Microsoft introduced on April 13, as expected, its Surface Laptop 4 line-up. The company also announced a bunch of new accessories, including Surface Headphones 2+, two Microsoft headsets, a Microsoft-branded webcam, and a Microsoft desktop speaker.
There were few surprises about the Surface Laptop 4, thanks to numerous leaks ahead of time. Surface Laptop 4 will come in two sizes (13.5 inches and 15 inches) and with an 11th-generation Intel Core or AMD Ryzen Mobile processor inside either sized model.
In terms of ports and storage options, the Laptop 4 offers the same choices as the Surface Laptop 3. Pricing starts at $1,000 and users can preorder today in the US, Canada, and Japan, with more market availability slated for "the coming weeks." Shipments will begin April 15. US customers who buy Surface Laptop 4 through microsoft.com or bestbuy.com before April 15 will receive Surface Earbuds for free.
I liked the Surface Laptop 3 quite a bit. It's actually lappable (!). I did have to pay to repair the motherboard just a month after my warranty expired. But Laptop 3 is still my daily driver and it's getting about four to five hours of battery life at this point. Since Laptop 4 is an incremental upgrade, I'd expect it to be another solid performer.
Also: Laptops we love: Most ZDNet writers prefer this notebook above all others
The new peripherals -- some of which also were expected thanks to leaks -- are all focused on business users who need to communicate virtually. On the list:
Microsoft Modern USB Headset: Starting at $50 and shipping in select markets starting in June, this is a "certified for Microsoft Teams" device with an on-ear design. a USB-A connection, and support for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, macOS 11.0/10.15.
Microsoft Modern Wireless Headset: Starting at $100 and shipping in select markets in June, this is a "Certified for Microsoft Teams" headset. With an on-ear design, flip-to-mute microphone, and on-ear controls, the headset provides up to 30 hours of talk time on a Teams call or up to 50 hours of music listening time, Microsoft says. It has a USB-A dongle and Bluetooth compatibility. It works with Windows 10 (RS5 and more recent), Windows 8, Windows 7, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Microsoft Modern Webcam: A $70 webcam with a 1080p camera, USB-A connection, and integrated privacy shutter. It works with Windows 10, macOS 11.0/10.15, Windows 8.1, and 8. (For those wondering, this is not a Windows Hello-supported webcam.)
Microsoft Modern USB-C speaker: Another certified-for-Microsoft-Teams device, this $100 compact USB-C desktop speaker is meant for workplace use. It includes background-noise reducing microphones, a status light to see whether others can hear your voice, and Windows 10 PC and Surface compatibility. It will start shipping in June.
Surface Headphones 2+: The second iteration of Microsoft's Surface headphones, tailored for business use -- and with Teams certification -- cost $300 when they start shipping later in April. Headphones 2+ will provide up to 15 hours of voice calling, Microsoft says.
(I'm not sure why Microsoft branded only the headphones with "Surface" and the other peripherals with the "Microsoft" name. Maybe it's because the Surface team designed the headphones but not the other devices?)
Microsoft also announced today that Surface Duo availability is expanding to commercial markets in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The Duo is Microsoft's dual-screen Android-based mobile device introduced last year.