The Surface Laptop is back, and it wants to be your next work-from-home PC. Surface Laptop 4 aims to build on Microsoft’s flagship notebook, blending some of the best design features of its predecessors with powerful new processors and a fresh Ice Blue color option. It’s available for preorder now starting at $999 — an enticing price that makes us eager to see how it stacks up to similarly priced laptops, including the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13.
But a new laptop isn’t all Microsoft has up its sleeve for the next few months. The company also took the wraps off of a slew of new accessories designed to upgrade your home office, including a business version of the Surface Headphones 2 with new features for Microsoft Teams users as well as a range of headsets, speakers and webcams for keeping you connected during important calls.
Wondering if the Surface Laptop 4 is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of Microsoft’s latest laptop, and all the peripherals that are coming with it.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
The Surface Laptop 4 keeps the same general design as the Surface Laptop 3, a notebook we really liked or its sleek, minimalist looks and excellent keyboard. You’ll once again have a choice of 13.5-inch and 15-inch models, both of which sport Microsoft’s unique 3:2 screen ratio that gives you more vertical real estate than a typical laptop display. This comes in handy for things like viewing a spreadsheet, as you’ll see more rows on the screen before needing to scroll. Also returning is your choice between metal and Alacantara fabric finishes, with a variety of color options that includes an attractive new Ice Blue.
But the biggest upgrades to the Surface Laptop 4 are on the inside, as you’ll have a choice between the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processors or AMD Ryzen chips, which Microsoft says will give you up to 70% better performance over the previous model. We hope that’s true, as we found our AMD Ryzen 5-powered Surface Laptop 3 to be a bit lacking when it came to performance benchmarks and creative tasks.
Other key Surface Laptop 4 features include a built-in 720p webcam and what Microsoft is calling a studio microphone array for keeping you seen and heard during calls. The laptop also packs Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers for immersive surround sound, which we’re eager to test on our favorite movies and shows.
According to Microsoft, the Surface Laptop 4 is the longest-lasting Surface yet, with an estimated runtime of up to 19 hours of mixed use on the 13-inch model and up to 17.5 hours on the 15-inch model. That’s much longer than the roughly 10 hours we got out of the Surface Laptop 3, so we’re looking forward to seeing how the latest model performs during real-world use. Microsoft also says the new laptop can charge up to 80% in just an hour.
The Surface Laptop 4 is available for preorder now at an inviting $999. Those who pick one up via Microsoft or Best Buy before April 15 will also get a pair of Surface Earbuds for free. We’ll be back soon with our full thoughts as well.
Surface Headphones 2+ for Business
The Surface Headphones 2, a set of cans we really enjoy for their smart design and solid performance, are getting an upgrade for the office. The $299 Surface Headphones 2+ for Business are largely the same headphones as the $249 standard model, with 13 levels of noise cancellation and up to a purported 18.5 hours of battery life. What’s new is a dedicated Microsoft Teams button, which will allow you to instantly hop into meetings as well as easily monitor whether you’re muted or not with a status indicator on the included dongle.
The Microsoft Teams features seem a little niche, but if that’s your conferencing service of choice, the Surface Headphones 2+ look to add even more functionality to what’s already one of the more solid pairs of headphones we’ve tested. The new cans are available for preorder now for business and education customers, and will ship later in April.
New accessories for working from home
In addition to a revamped Surface Headphones 2, Microsoft is releasing a variety of cheaper accessories built to make working from home just a little bit easier.
Among the new products are a pair of new headsets: the $49 Microsoft Modern USB headset and the $99 Microsoft Modern Wireless Headset. Like the more premium Headphones 2+ for Business, these new work headsets have dedicated Teams buttons as well as physical mute buttons and a status indicator that makes it easy to see when you’re muted. Both of these headsets have the same all-black, on-ear design and noise-reducing microphone, with the wireless model promising up to 50 hours of battery for music listening and up to 30 hours for calling.
For those who prefer to take calls without headphones on, there’s also the new $99 Microsoft Modern USB-C Speaker. This compact wired speaker packs a variety of physical controls designed for easily navigating meetings and muting when you need to, as well as omnidirectional microphones built to pick up an entire room of participants while reducing background noise. The speaker’s sleek fabric and silicone design has built-in cable storage for when you need to pack it up and commute, and Microsoft says it’s also ideal for casual music listening.
If you want to look better on your daily video calls without spending a ton, the $69 Microsoft Modern Webcam is worth keeping on your radar. This camera is built to capture 1080p video with a generous 78-degree field of view — two specs that match up nicely with the Logitech C920, our current pick for the best webcam you can buy. The webcam also features High Dynamic Range (HDR) for vibrant images and True Look technology that can retouch your face on the fly to make you look as professional as possible. Considering Microsoft already makes our favorite budget webcam in the LifeCam HD-3000, we’re especially eager to see how the Modern Webcam stacks up in our tests.
Microsoft’s new headsets, speaker and webcam begin shipping in June, with preorder dates still to be determined.
With the Surface Laptop 4, Microsoft seems to be delivering more of a good thing — this time with newer, faster processors that should hopefully enable better multitasking and battery life. We already like the Surface Laptop line for its uniquely tall and vibrant display, comfortable keyboard and attractive looks, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it holds up against our picks for the best laptop — particularly the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13 that also start at $999.
The Surface Laptop 4 will continue to sit in the middle of the pack in the Surface notebook family, with the $549 Surface Laptop Go serving as the most affordable entry point. That laptop is a bit smaller and lighter than the Surface Laptop, with an older, more basic 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor for lightweight work tasks. On the higher end, there’s the Surface Book 3 line, which starts at $1,599 for the 13.5-inch model and packs a detachable display and dedicated graphics tech for more demanding visual needs.
While the Surface Headphones 2+ for Business seem like more of an enterprise product, Microsoft’s upcoming Modern series of headsets, speakers and webcams seem like an enticing group of entry-level products for anyone looking to spruce up their home office setup.
We’ll be getting our hands on Microsoft’s latest suite of PC products to see how they hold up against our daily workloads, so stay tuned for more.