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At its educational event held this morning in New York City, Microsoft unveiled Surface Laptop, its $999 MacBook rival available for preorder beginning today ahead of its planned release this summer.
The device runs the new Windows 10 S operating system, the company’s answer to Google’s Chrome OS, and features a clamshell body weighing at 2.76 pounds and measuring 14.47mm at its thickest point and tapering down to 9.9mm at its thinnest point at the front.Taking on MacBooks
Surface Laptop runs either Intel’s seventh-generation i5 or i7 processor and sports vapor chambers integrated into the anodized aluminum finish on the rear to help keep it cool.
It’s got a 13.5-inch PixelSense LCD touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio featuring 3.4 million pixels (withCorning’s Gorilla Glass 3 for protection) and supporting the Surface Pen stylus. “This is the thinnest LDC touch model every created and put into a laptop,” says Microsoft’s Panos Panay, who took to the stage to unveil the new products today.Say hello to Surface Laptop
Watch a reveal trailer for Surface Laptop below.
The laptop is outfitted with a 14.5-hour battery.
That’s “up to four more hours of battery power than a 13-inch MacBook Pro” and “more battery life than any MacBook Air on the market today,” says the Windows maker in another comparison between its new notebook and Apple’s MacBook line. The Windows maker claims you can watch as many as fourteen episodes of your favorite TV show in one sitting, without ever plugging in.
The device’s keyboard has a 1.5mm travel, with the backlit keys made from the same material used for premium Surface Pro covers, called Alcantara fabric. The speakers are integrated underneath the keyboard, but there are no speaker grills or holes.
In terms of connections, Surface Laptop comes outfitted with a regular USB port, mini DisplayPort and the conventional Surface power connector, but no USB-C.Windows 10 S or Windows 10 Pro?
Because it runs Windows 10 S, Surface Laptop can only run apps offered on Windows Store.
Google Chrome is not found on Windows Store and Spotify’s app with support for Surface Dial will be coming to the store early this summer. If you want to run apps not found on Windows Store, you can optionally upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for a one-time $49 fee.
Because Windows 10 Pro is the full version of Microsoft’s operating system, upgrading may result in reduced battery life and performance, cautions the Windows maker.
Microsoft now has three families of Surface devices in its lineup: the Surface Pro 4 notebook/laptop hybrid, the all-in-one Surface Studio and the new Surface Laptop.Availability and pricing
Surface Laptop is available for pre-order via Microsoft Store starting today.
The more powerful $1,599 model comes outfitted with Intel’s seventh-generation Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, eight gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of flash storage. The flagship $2,199 model upgrades your storage and RAM to 512 and sixteen gigabytes, respectively.
Surface Laptop comes in four colors: Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue and Graphite Gold.
The notebook will start shipping this summer on June 15. For a limited time, Surface Laptop comes with an offer for one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal and one terabyte of free storage on OneDrive, giving you full access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
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Aside from the new 12th-gen Core chips inside the new Surface Laptop 5 and the addition of Thunderbolt 4, the only real change is a few admittedly gorgeous new colors. There are some key technical and design tweaks to know, though. Here’s what we discovered during hands-on time with the Surface Laptop 5 from Microsoft’s event.I’ve heard this song before
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. 12th-gen Intel chips are the bees’ knees, unless you’re looking for the better integrated graphical power of AMD’s mobile chips. You’ll have to step up to the Laptop Studio if you want that extra oomph, because even the quite roomy 15-inch model has to settle for Intel’s Xe graphics. Maybe next year we’ll have an Arc version? Who can say.
The Surface Laptop 5 in Sage, chilling with my Pixel 5, which Google calls Sorta Sage.
Externally, the Surface Laptop 5 is as sleek as it ever was, whether you choose the 13.5-inch or 15-inch model. The screens are the same resolution as the previous models, but adds Dolby Vision HQ for HDR… which I can’t say made a huge difference. The excellent and quiet keyboard is unchanged, and comes with either an anodized aluminum deck or the eye-catching Alcantara soft-touch finish. Sadly that’s only on the smaller model, which also gets the gorgeous new Sage green color option. (Man, green gadgets really are in, aren’t they?)
