Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: An excellent value.

If your eye does wander over them you’ll notice they’re matte grey plastic, a good reminder that even with the OLED display, this is still a budget-minded laptop. Sure, the speakers aren’t amazing, the webcam leaves something to be desired, and there’s no headphone jack, but these are stumbling blocks you can work around. Light, slim design Very comfy keyboard Great speakers Good battery life. If you need more power you can configure the Surface Laptop 4 with beefier innards, potentially paying as much as $2,299 and $2,399 (respectively) for the two models if you kit them out with the top-tier components. We already have a laundry list of changes we’d like to see in a sequel (thinner bezels, a better webcam, Thunderbolt 4 support and more ports in general), but the Surface Laptop 4’s tall screen, comfortable keyboard and svelte, sturdy design make it a great choice for anyone looking to get work done around the house or out at the coffee shop.

Remarkable performance and battery life for the price Perhaps the cheapest OLED-equipped laptop on the market. I also noticed my reflection a lot more often than I’m used to when working on a laptop, even with the screen’s brightness cranked all the way up. The IR sensor built into the top lip of the display makes this webcam compatible with Windows Hello facial authentication, which is good news if you like to log into laptops using your face.

I had some trouble getting the camera array to recognize me while setting the laptop up for facial recognition (perhaps it’s my fault for leaving my glasses on) but once I got it squared away, the Windows Hello login proved so speedy that if I was allowed to blink during the process, I’d have missed it. Asus claims the display can hit a peak brightness of 400 nits, and in our testing we found that to be nearly true: at its brightest setting several corners of the screen achieved peak brightness of 396 nits, which is better than the Dell XPS 13’s OLED display (361 nits) or the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360’s AMOLED screen (264.4 nits). There’s a new model of Asus Zenbook on the market sporting a vibrant OLED display and the latest CPUs from Intel and AMD, but the real kicker is the price: it starts at just $800, making this quite likely the cheapest OLED-equipped laptop around, and one of the best 13-inch laptops you can buy — and indeed, one of the best laptops period.

Obviously ,that’s not a huge problem since your ears are just a few feet away at most, but it does make music sound less rich when you’re using the laptop in its eponymous setting. I didn’t hear any meanginful distortion or tinniness to the sound, even at maximum volume, but neither did I notice any particularly impactful bass, sharp trebles, or warm, rich vocals. In short, this svelte little OLED-equipped Zenbook delivers a lot of power for not a lot of money.

The Surface Laptop 4 has enough pep that I could have two 20+ Chrome tabs open, watch two 4K YouTube videos, a Twitch stream and keep an eye on my Spotify playlist while writing this review. However, I did have a lot of trouble reliably using the number pad built into the touchpad. The 4.5 x 3-inch glass touchpad beneath the keys is also quite nice to use, feeling comfortably close to the keyboard while still affording my big dumb sausage fingers plenty of room to move.

But as good as it is, the Surface Laptop 4’s battery life doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Display. That said, I’ve always loved the slick, clean lines of the Surface devices, and the new Surface Laptop 4 offers more of the same. Tom’s Guide Verdict.

Against. It looks a bit like a calculator’s key layout, and there’s another small icon in the top-left corner which toggles the NumberPad’s brightness level. – Needs more ports – Thick bezels are an eyesore – Needs a better webcam. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Design. The Surface Laptop 4 we reviewed put up a decent score of 4,829 in our Geekbench 5 performance test, which is good but not great when stacked up against similarly-priced competitors like the Dell XPS 13 (which earned 5,254 in the same test) or even cheaper Windows notebooks like Lenovo’s convertible ThinkBook 14s Yoga (4,885).

The Zenbook 13’s speakers pump out pretty good sound from beneath the laptop, and when I set it up on a desk at maximum volume and walked away I was able to pick out vocals and bass beats pretty clearly from several rooms away. Unless your job involves playing Cyberpunk 2077 with the settings cranked up, Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 can handle pretty much anything you’d throw at it in the course of an average workday. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Battery life. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Webcam. But in dark scenes or settings with lots of muted blues and greens the colors seemed to fade and blend into each other, making it difficult to pick out detail.

