The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 has really impressed us, enough so to warrant our 'TechRadar Reccomends' award due to its incredible keyboard and features that make it a no-brainer for anyone who needs to type a lot. Microsoft also thinks it's the bee's knees too, more so than the M1 MacBook Air – something it makes pretty clear in its new commercial for the Surface laptop 4.
The 30-second long commercial makes jabs at features included in Microsoft's latest offering that are absent from its Apple-branded rival such as a touchscreen, USB-A inclusion and running Windows natively for apps and gaming.
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The gaming point feels a little less relevant given that not only is the Surface Laptop 4 clearly not optimized for PC gaming, but cloud gaming services such as GeForce Now can be used across various systems and devices without being restricted by hardware.
In fact, we tried it ourselves on an older MacBook Air model and saw fantastic results, which makes gaming feel like an unusual inclusion in such a short commercial. The other points made within the advert do carry weight of course, given that the touchscreen display and USB-A port included in the Surface Laptop 4 could sway people in deciding which of the two similarly priced devices they want to purchase.
You can also use Parallels on M1 Mac products to run Windows on ARM, which is a far cry from using something like Boot Camp to use Windows natively on older non-M1 Macs but it works suitably well if you need to use Windows 10 on an M1 MacBook.
Does Microsoft have a point?
The Surface Laptop 4 won't come with an M1 chip any time soon, but you're getting a selection of modern AMD Ryzen and Intel CPUs instead that are more than capable of handling any tasks or apps you throw at them. Despite its USB-A port, you may also still need to purchase a dongle if you need additional peripherals or connections on the device as both of these products have sacrificed ports for a slimmer design.
If you're not already part of the Apple ecosystem then the two products are fairly evenly matched, and it's unlikely that you'd be disappointed with your choice regardless of what side you aligned with. The M1 MacBook Air currently tops our list for the best laptops for 2021, and for good reason, so despite all the shade being thrown by Microsoft, you're not going to make a 'bad' choice.
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Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.