Torn between the new Surface Laptop or the Surface Book? We can help.

With the recent announcement of the Surface Laptop, Microsoft now has two premium laptops to choose from. In one corner is the Surface Book, Microsoft's "ultimate" laptop that can also be a tablet. And in the other corner, the Surface Laptop, a traditional laptop for the wider market. I've already had lots of people ask me which they should go for, so if you're the market for a new laptop, here are some things to consider.

Surface Laptop vs. Surface Book

First and foremost, it comes down to what you need from a device. You're already looking for a laptop-style device. But, you may be looking for a laptop that can do just a little bit more than a normal laptop. In that case, your best bet is to go for the Surface Book. Why? Well, the Surface Book isn't just a laptop, it can be a tablet too. It's a 2-in-1 PC, with a detachable screen that turns into a 13.5-inch tablet with pen support. This allows for far more use-case scenarios compared to the Surface Laptop.

When attached, the Surface Book is 100 percent a laptop. When you buy the Surface Book, it comes in the box in its laptop configuration. The Surface Book is a laptop that can also be a tablet, which for some people is great, but for others it's overkill. If you're in the overkill camp, Surface Laptop is what you're going to want to go for.

The Surface Laptop is Microsoft's only Surface device that doesn't do anything unique or different with its form-factor. It's a good old, 100-percent traditional laptop. It opens and closes just like you'd expect, with no additional quirks or gimmicks such as being able to fold the screen completely back or take the display off.

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This is good for people who aren't interested in using their laptops like a tablet or transforming it into something else entirely. The Surface Laptop is just a laptop. If you're someone who simply doesn't need the extra quirks and functionality offered by the Surface Book, Surface Laptop is probably for you.


The Surface Laptop and Surface Book feature two different designs that may be worth considering before you pull the trigger. For starters, the Surface Laptop features an all-magnesium outer shell, but on the inside it sports an Alcantara-covered keyboard base which should be looked after more than your traditional metal or plastic keyboard bases.

Also, the Surface Laptop is available in four different colors if you're in the United States: burgundy, platinum, cobalt blue, and graphite gold. The colors match both the magnesium and Alcantara fabric found inside the laptop, too. If you're someone who likes less traditionally-colored devices, the Surface Laptop may be for you.

Everything you need to know about Alcantara

The Surface Book, on the other hand, is entirely magnesium, inside and out. It's also somewhat heavier and a little bulkier when closed due to its special fulcrum hinge that allows the screen to detach. This unique hinge design is a little like marmite — you either love it or you hate it. The fulcrum hinge is different because it leaves a rather large gap between the screen and the keyboard when closed, allowing for small objects to fall into the device when in your bag. The Surface Laptop doesn't feature this hinge.

The Surface Book is also only available in one color: platinum.

Tech specs

Specs are also a big factor when buying a laptop. Both the Surface Laptop and Surface Book are available in a wide array of SKUs, ranging from Intel Core i5 processors to Intel Core i7s. However, the Surface Book is currently rocking an older CPU model, known as "Skylake." This was released in 2016 and is no longer the newest CPU model on the market. The Surface Laptop comes with "Kaby Lake" processors, the latest on the market, featuring small improvements over Skylake processors.

In reality, this difference isn't all that noticeable when comparing performance. Kaby Lake chips will have somewhat better battery life than Skylake chips, but if you're looking at the Surface Book Performance Base, its larger battery will carry it for longer than the Surface Laptop with Kaby Lake anyway.

The Surface Laptop is available with either 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, with the Surface Book being available with only 8GB or 16GB. Storage options for the Surface Laptop include 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. The Surface Book is available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB configurations. So if you're in need of a laptop with a 1TB storage option, the Surface Book is for you. Microsoft says it plans to offer a 1TB model of the Surface Laptop in the future, however.

Price is also a factor. The lowest-end Surface Laptop goes for $999, whereas the lowest-end Surface Book goes for $1,499. Matching specs, you can get an Intel Core i5 Surface Book with 8GB RAM and 128GB Storage for $1,499, but for just $100 more, you can get an Intel Core i7 Surface Book with 8GB RAM and 256GB Storage.

Will you go Surface Laptop or Surface Book?

If form-factor is of the utmost importance, and you prefer a laptop with a few extra quirks, Surface Book is likely for you. If not, go for the Surface Laptop. If the design is an important factor, you should consider the Surface Laptop's extra colors, or the Surface Book's unique hinge.

I personally would pick the Surface Laptop over the Surface Book. I already own the Surface Book and will be swapping it for the Laptop when that becomes available on June 15. Why? I prefer the traditional laptop form-factor and don't ever use the Surface Book in tablet mode. I'm also not a huge fan of the Surface Book's hinge and much prefer the Surface Laptop's design.

What do you think? Let us know which device you plan to buy.

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