Microsoft is changing up the Surface line today with the introduction of a Surface laptop called the Surface Book. It's the first laptop ever built by Microsoft. But it's a lot more than a laptop. The screen is actually fully removable so that it can be used as a tablet. If you put the screen back on, you can also choose to flip it all the way around and use it like a convertible, with the keyboard propping it up.
The Surface Book includes a 13.5-inch display with a pixel density of 267PPI. That display is optically bonded to the glass, which means it should look good. Microsoft says the Surface Book is housed in a machined magnesium body — basically, it's a silver metal laptop, but it manages to look far different than a MacBook, despite its similarities in name. Perhaps the standout design element here is the Surface Book's hinge. Microsoft calls it a "dynamic fulcrum." From the side, it appears to almost flex as it bends. It leaves a slightly awkward gap when the Surface Book is fully closed, but it also elevates the display at an angle when the screen is flipped around for use as a tablet. A button on the side releases the display, which detaches from the top of the hinge.
Microsoft says the Surface Book is for someone who wants a bigger screen and "the perfect typing experience" of a laptop. For one, that includes a backlit keyboard. There's also deeper keys, with 1.6mm of travel. Microsoft is kind of freaking out about this keyboard. It's calling it "perfect" and saying it'll type almost silently. Beneath all that, the Surface Book includes a glass trackpad with five points of touch sensitivity.
Naturally, the Surface Book will work with Microsoft's Surface Pen stylus as well. As for why you'd want to use this device as a tablet, Microsoft is talking about it as a "digital clipboard." That's not the most compelling phrase, but it's really everything that the Surface line has always been: a very powerful tablet that runs desktop Windows. This one just happens to do a much better job of transforming into the laptop that it really wants to be.
On the inside, the Surface Book has the latest Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, from the Skylake family. There's also an Nvidia GeForce GPU with GDDR5 memory, however that's located in the base, so you'll need to keep the display docked to tap into its power. The dock also includes two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot.
All together, the machine is supposed to keep running for 12 hours on a single charge. "Ounce-for-ounce, pound-for-pound," Microsoft claims, "this is the fastest 13-inch laptop ever made anywhere on any planet." Microsoft says it'll actually be twice as fast as the MacBook Pro.
The Surface Book will go on sale October 26th with prices beginning at $1,499. Preorders will begin October 7th.