5 important questions about the Surface Laptop answered (video)

There's a lot of confusion about the Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S. In this new video, I try to answer a few questions about the new ultra-cool Ultrabook.

How long did Surface Laptop take to develop? Why did Microsoft not use USB Type-C, and what's the deal with Windows 10 S?

Tune in while I try to answer those questions and more. Stay tuned as well for a deeper dive into Microsoft's muddled messaging on May 2 and what you need to know about it.

We'll, of course, do a lot more on the Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S over the next few weeks. For now, jump into our new Surface Laptop forums to for even more discussion.

Preorder the Surface Laptop (opens in new tab)

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Why not type C .. Simply no space left.. 😊
  • If they are only going to have one port, USB-A is the way to go rather than forcing people into adapter hell like on Mac.
  • Yup, which is pretty much what Ralf Groene told me. Not ideal, but I think most people will be fine.
  • I still kind of wish there was a laptop base for the Pro 3 & 4. It could have an extended battery, maybe an extra USB port. Just something to make it easier to use on my lap at times. The Pro 4 keyboard works brilliantly on a desk and lapability is literally the one thing I'd like it to be better at and I'd switch between the two bases as needed
  • I'm actually working on 3D printing some kind of solid base that my Pro 3 keyboard can sit in and keep the screen standing rigid without using the kickstand, for exactly this reason.
  • There is! It's new and can be found at Best Buy. Look online. It's called the Brydge. $149.99
  • I can't be sure, looking at the video ... but is the laptop using the same proprietary charge connector as, say, the Surface Pro 3?  If so, I'm wondering why they couldn't replace THAT with a USB-C connector that can serve dual duty as both a charge and data port?
  • yes it's the same charge connector as the 3pro and 4 pro. I'll guess due to that, that the pro-basestation will also be compatible.
  • USB Type C is not magnetic. No, just no. I want my mag connector in the instance someone trips over the power cord... (and it's an interface which supports thunderbolt data transfer, thus the Surface Dock and native ethernet/display/usb ports)
  • (and it's an interface which supports thunderbolt data transfer...
    Huh? The proprietary connector on the SP3/4 & SB doesn't support TB 3.x... Agree on mag. connector, I don't want a power connector that won't easily dislodge if its cord is tripped on. If they're to add USB-C (pref. 3.x gen. 2 + latest TB support), they should do so by removing mDP/HDMI.
  • Hmmm ... supposedly the port does, hence the reason the dock only needs the single connection to the SP's, via the power connector.  That said, I'm wondering where people setup their Surfaces so that people can trip over the power cables?  Especially if it's docked?  I'd rather the USB-C to dual-use my Continuum dock for ethernet etc ... I couldn't use a Surface Dock with my 950XL.  Each to their own, I guess :-)
  • It actually does not. mDP/HDMI ports are more redundant, they'd need to go before the proprietary connector, USB-C can easily supplant them (and in a better way). But ideally a 2nd one if they can get away with it next time! So: USB3 A full-size, USB-C latest spec (hopefully 3.x gen2 + TB 3.x too!), & "maybe" a 2nd one latest spec (no TB). It is a smaller interface after all - one can dream! ;-P A 2nd one OR keep mDP/HDMI, but that'd be getting tricky, UNLESS they dropped USB3-A completely (not sure that's a good idea) or down to mini, but don't think they'd bother with that. This stuff is REALLY hard, I'm in awe of what they manage with the space constraints they have, but I reckon they can & will do better next time.
  • This thread suggests the Surface Connect port is TB3 in disguise:  http://www.surfaceforums.net/threads/surface-connect.17799/.  And there's the Q&A on Reddit, where someone asks why SP's don't have TB, and the Microsoft response is "take a close look at the Surface Connect port".  Given the dock uses the Surface Connect port, I'd be *very* surprised if Microsoft also went to the trouble of designing some kind of proprietary data bus as well, rather than just using a proprietary connector : https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Microsoft-Surface-D.... All that aside, I totally back your wish list! :-D
  • Ah yes, I recall that thread, AIR there was some others in that forum & elsewhere at the time, that were even more revealing/explanatory. I wouldn’t be surprised if the internal hw & lower lvl sw's based on TB, doesn’t mean it’s as capable as a full TB2+ implementation*. In fact it’s not, as we’ve seen for the last few years, I doubt it ever will be without a “re-write”, but at least maybe there’s a “foundation” there. They’ve shown little interest though, so could be wishful thinking for a SP5/SB2/Studio2/Laptop2, here’s to hoping... Cheers/BR. *or that's it's "TB" as the OP suggested, thunderbolt-like, sure, TB2+, no sir
  • Only one port limits it to needing a dock to be a fully functional computer. If I'm buying a dock, I'd rather go with the new USB C standard for future use, and use on other 2 in 1 devices as well. Whether limited for space or not, would of been better to use the new standard, at least IMO.
