Everything we've learned about the Surface Book so far

Best Laptop Between $1500 and $2000

Best Laptop Between $1500 and $2000

Go large with the Surface Book, recently unveiled at Microsoft's #Windows10Devices event in NYC. The Surface Book puts a 13.5" 2-in-1 laptop into the expanding Surface line-up, and we now have the full rundown on its specs, design and availability.

Rumors of larger-screened Surface devices, well, surfaced a few weeks ago. The final product turned out to be a little more jaw-dropping than expected, though, due to its bold design and monstrous specs.


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Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
DimensionsLaptop: 9.14 x 12.3 x 0.51-0.90 inches (232.1 x 312.3 x 13.0-22.8 mm)
Tablet only: 8.67 x 12.3 x 0.30 inches (220.2 x 312.3 x 7.7 mm)
WeightLaptop: Non-GPU: 3.34 lbs. (1515 g)
GPU: 3.48 lbs. (1579 g)
Tablet only: 1.6 lbs. (726 g)
Mechanical featuresMagnesium body
Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge
One-button Muscle Wire detach mechanism
Physical clipboard buttons: power, volume
StorageSolid-state drive (SSD) PCIe 3.0: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB
Display Screen13.5-inch PixelSense™ Display Resolution: 3000x2000 (267 ppi)
Contrast ratio: 1800:1
Aspect ratio: 3:2 100 percent sRGB color, individually calibrated
Touch: 10-point multitouch
CPU6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 or Core™ i7
GraphicsIntel® HD graphics 520 and optional NVIDIA® GeForce® Graphics Processor with dedicated 1GB GDDR5 high-speed memory
Memory8 GB or 16 GB RAM
Keyboard & TrackpadFull-size, integrated backlit keyboard with 1.6mm key travel
Precision trackpad with glass laminated trackpad (7,350 sq. mm)
Five-finger contact recognition with full Windows 10 support Subpixel resolution
SecurityTPM 2.0 chip for enterprise security
PenSurface Pen: 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity Magnetic storage
Network802.11ac 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
Bluetooth 4.0 LE wireless technology
BatteryUp to 12 hours battery life for video playback (detached screen has around 3 hours)
CamerasWindows Hello face-authentication camera (front-facing) 8.0MP rear-facing auto-focus camera, with 1080p HD camera
5.0MP front-facing 1080p HD camera
AudioDual microphones, front- and rear-facing
Front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby® audio
PortsTwo full-size USB 3.0
Full-size SD™ card reader (UHS-II performance)
Surface Connect for power and docking (base and clipboard)
Stereo headphones/microphone jack Mini DisplayPort
SensorsAmbient light sensor
Power supply36W power supply with USB charging port
65W power supply with USB charging port (discrete GPU SKU)
In the boxSurface Book
Surface Pen
Power supply
Quick Start Guide
Safety and warranty documents
WarrantyOne-year limited hardware warranty

The Surface Book sports a 13.5" screen and comes with several configuration tiers. Like the Surface Pro 4, it's rocking Intel's fresh Skylake processor, and all the benefits that go along with it. Due to its form factor, the Surface Book can pack more capable hardware, beating the Surface Pro 4 in terms of raw power. Indeed, Microsoft is calling the Surface Book the "ultimate laptop", claiming it to be the fastest 13.5" laptop ever made.

The backlit keyboard base is removable, and the higher spec configurations contain a discrete Nvidia GeForce GPU within it. When detached, the screen portion acts as a large Surface tablet, complete with touch capabilities and compatibility with the new Surface Pen. When detached from the GeForce GPU, the screen portion utilizes capable integrated Intel HD graphics instead. Microsoft isn't pushing the detached screen as a tablet, though. Panos Panay described the separated Surface Book as a 'digital clipboard' on stage, based on an A4 sized piece of paper. When split, the tablet portion sports around 3 hours of battery life, but the rotational fulcrum hinge will allow you to use the Surface Book in multiple positions without separating it from the primary battery.

The Surface Book screen packs PixelSense technology found in the new Surface Pro 4, delivering 6 million pixels at 267 PPI on a ten-point multi-touch display.

The Surface Book has clearly been developed using feedback received on the Surface Pro 3, boasting similar improvements found in the Surface Pro 4. The Surface Pen has gotten refreshed, and can be connected to the side of the screen magnetically. The Book's keyboard is spaced out similarly to the revised Pro 4 Type Cover and enjoys the inclusion of an auto-focus camera.

By adding an Nvidia GeForce GPU, the Surface Book joins industry standard creative tools for design and 3D work. The Xbox team were involved with the development of this custom chip, and as of writing it's not known which Nvidia GeForce the Surface Book chip is based on. Panos Panay noted that the Surface Book wasn't designed with gamers in mind, but that didn't stop him from demonstrating Gears of War on it, which certainly appeared to run flawlessly.

Best Laptop Between $1500 and $2000

Best Laptop Between $1500 and $2000

Overall the Surface Book, right down to the name, seems to be directly targeting the MacBook Pro user group. The ad campaigns for the Surface Book tout creativity as its number one use case, but for Microsoft, the Surface Book is also about changing people's perceptions. The Surface Book and Microsoft's other recent innovations paint the company in an entirely different light when compared to the era of Windows Vista and the Red Ring of Death.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella rounded off the Surface Book presentation saying he wanted to bring people 'home' to Windows. If they keep delivering such exciting products, it certainly seems like a realistic goal.

..."We're moving people from needing to choosing to loving Windows, and these devices promise to fuel even more enthusiasm and opportunity for the entire Windows ecosystem."...

Pricing and availability

As of writing, the Surface Book is only available to pre-order in the US, Canada and Australia, starting at $1,499 USD, $2,299.00 AUD and $1,949.00 CAD. A user on reddit claimed that a Belgian Microsoft rep expected the Surface Book to appear in Europe in early 2016 but stay tuned for more information on that.

For an idea of the price tiers, here are the current US listings (retail prices may vary):

  • 128 GB 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 with 8 GB of RAM $1,499 USD ERP
  • 256 GB 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 with 8 GB of RAM $1,699 USD ERP
  • 256 GB 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA® GeForce® Graphics Processor $1,899 USD ERP
  • 256 GB 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA® GeForce® Graphics Processor $2,099 USD ERP
  • 512 GB 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 with 16 GB of RAM and NVIDIA® GeForce® Graphics Processor $2,699 USD ERP

Dan and Mark attended the event in NYC and have gone hands-on with this impressive new addition to the Surface family. Keep your eyes on Windows Central for more coverage and a full device review in the near future.

For the rest of our NYC #Windows10Devices coverage head here:

  • Lumia 950
  • Lumia 950 XL
  • Surface Pro 4
  • Surface XL
  • Microsoft Band 2
Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!