Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 5 is here, ready to replace the ultra-thin Surface Laptop 4. Announced at the annual fall Surface event, the laptop brings some changes to the lineup, but most of the differences are on the inside.
Seeing as Microsoft decided to drop AMD in the Surface Laptop 5, the battle between the Surface Laptop 5 and the Surface Laptop 4 could be fiercer than one might expect. Intel vs. AMD debates are always spicy. Let’s see how these two laptops compare.
The specifications show the biggest difference between the Surface Laptop 5 and the Surface Laptop 4. There are two models, a 13.5-inch and a 15-inch, and each gets a slightly different set of specs.
|Surface Laptop 5||Surface Laptop 4|
|Dimensions||Surface Laptop 5 13.5″ — 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.57 inches
Surface Laptop 5 15″ — 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.58 inches
|Surface Laptop 4 13.5″ — 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.57 inches
Surface Laptop 4 15″ — 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.58 inches
|Weight||Surface Laptop 5 13.5″ — Fabric 2.80 pounds; Metal 2.86 pounds
Surface Laptop 5 15″ — 3.44 pounds
|Surface Laptop 4 13.5″ Platinum and Ice Blue Alcantara — 2.79 pounds
Surface Laptop 4 13.5″ Matte Black and Sandstone Metal — 2.84 pounds
Surface Laptop 4 15″ in Platinum and Matte Black Metal — 3.40 lbs
|Processor||Intel Core i5-1230U (Surface Laptop 5 13.5″ only)
Intel Core i7-1250U
|Intel Core i7-1185G7
AMD Ryzen 7 4980U Surface Edition
|Graphics||Intel Xe Graphics (Integrated)||Intel Iris Xe (Integrated)
AMD Radeon (Integrated)
|RAM||Up to 32GB||Up to 32GB|
|Display||Surface Laptop 5 13.5″ — PixelSense 2256 x 1504 IPS
Surface Laptop 5 15″ — PixelSense 2496 x 1664 IPS
|Surface Laptop 4 13.5″ — PixelSense 2256 x 1504 IPS
Surface Laptop 4 15″ — PixelSense 2496 x 1664 IPS
|Storage||Up to 1TB SSD||Up to 1TB SSD|
|Ports||1 x Surface Connect
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
|1 x Surface Connect
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x USB-C 3.2
1 x USB-A 3.2
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Webcam||720p and IR Camera||720p|
|Operating system||Windows 11||Windows 10|
|Battery||Surface Laptop 5 13.5″ — Up to 18 hours
Surface Laptop 5 15″ — Up to 17 hours
|Surface Laptop 4 13.5″ AMD Ryzen 5 Edition — Up to 19 hours
Surface Laptop 4 15″ AMD Ryzen 7 Edition — Up to 17.5 hours
Surface Laptop 4 13.5″ Intel Core i5 Edition — Up to 17 hours
Surface Laptop 4 15″ Intel Core i7 Edition — Up to 16.5 hours
Price and availability
Microsoft offers a lot of flexibility when you choose your exact model of the Surface Laptop, and that hasn’t changed in this new generation.
The Surface Laptop 5 opened its pre-orders on October 12, 2022, and will be available for sale starting October 25. In terms of pricing, Microsoft did ramp things up a bit compared to the previous generation. The absolute cheapest configuration of the Surface 5, with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage, will cost $999. That price can go up to as high as $2,499 if you choose to buy the 15-inch version with a Core i7 processor and 1TB of storage.
When it comes to the Surface Laptop 4, the cheapest model costs a whole $200 less than the next-gen offering, starting at $799 for the basic set of specs and maxing out at $2,099 for the top set of specs in the 15-inch model.
Apart from bidding farewell to AMD, the overall design hasn’t been changed that much, although there are some new, bolder color options.
The 13.5-inch version of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 can now be bought in Sage Green in addition to the Platinum Alcantara, Sandstone, and Matte Black. The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 4 had all of these colors except Sage Green, instead of which it had Ice Blue.
Unfortunately, the 15-inch version of both laptops doesn’t get any of those fancy colors; you can only get it in Platinum or Matte Black.
Aside from the updated color range, the Surface Laptop 5 retains its sleek, ultra-light design. It’s a gorgeous laptop, and it weighs so little that you can take it anywhere, making it a solid choice for productivity tasks. The differences in weight and dimensions are so small between the Surface Laptop 5 and the Surface Laptop 4, though that they’re completely negligible.
In short, the Surface Laptop 5 looks and feels just as good as the Surface Laptop 4, which is great, but it’s no huge upgrade.
Microsoft decided to focus solely on Intel Alder Lake-U processors in this generation, dropping AMD entirely. While this might not be entirely unexpected, as the Surface Laptop 4 was one of only a few Surface devices with AMD CPUs, it’s still a controversial decision.
Moving away from Ryzen chips and onto the Intel Core i5-1235U and the Core i7-1255U CPU will likely have an impact on performance, but it could just be a result of Microsoft trying to niche down into productivity as opposed to creative workflows. In our hands-on review of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5, we noted that if Microsoft were to keep offering both AMD and Intel, the next-gen Surface could have had a Ryzen 5000 or even 6000 CPU.
As of right now, the 12th generation Intel CPUs in the Surface Laptop 5 are some of the best processors to be found in any laptop, especially one so thin. Keeping AMD would have opened up the options a little more. Still, Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs certainly have a lot to offer. The chips found inside the new Surface come with 10 cores, two of which are performance cores and eight are efficiency cores, which should deliver solid multi-threading performance.
For productivity and day-to-day tasks, the Surface Laptop 5 is likely to excel. We’ll have to run some benchmarks to compare the two properly, but in all likelihood, the Intel version will still outperform the last-gen fourth iteration of the Surface, and it’ll likely breeze through the tasks it was intended to tackle. After, all, this isn’t a gaming laptop, but it’s a beautiful work tool equipped with Intel’s latest hardware.