On the left side of the keyboard deck you get one USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port, a new addition that can handle up to two 4K monitors via a single cable. The handy USB-A port for older gadgets returns, as does a headphone jack, and on the right is the venerable and proprietary Surface Connect port. Dual speakers utilize gaps in the keyboard to redirect sound up to the user, and the 3:2 screen (slightly higher-res on the 15-inch model) is a divisive choice which nevertheless fits in with the rest of the Surface line.
Michael Crider/IDGSleek as ever, now in Sage
As for the user experience, well, it’s a Surface Laptop. If you liked the previous models, you’ll like this one (unless you were attached to that AMD hardware). And if you didn’t, there’s nothing here that will change your mind. Microsoft’s style remains beautifully understated, and it includes features that show off the best of Windows’ capabilities, like Hello face unlock and compatibility with the Surface Pen. If you’re careful, you can replace the internal SSD, which is becoming a rare option for ultra-portable machines in this sleek design class.
Microsoft claims 18 hours of life for the 13.5-inch model, and oddly “only” 17 hours for the 15-inch version. Both are roughly in line with last year’s models — any differences you spot are likely to come down to how hard you push the hardware. But it’s worth pointing out once again that, at least on paper, the older AMD versions beat out the new Intel chips for longevity.
The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 5 starts at $999.99 with a Core i5-1235U and an okay 256GB SSD, but an unfortunately stingy 8GB of RAM. It can be had in grey, black, or the much more appealing Sandstone gold-ish and new Sage green. (Seriously, see that green version in person before you pull the trigger on a purchase.) It tops out at $1699.99 with an i7-1255U and 16GB/512GB.
The 15-inch model is unfortunately limited to grey and black, starting at $1299.99 for the i5/8GB/256GB model and going up to $2399.99 for an i7 and a more beefy 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. Both models will be released on October 25th, along with the new Surface Pro 9.
One accessory that is considered quite essential for exploiting the full potential of Microsoft Surface devices is Surface Pen. It is an incredible writing implement for the hardware it supports, but its growing pricing problem keeps many interested buyers away. We have rounded up a few Surface Pen alternatives that can give you the same feel, albeit at a reasonable price.Best Surface Pen alternatives
While the cost of any Surface Pen ranges from anywhere between $ 110- $ 150, there are few good alternatives that can be pocket-friendly.
Dell Premium Active Pen (PN579X)
Wacom Bamboo Ink Smart Stylus
Tesha Surface Stylus
Apart from the affordable price range, these stylus brands will feel good in the hand.1] Dell Premium Active Pen (PN579X)
Dell Premium Active Pen (PN579X) offers an easy way to launch OneNote. A simple tap on the top button opens the app to let you write notes (even on a locked screen), capture a screenshot, or activate Cortana. Moreover, you can customize buttons to your needs by installing Windows Ink Workspace. The magnetic pen supports Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity with a worry-free with 12-month battery life and a 1year limited hardware warranty. A downside of the Premium Dell pen is it lacks a pocket clip and does not come in multiple color options. Interested in purchasing Dell Premium Active?2] Wacom Bamboo Ink
The Bamboo Ink stylus connects to your Surface via Bluetooth and feels more durable than its predecessor. The second generation of the stylus features Tilt support that makes strokes look more authentic by detecting if the pen is held at a natural angle. This ability makes the stylus better suited for digital art than its predecessor. Buy Wacom Bamboo Ink Smart Stylus. It costs approximately 38$.3] HP Pen
The HP pen guarantees a natural, true-to-life feel. It’s precision tip and pressure sensitivity give you complete control and are capable of working with a range of apps for anything from drawing to computing. Apart from the above, the HP accessory features enhanced N-trig technology that helps it score a hardware win over its rivals. The technology helps computer users create on-screen digital ink in addition to touch so that you can draw or compute with precision. Upgrade your productivity with the HP Pen. Download the HP Pen Control app if it is not preinstalled on your computer. Use HP Pen Control to change the settings on your HP Pen using the instructions in this document. It’s priced at $ 50.4] Adoint Ink
Adonit Ink – Surface Pen is Microsoft Pen Protocol and Microsoft hlk Certified product. It’s also Cortana enabled, so; you can use voice commands with your stylus to unleash the convenience of your digital assistant. By simply varying the applied pressure, you can change the line thickness and rest your palm comfortably on the screen while you write. It is palm rejection enabled, so you don’t have to worry about stray lines. Check out Adoint Ink Stylus5] Tesha Surface Stylus
Tesha Surface Stylus is compatible with Surface Studio, Surface Pro 2023, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3 and Surface Laptop.
