Microsoft Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, 2-in-1 PC, Surface Book, Laptop 4 review | A Mac guy's first impressions | Mark Ellis Reviews
. You probably never thought youd hear me say that i am, after all, a mac guy, and i reckon this is my first windows laptop in about 20 years. That makes this a big deal, particularly after i kicked up an almighty fuss a few weeks back when i gave my thoughts on the windows 11 announcement and just to reiterate, i didnt review windows 11 in that video. I just reacted to what i thought was microsofts, dreadful attempt at launching this beta version of their one of their biggest operating system updates in recent memory. They didnt do their users or windows itself, any justice, and that annoyed me, because i was a windows user for many many years and it holds quite a special place in my heart and again. That is why i was so excited to get my hands on something like this. Now, over the last two or three days, ive been using this microsoft service laptop for obviously with windows, 10 installed and ive got a few initial thoughts, so, firstly, youre, probably wondering which surface laptop for i bought now, just like the m1 macbook air, which ive had Over the last six months and has been one of the best laptops, actually no its been the best laptop ive ever owned. This is the basebeck m1 macbook air, so its 8 gig of ram 256 gig ssd and thats it its the cheapest one. You can get at 999 and its just wonderful, so i wanted to do the exact same thing with the surface laptop four.
So this is the base spec version. I bought this in the uk from a company called john lewis. I definitely recommend going to them. They were a little bit cheaper. They also give you two years warranty, which is quite nice, and this was 979 pounds. I think, although normally its 9.99, so comparatively with the m1 macbook air, its identical in terms of price. Now, in terms of the specs in this one, there is an amd ryzen, 5, 4, 6, 80 atu, no idea what that is, but thats the chip that you get in this one and its got: eight gig of ram 256 gig ssd, just like the m1 mac Book air thats it basically like i say two years warranty from john lewis, nice um. I went for the because i went for the bass, spec version. You can only get the bass back. I think in this color the only thing you cant change with the bass spec is what they use for the keyboard cover by cover. I just mean the bass really um and it uses this alcantara alcantara stuff that you sometimes find on car seats and stuff and its this kind of soft material, which looks quite nice actually and ill come on to how it feels because thats one of my initial Observations um, but you cant go for the metal version of this. Unless you get the next spec up, which adds another 200 pounds, i think to it in terms of the design again.
This is my first windows laptop for quite a long time, and i was surprised by how nice it looks actually um thats totally unfair, because there are some lovely windows laptops out there, including things like the dell xps series and theres all sorts that ive been showing Recently by people whove been trying to get me to buy a windows machine and but getting one in your hands. You realize that theyve come a long way and this is a microsoft product as well. You know – and i think, if you compare it against the m1 macbook air, which is a classic very classic design, theyre very similar tapered design there, which i will show you in some b roll, but its very thin, its a nice looking laptop. You know i would quite have liked the matte black version, but you had to spend more to get that which doesnt make sense. But there you go yeah a nice looking laptop, but there are five things that i have identified with this being a mac user. So, coming from a mac to a windows, pc theres, five things in my first two or three days of using it that have stuck out ive, heard lots and lots of arguments for and against adding touchscreen support to mac. Os ive had my own opinion on it, which has been dont bother whats. The point weve got ipad, os and ios for that, whereas some people vehemently disagree with that, they want to see macs enabled touchscreen.
I didnt really understand that until i got this surface laptop 4, which is a touch screen, you can touch the screen. You can touch it and interact with windows with your fingers, its actually really useful. Now, the key thing here is that its not you cant, really. Okay, you can touch anything so any anything on the screen. You can touch and interact with like this, but not all of the elements of the user interface design in windows are designed for that. So there are some very, very small touch targets that just dont really work with your finger, its much better to easy mouse. For that. What i found with that is that ive been using the trackpad 95 of the time, but the other five percent of the time is when ive just naturally reached out to the screen, to press something, and it might be something like the send button on an email Or it might be the timer start and stop on toggle, which is the application that i use to track my time, theres, just certain things on the screen. I cant explain why, but certain things on the screen where i want to touch them. I do – and this has brought me to a bit of a conclusion about this whole touchscreen mac os thing, which is its not a big deal. I think, if apple just added it, people would just use it naturally, when it felt natural to do so.
