Microsoft's Surface line of portable machines has made progress in advancing the Windows laptop market, but the sales increases the company likely expected from expanding the lineup haven't come. Redmond is apparently responding to the lack of meaningful sales growth by introducing lower-priced, lower-specced versions of the Surface Book 2 and the Surface Laptop.
The new bottom-rung Surface Book 2 has the same specs are the same as the previous entry-level model with a two-core, four-thread Core i5-7300U processor, and 8 GB of memory. The only cut is that SSD size is reduced from 256 GB to 128 GB. The screen is still the same 3000x2000 13.5" unit from other current 13" Surface Books. The new machine comes in at $1199, so buyers net an extra $300 in their pockets by accepting less storage space compared to the 256 GB model.
The Surface Laptop gets a new low-end model with a more obvious performance reduction. The previous base model bore an Intel Core i5-7200U processor, but it's now undercut by a new version with Core m3-7Y30 chip. The machine still has 4 GB of memory and 128 GB of solid-state storage. The screen is still a fancy 13.5" touch unit with a resolution of 2256x1504. The new Core m3-equipped version goes for $799, which is $200 less than the otherwise-identical Core i5 version. Microsoft backs all of its Surface machines with a one-year warranty, which Consumer Reports says could come in handy.