Microsoft has been making tablets and smartphones for a few years, but now the company has introduced its first laptop.

The Surface Book is a 13.5 inch notebook with a touchscreen display, an Intel Skylake processor, NVIDIA GeForce graphics, and up to 12 hours of battery life.

Prices start at $1499, and the Surface Book ships October 26th, but you can already pre-order one.

surface book_03

Oh yeah, it’s also a tablet. While the computer has a sturdy keyboard base with full-sized USB and HDMI ports, you can detach the screen and use it as a “clipboard.”

The NVIDIA GPU is in the base, so you can use the computer as a touchscreen tablet. But connect it to the keyboard base and you get support for more powerful hardware-accelerated graphics.

Note that you’ll need to spend at least $1899 to get a model with NVIDIA graphics. The entry-level models only have Intel HD graphics.

You can also flip the screen back 360 degrees over the “dynamic fulcrum” hinge to use the Surface Book as a tablet with the keyboard/GPU base connected.

Microsoft says the notebook has the same PixelSense screen technology as the Surface Pro 4 tablet, with 267 pixels per inch and a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen. There’s also support for pen input from a Surface Pen.

But unlike a Surface tablet, this is very much a notebook, with a built-in backlit keyboard that Microsoft says is sturdy and quiet (typing is said to be virtually silent). The keys have 1.6mm travel.

surface book_11

Microsoft says the Surface Book is twice as fast as a MacBook Pro (thanks to the integrated GPU, among other things).

Want to add external displays or other hardware? The Surface Book supports the new Surface Pro docking station with dual DisplayPort connectors. That lets you hook up two 4K monitors.

The notebook also has two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port.

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30 replies on “Surface Book is Microsoft’s first laptop (but it’s also a tablet)”

  1. The Surface Pro 4 is way better in my opinion. Well… for me that is. This is an under-powered, over-priced laptop, albeit a pretty unique one. The SP4 Pro has what this has minus the dGPU.

  2. Nice nice but ouch for that price price. I hope other PC manufacturers clones Microsoft’s design and features next year.

    Off topic: Brad when clicking images the popup image viewer thing has no keyboard controls and all the buttons are far away from each other and from the middle of the page. Consider adding at least the hotkeys left/right for next/prev image and escape to exit the image viewer. Or put the buttons closer at the edges of of the popup image and not as currently at the edges of the active browser page.

  3. This should be the final wake-up call for the OEMs to start seriously building their own vertically-integrated hw+sw solution since Microsoft is going to eat their lunch.

    Just like the rumors about the Xiaomi laptop, they should invest a lot of money and effort to make Linux a serious desktop alternative to Windows and start shipping Linux-based solutions.

  4. problem with microsoft is somehow they always selling their product at expensive price. If they want to compete with apple then they need to reduce their price as Microsoft are no longer the king of technology like they used to be.

    I think the only reason people still using microsoft because they still using microsoft office products (excel, word, powerpoint, project, etc). And also Microsoft exchange. If outside got a descent and robust replacement application that can replace MS Office and MS exchange then i guess people will go away from microsoft forever.

    The rest of microsoft product like CRM, etc more or less are sucks. Even the windows OS are getting lesser and lesser attractive for people to use.

    MS windows server 2012 and 2012 R2 are horrible. Windows 8.0 /8.1 and win10 are horrible, WIndows Mobile, Windows RT are all horrible.

    My personal opinion ,of course i could be 100% wrong.

  5. What the heck? I rather get Levono or other laptop for lesser price if I want those. Surface Pro 4 makes more sense.

  6. um, yeah and the $1499 model is the i5 without the Nvidia chip. who knows what the fully loaded version costs. Want? hell yes, afford, sorry no go.

    1. doh, just checked out the pre-order page. i5 with 8GB ram and 256 storage + Nvidia chip is $1899, top end i7 16gb, 512 storage and nVidia is an insane $2699.

      1. The parallel top-end MBP with 16GB, 512GB etc. is $2000. I get that they’re trying not to eat into Dell, HP, Lenovo etc. markets, but this is just silly.

        I mean, the end-user experience of Mac OS X is so much better than Win10 — why would anyone pay so much for a crappier OS?

        1. No it’s not? Don’t know what you’re looking at but $2k buys you the bottom end macbook pro 15 on the US store, so 16GB RAM yes, quad core yes, but 256GB of SSD and no dedicated GPU. Want to up that to 512GB and a dedicated GPU? That’s $2500.

