Tech Innovation

The Surface Book might be the best Windows 10 laptop you can buy


Fed up with unimaginative Windows 10 laptops, Microsoft has decided to make its own. On a day when Redmond launched a new Surface Pro 4, an updated, fitness-tracking Microsoft Band and a pair of fresh Lumia smartphones (the 950 and Lumia 950 XL), it has also dived into the notebook market with the eye-catching Surface Book.

The laptop isn’t dead. It has evolved

Microsoft boldly claims that it is “redefining the laptop with the new Surface Book”, although that’s not strictly the case. Machines like the Asus Transformer Book T100 and the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 have already popularised the idea that laptops are increasingly becoming hybrid 2 in 1 devices with detachable or convertible keyboards.

The Surface Book offers the best of both worlds. In addition to the traditional clamshell laptop mode (best for typing), it features a detachable 13.5-inch 3,000 x 2,000 pixel screen turning the new Surface into a clipboard-style tablet (that works with Microsoft’s Surface Pen stylus). Take a look at it in action below.

In addition, a clever ‘dynamic fulcrum hinge’ enables you to flip the display back on itself turning it into a convertible. Why? Because certain models bake an Nvidia GeForce GPU into the keyboard/base to replace the integrated graphics, so you can get the flexibility of using a tablet with the extra graphical power of a larger laptop.

Speaking of power, the Surface Book comes packing the latest 6th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, delivering speedy Windows 10 performance, passwordless logins with Windows Hello, Cortana virtual assistance and up to 12 hours of battery life (when the keyboard is attached).

Surface Book announcement
VP of Microsoft Surface Panos Panay announces the Windows 10 Surface Book in New York. Credit: Mark Von Holden/AP Images

The laptop isn’t dead. It has evolved. Where once the 2 in 1 approach felt like an oddity, it now represents the future of the portable PC. Detachable screens give you the best usability experience, whether you need to work or play, while powerful, efficient CPUs like the 6th generation Intel Core series mean that you never need to compromise on performance.

How is the Surface Book different to the new Surface Pro 4? Simple. Where the Surface Pro is a tablet-first device, the Surface Book is a laptop first. It’s also bigger (with a 13.5-inch display compared to the Pro 4’s 12.3-incher), has a superior keyboard (with a multitouch touchpad), and it lasts longer (the Surface Pro can manage nine hours of battery life).

The Surface Book is Microsoft’s first laptop and it’s arguably the best Windows 10 laptop that you can buy. That will change, especially as traditional manufacturers are spurred into action to compete against it.

What’s heartening is that Redmond has learnt from its early hardware mistakes. It has produced a high-end, good-looking, versatile PC that does what many new laptops don’t — it makes you look twice. — Dean Evans (@evansdp)

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