Aside from the release of the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft has also announced the release of the Microsoft Surface Book. This latter device was less expected than the next tablet in the Surface Pro series, but was welcomed by consumers looking for an alternative to the MacBook series. The Apple range of laptops is considered to be the outstanding market-leader, but Microsoft will be attempting to rival the MacBook with the release of the Microsoft Surface Book.
The Apple MacBook design is undoubtedly a classic, and one only needs to note that virtually every single laptop that we ever see in television advertising is a MacBook to understand the impact of this computer. But the Microsoft Surface Book certainly incorporates some impressive specifications in the design department, and could be ready to compete with the MacBook range.
According to Microsoft, the Microsoft Surface Book is just 7.3mm thick and weighs only 1.6 pounds. When one considers that the MacBook Pro weighed in at 4.5 pounds, it is easy to see that there is a significant difference between the two devices. And despite the featherweight makeup of the Microsoft Surface Book, there is no scrimping on power either.
Microsoft particularly promoted the quality of the display in the Microsoft Surface Book when it unveiled the device, and the 13.5-inch display is certainly impressive. Microsoft has been reluctant to reveal the full screen resolution for the device, but it has stated that it will deliver 267ppi resolution; six-million pixels with “color, contrast, and clarity.”
This means that the display of the Microsoft Surface Book will indeed be more detailed than the iPad Pro series, regardless of which Retina Display MacBook Pro one opts for. The 15.4-inch MacBook Pro features a 2,880 x 1,800 native resolution at 220ppi, while the 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro model has a 13.3-inch screen with 2,560 x 1,600 native resolution at 227ppi.
All computers are ultimately defined by performance, and it certainly sounds as if the Microsoft Surface Book will impress in this department. An Intel Core processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GPU with GDDR5 memory feature. And although full specs are yet to be made available, Microsoft claims that this laptop is twice as fast as the MacBook Pro, and that it is “ounce for ounce the fastest 13-inch laptop ever made.”
The MacBook Pro features a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (with Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz), featuring a 3MB L3 cache. This is also configurable to 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) with 4MB shared L3 cache. This has previously been considered an extremely powerful performer by both critics and consumers, so if Microsoft can indeed deliver a laptop twice as fast then the Microsoft Surface Book will be a sensational device.
One of the most interesting and notable aspects of the Microsoft Surface Book is that it features a detachable keyboard. This ensures that the device can effectively act as a tablet as well as a laptop, and adds value to what is already an attractive package. Microsoft has placed a particular emphasis on the keyboard in the Microsoft Surface Book, with an extremely quiet key set, a “best-in-class” key stroke, and backlit keys also included.
Although the Microsoft Surface Book appears to be a powerful performer, many Apple aficionados will simply refuse to ever consider using a Windows machine again. Firstly, it should be said in mitigation that performance improvements in the Microsoft Surface Book can diminish over time due to the Windows operating system. While Apple’s OS X does require updates to be downloaded on a regular basis, there is no doubt that the scale and size of upgrades related to Windows 10 can often see the software gradually reduce the performance of hardware over an extended timeframe. Every user that has persevered with the PC for a period of time will have experienced this, and it is certainly an argument against the Microsoft Surface Book.
Additionally, it is well known that Windows is considerably more vulnerable to viruses and malware than the Apple OS X system, and the fact that the security suite is built into the Mac operating system has been a massive advantage for Apple. Certainly Windows 10 is a major improvement over recent Windows releases, but the package offered by Microsoft is yet to match the efficiency, performance, slickness and security of the Apple OS X operating system.
The Microsoft Surface Book will be released for pre-order beginning on October 7, 2015, and will be released for general sale on October 26. Pricing will begin at $1,499 USD. By comparison, the 128GB version of the 13-inch MacBook currently retails for $1,235 on Amazon.com. So Microsoft is certainly banking on the improved feature set and performance capabilities of the Microsoft Surface Book in order for the device to find a niche in the market.
The Microsoft Surface Book is certainly a very powerful and interesting device. Perhaps the most notable aspect of this Microsoft release is its ability to double as a laptop and tablet. It certainly is a nifty innovation, and the power and performance of the device will also ensure that it attracts its fair share of customers. Those devoted to Apple OS X will never move away from the MacBook, but Microsoft has certainly shaken up the laptop niche with this particular release.