back to article Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop

As expected, Microsoft has updated its Surface Pro fondleslab with a new model powered by Intel's latest silicon. But unexpectedly, it has also produced a laptop version of the platform that is going to make Apple sick. The Surface family had a rocky start, some might even say unsuccessful, with small marketshare gains – but …

  1. Guildencrantz
    Mushroom

    Take that, o fruity one!

    Bwahahahahaha

    1. Sr. Handle

      Yeah and also Lenovo and Dell, let's see how many units this device will take from Apple and how many from other windows laptops,

      Microsoft partners are thrilled they have new competition after this couple last years of growing

      1. msknight Silver badge

        You mean they hired proper designers and shit! Wow!

        All I want to know is ... can I put Linux on it... El Reg ... report in due course please!

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          I'd like them to make a version without all the gaming shit for a more attractive price.

          Like a Surface Pro, but with the improved keyboard/battery boost.

          1. Tony Paulazzo

            They did, you can buy it without the Nvidia chip.

            Seriously, you've got to applaud this, the ads were great, not a dancing student in sight, and they made me crave it. To think, MS were floundering in the wilderness not two years ago.

            Disclaimer: Fanboi (& happy) owner of the Surface Pro 3.

        2. picturethis
          Megaphone

          Have an upvote, this is exactly what I was thinking...

          Might be great hardware, but I will NEVER own it if it only runs > Windows v7.

          Do you hear me Microsoft?... Crickets...

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Alan Denman

          re - proper designers.

          the chorus line is 'oh I do love the sound of breaking glass'

    2. David Lawton

      Its funny because Apple's model has always been control the hardware and the software. Microsoft (at least under Bill) has always gone the other route saying they make the software and have many OEM's making the hardware. Now they U turn after many years.

      Its just Redmond at the photocopier again, now they have twigged you get a better product with tighter integration of hardware and software.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        It's hardly like apple.. Apple control hardware and software.

        This is more like the Google with the nexus devices, where they release OS and HW but others can release their own hardware.

        And to say that MS have only just realised this is a bit mental... You know that this isn't the only hardware that MS make right?

        It not even the only hardware that they make with the OS bundled... They have been doing it for years.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Ounce for ounce, it's the fastest laptop ever made – twice as fast as the MacBook Pro."

      Which model of MacBook Pro?

      The 13" Pro is 1.58 kg (3.48 pounds) - about the same as Surface Book - and has a choice of dual-core processors, up to i7 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo)

      The 15" Pro is 2.04 kg (4.49 pounds) and has a choice of quad-core processors, up to i7 2.8GHz (4.0GHz Turbo).

      The Surface Book pre-order specs just say "i5" or "i7". That's it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ounce for ounce

        Good point. The Skylake processors have a range of speeds and number of cores. I think the "twice as fast" remark involves the discrete GPU and that none of the models have a 4 core CPU because of high TDP.

        My guess is i5-6300U @2.4GHz and i7-6600U @2.6GHz (both 2 core, both with Intel HD graphics 520), and Nvidia GPU equivalent to a GeForce 850M (GM107, but maybe a newer GM108 model that can handle GDDR5 memory), partly based on what Ryan Shrout says at http://www.pcper.com/news/Mobile/Microsoft-Surface-Book-2-1-Skylake-NVIDIA-Discrete-GPU-Announced.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Take that, o fruity one!

      >Bwahahahahaha

      Lot of backslapping from the Redmond and partner/groupie crowd this morning. You would think they would learn to break out the cigars only after something has been in the market for awhile. Even the wildly successful (by Microsoft's standards) Surface Pro line has barely broken even over all these years (especially if you include its DOA retarded cousin the Surface and its losses).

    5. boltar Silver badge

      Nice hardware, shame about the OS

      Win10 - Better than Win8.

      Thats about it. Hardly a glowing recommendation. If it came with Win7 it would probably sell a lot more especially to business.