Check out our full Microsoft Surface event recap for all the details. The 13.3-inch 1080p OLED display is one of the major selling points of this Zenbook, and in person it looks nice and vibrant. As far as the much-touted Windows Hello biometric authentication goes, logging in via your face seems speedier than ever.

The right side sports a Surface Connector for charging purposes, while on the left you’ll find a USB-A port, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack. But this USB-C port doesn’t support Thunderbolt 4, which is a bummer for anyone investing in heavy-duty external accessories like GPUs or high-capacity drives. When we pointed a heat gun at it during testing the hottest we saw it get was 92.8 degrees, just behind the vent on the underside of the chassis.

That makes the Surface Laptop 4 not quite as small as the M1 MacBook Air (12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches, 2.8 pounds) or the Dell XPS 13 (11.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches, 2.9 pounds), but it’s plenty slim enough to slide into a backpack or briefcase and promptly forget about. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Audio. I also appreciate the relative subtlety of the reflective Microsoft logo on the lid; it’s eye-catching but less garish than a lot of the manufacturer logos emblazoned on contemporary laptops. The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED unit I reviewed is easy to carry and looks good on a desk, weighing in at a trim 2.5 pounds and measuring just 11.98 x 7.99 x 0.55 inches.

USB-A, USB-C and headphone jack Sorry, no Thunderbolt 4. Expect cool temperatures unless you’re gaming The Surface Laptop 4 was quiet for the most part. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 offers strong performance, impressive audio, a comfy keyboard and good battery life in a sleek (if slightly dated) design. – Middling sound quality – Inconsistent webcam – No headphone jack. Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. Starts at $999 for 13-inch, $1,299 for 15-inch Our unit with Core i7/16GB/512GB is $1,699.

Both it and the laptop’s touchscreen felt very responsive to the touch, and I had no trouble using gesture commands on either surface. The laptop never got noticeable warm in my lap, either, and the speakers do sound pretty good, so maybe there’s something to this ErgoLift design. While there are a few drawbacks, overall this is an excellent laptop that should stand you in good stead for both work and play. Our Verdict.

If you need a zippy little ultraportable with a great screen that will last you all day long, you can’t do better than the OLED-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 at this price. AMD motherboards. Battery life is one of the big selling points for this latest Surface Laptop, and with good reason; its predecessors have impressed us with their elegant designs and beautiful screens, but they’ve often fallen short of the competition when it comes to how long they last on a single charge. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 offers strong performance, impressive audio and very good battery life. That means it’s not great for accurate photo editing, but if you just want to use it for watching videos and playing games, you probably won’t notice.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Audio. That’s faster than the 508.9 MBps that the 15-inch Intel-powered Surface Laptop 3 delivered in our testing last year, but still slower than contemporary competitors like the Dell XPS 13 (806 MBps) or the Thinkbook 14s Yoga (886.35 MBps). At that price you might worry that you’re sacrificing performance, battery life or build quality, but after spending a few weeks reviewing an AMD-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 OLED ($799 to start, $899 as reviewed) I’m pleased to report that you have nothing to worry about. That’s pretty speedy, and it’s faster than the Dell XPS 13 OLED (742 MBps) and the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (869 MBps).

When we put the ZenBook 13 OLED through the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm graphical benchmarking test, the Zenbook achieved an average framerate of 23.6 frames per second. In the course of this review our Surface Laptop 4 review unit rarely got noticeably warm, no matter how many tabs I had open or how many videos I tried to stream. Our review unit’s 16GB of RAM and 11th Gen Intel i7 CPU gave it enough pep to handily tackle as many basic tasks as I could subject it to, including 20+ tabs spread across four Chrome windows arrayed in such a way that I could watch two 4K YouTube videos, a Twitch stream, and keep an eye on my Spotify playlist while writing this review.

