle casual gaming as well. But I don’t want to give false hopes to serious gaming lovers.
My review unit is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 4680U Mobile Processor with Radeon Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition (6 cores). It packs 16GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. The laptop is capable enough to handle multiple Chrome tabs and, at the same time, is quick enough to jump between one app to another. Right from handling a 4K video stream to opening various apps in the background, the Surface Laptop 4 can handle everything. For example, while typing out this review on the Surface Laptop 4, I had a 4K stream running in the background while keeping multiple Chrome tabs open to see how easily this could let me switch and no stuttering at all.
I’m in love with the AMD Ryzen 5 processor, and thanks to this smooth processor, this laptop should be sufficient for casual users and should easily last a couple of years, if not more. From handling workloads to as simple tasks as performing an action based on touch input, the AMD Ryzen 5 can handle all.
Another thing that the new Surface Laptop 4 nails is the handling of heat. Throughout the review period, the laptop was quiet for the most part despite packing fans, which never made noise during my review period. Regardless of how much multitasking I did on the laptop, it remained calm. Yes, except when I started playing Hitman 3 for a few minutes, and then I noticed that the bottom panel started getting warm, and the laptop also struggled to handle the graphics, and I eventually had to shut down the game.
My advice to casual users looking to buy a personal laptop that they might also use for work-related things is to buy the Surface Laptop 4 base model with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. It starts at Rs 102,999, and it’s a deal you won’t regret.
For content creators, the Surface Laptop 4 also supports the Microsoft Surface Pen, which means they can expect more precision while drawing something or in other tasks where a stylus can be handy. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Surface Pen will have to be bought separately at around Rs 10,000 in India.
Surface Laptop 4 review: Webcam is decent, speaker is best in the segment
The pandemic has been a great time to realise how desperately we need good webcams on laptops these days. Luckily, the Surface Laptop 4 packs a decent 720p webcam, integrating the Windows Hello face sign-in. The 720p webcam on the Surface Laptop 4 is decent for meetings and has a good enough resolution. However, considering the price tag that the Surface Laptop 4 carries, it should have packed a higher-resolution 1080p webcam. While the 720p webcam was decent for video calls and meetings, when placed in surroundings with fewer light sources around, I could notice noise in the corners and the clarity taking a hit with the face appearing slightly grainy. While I missed the fingerprint scanner on the laptop, but there’s no doubt that I had a great time using the Windows Hello face authentication feature, which was quick, to say the least.
At times, it was so quick that I almost missed noticing it. Open the laptop lid, and the Hello feature comes to play instantly.
Another feature that impressed us a lot was the speakers on the Surface Laptop 4. By looking at the size of this laptop, it would be hard to guess what it can do. But the results are impressive. The Surface Laptop 4 packs speakers with Dolby Atmos support that help add depth to the output.
The audio output from the speakers is rich, and it has been placed nicely beneath the keyboard. Right from watching movies to videos to songs, the output from the loudspeakers on the Surface Laptop 4 is clean. The best thing is the dialogues are clear on the laptop if you’re streaming any show or watching a movie. The vocals are clear, and the output is satisfying. While I’m no audiophile, the Dolby Atmos technology has ramped up the overall sound output on the Surface Laptop 4.
Surface Laptop 4 review: Solid battery life
For the Surface Laptop 4, battery life is one of the big USPs, and this didn’t disappoint me. Microsoft claims an incredible up to 19 hours of battery life for typical device usage. However, during my review, the laptop lasted for around 11 hours on a single charge until the battery reached 5 per cent and showed pop-ups to connect to the Surface Connector. While my tests may not have shown results matching or even close to what Microsoft claims, the up to 11 hours battery life on a single charge is impressive, in my opinion, and beats many laptops in its price range. At this level of battery performance, the Surface Laptop 4 goes head-to-head with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with an M1 chip.
The Surface Laptop 4 in our video loop test, where I leave the laptop with Full-HD video running on a loop with all apps closed and brightness set at 50 per cent. In the test, the laptop lasted for nearly 12 hours before it died. So if you’re someone who needs a laptop that offers excellent battery performance and is lightweight, then the Surface Laptop 4 is a great option. The laptop also supports fast charging and can fully charge from 5 to 100 per cent in less than 60 minutes, which is impressive.
Surface Laptop 4 review: Verdict
At a starting price of Rs 102,999, the Surface Laptop 4 is another superb laptop option from Microsoft and brings enough bells and whistles to keep users happy. It’s the ideal Windows laptop, which is easy to recommend over plenty of options available in the market.
There are a lot of things that make it an ideal work companion for most users. However, if you’re someone who wants to play Hitman 3 with settings cranked up, then the Surface Laptop 4 is not for you. But for the rest of the crowd that need a machine to work for everyday tasks like browsing, watching videos, typing (in fact, a lot of typing), multitasking, and at times, light gaming, you cannot go wrong with the Surface Laptop 4.
In an aggressive move, Microsoft has launched the Surface Laptop 4 in India with over 10 SKUs which are available on either the 11th Gen Intel Core processors or AMD Ryzen Mobile processors. I got my hands on the model with AMD Ryzen 5 4680U, which comes with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. It costs Rs 122,499 and is a great value proposition for people who are on the move. The battery life is solid on this one, and the display is decent.
If you do not want the Surface Laptop 4, you can also look at the Dell XPS 13, which I have reviewed and is a great all-rounder machine. But it is also costly. Another alternative is the MacBook Air, which is available at a price less than that of the Surface Laptop 4.
Surface Laptop 4 review 8.5/10
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