Microsoft caught us off-guard when they announced the Microsoft Band, and threw us a curve ball when they announced HoloLens. This time, Microsoft came out of nowhere with their very own laptop, a first for the company and hopefully not the last.
After the Surface Pro 4 was announced we all thought it was over, with Microsoft leaving us on a high note. But no, they had something else up their sleeve and it pretty much brouht the house down. The Surface Book is essentially Microsoft’s answer to the Macbook Pro and Chromebook Pixel, bringing first-party software on exceptional first-party hardware. The device features a large 13.5” PixelSense™ display with a resolution of 3000×2000 at 267 ppi, and an aspect ratio of 3:2. This means the device can basically become like a clipboard if you ever need, similar to the Surface Pro 3 and 4. It’s powered by Intel’s 6th Gen Core™ i5 or i7, with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. Microsoft claims a battery life of up to 12 hours of video playback, which is more than adequate these days. We also get 8 and 5MP rear and front facing cameras respectively- the latter of which has an infrared iris scanner for the new Windows Hello security feature, dual microphones, and front-facing Dolby stereo speakers. And all this packed into really thin 22mm silver Magnesium casing that’s not unlike the Macbook Pro line. But this couldn’t be any further from Apple’s offering.
The Surface Book features a special hinge that allows the device to fold all the way back, similar to that of a Lenovo Yoga flip. Microsoft calls this a ‘dynamic fulcrum’, which seems to flex as it’s bent and allows a wide degree of movement. One slight drawback to this neat design is that it leaves the device slightly open when closed; what I mean is the hinge doesn’t quite fold into itself completely, leaving a sort of hump that elevates the display when put in tablet mode, like a canvas. To some it could be seen as a nuisance, while others can enjoy the effect. But that’s not even the coolest part.
Microsoft lead engineer Panoy Panay almost forgot to mention that the device doubles as a tablet as well! Beyond simply folding the display back, with the press of a button you can remove it completely from the keyboard, giving it a complete tablet experience! The mechanism is called MuscleWire, and isn’t magnetic like the Surface line, but is able to hold the display securely on the keyboard. And the display carries a lot of the internals, such as the CPU and one of the two batteries, making it completely useable on its own. For more of the heavy-duty tasks, you’ll need the keyboard attached, as it hold the NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor.