Microsoft is expanding its Surface family of devices with the launch of its first ever laptop, the Surface Book, featuring a detachable screen that can be used like a clipboard to sketch, take notes and browse the web.
The Surface Book boasts a 13.5-inch touchscreen display, with 267 pixels per inch – a total of 6,000 pixels – and runs Windows 10. The keyboard is designed for comfort, with a depression of 1.6mm, and it has a “dynamic fulcrum” hinge that swivels all the way round in mesmeric fashion:
It features Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, and up to 12 hours of battery life. Users have to option to add a discrete graphic processing unit (GPU) for improved video editing, faster rendering or immersive gaming.
At an event in New York today, Panos Panay, corporate vice president at Microsoft, said that the Surface Book is aimed at people who like theSurface Pro tablet but want a bigger screen, and the typing experience of a laptop.
“Ounce for ounce, pound for pound, this is the fastest 13-inch laptop ever made, anywhere, on any planet,” he said.
“This is for the gamer who plays League of Legends; this is for the architect who’s building a building right now, or designing a bridge and needs to compile and press the system; it’s for the scientist who’s thinking about the cure for cancer and needs to push the machine as far as they can; it’s for the coder using the latest Visual Studio where they can compile using the GPU and CPU at the same time and not lose a minute.”
The Surface Book is designed to compete with Apple’s Macbook Pro. Mr Panay directly compared the two devices, claiming that, with the discreet GPU and two extra processors, Surface book is two times faster than the Macbook Pro.
The Surface Book it can also be used as a tablet. When detached from its keyboard, the device is 7.7mm thin and weighs 1.6lbs. It is modelled on an A4 piece of paper, to make it feel like a clipboard, and works with Microsoft’s new stylus, Surface Pen.
The GPU is located in the base of the device, but users can still take advantage of this in tablet mode by plugging the screen in backwards and swivelling the hinge all the way round, so the display faces outwards.
“Surface Book proves that innovation in personal computing is not just confined to Apple’s Cupertino campus. This is a highly innovative, flagship device that will act as a much needed halo product for Windows 10 and the broader PC market,” said Geoff Blaber, vice president for the Americas at CCS Insight.
“Microsoft should be applauded for its efforts with Surface. When the first device was announced in June 2012 it was derided as a vanity project that would scare off PC makers. In fact it has injected a new wave of innovation into the embattled PC sector and has acted as a halo devices for the so-called two-in-one category.”
The Surface Book starts at $1,499; UK pricing has not yet been announced. It was announced as part of a suite of new products designed to showcase of Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 10.
At its event in New York, Microsoft also unveiled a new Surface Pro 4, two new Windows 10 phones, the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and a newfitness band, the Microsoft Band 2, as well as a developer version of its virtual reality headset, HoloLens.
The company’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, announced that Windows 10 is now running on more than 110m devices, since launching on 29 July, including over 8m business PCs.
“With Windows 10 and these new Microsoft devices, you are at the centre of magical new experiences,” said Mr Nadella. “We’re moving people from needing to choosing to loving Windows, and these devices promise to fuel even more enthusiasm and opportunity for the entire Windows ecosystem.”