Microsoft Surface Book: Powerful, Versatile, and Pricey

On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled a whole host of new hardware products — from a new Surface positioned to take on the iPad Pro to the company’s AR HoloLens, new Lumia phones, and the 2nd generation of the Band — but perhaps the most surprising new gadget to come out of Redmond this week is the company’s first laptop, the Microsoft Surface Book.

Image via Microsoft

With a 13.5″ detachable touch-screen (which also supports the Surface Pen), the Surface Book goes from laptop to tablet in a flash. The whole shebang only weighs 1.6 lbs (that’s .13 lbs less than the new Surface Pro 4) and sports a 3000×2000 resolution. Given its a Microsoft product, the Surface Book runs Windows 10 and Microsoft Office; like the company’s Surface line of tablets, desktop software (including Adobe Creative Cloud and Citrix) can run on the Surface Book just like on any other laptop.

Aside for the Surface Pen — which adds a mobile-focused dimension to the laptop — the most impressive feature of the Surface Book is what’s under the hood. The entry model of the laptop comes with a sixth-gen Intel i5, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. At its largest (and most pricey), Microsoft’s Surface Book packs 512GB of memory, 16GB of RAM, and an Intel i7.

And herein lies the downside: price. With all of this computing power, you’d expect to pay a pretty penny for the Microsoft Surface Book — and, you’d be correct. The cheapest model will run you a cool $1500 (a good $200 more than i7, 1TB Flash storing 13″ MacBook Pro — but, $500 cheaper than the 15″ model, with no detachable screen). At its most costly, the Surface Book will set you back $2700.

That may seem like a lot compared to Apple’s laptops; but, there’s really no comparison between the two (and this is coming from someone writing this on a MacBook Air). While MacBooks are certainly just as powerful — and offer, in many cases, more storage space — Microsoft’s Surface Book is a convertible laptop in every sense of the word. Apple is yet to offer a touch-screen option outside of the iPad, and none of the MacBook screens work with the new Apple Pen.

Though not enough to convince me to switch back to PC from Mac, the Microsoft Surface Book is certainly a compelling option for those looking for a powerful & versatile convertible laptop. Which, leads me to wonder: will Apple follow suit and introduce a similar product in 2016?