Surface Book

Microsoft announces its first ever laptop

Panos Panay displays Microsoft's first ever laptop, the Surface Book. (Image: Microsoft)

6 October 2015

While expectations were fairly high for an all new Surface Pro device, few were expecting Panos Panay’s other big Surface announcement, the Surface Book laptop.

Panay is now responsible for all of Microsoft’s devices and he left the Surface Book till last in his presentation.

A thin, light and powerful laptop, the Surface Book not only has an innovative segmented hinge called the Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge, it also uses a new mechanism employing what was termed ‘muscle wire’ to allow the 13.5” (343mm) display to easily detach to become an independent tablet, or to attach in reverse to allow the full power of the device to be used in pen and touch mode.

In full laptop mode, the device is powered by sixth generation Intel processors, the Core i7 range, but also has an nVidia GeForce GPU using GDDR5 memory. However, the GPU is in the base and does not power the display when detached.

Microsoft claims that the Surface Book is the most powerful 13” laptop ever produced and is twice as fast as a MacBook Pro.

Panay also said that the new laptop offers an unparalleled typing experience, with a 12 hour battery life and a claimed zero-power usage when closed.

The screen is a fully touch and pen-enabled 6 million pixel display with 267 PPI.

The Surface Book is available form 26 October and starts at $1,499 (€1,330).

The Surface Pro 4 was overshadowed somewhat by the Surface Book, but is an impressive update in itself.

Without increasing device footprint, the screen is now 12.3” (313mm) due to a reduced bezel. The device is thinner at 8.4mm and lighter too. Now with 1TB storage options and up to 16GB of RAM, Panay said it is 30% faster than the Surface Pro 3 and twice as fast as a MacBook Air.

Both devices also feature enterprise grade security through new biometric devices, fingerprint readers and facial recognition through forward facing cameras.

Supporting these two devices, but backward compatible with the Pro 3, is a new Type cover that has a larger trackpad, wider space keys and a better typing experience.

Also compatible with both Pro 3 and the new 4th generation devices is a docking station that has the usual range of connectivity but can also power two 4K displays.

The Surface Pro 4 is available from 26 October also, and starts at $899 (€798).

The full launch event, which covered Xbox One, Lumia Phones and Surface devices, can be seen here.


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