An update to the latter came in the form of June 2020's Surface Book 3, although we might have to wait a while for its more portable sibling to be upgraded. Here's everything we know so far.
When will the Surface Laptop 4 be released?
The release schedule of the previous Surface Laptop generations suggests a new one will arrive before the end of 2020: the original launched in June 2017, the second generation in October 2018 and then Surface Laptop 3 in October 2019.
However, Windows Central's Zac Bowden is suggesting that the device will be put back to 2021:
Surface Pro 8, Surface Laptop 4, and Surface Studio 3 are not coming this fall. I'm told they've been pushed back to 2021. This fall is new Surface Pro X, Surface 'Sparti', and accessories.— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) September 16, 2020
Bowden's strong track record means we have no reason to doubt what he's saying. If true, it would be the first year that we haven't seen a Surface Laptop refresh since the original launched.
Whenever the Surface Laptop 4 arrives, Microsoft's decision to make all its events online-only until mid-2021 means we probably won't get an in-person reveal. It may forgo an event altogether, as was the case with the Surface Go 2 and Surface Book 3.
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 version 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’s new with the Surface Laptop 4?
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.
Microsoft— APISAK (@TUM_APISAK) June 16, 2020
AMD Ryzen 7 4800U pic.twitter.com/GjI6o9uf0i
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. It's likely Microsoft would continue to only offer these processors on the 15in model, sticking with Intel for the 13in version.
While the leaker has little reputation for leaking Microsoft products, the screenshot in question looks genuine and moving to a more modern
A previous leak also quoted 3DMark scores, although it showed the device running a 2.7GHz Intel Tiger Lake-U processor instead.
Big News !!— _rogame (@_rogame) March 26, 2020
Microsoft started testing 2.7GHz TigerLake-U
3dmark 11 Performance
Physics score : 8412
Graphics score : 5540 (just under R7 4800U)
Same SSD as Surface Laptop 3
Windows 10 20H1
WDDM 2.7 iGPU Driver pic.twitter.com/CUrYFIsXkK
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.
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 October to upgrade your portable PC, take a look at our pick of the current crop in our roundup of the best laptops.