  • But for those that have Surface dock already, what do you do with that? What about having extra Surface chargers already? Buy a whole new set of accessories? That's what apple would do. Hate that. MS did it right.
  • And if you were forced to buy new components like a dock, you know all too well that they would be here screaming about a Microsoft tax or some other made up crap like that.
  • I never said anything about replacing the magnetic surface charger and eliminating compatibility with existing surface docks. I would just rather see USB C and have the option to buy a dock that would be compatible with that and any other USB C device I own.
  • Don't get me wrong, I think it should have had more ports and having both A and C would be best. But making people carry around adapters is just plain tacky and low class. Want to charge your phone while on the go? Bring a laptop, the phone, the charging cable, the adapter for the cable, and if you want to charge the laptop at the same time then the charger, a second adapter, and on and on. There was an ad years ago that showed a Dell desktop with a mass of wires behind it. Then they showed the mac with just the power cable. And yet, today it is the Apple device with the mass of wires, adapters, and just plain mess.
  • Did u hear the presentation on just what microaft expects about how this device should simply life of charging? Just to recap for you, they said, they wld like u to charge less, charge in the morning, go to class, go to the library, go have lunch and do some research, then do some typing, watch some movies on Netflix, do some typing I'm the evening....and then charge!
  • Sure you cant connect much existing usb devices via type C. But a type C port can handle so many more usb peripherals being plugged into a dock then a single type A port can. Also razer core. Turn your surface laptop into a gaming rig.
  • How about one USB-C for charging and one USB-A. That would even have freed up some space for an SD reader :)
  • I will consider one of these to replace my Pro 3 as it ages unless a Surface book 2 comes out with current gen CPU and GPU for the current perf base price (Can't see it happening as it only just launched in the UK)
  • How sure can u be it won't happen? Hehehe there had been no leaks of this laptop I'm its 2yrs development...so just hold on bro....and keep the feedback going..
  • Although I think USBC is future proof, all my peripherals are USBA. So implementing this computer into my life with be easy. But I also feel that MS should be pushing people like me into the world of C, because we won't go there willingly if everything is still available for A.
  • All my USB-C devices come with a USB-A to USB-C cable and it works perfectly. Only my MS Display Dock is C-C directly. All the chargers are specific to the devices (USB-C for charging isn't quite as universal as people would assume). I love USB-C on my devices but for some reason not worry about missing it on my computer for some reason.
  • Yeah, I like Type C for charging, but that's really it. I get why people want it, but on laptops I'm still Type A 90% of the time so MS may be right here. Nonetheless, I'd love to have a Type A and Type C and no mDP.
  • They should've replaced the mDP with USB C + thunderbolt, mDP pins are flimsy piece of crap
  • I believe trying to do for the majority here is a plus for Microsoft, unlike our buddies at apple. They always try to isolate themselves...beats me.
  • Is there a list of Project Centinial-based applications anywhere? I'm curious as to the progress of these .exe converted programs available in the Windows app store.
  • I rly hope, they will not abandon Surface Pro and Surface (non-pro) line :-/ . Because its 2 years since Surface 3 was releases, and there is still not any successor , and 1.5 year since Surface Pro 4
  • I have a Pro 3 and a Pro 4 isn't anywhere near enough of an upgrade to buy one unless I absolutely need to replace my computer tbh. I would really need an updated model with current gen specs for it to be worth it. A Surface Book is much better in the lap, which is something I'm interested in but the recent performance base is using components too old to justify the price IMO - Needed to be running a 7th Gen CPU and GTX 10-series IMO for the price. Not a gen 6 and a 9 series mobile gpu
  • I'm in the same boat ... the Pro 3 i5 128GB has served me well since release, and the Pro 4 really didn't offer anything that had me heading to the stores for an upgrade.