      1. Darryl

        Re: Nice hardware, shame about the OS

        Win 7 on a tablet would pretty much negate any benefits of using a tablet. Need a touch OS

        1. mmeier

          Re: Nice hardware, shame about the OS

          Actually the Surface/x86 and similar pen equiped units are quite useable under Win7 (actually Win XP tablet edition or better) and have been used that way since 2003/4. The pen is extremly precise and the HWR is fully integrated on the OS level so you have a useable to (very) good "mouse and keyboard replacement" with it. No need for touch on a WACOM/NTRIG equiped unit

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd like a laptop that has Iris pro graphics that isn't bloody Apple.

  2. J J Carter Silver badge
    Terminator

    Shame the EU has just declared Windows 10 is a war-criminal or summat.

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Why is that a shame?

      Windows 10 IS a Google_on_Steroids nightmare... it's the debbil! (Dell Corp EU agrees with me on that one) - should just call it GoS 10.

      Skipping that one, question will be Windows 11 or Linux? I also wonder if Win8.1 will run on the new Pro.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how well this would run Linux?

    I like the hardware concept. Looks good.

    Trouble is, none of my software runs on Windows. Having made the switch 10 years ago, I no longer have a need for any software on that OS, and the little bit of software that I do have, runs on earlier editions.

    I might research this further. Provided they haven't done any UEFI monkey-business, it should be doable.

    1. Andy Non
      Mushroom

      Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

      The UEFI monkey-business seems to be standard with Windows 10. A Windows 10 automatic update trashed my dual-boot Windows 10 / Linux Mint laptop this weekend, re-enabled UEFI, deleted grub and the dual boot and made it Windows 10 only. It also messed with the firmware making it insist on finding Windows 10 on bootup. Screw you Microsoft.

      So no, I wouldn't bank on being able to install Linux on anything that comes with Windows 10 on it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

        A Windows 10 automatic update trashed my dual-boot Windows 10 / Linux Mint laptop this weekend, re-enabled UEFI, deleted grub and the dual boot and made it Windows 10 only. It also messed with the firmware making it insist on finding Windows 10 on bootup. Screw you Microsoft.

        Okay, only got your say-so on this, but ouch. That is nasty.

        This is one of the things that concerns me going forward. I do have a recent laptop that will see me through the next few years, so I'm in no hurry, but other options would be nice.

        Interestingly, I wonder how many of the down-voters actually read and understood what they were down-voting? My question was a simple enough one, and I was hoping someone who had tried with the earlier Surface (Pro) offerings with some anecdotal evidence of what running a non-Microsoft OS was like on a Microsoft-built device like the Surface Pro. Anyone tried it? What worked? What didn't work? (Or did someone see "Linux" and decide to go on the offensive?)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          Found this guide for installing Arch Linux and this guide for Ubuntu, both on the earlier Surface Pro 3, which I suspect is the most similar.

          So definitely seems doable, interestingly warranty is tied to the OS.

          1. alain williams Silver badge

            Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

            interestingly warranty is tied to the OS.

            That is the warranty that MS offers. Under EU law they have to provide a warranty for 2 years (and maybe up to 6), I doubt that EU law mentions an OS. It would be interesting to see who prevails.

            1. James Micallef Silver badge

              Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

              "That is the warranty that MS offers. Under EU law they have to provide a warranty for 2 years (and maybe up to 6), I doubt that EU law mentions an OS."

              Why would EU law need to mention an OS? I'm pretty sure that EU law regarding warranty covers modified and unmodified product. Just as if you root your phone, chip your car etc it invalidates the warranty, I have no doubt that's it is legal for MS to invalidate warranty if the OS has been changed.

              Whether this makes sense is another matter.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          -->Interestingly, I wonder how many of the down-voters actually read and understood what they were down-voting?

          There's a lot of people even downvoting simple and sensible questions nowadays. I guess this is why a number of websites now only allow upvotes and "flag for abuse". Gresham's Law applies to more than metal currency.

