Microsoft unveils its first laptop, the Surface Book – and it’s got a surprise convertible mode

Coming in to today’s event, we were expecting a new Microsoft tablet – and just as rumored, we saw the company introduce the Surface Pro 4. Between the high-end silicon and the new keyboard option, the Surface Pro 4 sure sounds like it makes for a powerful productivity device, but the tablet form factor isn’t for everyone. Luckily for those of you who are more at home with a traditional laptop, Microsoft has a surprise waiting for us this morning: the company’s first laptop, the Surface Book.

The Surface Book has a 13.5-inch 3000 x 2000 display, with an optically bonded panel. An unusual multi-element hinge keeps the screen in place where you want it, and underneath you’ll find a backlit keyboard with keys offering 1.6mm of travel.

The Surface Book should enjoy up to twelve hours of battery life, gets an Intel Core i7 (or i5) processor, weighs 1.6 pounds, and is packed with extras like support for full-sized SD cards. There’s an 8MP rear camera, 5MP front-facer, and dual microphones present.

While Microsoft initially presented the Surface Book as a standard laptop, it waited until the end of its presentation to throw us for a loop: the screen comes off. In a pinch, you can disconnect the screen to use as a clipboard, easily letting you share content with others. Pop it back on the base for access to the laptop’s full hardware: USB ports live in the keyboard, along with some of the computer’s silicon, like its high-end GPU. Microsoft’s “muscle wire” tech helps hold the screen securely in place when working in laptop mode.

Pricing starts at just under $1500, and the laptop is available for pre-order now. Shipments begin October 26.

Update: Microsoft has posted configuration options, with a whole spread of price points to match. That cheapest $1500 option gives the laptop a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB storage. There are a few options in the middle, all the way up to Microsoft’s highest-end: the Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of solid-state storage. For all that, you’ll pay a hefty $2700.

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Source: Microsoft

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!