Microsoft Surface Laptop 5: what we want to see
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 was released in April 2021, and though it’s an excellent machine in its own right, some might claim it’s more of a refresh of the Surface Laptop 3 than a new machine in its own right.
But with the Surface Laptop 5 more likely releasing sometime in 2022, it’s an opportunity for Microsoft to introduce new features and updates that would make the Laptop 5 feel like a true upgrade in its own right.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Microsoft’s follow up to the Surface Laptop 4
- When is it out? TBD
- What will it cost? TBD, likely starting around $999 (13.5-inch) and $1,299 (15-inch)
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 release date
While there hasn’t been any official Surface Laptop 5 news yet, Microsoft has been incredibly diligent with this series, judging by the usual release schedule of roughly one Surface Laptop every year since the first one came out in 2017.
Within that yearly release schedule, the Surface Laptop series has a more erratic release window, ranging from spring to fall in the US. But in the last few years, that date has become far more predictably in the fall – which makes sense for a device meant for schoolwork. So, the Surface Laptop 5 will probably launch no later than late 2022, but that’s just speculation on our part.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 price
The Surface Laptop series hits the mid-range market, with prices that usually start around $1000 USD but rarely surpass the $2000 USD mark.
For instance, the starting price for the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 4 starts at $999 (£999, AU$1,599), which includes an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Meanwhile, the 15-inch configuration starts at $1,299 (£1,299, AU$2,199) and starts with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. It’s likely that Microsoft will keep the Surface Laptop 5 around the same price when it launches.
However, given the continued silicon shortage, we could see Microsoft slightly increase the price. We’ll just have to wait until Microsoft unveils the Surface Laptop 5.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5: What we want to see
There are plenty of improvements that could be made to the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5. As previously stated, a major issue with the series of laptops feel like mere rehashes of the previous model instead of the significantly upgraded versions they should be.
120Hz refresh rate and Surface Pen support
The Laptop series still uses 60Hz display panels, while both the Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro 8 have already been updated to 120Hz. Higher refresh rates are primarily used in gaming, but also allow for smooth web browsing and even makes navigating the desktop smoother. A 120Hz refresh rate would be an excellent addition for the Surface Laptop 5.
As a bonus, bringing the 120Hz display in the Surface Pro 8 to the Surface Laptop 5 means that it could also receive haptic feedback support for the Surface Pen.
More USB ports
One of our biggest Surface Laptop 4 complaints is the lack of ports. For instance, the 16-inch MacBook Pro comes with 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, compared to the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 with only one USB-C port and one USB-A 3.0 port. The Surface Laptop 4 is just as bad with one Surface Connect port on the right, one USB-C, one USB-A, and a headphone jack.
If the Laptop 5 came with at least one Thunderbolt port (preferably two), as well as a USB-C port and a USB-A 3.0 port, that would already be a huge improvement. Microsoft finally added Thunderbolt support with its latest devices, too, so we can actually see this happening.
The Laptop series is still behind in bezel size, as it hasn’t changed since the initial 2017 model. For the Laptop 5, Microsoft should consider making the bezels thinner as it would increase the screen size.
Considering that the Laptop series is made for office professionals who are currently working remotely, the extra real estate would greatly improve the work-at-home experience. Even the Surface Pro 8 received a slimmer bezel in 2021, which means that the Laptop 5 is overdue as well.
Unlike the Surface Pro, which has supported 1080p webcams for years, the Surface Laptop still uses a 720p webcam. In a time where remote work using video calls for meetings has become the norm for office workers, the Surface Laptop 5 needs to upgrade to a 1080p sensor.
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