  • U r still in good hands...wait for pro 5😀
  • They absolutely aren't going to abandone the Pro line, but there really hasn't been a reason for a Pro 4 replacement yet. If they want to make the devices substantially different, I think waiting and not oversaturating the market with Surface tablets in a great call.
  • Right now the Pro 4 isn't a tempting upgrade from the Pro 3 for me. An update to the current generation of i5 and i7 would help that. The Book is in a similar position as the new performance base uses previous gen CPU and GPU at a very high price.
  • Blame Intel, Surface 3 still has the best mobile processor they make, unless you want Microsoft to add $200+ to the cost to include Core M. Hopefully we see a Surface 4 later this year running on an ARM processor.
  • That would be great. IMO the SURFACE 3 Form factor is awesome. It's my favorite device I own. though I hope to upgrade to Surface pro 5 whenever that comes (Hopefully available in cobalt blue (one can dream right?))
  • I have the Pro 3, always wanted a regular 3 because it's a little more compact for drawing/notes, charged via micro USB like my phone, and is fanless. I hope we get a Surface 4 one of these days.
  • ...dont think so....
  • Is Windows 10 S going to be free to OEMs or cost less than Home and Pro? It seems like to go after the Chromebook market, it would ideally be free to OEMs to make lower cost devices.
  • Not free.
  • It it more than Home? It seems odd that the upgrade path from S to Pro is so much cheaper than it is from Home.
  • That's REALLY to sell W10S. 🙂
  • Wat price then?
  • Everybody just needs to calm down. These are not intended to replace any existing Surface products (which are designed for the business market) these are aimed DIRECTLY at the K-12 Educational market. The OEMs (HP, Dell, Acer, etc.) will also offer them to students and the Edu market.
    You can SAFELY buy one (or any of the other W10s products from the OEMs) and upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for FREE until the end of this year if you are a student, and only $49.95 for everyone else (still an excellent deal as W10Pro is $100 by itself.).
    W10s is also NOT for the general market and will not be sold commercially at all. Only the OEMs can get it (and Edu clients with Premier contracts, kind of like W10 Enterprise.)
    Notice that all these devices have screens smaller than 13'. That is because it is FREE to the OEM if the screen is smaller than 13' (and that is the preferred size for the Edu market.)
    This is designed for little Billy to take his 4th grade Art-Design tests on, not for you to frag noobs in COD or run Design the next SpaceX rocket in Solidworks or write Business apps in Visual Studio (although some have enough oompf to do that if you upgrade to W10Pro.)
    Take it for what it is, a really nice design, clean and simple and elegant to get some more of that K-12 market share (and sell-through MS management products for the School.) These have pretty nice hardware, so go ahead and buy one, but take immediate advantage of the Windows Pro upgrade. You would be a fool not to.
  • Yeah, I'm gonna pass on the $1000 laptop for a kid.
  • The Surface Laptop is expressly NOT designed for K-12, it is designed for college students primarily, the third party devices in the sub $200 range are for K-12, $1000 starting point is NEVER going to fly at the K-12 level.
  • Or maybe it's target to kids in 5th Avenue (kind of). It's premium and elegant laptop.
  • To be fair, unless they are using a very low end i5 or i7 this is as powerful as Surface Pro when it comes to use as a business device for coding.
  • "get some more of that K-12 market share" Sorry dude, as a Network Manager for a VERY large High School, I can not afford these and either can my students. These are for the Elite HS students or College students.
  • AMEN. There are 4000 kids at my school. THis adds up to $4million for my school, just the laptops
  • It's not for kids.
  • These are for college kids - to compete against the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
  • My biggest question wasn't answered... what, if any, impact does this have on the prospects of a Surface Book 2? Do we have to wait a full 2 years before the refresh (i.e. this holiday season)? Even longer?
  • The performance base just released in the UK (with previous gen specs unfortunately) so would they be likely to refresh that again this year? I'd want 7th Gen CPU and GTX-10 series GPU for the price they are asking which I think would be fairly priced at current perf base pricing
  • Don't think it has any impact..
