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article imageMicrosoft unveils its first proper laptop

By James Walker     May 2, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has officially unveiled its first PC with a traditional laptop form factor. "Surface Laptop" joins Microsoft's existing range of Surface-branded devices, offering a premium laptop experience targeted towards college students and mobile workers.
Surface Laptop was announced during Microsoft's "#MicrosoftEDU" live event today. It joins the company's Surface Pro convertible, Surface Book detachable laptop and Surface Studio all-in-one PC.
Microsoft has previously focused on the laptop form factor with Surface Book. However, the device's detachable hinge assembly means it's thicker and more bulky than conventional laptops. Microsoft has heard the feedback from customers to abandon the Book's "clipboard" and just build a regular laptop. Today it delivered, unveiling what it claims is a "refresh" of what laptops can do.
The device's lid holds a 13.5-inch Microsoft PixelSense display finished with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It has slim bezels to make it feel larger and refine its design. According to Microsoft, the display is the thinnest LCD touchscreen ever fitted to a laptop.
Surface Laptop's design is obviously derived from the other members of the Surface family. Microsoft has continued its focus on refined minimalism, retaining the solitary Microsoft logo on the back of the metal chassis. The keyboard is covered in Alcantara-fabric and there's a soft palm rest for long typing sessions.
Surface Laptop
Surface Laptop
Underneath, Microsoft has included its regular array of high-performance hardware. There's a seventh-generation Intel Core processor, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage. Battery life is rated at 14.5 hours, the equivalent of four hours longer than a MacBook Pro.
Out of the box, the Surface Laptop will run Windows 10 S, Microsoft's new cut-down Windows version unveiled today. Aimed primarily at education customers, Windows 10 S only supports apps from the Windows Store. It can be optionally upgraded to the full version of Windows 10 Pro for a $50 fee. Recognising that buyers of its flagship laptop may want to install desktop programs, Microsoft is offering Surface Laptop customers the Pro upgrade for free.
This arrangement seems a little convoluted although it is at least available. Microsoft is using the Surface Laptop to introduce Windows 10 S to the world. In reality, few people purchasing a $1,000 laptop are going to stay away from desktop programs though. Microsoft is marketing Windows 10 S at the expense of forcing customers through an OS upgrade process to get back to their existing apps.
Surface Laptop
Surface Laptop
Windows variant issues aside, Microsoft sees Surface Laptop as being a fit for college students and mobile workers who want a regular laptop rather than a convertible. In other words, it's for the people who like the Surface Pro concept but who really want a laptop. In apparent conflict with the Surface Pro's "tablet that can replace your laptop" tagline, Microsoft has built a laptop that could end up replacing Surface Pros.
"[Surface Laptop] is the most personal and balanced Surface we’ve ever made," said Microsoft. "This Surface perfectly blends fabric and function, power and portability, beauty and performance. It does all of this without compromising on the things we know are important to higher education students: battery life, display quality, storage, and portability."
Surface Laptop is available to pre-order from today starting at $999 for an Intel Core i5 model. Alongside the free Windows 10 Pro upgrade offer, customers will also receive a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal in the box.
In a first for a Surface product, Surface Laptop comes in four colours: Graphite Gold, Cobalt Blue, Burgundy and Platinum. The latter is the original Surface colour used on the Pro and Studio. It's now anodised for a brighter shine.
More about Microsoft, Surface, Microsoft surface, surface laptop, Windows
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