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Surface Laptop 4 and Friends - Microsoft Spring Hardware Announcement

Summary

Today Microsoft unveiled its newest version of the Surface Laptop, the Surface Laptop 4. It comes in the same design as its predecessor, but with a choice of either AMD Ryzen™ Microsoft Surface® Edition processors (yes that is the marketing name Microsoft decided to go with), or Intel Core i-series processors. It retains the two sizes of its predecessors, and keeps the same colors.

 

The base model of the 13.5" includes a Ryzen 5 4680U, 256GB of Storage, and 8GB of RAM for $999. The 15" model starts at $1299 for a Ryzen 7 4980U, 256GB, and 8GB of RAM. Interestingly, the Surface Laptop 4 13.5" cannot be configured with a Ryzen 7, but can be configured with a Core i7.

 

The 13.5" model configured with a Ryzen 5 gets an advertised battery life of up to 19 hours, while the more expensive Core i5 gets up to 17 hours. Similarly, the Ryzen 7 in the 15" model gets an advertised battery life of 17.5 hours while the Core i7 gets an advertised battery life of only 16.5 hours. Microsoft did not make a battery life claim for the 13.5" model on a Core i7.

 

In addition to the Surface Laptop 4, Microsoft have introduced the Surface Headphones 2+, with an included USB dongle for those who want less latency but are allergic to cables. If you aren't, however, Microsoft also released much cheaper wired and wireless headsets. The Surface Headphones 2+ are $299, and the headsets are $49.99 and $99.99 respectively.

 

Alongside these headphones and headsets, to complete their audio strategy, Microsoft have released a USB-C speaker, designed for "casual listening", as it casually starts at $99... It's also important to note that all of the audio products released today are "certified for Microsoft Teams".

 

Finally, Microsoft introduced a new webcam, capable of shooting 1080p30. This webcam does not include any Windows Hello facial recognition, and costs $69.99

Quotes

Quote

"Now up to 70% faster than before with significantly longer battery life and up to 19 hours of battery life on 13.5” AMD Ryzen™ 5 Microsoft Surface® Edition processor."

"...Microsoft is promising 18.5 hours of music listening time or 15 minutes of voice time. But Surface Headphones 2+ is certified for Teams with an included dongle."

"The USB and Wireless Headsets are coming in June for $49.99 and $99.99, respectively."

"[Modern USB-C Speaker]'s coming in June for $99.99."

"It's called the Modern Webcam, and it supports 1080p 30fps video output with a 78-degree field of view. Interestingly, there's no Windows Hello camera included, but it only costs $69.99"

 

My thoughts

M1.

 

You lose the upgradable SSD by going with a MacBook Air, but it's still a bit powerful in the CPU region and much powerful in the GPU region. Although these Ryzen CPUs (I'm completely leaving Intel out of the question for this) are completely new SKUs and I will eat my words if the r5 in this has a much faster GPU, I think the M1 is still a better value in the long run. And the battery life will be much better, and it's fanless, and it stays cool, and you get the perks of an ARM processor like instant wake (Microsoft's version has always not quite been to par with an actual ARM experience).

 

If the Surface Laptop started at $799, it would've been an easier pill to swallow. But if you cross MacBook Air territory, expect to be compared to a MacBook Air. The only two benefits are 3:2 and touch. If you don't care about either, the MacBook Air is for you.

 

In terms of comparisons to some Windows Laptops, the SL4 is almost double the price in some cases. Of course you lose out on build quality, touch in some cases, and the 3:2 screen, but I think more people are going to buy an HP or an Acer that's ~$600 than the SL4 15".

 

But what confuses me is why they still treat AMD as a bargain basement build. Half of the Surface Laptop landing page is talking about how good Ryzen is, yet they cannot put a Ryzen 7 into the 13.5", but can put a Core i7, which uses 3 more watts than the Ryzen? (28W>25W) Could Microsoft stop half assing their products just to keep their "sacred" partnership with Intel alive? This isn't the first time they've done this. Allegedly, the Surface Go was going to use ARM chips, but Intel wanted them to use the just-as-slow Pentium Gold chips. Microsoft, figure yourself out...