          1. James Micallef Silver badge

            Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

            "I guess this is why a number of websites now only allow upvotes and "flag for abuse". "

            I love that El Reg allows both up and downvotes. Sure, sometimes people downvote for no reason at all, and sometimes they downvote because they didn't understand what you wrote. But many times they downvote because they don't agree with you, and very often in these cases the downvoter will post to explain why.

            Sure it leads to some slanging matches, but on the whole the discourse on El Reg is fairly civil compared to some other web platforms. And in any case much better than having only 'Like' as an option leading to artificial lovefests of "Ooh look I have 1000 'like's " with the naiveté of not realising that you might have had 10,000 'dislikes' if only there were such a button.

            Downvote keeps it real

        3. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          "A Windows 10 automatic update trashed my dual-boot Windows 10 "

          You mean that you are on the Windows Insider Program - by choice - and it installed a complete new version of Windows 10 from scratch - which will indeed update the boot loader....

          1. Andy Non

            Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

            @TheVogon,

            No. See my detailed post above.

        4. Blitterbug
          Angel

          Re: did someone see "Linux" and decide to go on the offensive?

          ...erm, sorry 'bout that.

      2. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

        A Windows 10 automatic update trashed my dual-boot Windows 10 / Linux Mint laptop this weekend

        It seems to me that that would count as an offence under the computer misuse act. If you have partitioned it, then and changed the settings then undoing this (without you asking/agreeing) is criminal.

        1. Andy Non
          Mushroom

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          I don't know if it is an offence or not, but it was certainly offensive. It was originally an 8.1 laptop and I'd set it up to dual boot with Linux Mint. Both Windows and Linux had cohabited without problems. Even the Windows 10 update didn't mess up the dual-boot. It is only after several weeks after a number of Windows 10 automatic updates that it trashed the laptop. To be specific, after the updates had finished, the laptop would only reboot into Windows. It completely skipped the grub menu offering a choice of booting into Linux or Windows. I repeatedly tried rebooting but it went straight into Windows 10 every time. I was sure Windows was doing a full shutdown too (not that hybrid shutdown) as it I was being prompted for the hardware level power on password.

          I went into the computer settings and discovered that all the UEFI settings had been enabled again. I tried turning them off then rebooted the computer again... straight into Windows. Checked the UEFI settings and they'd been turned on AGAIN. I was getting rather *annoyed* by this stage so disable the UEFI settings again and reinstalled Linux Mint from scratch, giving it the entire hard drive and blowing Windows 10 off the hard drive. I wasn't going to be bullied into using Windows 10 as my sole OS. From a few searches, it appears I'm not alone in experiencing Windows 10 trashing dual-boot and grub. Apparently it may be possible to reinstall grub and to regain access to the lost Linux boot, but I'm not prepared to play games with Microsoft only for them to do the same thing again at some point.

          Anyway, the laptop now runs Linux Mint exclusively. Curious side effect now though; I have to reboot the laptop TWICE. The first (cold boot) fails after a few seconds and the laptop hangs. Then I do a soft reboot (Ctrl, Alt, Del) and it boots into Linux. I'd hazard a guess that the Windows update has messed with the firmware telling to look for Windows 10 on bootup... I read something about that a while ago on El Reg about the firmware being made to run a particular EXE on C:\Windows\somewhere that in turn was able to turn the UEFI stuff back on again etc. It of course now fails as there is no longer a drive C:

          It is bloody annoying. I was quite happy to let Linux Mint and Windows 10 coexist on the same machine and to use each as required, Microsoft has forced the issue by taking complete control of the laptop, and that is NOT ACCEPTABLE. So, now Windows 10 is gone.

          I had also been looking into buying a new Windows computer to make dual-boot with Linux Mint. In view of what has happened I will definitely not buy another Windows computer, instead I'll look into computers that are either guaranteed to work with Linux or come pre-installed with it.

          It doesn't bode well for people wanting to install Linux on Windows 10 computers going forward.