Which one do you use?
Specs and price range from budget devices to high-powered professional workstations, so whatever you need, the surface range likely has you covered. To help you find the best surface product for you, we’ve drawn up our list of the best Microsoft Surface products in 2023.
Surface Pro 8
Can be paired with a Surface Pro keyboard or Signature keyboard
Intel Evo Core i5 (11th Gen)
The Surface Pro 8 is the latest generation of Surface Pro and features a significantly upgraded screen. Rather than the classic large bezels and the 60 Hz refresh rate, the screen now has modern narrow bezels and a 120Hz refresh rate, though you’ll need to enable it in the settings. The tablet form factor is the classic Surface approach, with the sturdy metal kickstand letting you angle the screen as required.
While there are plenty of options, we feel that the i5, 8GB RAM model with the 512GB SSD is likely the best choice for most people. It’s worth noting that the 128GB and 256GB SSD models have a replaceable SSD where the larger models do not, though this likely won’t be too much of a concern.
Suppose you want to use the tablet as a regular laptop at any point. In that case, you’ll probably want to get a Surface Pro keyboard, which doubles up as an excellent way to protect your screen. Unfortunately, these are entirely extra. To some degree, this makes sense. If you already have a functional one, you don’t need another. But it’s an additional $100 or $300 depending on whether you get the Signature model with the Slim Pen 2.
Compatible with the Surface Slim Pen 2
Keyboard costs extra
Slim Pen 2 costs extra
Weak but acceptable cameras
Surface Laptop 4
15 inch or 13.5 inch screen
Some options offer an Alcantara interior
AMD Ryzen 7 4980U
The Surface Laptop 4 takes a traditional laptop format which is more convenient in some scenarios than a tablet with a kickstand. It’s available with a 13.5-inch or 15-inch screen with an Intel or AMD CPU. The configuration we’d recommend for most people is the 15-inch AMD 16GB RAM model with 512GB SSD. The screen is large and has an appropriately high resolution. However, it is limited to just 60Hz.
Connectivity is minimalistic, but at least there’s both USB-A and USB-C, though it would have been nice to see some extra ports. Wi-Fi6 is supported for high-speed home networking. The battery life is also pretty solid, with Microsoft claiming more than 16 hours under normal usage. Unfortunately, the charging speed isn’t particularly compelling, though that’s likely a good sign for the battery’s longevity. The computer fans are often quite loud, which may get annoying.
USB-A and USB-C port
Good battery life
Slow to charge
Fans are often loud
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
2400 x 1600 resolution
3 in 1
Intel i7 + Nvidia RTX 3050 TI
32 GB RAM
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is designed primarily for creative professionals. It looks like it has a standard laptop form factor. However, the screen can be hinged forward to sit between the keyboard and touchpad or laid flat on the bottom part entirely for a more tablet-like experience. It features a 14.4-inch screen with an appropriately high resolution and refresh rate.
The model we’d recommend for professionals needing the performance is the maxed-out one with an intel i7 CPU, a discrete Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti graphics chip, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD. Though the price makes this configuration a hard sell to standard consumers. The webcam is high quality, offering 1080p resolution. The dual USB-C ports both support Thunderbolt 4. However, these are the only connectivity ports, so you may need an adaptor. Another thing to note is that it is pretty heavy, especially on the higher-spec models. This should be kept in mind if you’re planning on primarily using it as a tablet you carry around with you.
