Microsoft’s first laptop (that’s not also a tablet) is now available for $999 and up.
The entry-level model features an Intel Core i5 Kaby Lake processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, but it features a premium thin-and-light design with a high-resolution display, an Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard, and it’s the first device to ship with Windows 10 S.
If you don’t like the locked down version of Windows, you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free through the end of the year though.
Microsoft’s updated Surface Pro tablets with Kaby lake chips are also now available for $799 and up.
The Surface Laptop features a 2256 x 1504 pixel display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, support for a Surface Pen, and an IR camera with support for Windows Hello logins using facial recognition.
It’s available with up to 16GB of RAM, up to a Core i7 processor, and up to 512GB of solid state storage. The entry-level model features Intel HD 620 graphics, but if you opt for a model with a Core i7 chip you get Intel Iris Plus graphics 640.
The notebook measures 12.1″ 8.8″ x 0.6″ and weighs about 2.8 pounds and early reviews of the hardware are pretty positive… although reviews of Windows 10 S are a bit more of a mixed bag.
On the one hand, the stripped-down version of Windows can feel limiting if you normally rely on apps that are not available from the Windows Store. Removing support for legacy Win32 apps does help make the operating system faster, more stable, and more secure… but it also limits its functionality.
For the most part Windows 10 S is just a version of Windows 10 Pro that cannot run Win32 apps though. Switching to Windows 10 Pro only takes a moment or two… but the change is one-way: you can’t roll back to Windows 10 S. So don’t make the decision to switch operating systems too impulsively if you think there’s any chance you might want to stick with Windows 10 S.
As for the new Surface Pro line of tablets, they look nearly identical to the previous-gen models. But under the hood they’ve been upgraded from Intel Skylake chips to newer Kaby Lake processors.
The new models also have an updated hinge with support for wider angles, and the new model includes enhancements that will offer as little as 21ms of latency when used with the latest version of Microsoft’s Suface Pen.
Microsoft also now uses a fanless design for both the Core M3 and the Core i5 versions of the tablet (previously the only fanless models were the ones with Core M chips).
The 5th-gen Surface Pro features a 12.3 inch, 2736 x 1824 pixel display, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of solid state storage. It works with Microsoft’s optional keyboard covers and the tablet measures 11.5″ x 7.9″ x 0.33″ and weighs 1.7 pounds.
Reviews of the new tablet are also generally positive, with the new model offering subtle enhancements and longer battery life, among other things. But the lack of USB-C and/or Thunderbolt 3 ports makes this premium tablet a little less future-proof than it could be.