On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled the latest addition to the Surface line, the Surface Laptop. This is not to be confused with the Surface Book, which is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop. The Surface Laptop is a no frills, regular laptop. No removable screens or keyboards, no kickstands, just a pure laptop. Despite the existence of the Surface Book, many have been clamoring for Microsoft to build a proper laptop to compete with Apple’s Macbook line. While powerful, the Surface Book is expensive and may not fit the needs of regular college student or consumer. Therefore, Microsoft is trying to appeal to the average college student who wants a simple (but not cheap) laptop.
First the techie stuff: The base model starts at $999 and comes with the latest Intel Kaby Lake i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The processor can be upgraded to an i7, the RAM up to 16GB, and the storage up to 512GB. The screen is a 13.5 inch PixelSense display with a 2256 x 1504 resolution, the same 3:2 aspect ratio as the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The display is also a touchscreen with support for the Surface Pen. Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of ports around the machine. There is the proprietary Surface connector for power, regular USB-A port, a mini DisplayPort, and a headphone jack. Conspicuously missing is the inclusion of a USB Type C port. According to Windows Central, Microsoft believes that Type C is still in its infancy and thus doesn’t warrant inclusion into the Surface Laptop. They believe most students will still carry a traditional USB thumb drive. This is despite most of Microsoft’s OEM partners like HP, Dell, Asus, and Razer including USB Type C ports into their laptops. Externally, the Surface Laptop features a sleek anodized aluminum body and has the same alcantara fabric around the keyboard that the Surface Pro type covers use. It also comes in four different colors: Burgundy, Platinum, Cobalt Blue, and Graphic Gold.
One of the more interesting features of the Surface Laptop is the fact that’s running Windows 10 S, a version of Windows that only allows Windows Store apps to be installed. If that sounds familiar, that’s because Microsoft tried this strategy somewhat with Windows RT and original Surface tablet. That didn’t work out so well. The primary difference here is that The Surface Laptop can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for $50. With that upgrade comes the ability to download regular Windows applications. Speaking of Windows 10 S, Microsoft is trying to position that version of Windows into a Chromebook competitor and to hammer that point home, HP and Acer announced $300 computers that run Windows 10 S. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t gotten developers to invest in apps for the Windows Store so only time will tell if this new effort to encroach on the Chromebook’s popularity in schools will pan out. If Microsoft can successfully land in schools then that will hopefully spur developers to create more apps for the Windows Store. The Surface Laptop is available for preorder now and ships June 15th.