          Now consider that the surface book has a higher resolution display, a touchscreen, longer battery life by 4 hours, is lighter by nearly half a kilo (3.48 pounds vs 4.49 for the macbook), and is also a tablet with pen input.

          $200 extra for those features and the only thing you lose is Mac OS? Great deal in my opinion. Being able to use tablets as tablets, then plug them into a keyboard to work on the go or a desktop dock for serious work, that’s fantastic and now my preferred way of working.

    2. They’re going after Apple’s market. High end machines (in enough volume) provide better margins, and if they can compete successfully with Apple’s MacBooks and MacBook Pros, they’ll have a winner on their hands, which will help establish their Windows 10 ecosystem (this is the real prize).

      It’s a big if, of course, but they’re running out of options.

  7. Nvidia Geforce graphics doesn’t mean much. The Meaningful things of this statement are, “CUDA capable”, “Nvidia Gamestream capable”, and “Can play minesweeper faster” – nothing that most people know anything about. Modern Nvidia graphics cards @ 1080p run Tomb Raider anywhere from 8fps to 100fps… that is an extreme gap.

    1. Well, they showed some game footage, recorded, of Gears of War and a few others playing well… So it seems to be somewhere in the upper range, but we’ll know more once the actual parts model numbers are released…

      1. it’s not the games I’m interested in, it is the mercury playback support in premiere.

        1. Should be covered, it’s been a option for Nvidia cards for over 5 years now… So even a low end card should still support it now…

          Btw, latest reveals indicate it’s a Maxwell architecture Nvidia card… exact model still not known…

    2. They did say GDDR5 memory which knocks out the low end of the range. At worst it’s a 950M which would make sense given Apple used the same chip of the lineup (well, 650 and 750M but you get the idea). At best it’s a 980. My money would be on a 950M but it could reasonably be a 960M or 965, which I’m hoping for.

      Now that I think of it, given the GPU has its own separate heatsink, plenty of space in the bottom half and a separate battery it could be one of the higher end models without causing heat problems or draining the battery life too much.

  8. “Microsoft says the Surface Book is twice as fast as a MacBook Pro”

    Surely they mean to say a 13″ Macbook Pro, and not the 15″ model with the i7-4870HQ.

    As much as I want Apple to lose… The i7-4870HQ is a 47w CPU. Despite being 2-generations older, I suspect it will be about 50-70% more powerful than a 15w U-series Skylake i7.

    But of course, I am assuming this will be a U-series CPU

    1. Well, the Skylake U-Series actually ranges from 15W to 28W, so they could be comparing to a 28W Core i7…

      Though, just to put it out there as a possibility, Vaio did manage to put a 47W Gen 4 Hawell Core i7 into their Pro tablet… So, I wouldn’t rule out a Skylake 45W H-Series Core processor… After all, Skylake is suppose to be even more energy efficient and this does have a hybrid cooling system and a larger tablet design that should be able to better handle the heat…

      Mind, MS also stated that the Surface Book is more powerful than the Surface Pro 4, which itself is stated to be 30% faster than the Surface Pro 3 and 50% faster than a MacBook Air…

      The up to 12 hour battery life claim is the main reason to still suspect it’s a U-Series and not H-Series…

      1. That was my exact thought process, the Vaio’s use of the H-series, but the Surface claims far too good of battery life for it to not be a U-series.

        1. Yes, though, that does depend on the usage scenario that they’re claiming for those up to 12 hours… Mind, the Keyboard dock also contains a secondary array of batteries as well as the discrete Nvidia GPU, in addition to the batteries in the tablet half itself… and a 13.5″ device does have room for a larger battery than the Surface Pro 4 uses… So, doubtful but not quite impossible…

          1. I think if they squeezed an HQ cpu into this thing, and managed a 12 hour battery life, Microsoft would be a advertising it. It would be the headline of this article. Marketing opportunity of the century.

          2. Not if the 12 hours is only under specific usage that doesn’t take advantage of that performance… But yeah, doubtful…

        1. You’re not going to get 2x a MacBook Pro from just a better GPU…

    2. I think that’s a given though, it makes sense to compare against a device of the same size. Otherwise I might as well say that a 17″ gaming laptop is still faster.

    3. compare to i7 6500u, 4870 is more than 100% faster (passmark score).

      i7 6500u – 4460
      i7 4870hq- 9356

      1. I doubt the surface 4 will have a 6500u. It will likely have an Iris iGPU. I would guess either 6560u, 6567u, or 6650u.

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