Microsoft’s new Surface Book is the “ultimate laptop”

3 min read


Those were words spoken on stage at Microsoft’s big hardware keynote yesterday, where the company spent two hours showing off all sorts of different hardware that would soon join the Windows 10 ecosystem. Not third-party devices, Microsoft hardware. Who would’ve guessed that a few years ago right? And it’s a shift in focus that has already brought to light some incredibly exciting new products – like the Surface Book.

But before anything (and before Geoff sucker punches me for not mentioning it), there’s a new Surface Pro on the way. The Surface Pro 4 is still trying to replace your laptop, but this year seems like the closest Microsoft has come. The keyboard cover has been redesigned with better keys, a new, bigger glass trackpad and thinner design. The tablet itself can hold an Intel 6th gen Core i7, and is now rocking Microsoft’s new PixelSense Display technology with a resolution of 2763 x 1824.

It is simply stunning, and starts at $899. Whether this fourth iteration arrives locally, well that’s another story.

But it wasn’t the Surface Pro 4 that turned heads at the event. Instead, it was another member of the Surface family that no one had even heard whispers of. The Surface line has always been about replacing your laptop, but Microsoft has seemingly conceded that sometimes that just isn’t possible. So what is the Surface Book? It’s the compromise. A laptop with all the portability of a Surface, in a sleek, powerful package.

The Surface Book is Microsoft’s answer to the MacBook Pro, and the iPad Pro, and nearly every other 13-inch ultrabook on the market all wrapped up in one. It’s a 13.5-inch laptop with a 3000 x 2000 resolution PixelSense display, up to 16GB of RAM with a Intel Core i7 and even a discrete Nvidia graphics chip. Simply put, it’s the most powerful i7 you could possibly get for its size right now, with Microsoft claiming it to be twice as fast as a MacBook Pro.

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The best part came later though. The Surface Book still has Surface in the name, which means it can be used as a tablet. But unlike the bending hybrids that dominate the market, Microsoft has designed a simple latch system that lets you detach the screen from the base at any time. You can then leave the keyboard at your desk, or flip the screen around before attaching it to the base again for more power (the discrete graphics card is inside the base. Everything else is in the tablet itself).

The touch screen has support for Microsoft’s new Surface Pen, and enough power to enable you to run programs like Solidworks, Adobe Premiere and more on the go. It’s Microsoft’s very first laptop, and I’m sure it managed to scare everyone else in the market space. It’s up for pre-order now starting at $1499, but again we have no idea if it will make its way to local shores just yet.

Last Updated: October 7, 2015

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    So they’re finally conceding that while tablets might be nice, but they’re never going to replace real machines for work.

  • Brady miaau

    Solidworks, really? OK graphics chip then. BUT what about the battery?

    • On the Surface Book, no idea – but the surface pro gets 9 hours. From an I7. It’s amazing.

      • Brady miaau

        Bloody hell. Maybe it is worth the steep price tag of R25 000 from then? Import only……

        • Grand Admiral Chief

          I’m asking my supplier for a price now, will post if I get it

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      Microsoft claims around 12 hours – but until actual testing that’s just a number 😛

      • Brady miaau

        Especially with high end software like Solidworks. That uses a lot of resources.

  • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    I might be crucified for this, but that actually seems like a really well placed product…Definitely wouldn’t mind one for work, but uhm, yeah, that won’t happen…

    • Brady miaau

      I must admit to thinking the same.

      Acer has something vaguely similar, but… I am still using my 2011 Dell laptop for work, it works fine and is still fast enough. 2nd gen i7, 16Gig ram. Eats battery for breakfast AND weighs 4kg.

      I think I will replace mine next year sometime, looking seriously at something like this, a detachable one.

      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        It would be a neat addition this, especially with the detachable version, would be a hell of a lot of fun doodling in a meeting…

  • Grand Admiral Chief

    I think I need to purchase one, you know, to test if it will work for our company, yeeeessss, a demo unit of sorts

    • Brady miaau

      Yes. I think so too.

      • Grand Admiral Chief

        Tax write off, tech investigation, yes, seems legit

    • Commander JJ of the Normandy

      I’m still trying to convince my company that I shouldn’t have to pay for my parking at the office, so I don’t think I can make this fly.

  • Commander JJ of the Normandy

    Five years from now Apple is going to release this exact product and the world of sheep is going to go apeshit and say it’s the coolest thing ever.

    • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

      You called it man, you called it!

    • Grand Admiral Chief

      [bookmarks link, sets reminder to +5 years]

  • VampyreSquirrel

    I foresee this giving issues… much like “similar” machines from other manufacturers.

  • Jonah Cash

    I want one of those! it would be perfect for my work. Currently I use a tablet at the vehicle then I download and work on my laptop in my car. I would definitely get it if it comes to SA. Would probably cost R25000 but I would shell that out if it works!

  • Deceased

    Am I the only one that smells lawsuits coming?

    That thing looks remarkably like a Macbook Pro :O
    ( and if I remember correctly, Samsung was dragged to court for, in part of, the round corners )

    • Francois Knoetze

      Well it has bits and bobs that look like the pro (have one at my desk) but overall don’t think Apple has much footing if they want to make a case.

      • Deceased

        But did Apple really have that much footing with the Samsung case? 🙂
        ( honestly asking as suing for aesthetic factors such as round corners doesn’t seem like much footing in my opinion )

        To paraphrase the “That’s a penis” meme…
        “That’s a Macbook”

        I stand by my earlier statement, Microsoft is playing with the lions balls with the aesthetics of the surface-book 😀

  • Francois Knoetze

    (As a Mac Owner) The Surface book is a damn nice piece of tech. Would love to use it in design work. Now I know there is a lot of Apple bashing etc etc. I own an iPad, Mac and iPhone. The Ecosystem works for me and is great when i am designing websites and switching between iPad etc on the fly. My Apple devices have never given me a lick of grief. My previous pc’s have given me so much crap I couldn’t stand it anymore that is why I made the switch. It works for some and not for others.

    Back on topic. I like the direction Microsoft is going with their stuff.

  • Weanerdog

    Hey my birthday is coming up, so if you all want to chip in and get me one of those Surface books I really would not be at all sad.

    • Grand Admiral Chief


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