Surface Pro. Surface Book. Surface Studio. And now, Surface Laptop. The cornerstone that completes the family of personal computing to achieve more. Panos Panay unveiled the Surface Laptop at Microsoft’s #EDUvent earlier this week, focused on enabling the creators of Tomorrow. Today.
There is a shifting tone within Surface; untangling itself from the deep conversations of tech specs and on the innovative outputs of what generations of people can build, create and share in the every-changing world of today. Here’s how I made sense of The Surface Laptop.
Performance Made Personal
It is Microsoft’s take on reinvigorating the traditional laptop form factor, after inventing and redefining the 2-in-1 form with Pro, detachable with Book and All-in-One with Studio. Panos at the Education event said ‘Learning is an endless pursuit’, one that embodies the learnings and steps Surface has taken in the last 5 years with the origin Surface.
Here, we see the culmination of those learnings that brings together the new Windows 10 S, Surface core and next generation of technology.
The Surface Laptop takes the same 13.5″ size and 3:2 aspect ratio of the Book, bringing a sense of familiarity and beneficial productivity of a 14″ device. The screen resolution is slightly less than Surface Book at 2256 x 1504, but still sharper than QHD. No detaching screen this time, just a pure laptop in traditional sense. It uses the latest Intel Core 7th generation (kaby lake) up to i7, up to 1TB SSD and 16GB RAM with Intel Iris Plus graphics for the to version.
In short, you can expect 50% more performance than Apple’s MacBook Air and the top i7 version outperforming the same spec of the latest MacBook Pro, which are both heavier and thicker than the Surface Laptop. Add to the fact it starts at £979 / $999 for the Core i5, 4GB RAM and 128GB SKU, sitting between the Pro and Book pricing; Not bad at all.
The Most Balanced Laptop Ever.
A bold statement by Surface, but a very compelling one nonetheless. Surface has always been on the alluring side of elegance and the Surface Laptop is no different. It could even pass as one of the beautiful devices the team in Redmond, Washington have made. I said it. For the design conscious, lifestyle centric individual that likes to truly reflect their personality, then the Surface Laptop is the most inviting of the family.
Enclosing the range of tech within the Surface Laptop are 4 colours and Alcantara fabric – Cobalt blue, Burgundy Red, Platinum Silver and Graphite Gold. And those Alcantara fabrics? Yeah, they’re the same as the signature type cover for Surface Pro. They combine well with the aluminium chassis colours and keys, fused with water repelling properties. Ever spilt a drink? (I’m sure we’ve done that one way or another).
Learning is an endless Pursuit – Panos Panay
Colours make a big difference and Surface is all about personality. The colours, are only for the i5 / 256 GB / 8GB option, which will cater to what most people intend to use for. For anything above, you’re only looking at the Platinum Silver. The choice of Cobalt Blue, Burgundy Red and Graphite Gold look stunning, polished and smart. Bold in embracing the colour, but subtle in the way it flaunts itself.
The Surface Laptop positions itself nicely in between the Book and Pro 4, weighing lightweight at 1.25kg. It’s comparable to the 2017 HP Spectre X360 and is lighter than the 1.35kg of the MacBook Air and 1.37kg of the MacBook Pro. It gives creators that balance in additional performance with a small footprint. For those leaning to the mobile side of the spectrum, the Surface Pro 4 enables that as it pushes less than 900g with the type cover on. Balanced Laptop ever? Possibly. Most balanced Surface device so far? Definitely.
One thing we’re always made aware of is the meticulous attention to detail and craft. The one finger opening of the lid. The silence when closing it. The disappearance of the hinge. The design is clean with no extra frills – it all fades in the background. No unapologetic sounds as the lid touches the body of the laptop, but a passing echo of silent closure as you put it into your bag to go.
The fan – discreetly hidden in the rear, facing down – dissipates heat without seeing it. Probably one of the most impressive feat of engineering is the fact that there are no speaker grills on the face, the bottom, or anyway visibly. So how does that work?
I’ll need to see how impressive the sound is, but what is intriguing is the sound actually comes through the gaps of the keys. The speakers vibrate against the premium Alcantara fabric and upwards for immersive stereo audio. I’ve been quite fond of how stereo audio comes out of the Book and Pro, so I’m hopeful it will deliver.
For those that prefer the clamshell design instead of the detachable Surface Pro 4, you’ll find the front closed is just 10mm thin and at most 14mm at the back. That’s just a few millimetre shy of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus (which is a smartphone) and less than double the thickness at it’s maximum. For a laptop to be that thin in comparison to a smartphone you put in your hand, is impressive.
Battery Life That Doesn’t Need a Charger
Battery is always one of the most important aspects of a laptop that people want more of, but not with the compromise in weight or size. You want to be away, unplugged for the whole day without needing to bring your charger; hitting that power saver option. What Surface Laptop proudly touts is the 14.5 hours of battery life on a single charge. For reference, that’s 14.5 hours of iTunes video vs the 12 on Apple’s device that was shown at the event. If true, that would be insane. For students, digital nomads and on-the-go creators, this would leave the days of carrying your charger, allowing you to be more liberal in your days, productive when it matters and uncompromising when you decide how you spend your days.
But how did they do it? A few innovations here, such as being the first to integrate the storage SSD on the motherboard, efficient Windows 10 S performance and the latest Intel i7 with smarter thermal pasting setup between components allowed them to achieve it. What does this mean? Faster performance for longer, a Laptop that is cool to the touch, and efficient use of power on and off.
The Surface Laptop wasn’t just looked at in isolation, but built together and in mind as Office, Windows and peripheral accessories evolve. Windows S is the core of what makes the Surface Laptop perform all day. Everyday.
If your ideal device is one that boots up fast, performs fast, keeps you, your information secure and does so for many years? That is what Windows 10 S and Surface Laptop is.
Windows 10 S is a closed environment that delivers the best performance for Windows. Software ‘verified by Microsoft’ that can be repackaged and served in the Windows App Store, mean you can trust the apps you install without slowing down or without threats. And if you want to download apps outside of the store? You can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro easily. Choices when it matter.
The OS draws little if at all, any power when you put it to sleep. Instant-on as you lift the lid and takes just 10 seconds to power up. Fast. It’s this kind of technology that fade into the background to bring forward the content that matters to you. It gives you the freedom to work from anywhere at the start of the morning to the late evening without needing to charge.
The Surface Laptop Makes Beautiful Sense
You have Microsoft’s own Office 365 and Dial accessory that integrate smoothly into Windows 10 S to increase the flow of productivity. Surface Laptop is the fitting addition to the Surface Family that makes beautiful sense. For those wanting the best of Surface into traditional form, then the Surface Laptop is the missing piece of the jigsaw.
I look forward to get my hands on one, sharing my thoughts and verdict on the Surface Laptop. Stay tuned here with me, One Tech Traveller