  • Not quite... Windows 10s is geared towards K-12. However, the Surface Laptop is geared towards college students and above. Most will take advantage of the free Windows 10 pro upgrade until December and/or pay the $49 upgrade fee afterward.
  • What the hell are those marks on the sides? It's bugging me so much. I have trouble believing that they're just design accents.
  • Antenna for the WiFi
  • It makes sense funcationally now that you point it out. But why is it necessary? Are they on other laptops/devices (surface Pro, book, etc.), and I've just never noticed?
  • They're always there. HP puts them in the upper display and you can see band that runs across. First time I've seen them in the base, however.
  • Isn't it for the WiFi and Bluetooth antennas? Like on a metal phone?
  • Apparently so, but I'm curious as to why it's necessary. I've never noticed it on other laptops or devices. Only phones. I wonder if this means that laptop has improved reception. 
  • I would guess they had to put the antenas into the base instead of the screen. In most metal laptops the antenna goes in or around the screen to get around the issue. This apparently has a very thin display and that probably meant moving the antenna to inside the metal body - that's my guess
  • I would wager that it's not better reception to have it in the base, but it makes sense to move it from the screen if design or engineering doesn't allow for it. If anything, it might be slightly worse having the antennas in the base, but I guess Microsoft found a way to not make it a problem (perhaps that's why there's radio strip on both sides).
  • S Laptop... looks nice; almost like a S Pro with fixed keyboard.
    Q1: The S Pro can be laid flat for easy inking/use of pen. How is the S Laptop for inking? Q2: Advantage of Pro w/ replaceable keyboard... can buy the tablet in one country and get keyboard in home country... This is lost with Laptop... But how is keyboard quality compared to S Pro?
  • It cannot lay flat; see my hands-on video to see how far back it can go.
  • This is where pen has no significance... & that's why MS is selling it separately.
  • Correct. Still a weird play though.
  • It is!! They were demoing the inking capabilities and it is very difficult to write on a clamshell device. If it had a 360° hinge, that Would have been great.
  • I wish they would make a "laptop base" for the Pro 3 and Pro 4. I just want to be able to use it easier on my lap at times. On a desk the Surface pro 4 keyboard is brilliant
  • Wow college students must be really rich
  • I mean, have been on a college campus lately? Because yeah, many if not most have student carrying Apple products. They're not rich, they're going to college and financing it all. I did college, post-grad, grad, and even PhD work...Apple MacBooks are everywhere. This is not new, been that way for the last 7 years at least.
  • Man!  I worked, cash-flowed, and scholarshipped most of my way through college.  No way I would have blown student loan money on a designer laptop.  Of course, I am not paying off student loan debt like many I know are.
  • It also comes down to priorities. I know plenty of people who easily blew the cost of a Surface Pro or even SB on booze during their studies. I neither drink nor smoke, and have prioritised my money on good computing devices that help me perform better.
  • If Apple Macbook instead of Google Chromebook is the main competitor for Surface Laptop, and college students are target users, the system should be full Windows 10 instead. Those specific programs required for college projects may never go to Windows Store, and you can't run any project programs written by yourself on it. I know the free upgrade this year, but what about after that. Just like the free Windows 10, after 1 year, the market share growth significantly slowed down.
  • Re: "after that" two things (1) MS expects more Centennial apps in the Store. If they got Chrome and a few others, 90% of users would be covered. Must-have Win32 apps are getting few and far between these days for consumers (2) It's just $49 to unlock Pro, which for a $1000 laptop (and $2,100 for one version) is nothing. If Microsoft charged $1,050 for Surface Laptop with Windows 10 Pro would you feel different about it?
  • I had a fully loaded Dell Latitude I spent over 2k on for college, financed right along side my books and required software.
  • This is what we expect from a top editor. He just too much aware. That's why I like him. Kind of a article, I was waiting for. I had lot of argument in the YouTube comment page regarding this... They are simply arguing over the price $999 for 4gb ram and windows 10s. There. Is lot more in this surface laptop but they are not ready to listen.
  • Out of topic
    Is it Windows store or Microsoft Store?
  • Why can I not watch the videos in Window Central, I have to go to youtube to watch.
  • Working for me
  • Does it have TMP chip?