I think apple and a lot of other users are just scared of it, ruining the mac experience it wont because it doesnt get in the way you know i dont have to touch the screen on this laptop. I can just use the mouse and the keyboard. It will just it will. Work like a computer has worked my entire life, but if i feel compelled just to reach out and touch me on the screen, because it looks like its touchable, i can and it works. Some people may not even realize that you can touch these screens and it doesnt make any difference to the way that windows works. Its just handy, like i say natural, is the word i keep coming back to and i just naturally use it occasionally now. Okay, this might be a kind of instance of new toy syndrome. Ive, a few people have pointed that out and thats a very good point, a very valid point so ill see if i im still touching that screen after lets say two or three months of using it so touch support. I love it in windows, its great you, cant use it throughout the entire operating system, its just handy to have, and it just apple just add it just put it into mac. Os, give us a touchscreen mac keyboard shortcuts uh. If theres one thing that has been really frustrating with this, its not its, not apples, file, its, not microsofts fault, its just its just life, its keyboard shortcuts.
So before i went into the mac world, i was a windows user, so i was very used to using ive got to remind myself again what im saying. Actually, i was very used to using alt as the modifier key so alt to alt c, to copy alt v to paste thinking back when i switched to mac that kind of getting your head around using command, as you know, basically youre going from one key to Another to to use those keyboard shortcuts and, like i say mac os, is command v command c. I remember that being a bit of a learning curve, but since ive been using max, which has been over the last 10 15 years, whatever thats just been come its muscle memory. Now, oh its been um a real learning curve im not going to spend too much time on this, but its just. I find it amazing how used we get to keyboard shortcuts and its been the one thing that slowed me down while using this windows computer. I know i can remap keys and stuff like that, but i dont want to do that. I want to keep things traditional. I want to live in a proper windows ecosystem, so its just a bit of a pain. So i thought id mention that, if youre going between windows and mac, what do you do actually do you remap the keys? If you use both platforms, im interested to hear because the keyboard shortcuts have been a bit of a pain now, the priority this week with the surface laptop, was to get it just set up and ready to to work.
I didnt have a huge amount of time to delve into the settings and have a play around really so ive just been using it for work, so its been set up with the kind of basics i need for that. However, curiosity did get the better of me. Occasionally, which led me to click on the start, menu and just have a look at the start menu what a mess its a bit. I kind of liken it to having left what i thought was a lovely tidy house 20 years ago and coming back to find its been trashed by squatters. I dont know what theyve done to the start menu. I remember it just being very simple: it popped up and you had your programs in there. You had your documents and you had the ability to turn the computer off, not anymore its its just this whole world of confusion, so you bring it up and, on the left hand, side you get this kind of expandable menu. That gives you access to the common areas, so you can very quickly get to settings documents all that sort of stuff fine, but then to the right of that theres, an alphabetical list of what i think is installed apps again: ive not studied it properly, but it Seems to be just a great big list of your your apps and then to the right of that theres. This kind of tiled interface, which looks very similar to what was on windows phone.
You can move the tiles around you can assume, you can add tiles to it again. Ive not played with it yet, but regardless of that, and i will play with it, i promise it just looks like a mess out of the box and remember this is a microsoft surface laptop. So this is about the most pure windows experience youre going to get you know they dont slap loads of bloatware on it and tweak it its just what microsoft intends when it comes to windows, which makes it even more worrying that the start menu looks like that Out the box, because its just this impenetrable mess, it was one of those instances where i opened it looked at it and thought dont know where to start here so closed it pretended it wasnt there and havent opened it since face id. So windows, hello. I got this wrong in an earlier video. I suggested windows. Hello was something to do with like the windows version of siri. You all laughed at me about that, quite understandably, its wrong windows. Hello, is basically their face id for windows. It includes more than face facial recognition. It includes things like the pin code. You can set it its basically the a lot of the security that surrounds getting into your windows, laptop and but on this it uses facial recognition and its brilliant. Its great now, some of the people on my discord server, i think, rob actually. My podcast host pointed out hes much smarter than me on this sort of stuff.
