Since making its debut in 2017, the Surface Laptop has consistently ranked among the best thin and light laptops you can buy. Microsoft chose not to release a new entry in the lineup last year (aside from the budget Surface Laptop Go), but it’s put that right in 2021.
The Surface Laptop 4 arrived in the spring slot usually associated with other devices, but it was undoubtedly a cautious upgrade. Despite impressing in core areas such as display, performance and battery life, it’s clear Microsoft could go further to make the device best in class.
That’s exactly what we’re hoping for from the Surface Laptop 5, which is expected in 2022. Here’s everything you need to know at this early stage.
When will the Surface Laptop 5 be released?
- 2022 release expected
- Could be April/May or usual October slot
- Microsoft may surprise us with brand new release window
Microsoft is yet to even confirm the existence of the Surface Laptop 5, but we’d be shocked if the company wasn’t working on it. We’re highly likely to see it in 2022, judging by the release date of previous Surface Laptop devices:
- Surface Laptop – June 2017
- Surface Laptop 2 – October 2018
- Surface Laptop 3 – October 2019
- Surface Laptop 4 – April 2021
However, predicting when it’ll arrive next year is more difficult. Microsoft most commonly launches new Surface hardware in either spring (April/May) or autumn/fall (October), so either of these are possible. There’s also a chance Microsoft will surprise us by announcing the Surface Laptop 5 at a different time, as it did with the education-focused Surface Laptop SE in November 2021.
How much will the Surface Laptop 5 cost?
- Similar starting price (£799/US$899) likely
- Cheaper models may continue to use AMD Ryzen processors
- Intel Core CPUs likely only for more expensive models
Microsoft brought AMD Ryzen processors to the 13.5in Surface Laptop 4 for the first time. This allowed it to drop the starting price, as these are from the older (but still very capable) Ryzen 4000 Series. Here’s how that compares to previous generations:
- Surface Laptop – from £649/US$799
- Surface Laptop 2 – from £979/US$999
- Surface Laptop 3 – from £999/US$999 (13.5in), £1,199/US$1,199 (15in)
- Surface Laptop 4 – from £799/US$899 (13.5in), £1,299/US$1,199.99
Remember, the 15in model was only introduced with the Surface Laptop 3. Assuming Microsoft continues with both screen sizes, prices will probably be similar.
Surface Laptop 5 design & new feature rumours
- New Intel and AMD processors expected
- 120Hz display and Thunderbolt support likely
- Could have a new design
Currently, there are no concrete rumours with regards to the Surface Laptop 5. However, other recent releases and previous Surface devices give us a good idea of what to expect.
Even if the Surface Laptop 5 turns out to be a minor update, new processors are still extremely likely. The 11th-gen Intel chips in the Laptop 4 are still the latest and greatest, but that will change soon. Intel has launched its 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs for desktops, and we’re expecting laptop processors to arrive over the next few months.
However, Microsoft may continue to opt for AMD chips on more affordable models of both 13.5in and 15in models. Moving to custom versions of the Ryzen 5000 Series would make sense, especially with the Ryzen 6000 Series expected soon. Using the slightly older silicon would allow Microsoft to keep prices low.
Microsoft stuck with 60Hz displays for several years, but that’s changed in 2021. Both the upgraded Surface Pro 8 and brand-new Surface Laptop Studio have 120Hz panels, but can take advantage of Windows 11’s ‘Dynamic Refresh Rate’ feature to manage battery life. Given the Surface Laptop is considered a premium product, we’d be surprised to not see high refresh rates on both screen sizes.
Thunderbolt 4 support
Thunderbolt is an Intel technology, enabling fast data transfer and better external display support. Microsoft has previously been reluctant to include it on devices which have AMD configurations too, but that didn’t stop it from bringing the feature to the Pro 8 and Laptop Studio. As Apple’s M1-powered Macs have shown, it can work on devices that don’t use Intel silicon.
However, this may be exclusive to Intel models as a way to help justify the higher asking price.
The Surface Laptop line has stubbornly stuck with a 720p webcam, despite the Laptop 4 arriving at a time when video calling is incredibly popular. With the Surface Laptop Studio making the move to a 1080p webcam, expect Microsoft to follow suit here.
While the Surface Pro 8 has a long-awaited new design, that may not be the case on the Laptop 5. Despite beginning to look dated, it’s still in keeping with many other laptops on the market. Given the choice, we’d expect Microsoft to prioritise a good webcam and solid mics over slimmer bezels.
There may also be improvements to battery life and ports, but Surface Connect will probably still be used for charging. We’ll update this article once we know more about the Surface Laptop 5.