  • TPM 2. https://mspoweruser.com/heres-full-surface-laptop-specsheet/
  • I'm really eager for the review in a few weeks. I have both a family member and a friend who are considering new laptops "soon" and helping them decide between something like this, the Spectre x360 or XPS is going to be hard.
  • Since it looks like the same connector as the surface pro, will this work with the dock so that you could have multiple screens?  
  • Pretty sure that's the idea. Actually, I'm certain SL will work with existing docking stations.
  • If they want to finish off the surface "family" then they need to make a phone I guess. :p
  • I find it funny that Microsoft was able to keep the Surface laptop hidden and kept a secret for 2 whole years...
  • MS has such a tough road to hough in terms of getting the college kids on board. Most kids are on a budget and if they have $1000+ to spend, it's gonna be on a "cool" Apple device. I get the strategy, I just don't have much faith that this will be successful....
  • Still think that majority with switch to Pro before December. If you need any custom (and probably old) specific app for science project - you have to switch. You want to try programming - switch.
    Their move to Store is good, but how many will be able to convert apps to UWP wrapper? How responsive and touch friendly they will be on new "mobile" ARM devices? But will see in a long run, maybe I'm just too pessimistic and disappointed
  • I think you'd be dumb for not doing it. Even if you'll only want to use store apps, why not take the opportunity of upgrading in case you have the need? If I buy a car and can get extra airbags for free, why not? I may not intend to crash my car, but if, I'll be better covered.
  • I think it depends on whether any of the advantages of the laptop (other than security) like the better battery life and boot time are tied TO using Windows S. If so, and upgrading to full Windows 10 costs you in those areas, then why buy the surface laptop in the first place instead of plenty of other nice existing full windows 10 laptops? Just because it's pretty?
  • I just checked what we had to install during our university years, and UWP definitely not going to replace this systems. Wanted this device until full specs were posted. It has good specs for i5 devices, but i7 haven't met my expectations(after first Dan's video here) - therefore better to look at Dell or other OEMs during this year to find something new.
  • Glad I watched the video before ranting. I thought replacing the DisplayPort with USB-C would have been ideal. I call BS on space etc. My Lumia 950/XL seem to have enough space for the guts that allows the phone to power an HDMI display which would probaly suffice for what people use the DP for. Largely I expect that is hooking the laptop to a projector or TV for presntations. If you want to drive more, that is what the Surface Connector and dock is for on the other side. They could have modified (if it even needs to be) the Lumia Dock as a USB-C option for this thing, or sold a model of the Surface Dock with USB for a transition option. People with old docks could use them, people buying new would have a choice, that might have been compatible with more stuff. Not putting USB-C was simple the legacy molasses that always holds MS back. They contiinually seem to be way to early or wait too long. 
  • Desktop apps CAN run on Windows 10 S you just have to get them through the store. This is great for anyone maintaining someone else's PC since they won't be able to install software from other sources and the installed win32 apps from the store will run in a virtualized space (so no need to clean the registry ever again). That's why it's different from Windows RT, which ran an ARM CPU and could only run those "metro" apps (built with XAML or HTML) which have evolved into UWP now
  • Will Microsoft put Visual Studio  and SQL Server Developer in the Windows Store? 
  • Maybe they will put it on M-store, I think they will lol..
  • This is seriously just the sort of laptop to appeal to Apple users. And hey more power to them, but I find it hilarious that a lot of the same people who will mock Apple for producing beautiful, underpowered, and overpriced stuff are now hyping up this laptop.  
  • It may be underpowered if you're considering it's only a two-cores CPU like the MacBook, but it may not be overpriced as you can touch and write on it, although probably not that good an experience on a laptop form factor.
  • They were demoing the inking capabilities and it is very difficult to write on a clamshell device.
    If it had a 360° hinge, that Would have been great.
  • So if I upgrade to Windows pro, will I see the laptop slow down considerably over 4 years vs staying on Windows 10 s?
  • I guess I'm not understanding the synergy between the hardware, the modified OS and the education market. If this model is for college students, as the price suggests, why would I buy a thin & light that I have to upgrade to run win32 programs...? I remember having a ThinkPad x20 15 years ago that weighed 2 lbs and was great for lugging around campus, it ran full windows 2000 and didn't cost $1000. If this is a Chromebook competitor, with the modified OS that prohibits win32 executables, why is it so expensive? If it's a premium styled MacBook competitor why doesnt it run full W10?