      3. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

        A Windows 10 automatic update trashed my dual-boot Windows 10 / Linux Mint laptop this weekend, re-enabled UEFI, deleted grub and the dual boot and made it Windows 10 only.

        Since it is impossible to disable auto updates with consumer versions of Windows 10 it means that consumers will not be able to have dual boot machines - for long. It seems that MS have realised that desktop Linux is a threat and are trying to stop it.

        This strikes me as anti competetive, I wonder how long before the EU jumps on them ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          Right after hell freezes over and Apple allows THEIR OS to be removed and replaced by another.

          MS does not have to do anything different than they do.

      4. Phil_Evans

        Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

        Why not (tortuously) get your own back, install TP Windows 2016 Server, create a Linux container. Virtual revenge is better than none :-) )

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

      I doubt MS would allow you to disable secure boot. Why would they want to let people install alternative operating aystens?

      1. joeldillon

        Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

        Microsoft specifically require PC manufacturers to allow you to disable secure boot. It's only mandatory on their ARM kit. I imagine they'd be looking at antitrust issues otherwise.

        Also, it's possible for Linux distributions to be signed to work with secure boot -

        http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/12368.html

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          "Microsoft specifically require PC manufacturers to allow you to disable secure boot."

          When did things like that ever stop people bashing MS? :)

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          Microsoft specifically require PC manufacturers to allow you to disable secure boot.

          That was with Windows 8. Now, with Windows 10, they've boiled the frog because allowing disabling is up to the OEM. The OEM is Microsoft. Let's have a guess if they want their hardware running revenue-producing OS to run another OS.

          http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/03/windows-10-to-make-the-secure-boot-alt-os-lock-out-a-reality/

          I assume all those downvoters will now fix their vote and upvote me...? :)

          1. James Micallef Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

            "Let's have a guess if they want their hardware running revenue-producing OS to run another OS."

            If you buy a Surface Book, you've already paid for Windows 10 as part of the price of the hardware.

            Also, a question from someone who is ignorant on the ins and outs of UEFI, but surely the point of secure boot from a trusted source is that you don't allow any applications on the OS (which for all UEFI knows could be malware) to change anything in UEFI / boot sequence.

            So how come Windows 10 updates can reconfigure UEFI to ignore or remove a Linux partition and default again to Windows 10?

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

              If you buy a Surface Book, you've already paid for Windows 10 as part of the price of the hardware.

              But you've not yet uploaded telemetry and data for Cortana/Edge/etc... or rented Office 365.

        3. td97402

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          I think the requirements imposed on OEMs for Windows 10 are quite a bit different for Windows 10. I recall reading about this a couple of months back. Manufacturers do not have to let you into the UEFI settings on a Windows 10 device.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

      So is this the year of Linux on the laptop?

      1. vistisen

        Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

        What you mean the fact that after 20 + years its market share has staggered up to 1.74% according to Gartner. is the same as 'the year of linux on the desktop'

        It's doing worse then windows phone!

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          > its market share has staggered up to 1.74% according to Gartner. It's doing worse then windows phone!

          Maybe but Linux on Phone and Tablets (eg Android) is 80%.

          Also it would be useful to know what that alleged 1.74% is measuring. Is it PCs and laptops sold with Linux installed (most Linux machines were originally sold with Windows or are built from parts)? Is it website accesses by Linux machines without NoScript going to particular sites (sites that may not be interesting to Linux users)? Is it sales revenue of OS sales?

          The same problem applies to 'Server statistics' where the measurement is sales revenue. Most Linux servers are bought as a bare machine and then the distro of choice is installed thus those represent 0%.

    4. mmeier

      Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

      It will likely run but why pay around 200€ for hardware that you can not use due to total lack of drivers and/or support software. Similar units without NTrig Digitiser exist or will soon come out if you need Skylake. And they will likely be either cheaper or offer options that this one lacks (user changeable battery etc)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

        It will likely run but why pay around 200€ for hardware that you can not use due to total lack of drivers and/or support software. Similar units without NTrig Digitiser exist or will soon come out if you need Skylake. And they will likely be either cheaper or offer options that this one lacks (user changeable battery etc)

        Fair point. This is why I'm asking. The articles regarding the Surface Pro 3 seemed to suggest gaps in the keyboard support and a few other areas.

