On May 2nd, Microsoft presented its latest product in the Surface family, the Surface Laptop. This is a pure laptop, in the style of Apple’s MacBook line, and has a 13.5-inch display. Notable is the low weight, 2256 x 1504 display, fabric keyboard, four available colors, Windows 10 S and a claimed 14 hour battery life.
The starting price is US$999, and that includes an Intel Core i5 with 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB SSD and Intel HD Graphics 620. The high-end model includes an Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, priced at $2199.
Microsoft’s introductory offer includes one year of Office 365 Personal. The offer expires on October 15, 2017.
The estimated ship date is June 15th.
This laptop does not have a detachable display and compares well with Apple’s MacBook Air on the low end and MacBook Pro on the high end. What’s interesting about the design is that it ships with Windows 10 S, a version of Windows 10 designed to load fast and place fewer demands on the hardware.
While it runs Microsoft Office, apps can only be loaded from Microsoft’s Windows Store. (Unless the customer upgrades the Laptop to Windows 10 Professional.) This allows Microsoft to vet the apps and operates similarly to Apple’s Mac App Store. Windows 10 S also also allows Microsoft to support low-cost Windows PCs, starting at under $200, that can go toe-to-toe against Chromebooks that are favored in many education circles
The specifications for this new laptop are nicely presented by Microsoft in a table that compares it to other products in the Surface family. Ports include: one full-size USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Headset jack and Surface Connect port (that allows expansion to the Surface Dock.) The Surface Dock is priced at $199.
Another interesting design element is the introduction of the Surface Arc Mouse. We’ll have more on that in the future.
Microsoft is continuing to tout its design philosophy that computers of this kind should have a touchable display. This is in contrast to Apple’s steadfast notion that the touchable surface should be in the plane of the keyboard, not the display.
Microsoft has added another new, beautiful, aspirational product to its Surface family. While sales of the Surface line have been slumping, Microsoft is continuing to probe the market, smartly assess the competition, listen to what customers want, and design and ship handsome, functional mobile computers that provide appealing alternatives to Apple’s MacBook line.