Microsoft has recently been making a name for itself when it comes to desirable and high-end devices, such as the Surface Book. Now, it's turning its attention to traditional laptops with the now-confirmed Surface Laptop.
With the popularity of the MacBook line of laptops in the college lecture hall, it makes sense that Microsoft would be eyeing up this popular market.
It also makes sense that, on the day Microsoft revealed its slimmed-down version of Windows 10, known as Windows 10 S (that runs on low-price and low-powered devices), the company would announce hardware to accompany the new operating system.
What was actually shown off, however, might catch you by surprise.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A Chromebook-like MacBook rival from Microsoft
- When is it out? Pre-orders available now with final release on June 15
- What will it cost? $999 (about £773, AU$1,328)
Surface Laptop release date
Microsoft held an event on May 2 to reveal Windows 10 S. With buzz surrounding this event, it was expected for Microsoft to reveal new hardware that takes advantage of its newly announced OS.
As for when the Surface Laptop will be released, Microsoft made pre-orders available on May 2 with units promised to ship on June 15. That doesn't come as a shock given that Windows 10 S came out on May 2 and that Microsoft promised Windows 10 education devices to arrive within a few months.
Surface Laptop price
Chromebooks range in price from around £200/$250/AU$340 to £800/$1000/AU$1200, with Google releasing the ultra-expensive Chromebook Pixel years ago.
But, since that experiment didn't really work out, with Google dropping the device last year, we didn't expect Microsoft to release a premium device with such a barebones operating system. Against all odds, though, that's exactly what the company did.
Sporting Windows 10 S and an (arguably unnecessary) Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, depending on your configuration, the Surface Laptop costs $999 (about £773, AU$1,328). This counters our suspicion of a budget laptop making its rounds in Redmond, WA.
Surface Laptop specs and features
Microsoft gave us a good look at the Surface Laptop during its #MicrosoftEDU livestream, confirming it will come with a 13.5-inch PixelSense display at a 3:2 aspect ratio, the same controversial shape worn by the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.
The Surface Laptop weighs 2.76 pounds, however, making it lighter than the 3.34-pound Surface Book. In comparison, the Surface Pro 4 weighs 1.73 pounds while the top-end Surface Book i7 comes in at a comparatively whopping 3.63 pounds.
It also dons a "flocked Alcantara" material imported from Italy – the same microfiber fabric found on some Surface keyboard covers – surrounding its keyboard and trackpad. The Surface Laptop will come in a range of colors including Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue and Graphite Gold.
Speaking of the keyboard, you can expect backlit keys and a 1.5mm key travel from the Surface Laptop. These are pretty standard inclusions for a premium laptop of this price, but it's worth noting nevertheless.
What came as more of a shock is that the Surface Laptop uses such high-end components to comprise its tech specs. Giving customers the choice between 7th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, Microsoft claims that the Surface Laptop is 50% faster than the MacBook Air and that the i7 version is faster than the i7 MacBook Pro.
The Surface Laptop also bears a battery life that's better than any MacBook, lasting 14.5 hours, according to Microsoft. Again, this is probably due to the native implementation of Windows 10 S, which uses fewer resources as a result of its incompatibility with x86 apps.
A PCIe solid-state drive will be soldered onto the motherboard, so while you can't expect cheap high storage capacity options or manual upgrades over time, boot times should be exceptionally fast – especially since the Surface Laptop runs Windows 10 S, which claims startup times of less than 5 seconds.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article