That’s over twice as fast as the Dell XPS 13 OLED (18:12) and the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (16:24), both of which cost hundreds of dollars more than the Asus. + Stellar battery life + Beautiful 1080p OLED display + Great performance. The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED delivers excellent value, offering great performance, remarkable battery life, and a beautiful OLED screen for under $1k. The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED charges quickly, too; I plugged it in at 3% battery, and an hour later it was at 67%.

30 minutes after that it was topping 90%, meaning you shouldn’t have to wait long to charge up before heading out. At the very least, it does make the laptop look slightly cooler when sitting open on a desk. The top and bottom bezels are a little thicker (6.5mm and 12.9mm, respectively), but they’re still small enough that it’s easy to forget about them when you’re caught up in whatever’s happening on the screen. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Design. The Surface Laptop 4 is a beautiful machine, and it truly does last quite a while on a single charge; I was able to unplug and get through a 9-hour workday of intermittent writing and editing while listening to music, watching videos, and never once worrying that the battery would give out on me.

AMD Ryzen 7 CPU delivers great performance Speedy hard drive transfer rates and video editing speeds. Our Verdict. He currently serves as a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.

The latest Surface Laptop hews close to the minimalist design of its predecessors, which is both welcome and a little underwhelming; I would have liked to see Microsoft attempt a more radical change with the Surface Laptop’s design, but for now you’ll have to look inside to see what’s new. I was able to load it up with 20+ Chrome tabs, plus 15 or so Edge tabs, plus 3 streaming videos (from Twitch, YouTube, and Amazon Prime), and it never once hitched or stuttered. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review. Alternatively, you could get the Intel-equipped model if you like the idea of having Thunderbolt 4 ports and Wi-Fi 6 (this AMD model is still Wi-Fi 5), but I can’t vouch for the performance or battery life of those laptops. Microsoft hasn’t tried to sell it as anything else, instead promising that this latest Surface Laptop lasts longer and packs more power under the hood than its predecessors.

The touchpad beneath the keyboard is wide and easy to use, and I never had trouble using it to tap, drag, and (via Windows Gestures) swipe my way through the workday. That said, it is nice how sturdy the screen feels under your fingers, and I felt zero qualms about briskly tapping Hisense Android TV Boxes and swiping my way through Windows without worrying I’d accidentally knock the screen back. It’s so subtle that I would have been hard-pressed to tell you it was blue unless we set it down alongside a bunch of other gray and silver laptops, at which point the Surface Laptop 4 clearly stands out from the crowd. I’m no audiophile, but even I can tell you that the speakers on the Surface Laptop 4 make music and movies sound very nice.

As I write this the Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is available via select third-party retailers and Asus’ own website for a starting price of $799. Price: $799 to start, $899 as tested Display: 13.3-inch 1080p OLED CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U GPU: Integrated Radeon graphics RAM: 8 GB Storage: 512 GB SSD Ports: (2) USB-C, (1) USB-A, HDMI 2.0, MicroSD card reader Size: 11.98 x 7.99 x 0.55 inches Weight: 2.5 pounds. Slim and light, with thin bezels ErgoLift hinge design looks cool, could make typing more comfy. Bass-heavy tracks like Massive Attack’s “Angel” still have a kick to them, and while watching the trailer for Godzilla vs.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Heat. Of course, the adapter is one more thing you’ll have to tote around with you and keep track of; to minimize your odds of misplacing it, I recommend just leaving it plugged into your headphones when not in use. Still, that doesn’t detract from the experience of using this Zenbook 13, which felt pretty solid and sturdy throughout my time testing it. Branded the Asus NumberPad, it’s a neat idea — in theory: there’s a small calculator icon in the top-right corner of the touchpad, and if you tap it a layout of numbers and operators glows to life on the touchpad itself. You shouldn’t have to worry about a scorched lap while using the OLED-equipped Zenbook 13, as I never noticed any uncomfortable warmth while using it to play games, watch movies, or work on projects.