USB-C supports Thunderbolt 4
120Hz refresh rate
Only 2 USB-C ports
Surface Laptop Go 2
12.4 inch screen
1536 x 1024 resolution
The Surface Laptop Go 2 is a budget-orientated laptop primarily aimed at students. While it starts at just $599, that model has just 4GB of RAM, which will likely cause performance issues. Our recommended configuration is the mid-range model with an Intel i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. The 12.4-inch screen has a 3:2 resolution of 1536 x 1024, which means it is sub 1080p. It is also limited to 60Hz.
An excellent 720p webcam and a fingerprint sensor are integrated into the power button. This power button is the only backlit key on the keyboard, making typing in darker environments significantly more difficult unless you’re a confident touch typist. There is a single USB-A and USB-C port, so you may want to invest in a multi-port adaptor. Despite the mid-range CPU, the cooling fan comes on fairly often and is quite loud, though it does an ok job at cooling the laptop.
USB-A and USB-C
No backlit keyboard
Lower than 1080p resolution
Cooling fan is loud
That was our roundup of the best Microsoft Surface products in 2023. Have you recently bought a Microsoft Surface product? What sold you on it, and what has your experience been with it so far? Let us know down below.
Microsoft warned potential buyers last week that its second-generation Surface tablets were close to selling out, at least at its own online Microsoft Store. On Monday, the company’s prediction appears to be coming true, at least in some small part.
Not to worry, however. So far, it appears only the more expensive versions of the next-gen Surface tablets are affected, and the delays are minimal—just a few days to a week. It’s also not clear whether the same devices being sold at Best Buy and other retailers are also back-ordered. And if you really want a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2, try visiting a brick-and-mortar Microsoft Store on launch day, Microsoft has said—they may have them in stock.
In any event, Microsoft may be able to make the “sold-out” claim to win some positive PR—if it chooses to.
Microsoft launched the next-generation Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro at an event in New York City on Sept 23, pairing them with a number of new covers and other accessories designed to enhance the functionality of the basic Surface experience.
One preliminary benchmark test indicated that the Surface Pro 2 provided a marginal 9 percent improvement over the original Surface Pro; in our brief time with the new Type Cover, we felt that it was a step back from the previous version.
Microsoft has made it clear, however, that it hopes the Surface Pro 2 could eventually replace both the desktop and the mobile PC with its innovative Power Cover and a forthcoming docking station, due early next year.
Microsoft has said that the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets will be available on Oct. 22. (For some items, Microsoft has said that delivery will take place after Oct. 22.) Nevertheless, Microsoft representatives told PCWorld that if the order page is showing a week’s delay, those products are back-ordered, including some next-gen Surface tablets and accessories. That appears to be the case.
A quick rundown of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 availability, as of Monday:
$449 Surface 2 (32GB): Ships by Oct. 25
$549 Surface 2 (64GB): Ships by Oct. 21
$899 Surface Pro 2 (64GB): Ships by Oct. 25
$999 Surface Pro 2 (128GB): Ships by Oct. 25
$1,299 Surface Pro 2 (256GB): Ships by Oct. 29
$1,799 Surface Pro 2 (512GB): Ships by Oct. 29
Using Microsoft’s logic, then, the Surface Pro 2 256GB and 512GB versions are sold out.
Microsoft said last week that the Type Cover 2 and the Touch Cover 2 were also sold out; the Microsoft Store ship dates reflect that, with a shipping date of Oct. 29 for both. The Surface Wireless Adapter is still scheduled to ship on Oct. 21.
So far, it’s not clear whether or not retailers like Best Buy have backordered the high-end Surface Pro 2 tablets as well; the site is not currently providing a ship date for the new Surface tablets. Moreover, Best Buy currently does not offer a ship-to-store option for the next-gen Surface tablets.
Theoretically, Microosft could use the availability scenario to make the claim that its new Surface 2 and Pro 2 tablets are “sold out,” a trigger phrase that usually provokes additional interest. (That’s a problem that Microsoft didn’t have with the first-gen Surface, which was discounted after it couldn’t sell enough of them.)
