Microsoft Surface Laptop is a velvet-gloved jab at MacBooks

Microsoft's Surface line of devices is well-regarded by critics and users alike, and it's getting a new member. During its education-focused event today, Microsoft displayed the Surface Laptop to the world, in all its sleek and seamless glory.

At first sight, the new machine resembles a Surface Pro 4 convertible with an attached keyboard, but the differences go a bit deeper than that. The screen on the unit measures 13.5", has a resolution of 2556×1504 (with the standard Surface aspect ratio of 3:2), and is covered with a slab of Gorilla Glass 3. Like the Surface Pro 4 before it, the screen supports both touch and pen input. Microsoft says the panel is the "thinnest LCD touch model on a laptop," and that it's color-calibrated from the factory.

The attached backlit keyboard has 1.5 mm of key travel and a base made of Alcantara, but it hides a trick under its cloth sleeve: a pair of integrated speakers. Microsoft claims the machine is lighter and thinner than all MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, and that its front edge measures under 0.4" (1 cm). The Surface Laptop weighs a mere 2.8 lbs (or 1.3 kg) and is 0.6" (15 mm) thick at the hinge side.

Buyers will be able to choose between Kaby Lake Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs. The Core i5 model uses an HD 620 IGP, while the higher-end Core i7 packs an Iris Plus Graphics 640 adapter with a 64MB eDRAM cache. Memory capacity can be configured with 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB, while storage comes by way of a PCIe SSD up to 512GB in capacity.

The company also made no small amount of noise about the battery life of the Surface Laptop. Microsoft says users can expect to go up to 14.5 hours between charges (at least during video playback), and that this figure once again outmatches all of Apple's portable Macs. The cooling vapor chambers are integrated into the chassis, something that Microsoft says substantially improves cooling performance and makes for a quieter laptop overall.

The Surface Laptop is Microsoft's first device with Windows 10 S onboard. The operating system could be somewhat faster than regular Windows 10, though it'll be limited to installing applications from the Windows Store. The OS on the Surface Laptop can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for free until the end of the year. After that, pro users will have to shell out $50.

Pricing starts at $999. Just in case you don't like the standard-issue laptop gray, Microsoft has you covered. In the U.S., the Surface Laptop is available in four colors: blue, gold, burgundy, and gray—though this only applies to the model with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Prospective owners get a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal and 1TB of OneDrive storage. Microsoft expects shipments to start on June 15.

Comments closed
    • leor
    • 2 years ago

    It’s like MS can’t get out of their own way, just when you think they are putting out something nice, they make the same bonehead moves that have made their products less desirable in the past.

    Using windows 10 makes me sick. I don’t want to think about my OS, it’s the environment in which I get work done. Disabling the crap that keeps wanting to sell me stuff or share is my information like playing a game of whack a mole with every update. I’ve had apply the registry hack to disable Cortana twice, and I sometimes click on the ads on the lock screen by accident.

    Man do I miss Windows 7…, note to MS, stop trying to copy Apple and Google, no one wants anything to do with your app store, just stick to what made you the market leader in the first place, and differentiate yourself by giving us the open environment no one else does.

    And for God’s sake make your OS STFU! I need my OS to talk to me and offer me dumb stuff as much as I enjoy telemarketers during dinner time. Speaking of which why the hell do they still exist in 2017?

    Didn’t mean for this to turn into a rant, but being low level bummed out all the time for the past couple of years has been building up I guess. Also no USB C = fail.

    • Unknown-Error
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]Windows 10 [b<]S[/b<][/quote<] "S" for $h!tty Edition?

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    Laptop looks great, but more importantly this is the first time I’ve heard of windows 10 S.

    Christ, kill it with fire and hang the people responsible.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 2 years ago

    What are the guts on this thing???

    Can we get another discrete GPU???

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      CPUs possible from the graphics listed are

      Iris Plus Graphics 640 | i5-7260U, i5-7360U, i7-7560U, i7-7660U

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 2 years ago

        🙁

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 2 years ago

          I wouldn’t mind having a machine with the i5-7200U, in red or blue. Given the wattage we’re looking at here, I don’t see how a dedicated GPU would do better.

          Paying their price for it though, hard to see much of that with me.

