When will the Surface Laptop 4 be released?

The release schedule of the previous Surface Laptop generations suggested a new one will arrive before the end of 2020: the original launched in June 2017, the second generation in October 2018 and then the Surface Laptop 3 in October 2019.

Windows Central's Zac Bowden was one of the first to suggest that might be different this time round, and so it proved: the Surface Laptop Go and Surface Pro X (2020) were released in the laptop's usual October release window.

Now, the signs are pointing to the Surface Laptop 4 being released in early 2021 - that's anytime during the first six months of the year. 

Bowden's Windows Central article initially suggested it would be alongside the Surface Pro 8 in January, and sites like WinFuture and XDA Developers continue to quote that month in articles. 

However, the same author now says its launch will be "a few months later" than the Pro 8. The release could be timed for May, as was the case for new Surface hardware in 2020, but that's just speculation at this stage. 

How much will the Surface Laptop 4 cost?

Again, details are lacking in this area, so we’ll have to speculate using previous models as the example. Here are the what the base models of the last three versions cost when they were launched:

  • Surface Laptop 1 - £979/$999
  • Surface Laptop 2 - £979/$999
  • Surface Laptop 3 - £999/$999

In the wake of the coronavirus, prices are now more uncertain than they might first appear. With the stock market in turmoil, people losing their incomes and components facing shortages due to the reduction in manufacturing, it’s hard to say with any authority whether Microsoft will stick to the sub-£1000/$1000 price tag for the Surface Laptop 4.

What will the Surface Laptop 4 specs be?

A Windows Central article from November 2020 suggested both the Laptop 4 and Surface Pro 8 had passed certification in China. That's based on a tweet from user @cozyplanes, with this usually a key indicator that the devices aren't far away. 

One of the few other concrete rumours so far comes courtesy of hardware leaker @TUM_APISAK, who tweeted a 3DMark score for a mystery Microsoft device. 

Many are speculating that this might be the Surface Laptop 4, as it's unlikely that an AMD Ryzen chipset would make its way onto a convertible such as the Surface Pro 8. A subsequent Windows Latest article says there could be more AMD options than previous generations, with Microsoft designing its own edition of the US company's latest Ryzen 5000 mobile chips

It's likely Microsoft would continue to only offer AMD processors on the 15in model, sticking with Intel for the 13.5in version. These would likely be the latest 11th-gen 'Tiger Lake' chips, with Core i5 and i7 options the most likely once again. We'd also expect Microsoft to stick with 8 or 16GB RAM and SSD storage up to 1TB.

A previous Twitter leaker also quoted 3DMark scores when showing the performance of a 2.7GHz Tiger Lake chip, which hadn't been released at the time. 

Tiger Lake processors are intended to work with Project Athena objectives outlined by Intel last year, with the aim of providing always-on connectivity, waking from sleep in less than a second, all-day battery life, and the same performance capabilities when working from either battery power or a mains connection.

As with the Surface Laptop 3, current rumours suggest that there will be two sizes of device (13.5in and 15in) with the larger using AMD Ryzen 4000 series processors rather than Intel Core chips. In our review of the Surface Laptop 3, we found the higher end Intel i7 outperformed its AMD Ryzen counterpart both in speed and battery life. Hopefully the anticipated new AMD chips will address these shortcomings and deliver a more balanced account of themselves.

The benchmark leak also indicated that the new Surface Laptop 4 will come with the same 256GB SSD as its predecessor and 16GB of RAM, although there’s a good chance that this will not be on the base model as the Surface Laptop 3 begins with 128GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. The comparable model (with Intel i7, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD) currently costs £1,549/$15,49, which is quite a bit more than the entry level machine.

Although we're hoping for a slimming of the bezels and a potential new 14in screen size, there's currently no evidence such a move is in Microsoft's plans.

It’s early days in terms of solid details, but from what we’ve learned so far it looks like the upcoming Surface Laptop 4 should be a comfortable upgrade on last year’s model and one that could have a few other manufacturers looking over their shoulders. We’ll be updating this feature as more information becomes available, so be sure to bookmark it and check back regularly to see what we can uncover. 

If you can't wait until 2021, check out the best laptop chart to see some great alternatives that are already available to buy. We also have a separate guide to the best Microsoft Surface