But, without knowing the available supply (or demand) or Microsoft’s new tablets, it’s a dodgy proposition. The best metrics for Microsoft’s success will probably be analyst data or Microsoft’s own numbers, if it discloses them.
Microsoft didn’t say when the Surface Laptop SE would ship. But it’s one of a small ecosystem of low-cost education hardware that will ship later this year and into 2023 and includes devices from Acer, Asus, Dell, Dynabook, Fujitsu, HP, JK-IP, Lenovo, and Positivo. After we published our story, Microsoft clarified that they’ll only be sold via education channels.
Windows 11 SE is yet another attempt by Microsoft to oust Chromebooks from their place in the American classroom, most typically elementary and middle schools covering kindergarten through eighth grade. The key difference between Windows 11 SE and similar editions such as Windows 11 Home in S Mode is that Windows 11 SE allows some third-party applications to be sideloaded onto laptops like the Surface Laptop SE. Learn more about the OS in our article on Windows 11 SE.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop SE.
From a specifications standpoint, the Surface Laptop SE clamshell PC appears to be a slimmed-down version of the Surface Laptop Go, the 2023 $549 laptop Microsoft debuted to offer more at the low end of its price portfolio. The most noteworthy aspect of the 12.45-inch Surface Laptop Go was its 1536×1024 (148 ppi) screen, which contained slightly fewer pixels than a 1080p display. The Surface Laptop SE uses even fewer, however, with an 11.6-inch 1366×768 (135 ppi) display that mimics the displays of some low-end Chromebooks, and moves away from the 3:2 display ratio that many Surfaces feature.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Read our review
Best Prices Today:
Microsoft also chose from two Chromebook-like processors, too: an Intel Celeron N4020 or N4120, both members of the “Gemini Lake Refresh” era of processors that Intel launched in 2023. We last saw these in laptops from companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Huawei last year when Microsoft launched its latest versions of Always Connected PCs.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop SE, as seen in a classroom setting.
Performance isn’t really the issue, though. The goals of the Microsoft Surface Laptop SE are to be simple, manageable, and to accommodate both distance and in-person learning. For the former, Microsoft added a 1-megapixel (720p video) user-facing camera to the Surface Laptop SE. That’s a far cry from the 1080p cameras on most Surface Pro tablets, but certainly cheaper, too. Unfortunately, Windows Hello has been left out, too, as biometric security has been replaced with a lock slot.
Incidentally, Microsoft representatives say that the Laptop SE’s keyboard is neither waterproof nor spillproof.
Interestingly, the Surface Laptop SE is perhaps the first Surface we’ve seen not to support the Surface Connector. Microsoft hasn’t included a Thunderbolt port, either. Instead, the Surface Laptop SE uses a more traditional barrel connector.
Can the Surface Laptop SE be the Chromebook killer Microsoft hopes it will be? Over time, it will probably be less about the hardware and more about whether schools continue to use Google’s products or adopt Microsoft’s Windows ecosystem. Either way, consumers will have more low-priced computing hardware from which to choose.Surface Laptop SE basic features:
Processor: Intel Celeron N4020/N4120
Display: 11.6-inch TFT LCD (1366×768)
Memory: 4GB/8GB DDR4
Storage: 64GB/128GB eMMC
Graphics: UHD Graphics 600
Ports: USB-A, USB-C, 3.5mm mic jack, barrel connector
Security: Nano Security lock slot
Camera: 1Mpixel (720p video), user-facing
Battery: “Up to 16 hours of typical device usage”; 50 percent charging in less than an hour; 80 percent charging in less than 90 minutes
Wireless: 802.11ac 2×2 Bluetooth 5.0 LE
Operating system: Windows 11 SE
Dimensions: 11.17 x7.6 x 0.70in.
Prices: $249 and up
This story was updated at 10:52 AM to note that Microsoft representatives said that the Surface Laptop SE will only ship via education channels.
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