        Often it's just a matter of time before these things get reverse engineered. I'm typing this on a 2008-model MacBook which has reverse engineered drivers for the nVidia chipset (including GPU, Ethernet) and Broadcom WiFi.

        It has its quirks, but works fine most of the time. Good enough for my needs at home. It did alright as a work computer too, just the lack of USB ports drove me nuts and triggered me to buy the Toughbook that I now use there.

        I'm not sure what the WiFi module is in the Surface devices, but they mention Intel graphics (except for dock which is nVidia) that have historically had a good track record for support in Linux. Touchscreen/stylus would be the other sticking-point, but as I say, often this is temporary, especially if the manufacturer is open to assisting a driver effort. (e.g. Wacom actually write the Linux driver for their devices.)

        1. mmeier

          Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

          As for "Wacom and Linux drivers": To my best of knowledge the "official" drivers exist for the external grafik tablets NOT for the Penabled technology used in the S/P 1 and 2. The only Penabled drivers for "Linux" are the ones used by Samsung in the Note series and those are "Android", "Closed Source" and IIRC not available for purchase from third parties. There are "open source" drivers for the Penabled system but when I last looked they lacked basically all features that make a Wacom (or NTrig) pen. Basically the pen was recognized as a mouse (No pressure/tilt support, no button support etc)

          The S/P3, S/P4 and S/3 all use NTrig and that is (partially) owned by a certain company in Redmond. That may or may not be a problem (MS actually DOES OpenSource and Linux stuff)

          The WiFi module may be supported. The S/P2 and better can do MiraCast and that somewhat limits the choice of modules and makes an (open) documentation more liklely.

          Grafik either is or soon will be supported for at least the "internal" chip. Intel does produce/support that after all. Any Skylake GPU new features may take a bit before they are available but I'd say they will.

          Not sure about power saving modes. Linux is generally not up to the same capabilities as MS here when dealing with new Intel CPUs. I'd expect at least a delay until the systems can get to similar endurance levels / effective use. And depending on the drivers MS delivers with their own hardware they may not get there (MS knows the heat curves of the Surface better than outsiders and may run "optimized" throttlings)

    5. PiltdownMan

      Re: I wonder how well this would run Linux?

      I have a two month old Pro 3. I put the latest version of Fedora (22?) on, installation went well.

      Keyboard and touch pad worked, touch worked but pen did not.

      ALSO, and this is a biggy for me, It didn't toggle between Tablet and Desktop mode on removing/installing keyboard.

      And, although I hate to say it, I found Windows 10 to be a much more polished overall experience than Fedora; I guess that's what keeps drawing me back to Windows. Just got to fix the privacy issues now.

  4. Shane Sturrock

    Nice hardware, but Windows 10..... I just 'upgraded' my desktop Windows 7 box to Win 10 and even after installing Classic Shell to get rid of the horror that is the new start thing, the OS is still terrible. Big fat controls to be finger friendly, and I'm not on a touch screen machine so yuck, and the whole interface colour scheme style is painfully flat and ugly no matter how I set it. I can't believe I actually miss aero but at least it had some depth.

    I don't think Apple needs to worry too much as MS isn't making a dent in the high price device market that Apple sits in and I bet that this machine will turn out to be fragile compared with a MacBook Pro which can take a serious beating and still keep on trucking. The ability to turn a laptop into a tablet isn't worth the danger of it turning permanently into a tablet because the connector fails.

    1. Keef

      "the OS is still terrible"

      I find it a stable and reliable OS. There are aspects I don't like (data slurping) which I've tried to minimise.

      "Big fat controls to be finger friendly, and I'm not on a touch screen machine so yuck,"

      I'm using Win 10 on a desktop and I don't see fat controls, maybe I've spent a bit more time than you have getting it set up how I want it?

