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Although the Surface Laptop 4 15 offers increased performance, it still disappoints

Teaser
Microsoft advertises the new Surface Laptop 4 very aggressively, also openly attacking Apple. However, after our test of the new Surface Laptop 4 15 we are rather disappointed overall, since we don't find much innovation here.
Andreas Osthoff (translated by Mark Riege), 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 ...
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The new Surface Laptop 4 arrived, and for the first time both the 13.5 and 15-inch versions are available with AMD as well as Intel CPUs. We were able to run the new 15-inch model with the custom AMD processor through a detailed test and are rather disappointed overall. It is not a bad device at all, and thanks to the new AMD Ryzen processor (Ryzen 7 4890U) the performance has also increased hugely. The chip is based on the "regular" Ryzen 7 4800U, and there only appear to be some optimizations in the iGPU, since particularly the integrated video decoder runs more efficiently. However, as a customer one has to ask why one should pay a premium price for an "old" Ryzen 4000 processor, when there are already laptops with the Ryzen 5000. 

While the 3:2 display continues to be good, it should be calibrated if possible. However, nothing changed in terms of the brightness, which means that reflections on the touchscreen can quickly become a problem. Particularly outdoors, the usage of the laptop can be limited. There was also an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6, and the case continues to leave a good impression, even if there are practically no maintenance options at all.

Bud this is where the problems begin, and first and foremost there is also the aging connection equipment. In the ad from Microsoft, Apple is criticized for needing an adapter for USB-A. Even though this is true, Apple offers more modern and varied connections. Since Microsoft completely forgoes Thunderbolt, you cannot connect an external graphics card. Despite this, to present it as an advantage that you can use the Surface Laptop 4 for gaming while you cannot do that with the MacBook is surely questionable. The Surface Laptop 4 15 is one of the few devices in the price and size class that is offered without a dedicated graphics card anyways. 

There are also some other weak points, such as the bad webcam (but that is also not any better in devices from other manufacturers), the lack of an option for an LTE or 5G module, and also the Surface Connect port, which is simply impractical in our opinion and also takes up a lot of space that would better be used for 2x USB-C ports. In addition, there are some unnecessary and artificial limitations in terms of the configurations, since 32 GB RAM and the large 1-TB SSD are only available in combination with the Intel processor. Due to the relatively large display bezels, the device also just looks a bit outdated. Overall, we would have liked to see more innovation in all areas and the newest technology here. As already said, the Surface Laptop 4 15 is by no means a bad device, but the price-performance ratio is not really good and we have a hard time recommending it.

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Andreas Osthoff
Editor of the original article: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Laptops - 1262 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
I grew up with modern consumer electronics and my first computer was a Commodore C64, which encouraged my interest in building my own systems. I started working as a review editor for Notebookcheck during my dual studies at Siemens. Currently, I am mainly responsible for dealing with business laptops and mobile workstations. It’s a great experience to be able to review the latest devices and technologies and then compare them with each other.
Mark Riege
Translator: Mark Riege - Translator - 210 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Having worked as a programmer for 20 years (medical devices, AI, data management systems), I've been following the computer scene for many years and especially enjoy finding out about new technology advances. Originally from Germany but living in the US, I've been working as a translator more recently, with Notebookcheck allowing me to combine my interest in new devices and translation. Other interests include Buddhism, spending time in Tibetan monasteries, and translating ancient Tibetan texts.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 04 > Although the Surface Laptop 4 15 offers increased performance, it still disappoints
Andreas Osthoff, 2021-04-29 (Update: 2021-04-27)