With well-spaced keys that have 1.4 mm of travel, the keyboard on the Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is quite comfortable to type on, and after a little time with it I was able to reliably hit over 100 WPM on the typing test. The most expensive version currently sells for $1,099, and that gets you a Zenbook 13 OLED with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Battery life.

Its grey and matte all over except the lid, which sports a fingerprint-attracting spun-metal finish replete with offset Asus logo. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Verdict. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Verdict. Webcam is good enough, but not great Built-in IR sensor lets you use Windows Hello facial authentication. Kong I caught myself glancing down to make sure the laptop wasn’t actually vibrating in time with the bass drops.

It’s even better than the long-lasting MacBook Air with M1 (14:41), though not quite on par with the MacBook Pro with M1 (16:25). Tom’s Guide Verdict. When I wasn’t focusing on specific tasks I caught myself staring at the black bars around the screen, wishing they were smaller so I could have a bit more screen space to play with.

CPU: 11th-Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 (Core i5 also available) RAM: 16GB (8GB, 32GB also available) Display: 13.5-inch touch-screen, 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI) Storage: 512GB SSD (256GB, 1TB also available) Ports: 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, Surface Connect port, headphone jack Battery life: 10:46 (tested, web surfing) | Up to 17 hours (Microsoft’s claim) Wireless: Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth 5.0 Dimensions: 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.57 inches Weight: 2.79 pounds Price: $1,699 as configured, $999 (13.5-inch) | $1,299 (15-inch) starting. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Ports. By Alex Wawro 22 September 2021. It’s pretty rare to find an OLED screen in a laptop you can buy for less than $1,000, and I’m happy to report that it does a great job of helping contrasts stand out, achieving nice deep blacks as well as bright, saturated colors. This is the first time Microsoft has offered a Surface Laptop in the Ice Blue color scheme previously seen on Microsoft Surface Pro tablets, and in person it’s a very nice, understated shade of pale metallic blue.

However, the Asus Zenbook 13’s OLED screen still doesn’t get bright enough to keep you from seeing your reflection in it on a sunny day. That’s remarkably good for a laptop of this size and price; for comparison, the Dell XPS 13 OLED with its Intel Core i7-1185G7 got a score of 5,420 in the same test, and the 15-inch Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (with its Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU) earned 5,575. It’s a little harder to forget about the thick bezels surrounding the Surface Laptop 4’s 3:2 display. Incredible 15-hour battery life It charges quickly, too.

So while the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is unquestionably the best Surface Laptop yet, the question of whether it’s the best laptop for you is a little trickier to answer. There’s not much to say about the 720p webcam built into the top of the Surface Laptop 4’s screen, save that I wish it was a little more exciting. The AMD-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is an excellent value, offering an eye-catching 1080p OLED display and exceptional battery life in a slim, lightweight package for less than a thousand bucks. In our Handbrake video editing test our review unit took about 17 minutes to convert a 4K video to 1080p, which is faster than the 17 minutes 18 seconds it took the 15-inch Intel-equipped Surface Laptop 3 to do the same test last year. It’s nice to see a classic USB-A on a modern machine like this, and combining it with a USB-C gives this laptop a nice bit of flexibility when it comes to external devices.

When we put it to the test using the Geekbench 5.4 multi-core CPU benchmark, the OLED-equipped Zenbook 13 earned a strong score of 6,411. The Alcantara lining the keyboard of the Ice Blue and Platinum 13.5-inch models is a nice touch that makes resting your wrists on the deck of the laptop feel a bit more comfortable. If you want to play games on it, you should have a pretty good time — as long as you don’t ask the ZenBook 13 OLED to run anything that demands a discrete graphics card. After spending many hours with this laptop, it’s clear those promises are true, though our test results leave plenty of room to quibble with Microsoft’s marketing. The keys feel satisfying to type on, with 1.3mm of travel and a nice click to them which helped me avoid bottoming out while typing quickly.

