Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: The best all-rounder laptop?
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 has arrived on our shores and is promising to take on the might of the new M1 MacBook Air. We spent the better part of a week with it and have thoroughly enjoyed using it. Much like the MacBooks, the Surface is built well and feels sturdy with the aluminium chassis and construction. The hawk-eyed among you would notice that on the outside, it looks practically the same as the last generation model. Available in a 13.5-inch and 15-inch option and a number of processor options, we got our hands on a 13.5-inch specimen with the Intel i5-1135G7 processor with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Do bear in mind that this spec is available only as a commercial SKU.
The Surface Laptop 4 is, like I mentioned, solidly built while also being draped in some T premium materials. The Alcantara on the inside is in stark contrast to the metal on the body of the laptop. It feels inherently comfortable for your palms and is pleasantly warm to the touch. The Surface Laptop 3 already had a reputation of being a laptop that was great ergonomically and this iteration takes things further. The Surface Laptop 4 is probably among the best laptops out there for writers. Everything falls to hand easily and long hours of typing are dealt with easily. The keys on the keyboard have decent travel and there is a tactility that is lost in the current MacBooks. The large trackpad too is extremely precise.
The touchscreen display is fabulous to look at and its brightness makes it easy to use even while outdoors. The display is great to watch videos on and is aided by punchy speakers with decent bass. The 720p webcam and microphone are far better than what most laptop manufacturers have been dishing out. It gets Windows Hello face unlock and frankly I was surprised how quick and efficient it was. Objectively, this is the fastest face unlock I have ever seen on a laptop.
Performance is snappy and I never faced any hiccups with the laptop during the review period. My typical workflow involves dozens of Chrome tabs, productivity and writing apps and some multimedia viewing and the Surface Laptop 4 was able to get through a full workday and some without batting an eyelid. And importantly, it was quiet and unobtrusive – exactly like a laptop should be. There is no bloatware that comes with the laptop and as such, this is an exhibition on how a Windows device should perform – if only OEMs took note.
Another USP is the battery life on offer. The Surface Laptop 4, it is fair to say, has the best battery life among Windows peers in the segment. On average, it easily lasted 8-10 hours. It is still short of the numbers achieved by Apple’s latest, but for a Windows laptop it is surprisingly good.
On the whole, the Surface Laptop 4 is easy to recommend for its impressive all-round abilities. It is fast, quiet and an ergonomic dream. It stands out in a crowded space and outdoes all its Windows rivals.
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