 

Sources

Microsoft unveils Surface Headphones 2+ and more peripherals - Neowin

New Surface Laptop 4: Ultra-Thin Touchscreen Laptop - Microsoft Surface

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29 minutes ago, NotTheFirstDaniel said:

M1

This was the first thing I thought about as soon as I saw the base price of $999. With these specs and for that price, I would've considered this laptop not too overpriced if it weren't for Apple. I'm a college student and if I had the cash (which I don't) I would much rather spend my money on an M1 laptop with great battery and enough CPU power for some of the applications I run.

35 minutes ago, NotTheFirstDaniel said:

The only two benefits are 3:2 and touch. If you don't care about either, the MacBook Air is for you.

This is where I disagree.  Windows 10 (not even the useless ARM version) can be run on a M1 MacBook right now.  That is a very serious issue for some people and in the long term it might get fixed, but for now its the Achilles heel of these things.

 

As for the Surface Laptop, they're going to ship a bunch of these things, but not as much if they priced it cheaper than an M1.That being said, I'm certain that the market is full of laptops with comparable specs for several hundred dollars cheaper.

I use an iPad as a computer and run Android on my Nintendo Switch...  Where's the nearest hospital peko?

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48 minutes ago, NotTheFirstDaniel said:

M1

But...but...Microsoft released an ad, a very shitty one that they eventually deleted

 

 

There is more that meets the eye
I see the soul that is inside

 

 

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45 minutes ago, NotTheFirstDaniel said:

But what confuses me is why they still treat AMD as a bargain basement build. Half of the Surface Laptop landing page is talking about how good Ryzen is, yet they cannot put a Ryzen 7 into the 13.5", but can put a Core i7, which uses 3 more watts than the Ryzen? (28W>25W) Could Microsoft stop half assing their products just to keep their "sacred" partnership with Intel alive?

I wouldn't be surprised if this decision was made out of a consideration of supply more than anything else.  As all of us know here the CPU market hasn't been able to keep up with supply (although that's been changing), and say what you will about Intel but they are managing to keep up waaay better than AMD(although these is a difference in demand).  The chips that go into laptops come from the same fabs that their desktop counterparts come from and it wouldn't surprise me of AMD wants to prioritize desktop(higher margins) vs laptops.  Naturally Microsoft wants to sell laptops so if this is the case, it makes sense that they would go with Intel on the high end since they can provide better supply than AMD there.

 

Again, I wouldn't be surprised if I'm wrong here.  For all I know Intel could be making under the table deals with Microsoft in order to replace their relationship with Apple.

I use an iPad as a computer and run Android on my Nintendo Switch...  Where's the nearest hospital peko?

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1x USB A, 1x USB C and a headphone jack.

 

I know I probably sound like an old man, but after I switched to a S76 with a bunch of ports (ethernet, 2 USB C, 2 USB A, SD, HDMI) I've started to highly value lots of ports on my laptop.

 

I realise I may have a special situation (I travel to different setups with my laptop) and that this laptop focuses on being thin and light, but I'm still a bit saddened to see this trend.

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7 minutes ago, kvuj said:

1x USB A, 1x USB C and a headphone jack.

 

I know I probably sound like an old man, but after I switched to a S76 with a bunch of ports (ethernet, 2 USB C, 2 USB A, SD, HDMI) I've started to highly value lots of ports on my laptop.

 

I realise I may have a special situation (I travel to different setups with my laptop) and that this laptop focuses on being thin and light, but I'm still a bit saddened to see this trend.

