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Surface Laptop 5 vs 4 (2023): What’s Different?

The Microsoft Surface Laptop series has been a popular choice for professionals and students who are looking for a high-performance device that combines portability, style, and power. With the recent release of the Surface Laptop 5, many users are wondering how it compares to its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 4. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive comparison between the two devices, highlighting the differences in design, specs and performance.

Surface Laptop 5 vs 4 Comparison Chart

ModelMicrosoft Surface Laptop 5Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
 
PriceCheck Price Check Price
Dimensions13.5-inch: 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.57 inches
15-inch: 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.58 inches
13.5-inch: 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.57 inches
15-inch: 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.58 inches
Weight13.5-inch: 2.8 lbs
15-inch: 3.4 lbs
13.5-inch: 2.8 lbs
15-inch: 3.4 lbs
APU13.5-inch:
12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U
12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U
12th Gen Intel Core i5-1245U
12th Gen Intel Core i7-1265U

15-inch:
12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U
12th Gen Intel Core i7-1235U
13.5-inch:
11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7
11th Gen Intel Core i5-1145G7
11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7
AMD Ryzen 5 4680U

15-inch:
12th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7
AMD Ryzen 7 4980U
RAM8GB LPDDR5x
16GB LPDDR5x
32GB LPDDR5x
8GB LPDDR4x
16GB LPDDR4x
32GB LPDDR4x
Storageup to 1TB SSDup to 1TB SSD
Display13.5-inch: 2256 x 1504 resolution (201 PPI)
15-inch: 2496 x 1664 resolution (201 PPI)
PixelSense™ Display
3:2 aspect ratio
10-point multi-touch
Dolby Vision IQ™ support
13.5-inch: 2256 x 1504 resolution (201 PPI)
15-inch: 2496 x 1664 resolution (201 PPI)
PixelSense™ Display
3:2 aspect ratio
10-point multi-touch
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6 802.11ax
Bluetooth 5.1
Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax
Bluetooth 5.0
Ports1 x Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 (Type-C) port
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
3.5mm headphone jack
Surface Connect port
1 x USB 3.2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.2 Type-A
3.5mm headphone jack
Surface Connect port
Battery13.5-inch:
Up to 18 hours of typical device usage
15-inch:
Up to 17 hours of typical device usage
13.5-inch:
Up to 19 (AMD) and 17 (Intel) hours of typical device usage
15-inch:
Up to 17.5 (AMD) and 16.5 (Intel) hours of typical device usage

Design

The Surface Laptop 5 display supports Dolby Vision IQ, but apart from that, it has the same design language as the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4.

surface laptop 5 vs 4 design
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (left) in matte black and Surface Laptop 4 (right) in platinum.

When it comes to design, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 and 4 are very similar. Both laptops have a sleek and elegant design that exudes professionalism and style. They have the same dimensions and weight, with a 13.5-inch display and a slim profile that makes them easy to carry around. The only noticeable difference in design is that the Surface Laptop 5 is available in a new colorway – Sage Green, which is a refreshing addition to the existing color options.

In terms of displays, both the Surface Laptop 5 and 4 feature PixelSense displays with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 10-point multi-touch. These displays offer crisp and clear visuals, with excellent color accuracy and contrast. The only notable difference is that the Surface Laptop 5’s screen supports Dolby Vision IQ, which means it can automatically adjust its brightness and color settings based on the content being displayed. This is a great feature for those who frequently work with multimedia content.

Overall, the design and displays of the Surface Laptop 5 and 4 are very similar. If you’re looking for a laptop with a sleek and professional design and a high-quality display, either one of these devices would be a great choice.

Specs

Microsoft opted to go with Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs this time, and dropped AMD entirely.

surface laptop 5 vs 4 specs
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (top) and 4 (bottom) have the same number of ports.

The Surface Laptop 5 and 4 differ in their specifications, with the most notable change being the use of different CPUs. The new Surface Laptop 5 is equipped with Intel’s 12th generation Core i5 and i7 CPUs, which offer improved performance and power efficiency compared to the 11th generation Core CPUs found in the Surface Laptop 4. However, unlike the Surface Laptop 4, the new Surface Laptop 5 does not offer an AMD variant. This means that those who prefer AMD processors will have to opt for the Surface Laptop 4 instead.

Another change is that the Surface Laptop 5 uses LPDDR5X RAM. In contrast, the Surface Laptop 4 uses LPDDR4X RAM.

When it comes to ports, both laptops have one USB-C, one USB-A, a Surface Connect port, and an audio jack. However, the Surface Laptop 5’s USB-C port supports USB4 and Thunderbolt 4, which allows for faster data transfer and the ability to connect an external GPU for more graphics power. This is a significant upgrade from the Surface Laptop 4’s USB-C port, which only supports USB 3.2.

Performance

As expected, the Surface Laptop 5 performs better than the Surface Laptop 4, but the difference is not that big.

surface laptop 5 vs 4 performance
The Surface Laptop 5 (left) has a slightly bigger trackpad than the Surface Laptop 4.

While the difference in performance between Intel’s 11th and 12th generation CPUs may not be gigantic, the Surface Laptop 5’s CPU will still offer a better overall performance compared to the Surface Laptop 4. Furthermore, Intel’s 12th generation CPUs are more power-efficient, which will result in minor improvements in battery life on the Surface Laptop 5. However, it should be noted that the AMD Ryzen CPUs used in the Surface Laptop 4 are known for their excellent battery life, which may still make it a better option for those prioritizing battery life.

Another notable difference is the Surface Laptop 5’s USB-C port, which supports Thunderbolt 4 and USB4. This means that data transfer speeds will be significantly faster on the Surface Laptop 5 compared to the Surface Laptop 4, which only supports USB 3.. This will be particularly useful for those who frequently transfer large files or connect external storage devices.

Overall, the Surface Laptop 5 is expected to offer better performance and improved efficiency compared to the Surface Laptop 4, thanks to the inclusion of Intel’s 12th generation CPUs and faster USB-C ports. However, those who prioritize battery life and prefer AMD CPUs may still find the Surface Laptop 4 to be a better option.

Verdict

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is an improvement over the Surface Laptop 4, that said, the improvements are not that huge.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

If you’re looking for the best performing Surface Laptop, the Surface Laptop 5 is definitely the way to go. With its 12th generation Intel mobile CPUs and upgraded USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 support, it offers significant improvements in performance and data transfer speeds compared to the Surface Laptop 4. That said, the Surface Laptop 4 is still a great option for a lot of people, especially if you can find it at a discounted price. It has good performance, and the AMD variant actually offers the best battery life.

Ultimately, whether you choose to upgrade to the Surface Laptop 5 will depend on your personal preferences and whether you feel that the new features and performance improvements will benefit your workflow.

FAQs

📌 What are differences between Surface Laptop 4 and 5?

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 is equipped with 12th Gen Intel CPUs, it uses LPDDR5x RAM and it has a USB4/Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port.

📌 Is the Surface Laptop 5 fanless?

No, the Surface Laptop 5 has a fan for active cooling.

📌 Is the Surface Laptop 5 touchscreen?

Yes, similar to the Surface Laptop 4, the Surface Laptop 5 has a touchscreen display.

📌 Can you play games on Surface Laptop 5?

It’s a productivity laptop, but you can still play casual games with low requirements. If you need to play the most demanding games, you can connect an external GPU to it.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.