    • Voldenuit
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]The Surface Laptop is Microsoft's first device with Windows 10 S[/quote<] DOA. Has microsoft learnt nothing from Windows RT? Of course they haven't.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      RT didn’t have a free upgrade to Pro for the year, or a 50 dollar upgrade path later.

      It’s dumb it doesn’t just come with Pro for non bulk school purchases, but that’s still not too bad.

        • Voldenuit
        • 2 years ago

        [quote<]RT didn't have a free upgrade to Pro for the year, or a 50 dollar upgrade path later. [/quote<] 'Free' on a $999 halo model. You can bet the $300 acers, dells and lenovos that MS will /really/ be pushing this through won't get a 'Free' upgrade, that's if they can be unlocked at all.

          • tipoo
          • 2 years ago

          I agree the decision is stupid. I’m just saying the difference is RT never had that upgrade path to full Windows, and stayed what it was no matter what.

          • Flying Fox
          • 2 years ago

          For the people who cheap out and get Acers/Dells/Lenovos, they will be:
          1) If bought by educational institution -> free upgrade
          2) If bought by individuals -> $50

          So for most people here (#2), the comparison should be $350 against other laptops in this price range. Devils are in the details which is unclear, but the $50 upgrade seems to be for the Pro version. Most consumer laptops come with Home, so that’s a $50-100 delta there in terms of cost of the OS.

          Another interesting tidbit to consider is that the Surface Laptop is likely to be free of bloat like other Signature Edition models. The value add here is marginal, but is still something.

            • Voldenuit
            • 2 years ago

            It’s not fair to compare Windows S vs Windows 10 Home, though. For one thing, Home actually runs and installs any win32 and UWP apps from any source, not just MS’ horribly sparse Windows Store.

            As for the Surface laptop, $999 gets you a MBA with twice as much RAM (8 GB vs 4 GB). 4 GB in a thousand dollar laptop in 2017 is beyond ludicrous.

            If even Peter Bright, one of the most die-hard MS fanbois, calls the Surflap a ‘solution in search of a problem’, then MS has missed the mark by several parsecs.

            EDIT: Also, we’ve finally figured out what the ‘S’ in WindowsS stands for. Judging by the Alcantara lining, it stands for ‘staph aureus’. Hope Grandma doesn’t have wonky heart valves, because giving her one of these is gonna give her bacterial endocarditis. Does the Windows Store have a free funeral invitation card app?

            • Flying Fox
            • 2 years ago

            [quote<]It's not fair to compare Windows S vs Windows 10 Home, though. For one thing, Home actually runs and installs any win32 and UWP apps from any source, not just MS' horribly sparse Windows Store.[/quote<] That is why I said, "compare $300+50 against the other Home-equipped laptops at the same price". After the $50 upgrade the S becomes Home/Pro (that's the part I am not too clear on non-Surface Laptop laptops) and [i<]can[/i<] run both Win32 and UWP from any source. Problem is, I don't think we know the configs of the Acer/Dell/Lenovo "$300" laptops with the S yet.

      • w76
      • 2 years ago

      They’ve learned alright, from Google and Apple. They lust like 15yr old boys at Pornhub over their walled app-store gardens. To get a cut of every software transaction that takes place? To be in the position to sell ads to developers to monetize their free apps? The minute there’s enough software in the Microsoft Store to reduce the pain, they’ll flip the switch and make “side loading” a Pro and/or Enterprise-only option.

        • Voldenuit
        • 2 years ago

        I look forward to seeing them try.

        EU’s been trying to pay off Greece for a decade now, a nice fat antitrust suit should do it.

        • tsk
        • 2 years ago

        I think you are right. This laptop is Microsofts first step to testing the waters, to see if they can fully replace the home edition with S.

    • hungarianhc
    • 2 years ago

    This is a really nice piece of hardware, and I would consider it, but I’m fully on the USB-C train. I have a cable under my couch, by the side of my bed, etc. They charge my Chromebook, Nintendo Switch, and phone. I’m not going to carry a proprietary adapter with me.

      • davidbowser
      • 2 years ago

      Based on your comment, I had to look up the ports because I was thinking, “Of course it has to have USB-C, even if not for power”.

