Microsoft Launches The Surface Book, A Convertible Laptop Done Right

Microsoft unveiled its first laptop. Called the Surface Book, it doesn’t look like a Surface at all. It has a 13.5-inch display, a trackpad made of glass, a backlit keyboard and a machined magnesium body. Microsoft has one trick up its sleeve — the screen is detachable.

It has the latest generation of the Intel Core processor and an Nvidia GPU with GDDR5 memory. According to Microsoft, it’s the fastest 13-inch laptop ever made. In addition to that, it has 12 hours of battery life. The keyboard is said to be very quiet, and the display has a good pixel density of 267 ppi.

With this device, Microsoft doesn’t compete with the iPad and Android tablet. It competes with the MacBook Pro, Lenovo laptops and more.

With a discrete GPU, the Surface Book is supposed to be twice as fast as the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The company is probably comparing graphics performance, which is unfair as the 13-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t have a discrete GPU.

Yet, it is still impressive that the company managed to fit so much battery life in a powerful 13-inch laptop. Microsoft launched Adobe Premiere Pro and showed how fast you could edit a video on this machine.

And then there is the detachable screen, which is 7.7mm thick and weighs 1.6 pounds. If you want to take advantage of all the machine performances, you need to plug it in to the base, because that’s where the GPU is. And of course, the display is a touch screen. In other words, it’s a convertible laptop done in a good way.

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The Surface Book starts at $1,499 and is available to pre-order on October 7. It will be available on October 26. Microsoft didn’t say if there are multiple versions and didn’t go into much detail when it comes to specs.

This isn’t a cheap device as prices range from $1,499 to $2,699 depending on your configuration. We still don’t know the Nvidia GPU inside this machine. Here’s more details coming from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley:


The most important question is how the OEM ecosystem will react to the new device. Microsoft risks alienating its partners with the Surface Book. Chances are Microsoft won’t sell as many laptops as Lenovo. The Surface Book is an expensive top-of-the-line machine, and many people don’t want to spend as much money on a laptop.

Today’s move is interesting for Microsoft. It could hint at some bigger changes in the future, or it might be just a flagship device to showcase what Windows does best. OEMs could even be inspired by this new device.

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