  • Nice explanation Daniel. This is a very good alternative i believe and pipo shld stop having the old windows ways mentality! This is a new Microsoft with a new way of working. I wonder how long it will take pipo to see this! Wld want one of these devices too!☺
  • I don't know whether some one asked this. Any idea why it didn't have a 360 Dec tilt, so that I can flip like a tablet. I know there is many 2in1 like that but why not this? Is it because it will be similar to pro? I would have liked a more powerful laptop than pro which I can flip for pen usage. When I saw the presentation, I could see that when ever they touch the screen with pen it moves back and forth.
  • -
  • This is EXACTLY what is wrong worth Microsoft. Your article started with 'There js much confusion'. Apple communicate clearly and people get it. Microsoft communication is all ober the place. It's s if the left hand doesn't communicate with the right.. Sooo infuriating, if they only got this simple thing right (i could do it) we would all be behind them 100%
  • I'm sorry but omitting usb type c in inexcusable. "No space" is inconvincing at best, just replace that useless proprietary Surface power connector. Microsoft just out-Appled Apple in a very bad way. I'm not dishing out 1k for under-specced laptop that can't swivel in 360 degrees and isn't even future proof.
  • WinCentral finally doing bloopers!
  • For general productivity these will actually work really well, just a couple of issues. First UWP needs a multiple instance model, often people need two or more Word files open side by side (for instance). Second, a UWP for Microsoft Teams, really, why did they make mobile apps, but desktop is restricted to a win32 program.
  • I know others have different use scenarios but I'm basing my statement on my daily use as a college professor (Office, Social Media, Presentations, light A/V work, notes, etc.). I use the Desktop Office programs (mainly because I need Formula Writer), but other than those, most of my win32 use is strictly gaming.
  • They should strip Windows 10 S of any legacy code or support systems that supports the win32 subsystem making it ultra lean and fast.
  • I kinda like the idea of windows 10s. I'm currently going for an MBA and the surface laptop is truely the device for me.. enough horsepower and since my workflow centers around office.. I can easily use it.. and when required just pay the $50 and upgrade to windows 10 pro to meet the requirements of my work organization.
  • Nicely done.  One other reason for why no USB-C:  MS previously committed to backwards compatibility with Surface accessories.  One of these, the Surface Dock, connects through the Surface magnetic power connector.  The dock delivers 2 display ports, ethernet, power, audio, and four USB3 ports -- so you can push a lot of bandwidth through the Surface power connector.  If they had removed that connector, and replaced it with USB-C/Thunderbolt, that would have broken their backwards compatibility committment (imagine all the howls if suddenly those who own Surface Docks could no longer use them :grin).  Perhaps someday they can create a new Surface Dock that uses the magnetic power connector, but does away with the display ports, and a couple of the USB3 ports while adding USB-C, and USB-C/Thundrbolt ports -- a lot of the Thunderbolt controller logic could actually be in the dock not on the motherboard.
  • I listened to the podcast and felt that the excuses the WC team made on behalf of Microsoft for its failing to include USB C charging were utterly uncompelling. Notably I have no recollection of their even referring to those with a dock as an additional excuse for producing a legacy enabled device in what is meant to be a ground-breaking line. 1. The target audience is said to be schools. How many fingers are going to be needed to count the number of schoolchildren who have a Surface dock? 2. These devices are about convenience. When I bought my Surface 3 my main phone used micro USB. Great. One cable and one charger to do both. My main phone now uses USB C. No way do I want to be saddled with a proprietary charge system.  3. USB C gives far greater current and future potential. If my Surface 3 can include Micro USB C and USB A in its thin frame then suggesting  that the Surface laptop could not have two different USB ports lacks credibility. 4. What is this fixation on Mini display port? The kids, like me, are going to want HDMI. Adapter, few cents, to full size could be in the box. For me what counts is how convenient something is as a productivity device. For work it does not have to be lightening fast or have loads of RAM. My Surface 3 is more than enough. It does need to be light, which means no proprietary bricks and connectors, have a good enough screen and keyboard and be nice and thin  so it slips into a bag. Probably the same as what a school kid needs.