      NOPE

      [url<]https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/productID.5102691100[/url<]

        • LaChupacabra
        • 2 years ago

        Heads up, this link redirects through link synergy. If you’d like a direct link try [url=https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/productID.5102691100?icid=en_US_homepage_hero1_Surface%20Laptop_5.2.17<]this[/url<].

          • culotso
          • 2 years ago

          All links are converted to Synergy links. It’s a Techreport feature.

            • LaChupacabra
            • 2 years ago

            Huh. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Good to know.

            • Jeff Kampman
            • 2 years ago

            We have an affiliate program with several e-tailers and the Microsoft Store is one of those outlets. Links to those e-tailers will automatically be converted to use the appropriate affiliate format. Sorry for the surprise.

          • Forge
          • 2 years ago

          It’s not exactly new. Several years now.

    • blastdoor
    • 2 years ago

    Microsoft’s surface products are an ironic combination of (1) stuff I have no interest in buying and (2) stuff I’m glad Microsoft is making.

    My hope is that it will light a fire under Apple, but that it will result in Apple making products that I actually want to buy, not copies of the Surface products.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      The screwless bottom and near hingeless design are almost out-hedonism-ing (shut up, it’s a word) Apple. I agree, friendly or not so friendly design competition between the two will be a good thing.

      [url<]https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/2/15517148/new-microsoft-surface-laptop-video-specs-windows-10s[/url<]

      • dyrdak
      • 2 years ago

      That blocky lid does not light any fire. Maybe I’m not interested in anything minecraft or MS in general. Then there’s Windows Store only – forget it. Why would I want to pay premium for the junk that’s subsidized by their Store sales and requires me to sign in with MS account. To lock myself in their walled ghetto? Probably limited access to file system next – to limit users option to move data out.
      BTW, not convertible? Is the fad over?

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        It’s free to move these to Pro this year, and 50 dollars after, no store lock in if you do that. It’s stupid not to default to it, but it’s not locked to store apps like RT was, it’s just…Paywalled.

    • WasabiVengeance
    • 2 years ago

    That’s a really nice screen, but that port selection is completely unacceptable.

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Seems pretty nice, they always seem to do a couple of things off of what people want though.

    Pro should probably come with the consumer variants, while schools can buy the 10 S version. 50 dollars will feel like nickel and diming for consumers.

    And they have three ports, and one is Mini Displayport? WTH there Microsoft, USB C could have carried DP and a lot more.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, not including Win 10 Pro is really dumb imo. If their heart was in the right place they’d include it in a 1st party $1000 device aimed at students. Wait, did I just imply MS had a heart?

    • Kretschmer
    • 2 years ago

    This looks like a nice XPS13 alternative, assuming you take the Win10 Pro upgrade and don’t need TB3.

    I wouldn’t pick on Apple too much; they aren’t bothering to try on PC hardware, these days.

      • Redocbew
      • 2 years ago

      I have a family member who has a Surface, and she loves it. Seems like a nice machine from what I’ve seen of it.

    • the
    • 2 years ago

    It’d be perfect if it had one Thunderbolt 3 port instead of the mini-DP port. Even a Type-C with DP Alt mode would be more advantageous here. USB A isn’t dead but it is nice to have a few flexible Type C ports as it is the way of the future.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, for school use it’s important to have at least one USB A.

      • Flying Fox
      • 2 years ago

      The target audience for this will mostly plug USB sticks in it, meaning the Type A port is appropriate. Charging phones that is Type-C? There are plenty of A -> C cables available. Non-Gen 2 USB3 though, but probably not too big of a deal.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Why do I want the surface that my wrists rest on covered in fabric? Seems like that would wear pretty severely and get nasty.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 2 years ago

      Guess you won’t like the tagline either: “The Microsoft Surface laptop with Alcantara — part of the fabric of your life.”

        • dyrdak
        • 2 years ago

        Once that Alcantra is covered with crud the Surface will project usual Windows 10 experience even without signing in.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      The Surfii have shipped with these fabric keyboards for years, they’ve held up well. They’re treated to be moisture resistant.

        • ColeLT1
        • 2 years ago

        Yep, they hold up to (shudders) [b<] our sales people [/b<] very well.

      • Redocbew
      • 2 years ago

      This is a Public Health Announcement. Please do not lick your Surface.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 2 years ago

      Alcantara is often used for car seats (the Germans are fond of it) so it’s a fairly hard wearing fabric.

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