1080p OLED screen delivers nice deep blacks and saturated colors A bit too reflective in bright light. By Alex Wawro 18 July 2021. When you open up the laptop on a flat surface you might notice the back of the keyboard lifts up slightly, a result of the Zenbook’s ErgoLift hinge. They just aren’t very attractive, and when I wasn’t focusing in on specific tasks I caught myself staring at the black bars around the screen, wishing they were smaller so I could have a bit more screen space to play with. The idea, according to Asus, is that by designing the bottom lip of the screen housing to stick out beneath the laptop and push its rear up a few degrees, you’ll enjoy a more ergonomic typing position and improved cooling and speaker performance.

That’s a nice improvement over the 9 hours 32 minutes the Intel-based Surface Laptop 3 lasted in our tests, but it still falls short of the competition. That said, the Surface Laptop 4’s webcam is completely adequate for all your video chatting needs, and the image quality is decent if you’re looking to take some laptop selfies. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Display.

Unlike its predecessors, both sizes of the Surface Laptop 4 can be configured with your choice of an Intel 11th Gen Core i5/i7 CPU or an AMD Ryzen 5/7 4000-series processor, though the 15-inch model is limited to the higher-end Core i7/Ryzen 7 chips. You can also swipe in from the top-left corner to bring up the Windows calculator app, allowing you to quickly start punching and crunching numbers. I’m not talking about taking it out on a picnic at high noon, either; I set the laptop up at maximum brightness near a window with indirect sunlight to take the photos you see in this review, and you’ll probably be able to spot my reflection in several of them. But the Surface Laptop 4’s speakers really shine with more well-balanced tracks, and when I threw on Muddy Waters’ “Folk Singer” I was delighted by how clearly the vocals rang out across the room without losing any of their warmth. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Price and configurations.

That’s just slightly better than the Dell XPS 13 OLED achieved when running the same test at 1080p, and it’s not up to the 26.9 frames per second the Samsung Galaxy Book 360 was able to reach in the same test. Those entry-level models ship with AMD Ryzen 5/7 4000-series chips, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED delivers excellent value, offering great performance, remarkable battery life, and a beautiful OLED screen for under $1k. Against.

In the course of hands-on testing I enjoyed playing older, less demanding games like Crusader Kings 3, Othercide, and the Banner Saga trilogy with zero problems. No need to worry about scorched laps. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Performance.

No headphone jack, though there is an adapter packed in USB-A port and HDMI out are nice to have. The latest Dell XPS 13 was able to last longer (11:07) in our tests than the Surface Laptop 4 with a similar hardware configuration, for example, and of course if you’re willing to walk on the macOS side the MacBook Air M1 delivered an unbeatable 14 hours and 41 minutes in our battery tests. In the absence of hard testing data I’m leery of telling you that the Surface Laptop 4’s screen is definitely more reflective than most, but it sure seems that way.

Needs more ports Thick bezels are an eyesore Needs a better webcam. New Ice Blue color is a nice touch without being too bold Bezels are still on the thick side Alcantara deck is comfy for the wrists. The OLED-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 is one such machine: Asus says it lasts up to 13 hours on a single battery charge, but in our battery test — which tasks the laptop with continuously browsing the web over Wi-Fi with its brightness set to 150 nits — it lasted a remarkable 15 hours. It’s hardly a dealbreaker, but it can be a little distracting when you’re trying to watch something during the day.

Middling sound quality Inconsistent webcam No headphone jack. The deck of the laptop proved much cooler, measuring just 80 degrees on the touchpad. Sometimes bright colors were vibrant enough to pop off the screen, as was the case with the bright orange explosions of Bad Boys 2 or Stormfront’s brilliant purple lightning discharges in The Boys.

