Why I Want the New Surface Laptop 4

Better than a MacBook?

Key Takeaways

  • The new Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 makes a tempting alternative to the MacBook lineup. 
  • While the design of the Laptop 4  hasn’t changed much, you can now choose a new blue color for the 13.5-inch models.
  • Prices begin at $999 for the AMD version and $1,299 for the Intel model.
Someone sitting on a sofa, with a dog at their feet working on a Microsoft Surface 4 laptop.

Microsoft

My MacBook Pro works perfectly well, but Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop 4 is calling me from across the digital divide. 

While most Windows laptops are tacky and ugly, the Surface Laptop 4 is a shape even a Mac fan could love. It looks like something Apple would have designed if the company was feeling particularly Brutalist. The Laptop 4 has the same elegant, thin, and light design shared by the entire line of Surface devices.

I'm a big fan of the Surface design, and I enjoy using the Windows Surface Pro 7 tablet. The Surface laptop seems like it would be an excellent replacement if my MacBook ever broke. 

"I’ve been using Powerbooks for decades, and they’ve never once let me down. I get that same sense of careful design when using the Surface gadgets."

Solid Design Rules

The design of the Surfaces hasn’t changed much from the previous model. There’s now the option to choose a new blue color on the 13.5-inch models. Like the MacBook Air, the Surface is nearly the perfect balance between portability and usability. The Surface is .57 inches thick, compared to the .63 inches of the Air. 

One area where the Surface beats the MacBook is using the textured Alcantara fabric for the palm rest area. I use an Alcantara keyboard with the Windows Surface Pro 7 tablet, and the material gives it a soft, velvety feeling that makes computing a much more personal and enjoyable experience. 

I also think Microsoft wins in the cool accessory department for the Surface line. I use the matching Surface Mobile Mouse, which I highly recommend for its slick design and great usability. For those looking to avoid repetitive stress injury, there’s the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard, which is fast and responsive, and has the same luxurious-feeling Alcantara material available on the Surface Laptop 4. 

I haven’t gotten my hands yet on a Surface Laptop 4, but I suspect it will handle all the admittedly low-power tasks that I will throw at it. 

After all, I hardly use any Mac-specific programs these days. Most of my time is spent using the MacBook as a glorified Chromebook, dodging between Gmail, Google Docs, and Chrome browsing sessions. 

I’ve invested in the MacBook even with my modest requirements because I value Apple products’ incredible build quality. I’ve been using Powerbooks for decades, and they’ve never once let me down. I get that same sense of careful design when using the Surface gadgets. 

The new Surface line lets you choose between AMD or Intel processors and 13.5 and 15-inch screen sizes. You’ll get either Intel’s latest 11th Gen processors or AMD’s lower performance Ryzen 4000 series processors. 

If you opt for a 15-inch model, you can select AMD options that begin with the $1,299 AMD Ryzen 7 4980U model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

You can configure this model with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for $1,699. The pricier Intel 15-inch models jump off at $1,799 for the Core i7 1185G7 with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage or go whole hog with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage for $2,399.

Priced to Compete

Prices begin at $999 for the AMD version and $1,299 for the Intel model. You’ll get a single USB-C port, one USB-A port, a headphone jack, and Microsoft’s proprietary charging port. 

Top-down view of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4.

Microsoft

The price of the Surface Laptop 4 is nearly the same as what you’d pay for a MacBook Air. The Air has become the default recommendation as a basic laptop for many people, and it seems like Microsoft presents a credible alternative.

In fact, there are cases in which I’d argue that Windows is a superior choice to a Mac. Microsoft Word, for example, has a much easier to use layout in the Windows version.

Outlook for Windows also beats the Mac rendition in almost every way. The Windows Hello facial recognition sign-in is a surprisingly useful and speedy way to beat the password game. 

The Surface looks like a worthy competitor to the MacBook. I can’t wait to give it a test drive.

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