Microsoft Announces Surface Laptop 4, New Accessories

Posted on April 13, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Uncategorized with 19 Comments

It is, perhaps, the worst-kept secret in personal technology, but Microsoft today announced the Surface Laptop 4, plus several new accessories aimed at meetings.

“For years, Surface Laptop has stood apart from the crowd with craftsmanship unlike any other,” Microsoft vice president Pete Kyriacou explains. “Surface Laptop 4 is, first and foremost, optimized for Microsoft experiences. It retains the iconic design, details, and materials that our customers love.”

In other words, the only changes are on the inside. For Surface Laptop 4, Microsoft is offering a choice of 11th-generation Intel Core processors or AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Graphics Microsoft Surface Edition across the 13.5- and 15-inch versions of the product, and across its business- and consumer-focused lines. And there is a new Ice Blue finish in addition to the previous colors, and Surface Laptop 4 includes Dolby Atmos Omnisonic speakers.

Surface Laptop 4 starts at $999.99, it is available to preorder starting today in the US, Canada, and Japan, with additional market availability in the coming weeks, and will ship April 15. And customers who preorder it before April 15 through or will get a free pair of Surface Earbuds.

Speaking of accessories, Microsoft also announced several new Surface-branded accessories, all of which come only in black, including:

Surface Headphones 2+ for Business. This product is identical to the original Surface Headphones 2, but it adds a dongle that certifies it for use with Microsoft Teams. It will cost $299 and business and education customers in select markets can preorder today, with orders shipping later this month.

Microsoft Modern USB and Wireless Headsets. These two new headsets feature a dedicated Teams button, a physical mute button, and an LED mute indicator light to confirm your mute status. They will start shipping in select markets this June, selling for $49.99 and $99.99, respectively.

Microsoft Modern USB-C Speaker. This new speaker offers high-quality audio for meetings, calls, and casual music listening, provides the same controls found on the Modern USB Headset, and is certified for Microsoft Teams. It has a powerful speaker driver, dual omnidirectional microphones, a compact design with integrated cord storage, and a carrying case. The Microsoft Modern USB-C Speaker will start shipping in June and will sell for $99.99.

Microsoft Modern Webcam. Microsoft’s first webcam in what feels like 100 years offers 1080p/60 fps video with HDR and a 78-degree field of view that optimized for meetings. A feature called True Look helps you look your best with automatic white balance and light adjustment, and facial recognition. And there’s an integrated privacy shutter with an LED usage indicator so you can rest easy knowing that you’re only sharing video when you mean to. What’s missing? Windows Hello. Wa-waa-waaaah. The Microsoft Modern Webcam will start shipping in June, and it will sell for $69.99.


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Comments (19)

19 responses to “Microsoft Announces Surface Laptop 4, New Accessories”

  1. bart

    No Windows Hello? How?!

    Will stick with the Brio then...

    • bleeman

      In reply to Bart:

      Same here. I can't believe they'd release a camera without Windows Hello support. Good thing I love my Brio, so no temptation to switch here.

  2. rmlounsbury

    Disappointing about the Modern Webcam which seems to be anything but modern.

    I am, however, interested in the Modern USB-C Speaker unit as I was just looking for compact sound bars to stick under my monitor for my work from home setup. At 5" it is a little smaller than my Anker unit and the Teams controls on device are a bonus. I might just pickup one of those. The only irony here being that my Surface Dock (gen-1) that I use with my Surface Book 2 lacks USB-C ports. Wah, wah.

  3. wright_is

    The camera looks interesting. I don't care about Windows Hello, but a good quality FullHD camera at that price isn't bad - we are currently using Logitech HD cameras which cost more than that (due to COVID).

    Also, if you haven't set up SCCM or InTune, you can't use Hello anyway. I've yet to work at a company that uses either. That means that, since Windows 10, the fingerprint readers on laptops no longer work anyway and the Hello cameras also don't work...

  4. stevek

    No Windows Hello from the 1st party is royally dumb.

  5. navarac

    Nothing really compelling then!

  6. crunchyfrog

    Typical Microsoft Store; they are out of stock on nearly all base configurations even on day one. At least they will throw in those earbuds nobody really wanted for free.

  7. crunchyfrog

    Thankfully, Microsoft finally did away with that horrible 128GB drive as standard.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Suspect that has more to do with what's available to them, not with what they would like to do. I would be fine with a 128 GB drive, for example. I bet many others would too.
      • crunchyfrog

        In reply to paul-thurrott: I would agree if Windows was not taking up so much of the base drive. As you know, Windows swells up even bigger with updates from Microsoft which often leaves around half the drive ready to use so 128 GB starts to look really small to me.

  8. glenn8878

    The Webcam should also be gesture (formerly Kinect) and personal assistant (formerly Cortana) capable with these features built into Windows. I need to test out the new USB Speaker. I could use the speaker with my new HP desktop PC. The built in microphone is an useful included feature.

  9. AW

    I'd expect that the "work from home" ship had sailed long ago, where most people who would of needed to buy equipment to work from home would of done so almost an entire year ago.

    The default option really was Logitech web cams, providing you could actually find something in stock. I too have a Lifecam Studio but it is long overdue for a refresh and needs Windows Hello support. Where is the Microsoft fingerprint reader?

    Finding a good meeting / conference device like the speaker that was announced is difficult, with few solutions and some of them are a bit dodgy based on some of our previous testing at work. I would be interested in testing this new USB-C speaker, although I suspect the issue is going to be the size of the buttons and how closely packed together they are. We use Cisco Webex at work, so it wouldn't surprise me that the "Teams" button does literally nothing for us, although would be nice IF you could customise the button through some kind of policy to launch other apps like Webex, Zoom, etc.... but that would just be wishful thinking.

    Even when they don't compete aggressively with the Surface laptops/desktops, they also need to be more aggressive with their peripherals. When you want to sell in volume to the enterprise like with the web cams, speakers and headsets - they should be striving to be the default and go to option for any IT shop or procurement team.

    The whole thing feels very half hearted / a$$ed.

    • JacobTheDev

      In reply to AW:

      I agree, the work-from-home boom ended long ago, and it seems ridiculous that they wouldn't include Windows Hello support in the camera. I'm holding out hope for a revised Ergonomic Keyboard with a built-in fingerprint reader, but I'm not holding my breath.

  10. bluvg

    "facial retouch"

    "Make me pretty, camera!" "I'm sorry, I'm afraid I can't do that."

    The lack of Windows Hello support is pretty glaring.

  11. sott3

    Not having Windows Hello is really stupid. That would have caused us to purchase several of these over cameras from other vendors.

  12. earlster

    Still using a Lifecam Studio that I bought 10 years ago. Great picture and great microphone. Sadly MS never really ported the software properly to Win10, so it's working, but missing some of the features it used to have Win7

    The $99 wireless headset might be interesting to me to replace my wired Logitech, I don't see spending $299 for a video conferencing headset, but $99 is in the range.

    Surface Laptop? Meh, HP, Dell, etc. all have better offerings, and nothing truly innovative like the original Surface Pro has come out of MS for a long time.

  13. prjman

    Who cares at this point? MS has shut down their physical stores and is focus almost exclusively on their business offerings. Surface laptops are boring. In another year or two, when their sales inevitably decline, they will abandon them as they do all of their consumer offerings.

  14. waharris007

    FINALLY. I've had the cash set aside for this upgrade for months. Time to bump 13" SL2 up to a 15" SL4.

  15. srrlx1986

    Microsoft announces Surface Laptop 4. Dell's response, here is all of our new Inspirons.

  16. mefree

    No Windows Hello? That's idiotic.