Microsoft announces the Surface Laptop, a gorgeous Chromebook competitor

Microsoft announces the Surface Laptop, a gorgeous Chromebook competitor

Update: Our full hands-on is up now! Go check that out for a more detailed take on the Surface Laptop.

Microsoft just announced the newest Surface product at its education-focused event in New York today: Say hello to the Surface Laptop. It’s a stunning piece of hardware meant to compete with the Chromebook. It’s also the first Surface PC that doesn’t turn into a tablet.

Unlike its older siblings, the Surface Laptop is a traditional laptop. No flipping mechanism, no detaching screen (although it still is compatible with the Surface Pen). Instead, the device is meant to be a beautiful but simple showcase for Windows 10 S, the company’s competition for Chrome OS.

The specs are fairly in line with some of the other Surface products:

  • 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504 ‘PixelSense’ Display (201 PPI)
  • 1 USB-A port
  • MiniDisplayPort
  • 2.76 lb
  • 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Core i5/ Core i7 Kaby Lake processor options
  • Intel HD 620 (i5) or Iris Plus 640 (i7) graphics
  • 4/8/16 GB RAM
  • 128/256/512 GB SSD
  • 14.5 hours battery life of video playback
  • Dolby Premium audio
  • Comes in Cobalt Blue, Burgundy, Platinum, and Graphite Gold (colors only on i5 256GB model)

Just look at that design though:

Those colors, that soft-touch wrist-rest! Microsoft is using the same Alcantara material it used on the Surface Pro 4 keyboard, which helps give the laptop a warm feeling rather than the usual cold, hard metal.

Performance-wise, Microsoft promises the laptop is faster than a 13-inch MacBook Pro, while still packing more battery life – 14.5 hours total, to be precise. Moreover, Microsoft says it’s worked some magic on standby time, such that you could go away on spring break and still have the same battery life when you returned.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as cheap as hoped. The computer starts at $999 for the Core i5 model. It’s available for pre-order today, and arrives June 15. That’s a lot cheaper than the Surface Book, but not quite the affordable Chromebook competitor we hoped. Instead, it’s more of something to go against the Chromebook Pixel.

For more detailed impressions, check out our full hands-on preview here.

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