Sur­face Lap­top is Mi­crosoft’s MacBook Air

MARK HACHMAN gets hands-on with Mi­crosoft’s slim­line lap­top

Windows Advisor - - Contents -

Two things will im­me­di­ately strike you about the new Sur­face Lap­top: it’s amaz­ingly light and sturdy, and it bor­rows a lot of its look and feel from the Sur­face Pro 4.

Think of the Sur­face Lap­top as Mi­crosoft’s an­swer to the MacBook Air: pricey, thin and with bat­tery life that goes on and on and on. It’s not a Chrome­book com­peti­tor, but a far more pre­mium

experience. It does, how­ever, run the new Win­dows 10 S: es­sen­tially Win­dows 10, but lim­ited to apps from the Win­dows Store.

Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face Lap­top is avail­able to buy from Prices are as fol­lows: £949: 128GB SSD, In­tel Core i5, 4GB RAM £1,249: 256GB SSD, In­tel Core i5, 8GB RAM £1,549: 256GB SSD, In­tel Core i7, 8GB RAM £2,149: 512GB SSD, In­tel Core i7, 16GB RAM

Bear in mind that those prices don’t in­clude a

Sur­face Pen (£99 from, or an even more op­tional ac­ces­sory, the Sur­face Dial (£89 from

Just open the Sur­face Lap­top from a folded po­si­tion (where it’s just 0.57 inches thick at its thick­est point) to re­veal the fan­tas­tic 4:3, 13.5in Sur­face dis­play: At a res­o­lu­tion of 2256x1504, with 201ppi, it looks ab­so­lutely gor­geous, but that’s what we ex­pect of a Sur­face dis­play.

Be­low the screen lies the key­board, which looks like it was lifted from the Sur­face Pro 4, and then in­fused with some ad­di­tional back­bone. It’s both strong and sturdy, al­low­ing you to grasp and sup­port the en­tire de­vice from the bot­tom, with just your fin­gers hold­ing one edge. The Sur­face Lap­top weighs 1.25kg, around 480g more than a Sur­face Pro 4 and its as­so­ci­ated Type Key­board. It also ap­pears to re­cline slightly far­ther than a Sur­face Book, which is a step up in my book.

Mi­crosoft said the key­board’s key travel is about 1.5mm, con­sis­tent with the SP4. The lap­top uses the

same Al­can­tara fab­ric as the Sur­face Pro 4’s Sig­na­ture Type Cover, and the keys are about the same size, too. Like other Sur­faces, the track­pad looks and feels fan­tas­tic.

At the back of the key­board re­sides a pair of Dolby Pro-qual­ity speak­ers. Tra­di­tion­ally, the speak­ers hide be­hind the dis­play. But by plac­ing them be­hind the key­board, Mi­crosoft freed up ad­di­tional room be­hind the dis­play for bat­ter­ies: enough to de­liver 14.5 hours of video playback, ac­cord­ing to Mi­crosoft. That’s sim­ply amaz­ing.

If there’s any­thing about the Sur­face Lap­top that will give you pause, it’s the port se­lec­tion. On the left side you’ll find the Sur­face con­nec­tor, a mini DISPLAYPORT

port, and a sin­gle USB 3.0 con­nec­tor – no SD card slot, no USB-C out­put. Mi­crosoft en­gi­neers said they had to make some tough de­ci­sions about what to ex­clude, in­clud­ing both of those fea­tures. Of course, us­ing the same Sur­face con­nec­tor al­lows Mi­crosoft to main­tain charger com­pat­i­bil­ity.

We’re not huge fans of the Al­can­tara fab­ric, and it re­mains to be seen how sig­nif­i­cant an omis­sion the USB-C con­nec­tor is. For peo­ple who have al­ready bought into the Sur­face ecosys­tem, these is­sues are prob­a­bly mi­nor.

So far, Mi­crosoft hasn’t an­nounced a cheaper Core m ver­sion of the Sur­face Lap­top and we sus­pect that will ar­rive at some point to en­tice the stu­dent crowd who live off day-old pizza and beer, and not their par­ents’ credit card. Still, the Sur­face Lap­top feels great in the hand, seems quick and re­spon­sive, and of­fers the Sur­face an im­por­tant en­try into the main­stream mar­ket.

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