Microsoft, you know me well. The company is out swinging for the fences with new product announcements. My favorite? Hands down, the Surface Book. Sleek with another dose of damn sleek. Now I’m stuck buying a laptop I don’t need.
Someone at Microsoft realized hardware is equal parts usability and presentation. Yes, Windows has been a fun punching bag, but every time I’m on Windows 10, I like it. Windows 8 was a mess.
Running Windows 8, it had the feel of where is everything? These damn tiles…
Now that Microsoft has fixed the OS screw up, it’s about the hardware. Enter the Surface Book. The company is quick to claim its the fastest 13-inch laptop on the market though there’s no way to confirm that without getting hands-on and going benchmark crazy on it.
In a jab at Apple, Microsoft also claims the Surface Book is twice as powerful as the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Again, no way of confirming that, but definitely fighting words here in the south.
The announcement video is Apple-esque. Some will deride that as copying its competitor. Me? I don’t care. Apple’s marketing works. Using inspiration minus Jony Ive’s voice is a smart move. Make people want the product.
Which marketing works better? The Surface Book shown here:
Or the Surface Movement commercial:
Give me the product announcement video every time. It makes me want the Surface Book. Even if I don’t need it
Surface Book Specs
Pricing starts at $1499, which is remarkably reasonable. I saw the screen grabs first and immediately thought bank buster.
Technical specs are impressive. Storage options are all SSD and include options of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB. Power the system under the hood will be your choice of 6th generation Intel i5 or i7.
The i5 configuration will give you Intel HG graphics. Decent, but I’d opt for the i7 that includes the Nvidia GeForce 8G. Memory choices come in at 8GB or 16GB.
Ports include two USB 3.0, an SD card reader, SurfaceConnect, mini Display Port and headphone jack. A 5MP front-facing camera and an 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus are included.
I never understood the addition of rear facing cameras on tablets and hybrid tablet/laptops. Who is holding these things up to snap photos? Put the power into the front-facing camera for teleconferencing.
Battery life is reported at 12 hours of video playback. We shall see once independent tests start.
What about the Surface?
While I love the announcement of the Surface Book, the Surface tablet also earned a refresh. Immediately, the weight jumps out at you. The thing is light. It tips the scales at under 1.8 pounds loaded out.
Microsoft also keeps the pricing in check to give a clear delineation between the Surface tablet and Surface Book. There shouldn’t be any cannibalization that plagues Apple. The Surface 4 starts at $899. Apple’s iPad Pro can quickly head north of $1000, bumping into the Macbook Air.
Keeping the products separate is key for Microsoft. It allows them to target both casual users and its enterprise customers. All while loading the two with enough horsepower to go head-to-head with Apple.
Or, if Microsoft’s assertions turn out to be accurate, whip past Apple’s product lineup.
Now comes the marketing game. Both companies probably don’t welcome the competition, but the consumer clearly wins when the battle lines end up with more innovation and pricing that doesn’t line the companies with absurd margins.
As a fan of the latest and greatest tech hardware, Christmas has officially started.