Microsoft may be working on an ARM-based Surface Go 4, mini Surface Pro — why we're excited

Microsoft Surface Go 3 review
(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft is reportedly brewing up some changes and new additions to the Surface Go and Surface Pro lineups, and we're more than a little intrigued.

Our colleague Zac Bowden at Windows Central broke the exclusive on an ARM-based Surface Go 4 and a new 11-inch Surface Pro; his sources indicate that engineers in Redmond are working diligently on them at the moment. Microsoft's Surface laptops have been a mixed bag for us with the Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro 8 both earning high marks and Editor's Choice awards from us, while the Surface Laptop 5 and Surface Go 3 both left our reviewers sorely disappointed.

So we enter every new Surface release with equal parts trepidation and excitement, but the current rumors have us hopeful for these next-gen Surface laptops.

Surface Go 4

Let's start with the Surface Go 4, which may offer an ARM option for the first time, potentially a Snapdragon 7c SoC. While Intel and AMD get most of the love in the laptop realm, Qualcomm should not be ignored. Weak performance and atrocious battery life were the killers for the Surface Go 3 and a new Qualcomm SoC could prevent the Surface Laptop Go 4 from suffering a similar fate.

We've seen Qualcomm-powered Chromebooks hit 13+ hours of battery life, while their Intel counterparts have repeatedly let us down with 9 hours or less in recent years. If Microsoft can keep Windows 11 from eating the battery alive, we could see the Surface Laptop Go 4 deliver long-lasting battery life, a premium design and more robust capabilities than even the most premium Chromebooks.

The big question will be what kind of performance Microsoft can wring out of a custom Snapdragon 7c SoC. Bowden didn't have a timeline for the release of the Laptop Go 4, but assuming Microsoft uses a variant on the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, we hope it arrives before the end of the year so Microsoft isn't launching with last year's chipset.

Other potential upgrades include optional 5G, a side benefit of the Qualcomm SoC, but otherwise Microsoft will reportedly stick to a similar footprint for the Surface Go 4, which is fine with us. 

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 laptop

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

Surface Pro 10 (11-inch)

The second half of the leak is a smaller 11-inch Surface Pro, which Bodwn's sources indicate will launch alongside the standard 13-inch Surface Pro 10. The 2-in-1's design would resemble the size and shape of the Surface Go 3, but pick up the slimmer bezels and vastly superior specs of its larger sibling, including a 120Hz display and a more powerful 13th Gen Intel CPU.

Both devices will help to show off the new tablet mode available in Windows 11 that offers better support for smaller-screen devices with apps automatically launching in full screen, similar to an iPad or Android tablet.

The new Surface Pro laptops are likely coming in 2024, according to Bowden's sources, as they will await Qualcomm's Nuvia-based chips, a subject we covered in-depth as part of our look into the future of Qualcomm last fall. The Surface Laptop Go 4, on the other hand, could arrive before the end of the year, but apparently, no firm launch time frame is locked in yet.

Microsoft typically holds a Surface event in October, so if either device is going to be ready to go in time for that event, we'll expect to see a steadier flow of leaks over the summer, so stay tuned.

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Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.