Open up the laptop and you’re greeted with a beautiful 1080p OLED display surrounded by nice thin 4.4mm bezels on either side. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Heat. The Surface Laptop 4 improves on the Surface Laptop 3 in many ways, offering Windows fans a bloatware-free ultraportable with premium components packed inside a beautiful, lightweight chassis.

It’s always exciting to find a laptop with better battery life than advertised. They look great on the OLED display, and I noticed no meaningful slowdown. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Ports. 3:2 aspect ratio good for productivity Could be brighter and more reflective than we’d like.

The Dell XPS 13’s incredibly slim bezels make it easy to see how much of a difference this kind of engineering work makes, and it would be nice to see Microsoft do the same for its flagship laptop. The AMD model I reviewed is currently only available in this grey color (Asus calls it Pine Grey), but the Intel-equipped Zenbook 13 OLED is also available in a nice purply-silver shade called Lilac Mist. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Performance. The feel of fabric beneath my wrists was just nicer, though the thought of trying to get a stain out of it heightened my already significant fear of eating or drinking while working.

A bump up to 1080p would have been a welcome change (especially amidst our current pandemic-provoked preponderance of Zoom meetings) that really helped set this latest Surface Laptop apart from its predecessors, all of which have sported 720p webcams above the display. While I’d have liked to see Microsoft attempt some more significant changes to the Surface Laptop formula, the excellent speakers, improved battery life, and under-the-hood upgrades make the Surface Laptop 4 one of the best Windows laptops you can buy — and a serious contender for a spot among the best laptops on the market. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Keyboard and touchpad.

It’s a small difference, but one that I noticed every time I switched back to typing on an all-metal laptop. Again, it didn’t cause problems during calls, but it wasn’t ideal. Typing on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 feels more comfortable than most laptops I’ve worked on, thanks in large part to the nicely-sized keys and the Alcantara material around the keyboard.

That’s right in line with the cheaper Thinkpad 14s Yoga (at 108%) and better than competition like the Dell XPS 13 (97.9%), though it still can’t match the screens on the M1 MacBook Air (114.3%) and MacBook Pro (110.6%). The port selection on Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 is pretty simple, for better and for worse. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: An excellent value. But when I switched out of productivity mode and started streaming some TV and movies on the laptop, I was a little disappointed by how dull and washed-out some scenes looked. There is a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter packed in with the laptop, however, so you can still use wired headphones if you’re willing to sacrifice the use of one USB-C port.

Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Keyboard and touchpad. In our heat tests (which involve streaming 15 minutes of HD video) our heat gun found the underside hit an average temperature of 90 degrees, topping out at 92.5 near the center (roughly straight down from where the F5 key sits). In short, the Harman Kardon-certified speakers on the Zenbook 13 are completely serviceable, but I doubt you’ll be impressed by the way music and movies sound coming out of this device. In terms of dimensions its identical to the Surface Laptop 3, weighing in at 2.8 pounds and measuring just 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches.

I also can’t seem to get any app to reliably register number inputs from the NumberPad except the calculator; when I bring it up to punch numbers into a text field — like the Chrome search bar, for example — sometimes the app registers the numbers I’m inputting, but just as often it reads my taps on the NumberPad as taps on the touchpad. The 720p webcam built into the upper lip of the display won’t leave you looking terrible in your next video call, but it’ll hardly help you look your best. Loud and clean sound from a compact laptop Dolby Atmos support adds depth. There’s no fingerprint reader or other fancy tech hiding in the keyboard, but there are some surprisingly useful function keys along the top row, including my favorite: a key dedicated to bringing up a tool that lets you “snip” screen captures in various shapes.

Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review: Webcam. Of course, you can pay a bit extra for a model configured with better components. Read on for our full Surface Laptop 4 review, which should (hopefully) help you solve that question. I never noticed any appreciable screen wobbling or weakness in the chassis, and when I grabbed the keyboard deck in both hands and tried to bend it I didn’t notice any significant flexion, though there were some disconcerting sounds of plastic bending.

