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.

Surface Laptop

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.

Surface Pro

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.

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9 replies on “Microsoft Surface Laptop, updated Surface Pro now available”

    1. I agree. 4GB on a $1K laptop is shameful. Especially since it’s soldered. But Brad’s right, it’s all about the upsell.
      Overall it’s a really nice looking laptop. I’m glad Microsoft gave the laptop useful ports and isn’t forcing buyer to lug a bag of dongles around. I would prefer to not have the fabric covering. It might feel nice and look nice initially, but overtime it’s going to look bad. One review I read said the edges started fraying after a few days.
      Maybe HP or Dell will come out with a similar design that is more affordable, has an appropriate amount of RAM, and without the fabric covering.

    2. Most don’t realize that a 4GB machine is plenty adequate for certain usage demands. If you simply surf the web, use Outlook, Word, Excel, (for simple spreadsheets) and watch YouTube, the reality is 4GB plenty of RAM. For those who more heavily use a machine for complex spreadsheets that have a lot of date, or running video while doing other compute tasks, or generally are running a lot of applications simultaneously, or have to mess with graphics and a lot of pics, then yes, you need more memory and a stronger processor.

      For the last year, I’ve run a Surface Pro 4 with an M3 processor just to experience what the average user would experience (for some in our workforce). I did this because I wanted to ensure I experienced what many of my users would experience and be challenged by. I found that the M3 4GB machine was more than adequate. That config is plenty adequate for the majority of users who don’t put big demands for prolonged periods on their machine. I must admit that before getting that machine, I was skeptical that any machine with 4GB RAM would be all that good, especially with an M3 processor. We’ll, that Intel M3 processor with 4GB RAM on the Surface Pro 4 has performed a lot better than I though it would. Plus, it runs very cool and there is no fan (so it is silent).

      So…an generation 7, Intel i5 processor with 4GB, how would it perform, and is it worth $1K? Based on my experience this last year with the Surface Pro 4, M3 with 4GB RAM, I can tell you that the config with the new i5 processor will perform very well. Microsoft Surface engineers have proved that they know what they are doing, period. It will be worth it and will not disappoint. Of that I am confident.

      Now, having said the above, I am taking delivery of a “new Surface Pro” in the next day or so of the new Surface Pro with an i5 processor with 8GB of memory. Yes, it will have fun having a powerful machine after paying some dues this last year. 🙂 I am hopeing for quiet and reasonably cool peformance from a powerful machine. We will see.

      1. True. I’ve had 4GB in my Thinkpad T430 ever since the other 4GB module broke. It struggles if I try using my development environment on it, but for writing, editing, surfing, and Netflix, 4GB is fine, especially if you’re using an SSD.

      2. I agree that 4GB of RAM is adequate for most things. Most of the machines I use on a weekly basis only have 4GB. I feel that you should be getting more than adequate at this price point. I think when you hit $1000, you shouldn’t be cutting corners.

        1. Exactly. I don’t think the argument is that no users can handle being limited to 4 GB, but that paying that much for that spec is more difficult to justify. Most of the laptops we buy for our customers with 8 GB of RAM are under $1k. They’re going to be heavier, for sure, but not by much.

          With that out of the way, I don’t think I can personally handle less than 8 GB RAM any longer. I got a laptop with 8 GB RAM in 2010, and I don’t think I can turn back. My 8 GB work MacBook Pro struggles under the loads I put on it, and I’m starting to feel the limits of my 16 GB desktop, which I may boost up to 48 GB soon…

  1. Rather unfortunate that when comparing both $1299 models to an entry level Macbook Pro, you get less for the money. You lose out on Iris Plus Graphics 640 and TB3 but are compensated with twice the amount of storage. Granted, you can still do better for the money but you’re paying for the premium build, I guess.

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