With the Surface Pro, Microsoft designed a tablet that they argued could replace a laptop. Then, they released the Surface Book, which was a high-end laptop that could double as a tablet. And now Microsoft has announced… the Surface Laptop. We've come full circle. And this may be the gimmick-free computer that people have been asking for Microsoft to make for years.
The Surface Laptop is a 13.5 inch (2256x1504, 3:2 aspect ratio) ultrabook starting at $1000, coming June 15th with pre-orders available now. The base model has an Intel core i5 U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. Configurations currently go up to a core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD for $2200. Microsoft also stated that a 1TB version would be made available. Those specs are pretty run of the mill for ultrabooks, but Microsoft is also claiming 14.5 hours of battery life, and that no charge will be lost when the device is sleeping. Impressive if true.
This thin laptop weighs 2.76 pounds, but it's also slim on ports sporting only a USB-A port, a Mini DisplayPort, a headphone jack, and the usual Surface connector port. The Laptop has a touchscreen using Microsoft's Pixelsense tech, a Windows Hello camera system, and supports both the Surface Pen and Dial accessories. It comes in four colors; Burgundy, Platinum, Cobalt Blue, and Graphite Gold. For some reason, only the higher of the two i5 models is available in all of the colors, and all other models are only available in Platinum (for now?). It's made out of Aluminum, which is a departure from the Surface line's signature Magnesium. And the Laptop even has an Alcantara fabric finish on the entire keyboard/palmrest area.
The build quality was exquisite and it felt very sturdy, despite being so light.
I managed to see the Surface Laptop for myself at my local Microsoft Store. Wow. When Panos Panay said his team poured everything they had into all of the little details, he wasn't exaggerating. The build quality was exquisite and it felt very sturdy, despite the fact that it's so light. It felt about the same weight and thickness as my Surface Pro 3 (with a Pro 4 Type Cover), which is a tablet with a 12 inch screen. The keyboard quality was about on par with the Pro 4, so fairly decent, and the trackpad was similar as well, albeit noticeably larger.
The Alcantara finish looked great, and felt smoother than the keyboard side of a normal Type Cover. There are actually no perforations in it for speakers either. Microsoft used new technology to put the speakers underneath the keyboard. A public space obviously isn't the best place to judge laptop speaker quality, but from what I could hear there was no muffling of the sound.