The only time it got hot enough to cause discomfort was when I tried to play graphically demanding games like IO Interactive’s Hitman 2; on medium to low settings the 2018 game pushed the laptop hard, and as it stuttered between 15 to 40 frames per second the fans kicked in and I felt the bottom of the laptop get noticeably warm in my lap. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 offers strong performance, impressive audio, a comfy keyboard and good battery life in a sleek (if slightly dated) design. In our performance tests our Surface Laptop 4 review unit delivered an average of 30.46 frames per second playing Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm at 1080p, though that dropped down to a 27.9 fps average when we boosted the resolution up to the native 1504p. Our review unit’s 512GB SSD performed well enough when we tasked it with duplicating 25GB of multimedia files, transferring them at a decent clip of 562.73 MBps.

Plenty of travel for comfy typing Smooth and accurate touchpad, and there’s a touchscreen, too. Along the right edge you’ll find a microSD card reader and a classic USB-A port, which is handy to have if you (like me) are still using a few older USB-A accessories. When I walked down the hall or into an adjoining room I could still hear Waters’ beautiful voice perfectly, and if I didn’t already know I’d never have guessed the music was being piped out of someone’s laptop. Stellar battery life Beautiful 1080p OLED display Great performance. Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop 4 is more evolution than revolution, packing improved components into the same slim, lightweight chassis the Surface Laptop product line is known for.

It took about that long for me to figure out the exact right place to apply pressure in order to activate the NumberPad, and I still can’t reliably change its brightness level. The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED sports a pretty respectable array of ports for a 13-inch ultraportable, with one caveat: there’s no headphone jack. The big talking point around the Surface Laptop 4’s speakers is the addition of Dolby Atmos technology, which Microsoft claims helps the laptop deliver richer, more spatially accurate sound by pumping it out from beneath the keyboard and bouncing it off the screen.

In my experience, it didn’t make a noticeable difference over other laptops I’ve worked on, but I did feel comfortable typing on the Zenbook’s slightly raised keyboard. The model we received for review retails for $899, and it packs an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. In our lab tests — which are based on active, continuous web browsing — the Intel-based 13.5-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 lasted a little less than 11 hours (10:46:23, to be specific). This didn’t cause any problems for me (other than stoking that unique form of self-loathing invoked by catching sight of yourself staring slack-jawed at a screen) but it’s worth noting if you plan to regularly use the device under bright lights or direct sunlight.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review: Price and release date. However, when we challenged the Zenbook to transcode a 4K video down into 1080p using Handbrake, it pulled it off in just 8 minutes and 22 seconds. The Zenbook 13’s webcam seemed to have trouble with the indirect (albeit bright) sunlight, and it regularly left me lit up like a spotlit angel in the school nativity play. Comfortable keyboard Good touchpad, but the built-in NumberPad is a pain. It’s also a bit better than the Dell XPS 13 (which took about 18 minutes), though of course it falls far short of the sub-10-minute marks delivered by Apple’s M1-equipped MacBook Air (which took 9 minutes and 15 seconds) and MacBook Pro (7 minutes 44 seconds) models.

For that you get the 13.3-inch 1080p OLED screen, an AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 CPU, 8 GB of RAM,and either a 256 GB or 512 GB SSD. And while a part of me likes a slim, simple chassis without a lot of funky holes in it, I also really love it when a laptop manufacturer works a little SD card reader or a stylus cubby into the sides of their device. When we tasked the Zenbook 13’s 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD with copying 25 GB of multimedia files, it managed to achieve a transfer rate of 873 MBps. At the time of publication the Intel-equipped model ships with the smaller SSD, and when I asked why an Asus representative told me it was a result of CPU cost differences, supply challenges, and the limits of Intel vs.