He did point out that apparently windows, hello and the way they use facial recognition, isnt quite as good lets, say, thats, probably a safer way of saying it um as what we see on iphones with face id. I dont know about that. I dont know enough about it um, its probably true, but who knows all i do know is that having facial recognition on your laptop is just brilliant, its just so convenient you open it. Its got this little red thing that flashes to kind of indicate that its looking at your face, and then, if it recognizes you, you get this nice little animation, saying hello mark good morning, whatever its just a nice friendly little welcome into your laptop and super super. Convenient now on the mac, i rely on im not wearing it today, but i normally rely on my apple watch to log me in automatically and thats, just its super convenient its as convenient as face id granted, but when im not wearing like im, not today wearing My apple watch i have to use either touch id if ive got it on the mac or type in my password, whereas with this i just open the lid and look at it and it open it unlocks and its really fast always works, really really accurate. Okay, if there are a few security issues with it, thats not great, and hopefully that improves over time, but again a little bit like touch support.
It just reveals why apple has to add face id to future max just do it. I know theres a lot of understandable concern over how thick the casing would have to be to kind of hold all of the face id gubbins. So why havent they put into the new imac? I just think its apple being a bit obnoxious. I just think they get something in their head, that theyre not going to do and the more people say we want it. We want it, the less theyre likely to do it. I think if we had a face id option or if it was just as standard on all new macbooks, a lot of people would love it, and i would take a slightly thicker case for that to happen. The last thing i wanted to mention during my very very early days with the surface laptop 4 is the keyboard. Now i need a little bit more time with it, admittedly, but im getting to the stage where im gon na say, i think its the best laptop keyboard ive ever used and theres a few reasons for this uh and two of them are possible flaws. So a floor is probably the wrong word, but so the first one is that alcantara case its just very nice to rest your hands on. I think that versus the kind of cold metal of a macbook for longer periods of time, its just more comfortable its nice to rest your hands on its like youre, on a like a little carpet, its just very nice.
Now the problem with the alcantara covering is that its probably not going to wear very well and – and indeed, if you speak to anyone, whos had a surface machine with that case on it, theyll tell you the same thing its it looks pretty grubby after a while, Which is a shame i reserve judgment because ive not had mine long enough to see if that happens, but just from a typing experience its nice. The other thing is the amount of flex on the actual keyboard itself. This took me by surprise, but on the surface fours uh keyboard, the closer you get to the middle of the keyboard, the more it visibly flexes the whole thing depresses again, i dont know if thats a design flaw or if its just slightly cheaper materials. I have no idea whatsoever, but i have a feeling that it adds to the typing experience for some reason, because the key travel is great. So going back to the keyboard itself. Key travel is great. The keys themselves are plastic, theyre, not you know: suede or alcantara theyre, just theyre, proper plastic keys and its got just enough. Keyboard travel. I think, given the size of the laptop, because it is very thin, its still very thin, but theyve somehow managed to get decent travel in there better than what you get on the current macbook keyboard. I think the combination of that with the the nice armrest that youve got and that kind of bendy chassis from a typists point of view.
I do a huge amount of typing each week, so i write blogs every day. I do a lot of typing, but when it comes to laptops, i am a bit fussy. I hated the butterfly keyboard on the macbook, which is terrible this one on the surface. Laptop 4, i think, is superb. I think its really really good. In summary, ive really enjoyed it, ive actually enjoyed using an operating system that im not familiar with. You feel a bit lost. You know when ive been kind of hunting around for certain things i need to do. I have felt like a stranger in like a foreign town, its been a bit strange, but i quite like that feeling i quite like not knowing how to do things and discovering things. Windows is great theres, nothing wrong with windows at all, and going back to my video about windows, 11 im, i was angry at microsoft, not windows itself. I know its a beta product that wasnt. That was not the point of my video. A lot of people kind of misunderstood that. So, if you did im sorry that wasnt the case, ive got a big affection for windows, and this has kind of confirmed that ive probably been missing out on a few things. So, as ive explained today, the touch support windows, hello, the keyboard on this as well, so it appears its very um durable as well that didnt damage it damaged. The desk, though great im gon na, spend much more time with this.
This is something which im gon na really dig into expect lots more content on the way that compares mac os with this, and also i will do a proper, full review of the surface laptop for in the next few weeks. So if you havent subscribed, make sure you subscribe and hit the little bell, so you dont miss out on that, but in the meantime thank you as always for watching and ill catch. You next time cannot believe.