Microsoft unveiled the first ever laptop made in-house by the company and it’s called Microsoft Surface Book. On paper the Surface Book looks amazing. A 13.5″ 3000×2000 resolution screen with 267 ppi, up to 16GB of RAM, the latest Intel Skylake 6th generation processors, and up to 1TB of SSD storage. Not to mention the inclusion of NVIDIA GeForce discrete graphics, an offering only available on the 15″ line of Apple’s MacBook Pro products. It’s not cheap, however, with the Surface Book starting at $1,499 in the U.S. Microsoft says that the new Surface Book is 2x as powerful as Apple’s MacBook Pro, a pretty boastful claim.
Microsoft is rather mum as to exactly which of NVIDIA’s graphics cards is housed inside the Surface Book, so it’s hard to know if their claims are valid at this point. We do know some things, however, about the odd design choices Microsoft has made in the Surface Book. Let’s begin with the hybrid-like nature of the Surface Book. With the push of a button, the screen detaches from the keyboard and becomes a full-fledged Windows 10 tablet. Coupled with Microsoft’s Surface Pen, the tablet is shaping up to be one of the best offerings in the mobile market. What’s even more interesting is not the hybrid-style Microsoft has went with, we’ve seen plenty of 2-in-1 devices from other OEM’s, but what Microsoft has done with the base is a vastly more interesting story.
We’re not sure how this works with the whole package, but Microsoft says they’ve built the GPU inside of the Surface Book’s base. The implication here being that when detached, the Surface Book is more powerful when docked with the base. This is different for a computer as it shifts from a “tablet first, laptop second” philosophy to a “laptop first, tablet second” philosophy.
This is a pretty big gamble for Microsoft to take as it has introduced a new idea into an already saturated market that, arguably, it began. Personally, I think this is a great shift in idea of a 2-in-1 for consumers because most people want the power of traditional laptops, but may like the idea of the portability that comes with a tablet. One could argue that this option has existed for several years now, but it really hasn’t. We’ve had a slew of products that were designed to be mobile from the ground up, with accessories added on to make it a more laptop-like experience. This has resulted in poorer performing devices due to mobile-optimized software and hardware. Microsoft hopes to change all of this with the Surface Book, and we hope others soon follow suit.
All-in-all, the Surface Book is an indication of the new Microsoft and is proving to be a great competitor in the consumer market. Gone are the days where your only option for an end-all-be-all solution was to spend more and go with Apple. Now Microsoft has a valid option for consumers and a vastly better product than previous offerings. We’re impressed with what we’ve seen from Microsoft’s first laptop and we can’t wait to see what happens next.