- Lisa Eadicicco
Although Microsoft is arguably the biggest name in the PC business, it doesn’t usually make computers. The company typically supplies its software to Microsoft’s hardware partners such as HP, Lenovo, and Dell among others.
But that all changed earlier this month when Microsoft unveiled the Surface Book – a high-end Windows laptop created by Microsoft that launches on Oct. 26. It starts at $1,499.
The laptop functions as both a tablet and laptop, but not in the same way Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet does. Although Microsoft says the Surface Pro can replace your laptop, it’s still primarily a tablet. The Surface Book, however, is the opposite and is built more like a laptop than a tablet – although you can still detach the screen from its keyboard to use it as a slate when needed.
The reviews are in, and here’s what critics are saying about Microsoft’s first ever laptop.
The Verge’s Tom Warren thinks it’s “nearly” the ultimate laptop, but would be better if it was just a laptop and didn’t function as a tablet too.Warren wrote that the display was sometimes wobbly, and the hinge was a bit bulky. “It has a beautiful display, amazing battery life, and the keyboard and trackpad feel great,” he wrote. “But even though that’s everything I want in a laptop, the accommodations Microsoft made to enable the tablet end up making the laptop experience less than ideal.”Engadget’s Dana Wollman praised the Surface Book for its battery life, design, and power, but also noted that the screen wobbles.She also noted that while the Surface Book has great battery life when it’s in laptop mode, it doesn’t last very long on a charge when you’re only using the tablet portion. She did, however, write that it raises the bar for other laptops. “The Surface Book isn’t perfect, no product is,” she wrote. “But if the ‘ultimate laptop’ merely means it raises the bar for other laptops, then it mostly lives up to that promise. I would recommend it based on its long battery life alone – 11 hours at a minimum.” Ars Technica’s Peter Bright loved the screen, keyboard, and trackpad, but noted that there were bugs when detaching the screen.Bright said that the Surface Book believed that the screen was detached from its based when it wasn’t. “This left me unable to remove the clipboard,” he wrote. “The keyboard button did nothing at all (because the keyboard wasn’t being recognized).” He did say that he liked the Surface Book overall and that the screen is “bright, beautiful, clear, and crisp.” ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley thinks the Surface Book is a beautiful machine, but doesn’t think it’s necessary to detach it from its keyboard.Foley noted that the Book looks and feels nice, and the keyboard is especially comfortable since the keys are well-spaced. She also said the screen makes everything “pop.” However, since it has two batteries (one in its screen and one in its base), it’s “tippy” when you actually use it on your lap. “There isn’t enough stickiness/bumpiness on the bottom of this laptop to hold it in place,” she wrote. “I can’t type on my lap using the Surface Book, though I can read and watch videos with it there, as I can hold onto it. In my opinion, Microsoft could have done without the detachable ‘clipboard’ tablet on this machine.”