Microsoft enters the notebook market with Surface Book

“The Surface Book is two times faster than the MacBook Pro”

A riotous crowd rose to their feet upon the unveiling of the Surface Book, the first ever notebook built by Microsoft.

It punctuated a New York launch event ripe with products spanning Microsoft’s entire ecosystem, including updates made to its Xbox console and HoloLens headset, along with new iterations of its Band wearable, Lumia smartphones and Surface tablets.

The unveiling of a Surface notebook took the audience by surprise, one of many to be had throughout the two hour presentation.

“The Surface Book is two times faster than the MacBook Pro,” said Panos Panay, the VP of Microsoft’s Surface division. "It is the first laptop ever built by Microsoft. It is the ultimate laptop."

The notebook has a 6 million pixel screen that spans 13.5-inches. The body is machined from a magnesium alloy and it houses a keyboard with ‘best in class’ travel and a large, capacitive trackpad.

“We’ve been making keyboards for 25 years,” said Panoy, placing emphasis on its comfort amidst criticism levelled against the redesigned keyboard of the Apple MacBook.

It is the thinnest and lightest notebook powered by an Core i7 processor, claims Microsoft. Inside the Windows 10 Pro computer is the latest 6th generation processor from Intel, and it can be configured with up to 16GB of RAM and a terabyte hard drive.

A 3GB movie was copied from a Samsung SSD to the notebook in under ten seconds in one illustration of its capabilities.

The notebook will last for 12 hours before needing a charge, claimed Panoy. Its base houses its NVIDIA GeForce GPU, a full sized SD card slot and two USB 3.0 ports.

Distinguishing the Surface Book from other notebooks is its fulcrum hinge. It acts as one continuous component, as wide as the base and the screen, to keep the notebook rigid. Then, with the press of a button, it unclasps the screen from the base in a move that makes the Surface Book a powerful, standalone tablet.

The notebook is compatible with Microsoft's revised stylus, called Pen, which ironically has an eraser on its alternate end.

“Isn’t it funny that there is a pencil out there without an eraser. It’s like backwards,” said Panoy, as he referenced the recently unveiled Pencil from Apple.

The stylus can cue MIcrosoft's Cortana personal assistant from a button press and can recognise 1024 levels of gradation.

Surface Book hands-on: Microsoft's first laptop is simply amazing

It magnetically locks onto the shorter side of the display. Place the screen in portrait orientation and it is reminiscent of a clipboard.

Pre-orders have opened for the Surface Book in the US. The notebook will be available in stores on 26 October from $US1449.

PC WorldAustralia is awaiting a response from Microsoft representatives on the local launch of the Surface Book. Microsoft is opening its Pitt Street store in Sydney on 12 November.


Update, 6:39am: Microsoft has said in a statement prices for the Surface Book will start at $2,229 when it goes on sale in Australia on November 12.

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