Microsoft Unveils Surface Book: Move Over, Apple MacBook

Microsoft’s Surface Pro is taking a page from Apple’s line of MacBooks. There are plenty of 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrids that run on the Windows OS, but none of them are made from Microsoft itself.

The Surface Pro is the first ever notebook offered by Microsoft. It’s also the first in the Surface line that was unveiled at the launch event on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Microsoft’s new notebook includes a touch display, an optional Nvidia GeForce graphics chip with GDDR5 memory, and up to 12 hours of battery life while playing videos. Unlike the MacBook Pro, this laptop comes with a detachable screen, so that you can use it as a tablet, if you please. Think of it as a hybrid laptop, or a hybrid tablet. However, the Nvidia GPU is located on the keyboard, which means that users will have to keep the Surface Book together in order to run it at is maximum capacity.

This Microsoft notebook comes with a fulcrum hinge that allows it to be detachable. However, it is very secure when the screen is placed back onto the keyboard. You have to remove the screen by pressing the button on the keyboard for a very long time, unlike the Surface Pro 4, which allows you to detach easily.

The Surface Book also comes with its own Surface Pen, which is also included with the Surface Pro 4. This new pen has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity and an “eraser” on top. Holding down the button on the Pen will prompt Cortana voice commands, similar to how the Apple Pencil works.

So, how does the Surface Book stack up to the MacBook? It has a glass trackpad with multitouch and backlit keys that Microsoft insists are very quiet. The company says that it comes powered with either Core i5 or Core i7, which makes it twice as fast as the MacBook Pro. The Surface Book also has a 13.5-inch display with 3000×2000 pixels with 6 million pixels rated at 267 pixels per inch.

Unlike the Macbook, Microsoft’s notebook is made from all metal, not polycarbonate plastic. It also comes with something that’s only offered on Apple’s line of iPhones: a 5-megapixel front-facing Windows Hello face-authentication camera and an 8-megapixel rear camera that also records 1080p HD video.

The tablet part weighs 1.6 pounds and is 0.3 inches thick. When you add the keyboard, the Surface Book then weighs in at 3.3 pounds and is between 0.5-0.9 inches thick.

Techies will love the high-powered speed and storage options that it comes with. The Surface Book comes with a PCIe 3.0 solid-state drive, with a choice of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or up to 1 TB of storage. You can also choose if you want the Nvidia GPU to run at 16GB of storage and either 8GB or 16GB of RAM.

The Surface Book starts at $1,499 and goes on sale on Oct. 26. Keep in mind that the lower priced version doesn’t offer the Nvidia GPU. Pre-orders for the Surface Book will begin on the next day, Wednesday, Oct. 7.

This is Microsoft’s attempts at hitting back at Apple with their MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, which also promise a better battery life, and better performing for playing games and watching videos.

The new MacBook Air and Pro may be hitting stores sometime next year, which means that the Surface Book is releasing ahead of Apple. Both the MacBook Air and Pro are rumored to have the Skylake-U along with the Nvidia GP GeForce GTX 950 graphics card. Apple’s new notebooks will also have the Force Touch Technology, a sleeker keyboard, a slimmer profile, and will run the latest version of the OS X El Capitan.

It will be interesting to see how the Surface Book will compare to both of Apple’s new MacBooks by 2016. What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s new notebook? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

[Image: Andrew Burton/Getty Images]