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Microsoft Surface Book release date, news and features

Microsoft Surface Book

Update: The Surface Book launches in Australia on November 12. Sorry, UK-based people: you're going to have to wait a lot longer. It's not due to launch on those shores until April — a whole six months after it landed in the US.

The Surface Book marks Microsoft's entry into the laptop making business. Revealed at its Windows 10 devices event on October 6, 2015, the 13.5-inch notebook was a surprise entry that even stole the show from the Surface Pro 4.

Touted as the thinnest Windows 10 machine ever created, this laptop is part of the 2-in-1 family and users can snap off the 7.7mm thick screen for a tablet experience. On top of a novel design, the Surface Book is a uniquely performance-focused hybrid that integrates a discrete Nvidia graphics card while offering up to 12 hours of battery life.

It might be an odd duck in the 2-in-1 laptop world, but the Surface Book could very well set the tone for the future of Windows 10 convertibles.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Microsoft's first ever laptop
  • When is it out? Now (US and Canada), November 12 (Australia), April 2016 (UK)
  • What will it cost? Starts at $1,499 or AU$2,299 (about £984)

Surface Book design

The Microsoft Surface Book is available in stores starting October 26 in North America. It's heading to Australia's shores on November 12, but it won't see the light of day until April 2016 in the UK.

Microsoft Surface Book

Surface Book design

Rocking a 13.5-inch screen – with a 3:2 aspect ratio no less – the Surface Book is definitely a large device in the spectrum of 2-in-1 laptops. Of course, this also means Microsoft's hybrid has a large screen than Apple's newly minted 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

It also has a particularly interesting magnesium body with a hinge that literally folds and expands as you open the notebook. Users can simply pull the screen portion of the Surface Book off the keyboard case since it uses a One-button Muscle Wire detach mechanism.

Microsoft Surface Book

Given the size and all-magnesium build of this machine, it's definitely not a light machine in any sense. In fact, the Surface Book weighs 3.48 pounds (1,579g) when fully loaded (3.34 pounds or 1,515g without discrete graphics). Thankfully the table potion of the notebook is much easier to handle, weighing only 1.6 pounds (726g).

Unlike the Surface Pro 4, the Surface Book comes with a real, honest-to-god laptop keyboard. Built on a magnesium frame, the notebook keys offer 1.6mm of travel. What's more, Microsoft has integrated a massive glass laminated trackpad that offers Five-finger contact recognition for extra gesture base controls in Windows 10.

Microsoft Surface Book

Surface book specs

Gunning against the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Microsoft has equipped the Surface Book with Intel's sixth generation Core i5 and i7 processors with integrated Intel HD 520 graphics. The Surface Book can also be equipped with a dedicated Nvidia graphics card.

However, as of this writing Microsoft has not disclosed the exact model number of the GPU but it comes with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. That might not sound like a lot to work with, but the Surface Book was introduced with a running demo of Gears of War.

Microsoft Surface Book

As for memory and storage, the Surface Book can be outfitted with as much as 16GB of RAM and a PCI-E connected 1TB SSD. The starting configuration for this laptop comes with 8GB of RAM and a puny 128GB solid-state drive for $1,499 or AU$2,299 (about £984).

If you want discrete graphics with that, it's going bump up the price to $1,699. Meanwhile, in Australia the extra graphics chip also comes with a storage increase to 256GB for a kingly sum of AU$2,949.

The Surface Book also comes sporting one of the highest resolution 3,000 x 2,000 displays in the industry. It easily trounces the 13-inch MacBook Retina's 2,560 x 1,600 screen and even the iPad Pro's pixel rich 2732 x 2048 display.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is the Hardware and Roundups Editor at IGN Entertainment. Prior to IGN Entertainment, he worked at TechRadar.