I was shopping around for laptops a month or so ago and found the same trend, especially towards the £1000-1300 mark I was looking at. I'm not one who needs every port under the sun, but I was lucky to find and settle on an ASUS which was thin and light with a full size HDMI, USB A, 2 USB Cs, microSD and a headphone jack, and that is on the more generous end of the spectrum. Other laptops I looked at, like the Dell XPS 13, tended to only have 1 USB C and a headphone jack, some didn't even have headphone jacks. The previous generation of the ASUS I bought didn't have a headphone jack for some reason, even though the laptop could have easily housed it, luckily they obviously listened to the users and added it back for the newer generation I bought. In my opinion, the bare minimum should be 2 USB Cs and a headphone jack, at least then you can charge and use docks/dongles at the same time.

Desktop - i5-9600KF @4.8GHz all core, MSI Z390-A PRO, 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance 3000MHz, MSI GTX 1660S OC 6GB, WD Blue 500GB M.2 SSD, Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM HDD

Laptop - ASUS ZenBook 14 with ScreenPad, i7-1165G7, Xe iGPU 96EU, 16GB Octa-Channel 4200MHz, MX450 2GB, 512GB SSD with 32GB Optane

 

Old Laptop 1 - HP Pavilion 15, A10-9600P, R5 iGPU, 8GB, R8 M445DX, 2TB HDD

Old Laptop 2 - HP Pavilion 15 TouchSmart, i3-3217U, Intel HD 4000, 4GB, 1TB HDD

 

iPad 2018 - 128GB

iPhone XR - 128GB

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36 minutes ago, JLO64 said:

Windows 10 (not even the useless ARM version) can be run on a M1 MacBook right now. 

Windows 10 can actually be virtualized on the M1 Macs through QEMU, and in fact it scores higher on benchmarks virtualized than the Surface Pro X does.

21 minutes ago, JLO64 said:

I wouldn't be surprised if this decision was made out of a consideration of supply more than anything else.

This would make more sense if this was Zen3, but this is Zen2. Apart from the H and HS series, Zen2 on mobile didn't have much supply issues out of the first few months. But you're probably closer than my conclusion.

23 minutes ago, kvuj said:

1x USB A, 1x USB C and a headphone jack.

This would be fine if this was USB4. As much as you might hate dongles, you can get all the connectivity you laid out in your post from a travel adapter. But its down to personal preference.

 

I believe this move envisioned a more wireless and connected future, but the issue is wireless connectivity still sucks. Have you ever tried to use Miracast for anything other than PowerPoint? Maybe in 10 years when short distance, low latency connectivity finally arrives will we be able to use these devices without issue, but until then its dongle city.

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Sooo.... Are these Zen 2? 4980U implies Zen 2 which is strange when there's Zen 3 around.

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26 minutes ago, CephDigital said:

Sooo.... Are these Zen 2? 4980U implies Zen 2 which is strange when there's Zen 3 around.

Microsoft always releases new Surface devices a generation behind. For instance, the Surface Studio and Studio 2 were both released with last generation Intel and NVIDIA parts and the Surface Laptop 3 had a Zen+ CPU when Zen2 was already out on mobile.

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11 hours ago, NotTheFirstDaniel said:

Windows 10 can actually be virtualized on the M1 Macs through QEMU, and in fact it scores higher on benchmarks virtualized than the Surface Pro X does.

The Win 10 people got to run through QEMU is the shitty ARM version, which you can't buy a license for as a user - they're only available to OEMs. If you're ok with breaking piracy laws to do this then go ahead, but anyone wanting to do actual work on that machine shouldn't be doing so as it's just not worth it.

 

As far as most users are concerned: no, you can't run Win 10 on M1 macs.

My PCs:

Quote

Timothy: 

i7 4790k

16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3

ASUS GTX 1060 6GB

Corsair Carbide 300R

 

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1 hour ago, tim0901 said:

which you can't buy a license for as a user

Exactly the reason why Bootcamp for Apple Silicon doesn't exist (yet). Microsoft just doesn't want to license their ARM SKU of Windows for some reason. Even through Apple, they don't want to...

 

Just let a Windows 10 Pro key activate it and let me download it from your media creation tool FFS.

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