Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 vs Surface Laptop 4: What are the differences?

Microsoft Surface Laptop 5
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's Surface Laptop 5 is here, and it comes packed with 12th Gen Intel CPUs, a boost in battery life, and even a fresh Sage color option. The question is: is Microsoft's new Surface Laptop much different from the Surface Laptop 4?

Announced at the Microsoft Surface October event, the Surface Laptop 5 looks identical to the previous generation, but there are a few notable changes under the hood that make this year's new Surface Laptop worth checking out. At the very least, however, it comes in a new green Sage color.

Along with its 12th Gen Intel CPUs based on the Intel Evo platform, you'll find a selection of upgrades the Surface laptop 5 offers, including Thunderbolt 4 ports (finally). Find out the differences between the Surface Laptop 5 and Surface Laptop 4 below. 

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Specs

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Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Specs
SpecSurface Laptop 5Surface Laptop 4
CPUIntel Core i5-1235U/i7-1255U (13.5-inch), i7-1255U (15-inch)Intel Core i7-1185G7, AMD Ryzen 7 4980U,
GPUIntel Iris XeIntel Iris Xe
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Display13.5-inch (2256 x 1504) PixelSense touchscreen, 15-inch (2496 x 1664) PixelSense touchscreen13.5-inch (2256 x 1504) PixelSense touchscreen, 15-inch (2256 x 1504) PixelSense touchscreen
Size12.1 inch x 8.8 inch x 0.57 (13-inch), 13.4 inch x 9.6 inch x 0.58 inches (15-inch)12.1 inch x 8.8 inch x 0.57 (13-inch), 13.4 inch x 9.6 inch x 0.58 inches (15-inch)
Weight2.8 pounds (13-inch), 3.4 pounds (15-inch)2.8 pounds (13-inch), 3.4 pounds (15-inch)

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Price

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Surface Laptop 4 has a starting price of $999 for the 13.5-inch model, while the 15-inch model starts at $1,499 for an AMD model. We still need to learn the price for both the 13.5-inch and 15-inch Surface Laptop 5. We'll update this page once we find out. 

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Design

If you're a fan of the simple yet finely crafted Surface Laptop 4, you'll be a fan of the Surface laptop 5. Like the previous-gen model, the Microsoft Surface laptop 5 is set to arrive with 13.5-inch and 15-inch touchscreen displays. Colors for the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 5 include Platinum with Alcantara , Matte Black, Sandstone, and a new green Sage. As for the 15-inch model, expect Platinum and Matte Black. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Size-wise, the 13.5-inch laptop is nearly identical to the Surface Laptop 4 (13.5-inch), with dimensions of 12.1 inch x 8.8 inch x 0.57 inches and weighing 2.8 pounds. The 15-inch model is the same: 13.4 inch x 9.6 inch x 0.58 inch and weighing 3.4 pounds. So far, we're getting the same design as the Surface Laptop 4, and we're not complaining.

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Display

We're fans of the Surface Laptop 4's display, whether it be on 13.5-inch or the 15-inch. In the Surface Laptop 5, Microsoft is bringing more of the same, expect with a subtle change on the 15-inch model. 

(Image credit: Microsoft)

We'll see the same 13.5-inch (2256 x 1504) PixelSense touchscreen with 10-point multi-touch support, but with Dolby Vision IQ support. However, the 15-inch model is a little different, delivering a 15-inch (2496 x 1664) PixelSense touchscreen compared to last year's model (2256 x 1504). They'll still see the signature 3:2 aspect ratio.

We have yet to test out the Surface Laptop 5, but seeing as it's identical to the Surface Laptop 4, we know it's a great panel that can hold its own against anything short of OLED. Last year's model peaked at 334 nits of brightness, so we're hoping to see brighter displays on the Surface Laptop 5 models. 

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Ports

We were disappointed with the Surface Laptop 4's lack of Thunderbolt support, but Microsoft has come to deliver Thunderbolt 4 on the Surface Laptop 5.

Although, not too many. Each model will be equipped with one USB-C port with USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 support, along with a USB-A 3.1 slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Surface Laptop 4 is equipped with a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB 3.1 Type-C input, a Surface Connect port for charging, and a headphone jack. So, the same ports, just with an upgrade. 

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Performance

You'll find more changes under the hood. the 13.5-inch model comes in two options including a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U processor or an i7-1255U CPU, while the 15-inch laptop sticks with one i7-1255U chip. However, for commercial sales, you can expect either an Intel 12th Gen i5-1245U CPU or an i7-1265U processor. Microsoft claims it's 50% faster than its predecessor, but we'll have to put that to the test. 

(Image credit: Microsoft)

However, we're not seeing any AMD configurations like on the Surface Laptop 4 (for now). The Ryzen 7 4980U CPU (also called the AMD Ryzen 7 Microsoft Surface Edition) made a big difference on the 15-inch Surface Laptop 4 we tested, but you could also get it with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU or a Core i5 in the 13.5-inch model.

Other configurations for the Surface Laptop 5 include 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of LPDDR5x RAM, along with removable SSD options including 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. All models come with Intel Iris Xe graphics. You can also expect Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity. The DDR5 RAM will be a step up in the Surface Laptop 5 over the Surface Laptop 4. Plus, you can expect the same Intel Iris Xe graphics.

We'll need to test the performance once we get our hands on the Surface Laptop 5 for review, so stay tuned for that. 

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Battery

Here's a big claim: Microsoft states the Surface Laptop 5 13.5 offers up to 18 hours of battery life, while the 15-inch option delivers up to 17 hours. In our reviews of the Surface Laptop 4 models, we saw the 13.5 version reach 10 hours and 46 minutes, and the 15-inch model last just over 12 hours. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

he Surface Laptop 5 boasts some impressive numbers, and we can't wait to see if they'll take a place on our list of laptops with the best battery life

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Webcam

The webcam doesn't sound like a highlight on the Surface Laptop 5; keeping the same 720p snapper. That said, Microsoft does state there are "enhanced camera experiences" thanks to Windows 11's interactive features. Plus, there a dual far-field Studio Mics.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

At least it comes with Windows Hello Face Authentication for easy log in. Whether these enhancements will be enough to boost the quality of the same 720p webcam? We'll have to test it out. 

Surface Laptop 5 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Outlook

Microsoft's Surface Laptop 5 brings many of the same elements from the Surface Laptop 4, but with a few worthy changes under the hood. Thanks to the 12th Gen Intel CPUs and Thunderbolt 4 support, the Surface Laptop lineup is now up-to-date with more modern notebooks.

We still need to test the 13.5-inch and 15-inch Surface Laptop 5, so watch this space for those reviews. In the meantime, check out our thoughts on the Surface Laptop 4 (13.5-inch) and Surface Laptop 4 with AMD (15-inch)

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.