Asus proves power, portability and the beauty of OLED can be had for under $900. The Surface Laptop 4 lasted nearly 11 hours on our web surfing test That’s very good, but we didn’t get anywhere near Microsoft’s 17-hour claim. However, I did run into some issues when I used it while sitting near a window.

Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting it to work reliably, even after weeks of using the Zenbook. The 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504-pixel screen of the Surface Laptop 4 has its charms, especially if you’re doing a lot of reading, editing, or anything that benefits from having the extra vertical space afforded by its 3:2 display ratio. Remarkably cheap for an OLED-equipped laptop Expect to pay between $800-$1,100. This time around Microsoft claims the AMD-equipped 13.5 Surface Laptop 4 can last up to 19 hours on a charge, while the Intel variant we reviewed is advertised as lasting up to 17 hours. Under testing with our colorimeter the Surface Laptop 4’s screen produced 108.3% of the sRGB spectrum, which is a bit better than the 104.5% its 15-inch predecessor produced in the same test.

In addition to being quite power-efficient (as you’ll see below when we start talking about battery life) the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU driving our Zenbook 13 review unit proved more than powerful enough to tackle daily computing tasks without breaking a sweat. + Light, slim design + Very comfy keyboard + Great speakers + Good battery life. There are two USB-C ports (which are also Thunderbolt 4 ports, on the Intel-equipped models of Zenbook 13) along the left edge of the laptop, alongside an HDMI port for hooking up an external display. But it’s been nearly two years since the 2019 launch of the Surface Laptop 3, and in that time competing manufacturers like Dell and Apple have pushed the limits of how slim, beautiful and powerful an ultraportable can be.

That’s decent, ahead of the Lenovo Thinkpad 14s Yoga (313 nits) but just a bit behind both the Intel and AMD variants of the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 (which achieved 366 and 380 nits, respectively), and way behind the Dell XPS 13 (469 nits). If you’re looking to do some video editing, the Surface Laptop 4 is up to the task (especially when kitted out with 16GB of RAM) but far from the fastest laptop on the block. Our 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 4 review unit arrived decked in Microsoft’s new (to the Surface Laptop) Ice Blue color scheme with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, a configuration which retails for $1,699.

11th-gen Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM combine for solid performance Benchmarks scores trail behind Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Air and Pro Graphics good enough for 30 fps on less demanding games. I didn’t notice any significant difference in sound quality when I set the afore-mentioned ErgoLift hinge in different positions, but I did notice the Zenbook can get quite muffled when you have it on your lap. That’s fantastic battery life that beats most laptops of the same size, including the Dell XPS 13 OLED (7:59) and the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (13:33). Decent images for 720p webcam but 1080p would be better Fast Windows Hello face logins. In our testing we found the Zenbook 13’s OLED screen can display 132% of the sRGB color spectrum, which basically means it can make colors look over-saturated.

Loud, serviceable sound quality Speakers can get muffled with laptop on your lap. While reviewing it I consistently saw muted colors and slightly grainy image quality, but if you’re using it to make calls indoors from an evenly-lit room it’s hardly a problem. Dear reader, we wanted to believe. The screen gets reasonably bright, hitting an average of 348.6 nits of brightness when tested with our light gun.

Available as of April 15th in the US and April 27th in the UK, a new Surface Laptop 4 ordered from Microsoft will cost you at least $999 for the 13.5-inch model and $1,299 for the 15-inch. As far as games go, our testing suggests you should calibrate your expectations to the level of a nice work laptop: you should be able to play many games at acceptable frame rates, especially if they’re older or less graphically demanding, but don’t expect to enjoy running any game with minimum required specs that include a discrete GPU. Editor’s Note: Microsoft unveiled a bumper crop of new Windows 11 -ready Surface devices at its September 2021 Surface event, including a new device bearing the Surface Laptop name: the Surface Studio-like Surface Laptop Studio , which has a cool hinged display.

This quickly becomes frustrating, and if I hadn’t been trying to master it for the purposes of this review I’d have quickly given up and just used the number keys on the keyboard.