      "and I bet that this machine will turn out to be fragile compared with a MacBook Pro"

      That's just a pissing in the wind comment and it was the one that made me want to reply and downvote you.

      "The ability to turn a laptop into a tablet isn't worth the danger of it turning permanently into a tablet because the connector fails"

      Do you have evidence of this type of failure?

      My Surface Pro 2 is a couple of years old and showing no signs of failure in this regard.

      1. Shane Sturrock

        The Settings panel for instance, it takes up almost all of my screen and has huge amounts of white space. This is pretty much par for the course on Windows 10 where even a large monitor just gets abused with windows which look like they would be fine on a tablet or phone but on a large monitor they're horrible.

        Complexity is the enemy of reliability. Having the ability to detach a large portion of your computer from the display so it can function as a tablet is asking for trouble. I have travelled all over and abused my machines a lot and I've never once had a Mac fail. Before I switched to Macs I would buy a new PC laptop every year just because they were trashed. Now, MS is charging real money for this so I would expect it to be better made than a run of the mill Toshiba Satellite Pro or something but even so the complication of the detachable section bothers me and I prefer my devices to be more focussed so I have a laptop and a tablet. One fails, I'm still able to use the other. Sticking everything into a single piece of kit is asking for trouble.

        1. Hellcat

          The external GPU isn't exactly new technology - just never been housed under the keyboard before. I see no reason why this hinge would be less reliable than any other. Other hybrid devices have no problems being attached and detached so less likely to be an issue on a premium level device like this.

        2. WP7Mango

          Shane, it sounds to me like you are using Windows 10 in tablet mode. Switch to desktop mode and you won't get the full-screen space waste.

        3. fruitoftheloon
          Happy

          @Shane...

          Shane,

          (I am not being sarcy here btw...): may I ask what you were doing that necessitated replacing your laptop annually?

          Cheers,

          Jay

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > Do you have evidence of this type of failure?

        http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-admits-surface-keyboard-splitting-problem/

        1. Hellcat

          http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-admits-surface-keyboard-splitting-problem/

          That's the fabric material splitting, not the hinge or screen-to-keyboard connector failing. I had that material splitting issue on the RT we bought 3 years ago. Sure it was annoying since it happened outside warranty, but purely cosmetic. Fixed with a dab of superglue. The maglock still works, keyboard still works.

          A more relevant link would be to massive numbers of Asus Transformers or similar failing to dock back to their keyboards, but I've not seen any evidence that these hybrid devices have a massive weak spot as suggested.

          1. James Micallef Silver badge

            I've got an Asus transformer from the earlier gen, must be 4 years old. Absolutely no issues with the connector. My experience is that it's not something that is undocked / redocked several times a day. This really is a non-issue

        2. Shagger

          That was the old Touch Cover, not the Type Cover, which is now the standard keyboard on Surface

        3. TheVogon Silver badge

          "http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-admits-surface-keyboard-splitting-problem/"

          That's the plastic on the keyboard cover - which is cosmetic and nothing to do with the connector itself. And that was fixed long ago.

      3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Pint

        W10 Setup

        Quote

        I'm using Win 10 on a desktop and I don't see fat controls, maybe I've spent a bit more time than you have getting it set up how I want it?

        Would you care to publish a step-by-step guide complete wirth screenshots on what you did?

        I am sure there would be a lot of readers here who would be interested in it. I get the impression that a good number of people who comment here just can't be bothered fighting Nanny Redmond and revert to their comfort zone (W7???)

        If someone would do this then I'd buy them a pint (or two).

        Until then, I have actually a real life job to do and frankly W10 is something I'd avoid if possible unless there was a guide on how to... well, you know the rest.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      actually, I'm interestH5ed in this. Eventually like, no rush or anything. As a CAD user, the GPU is notable, because most ultrabooks neglect it.

      Stylus screen might be genuinely useful, in a way plain toucscreen laptops don't appear to be.

      Application UIs can only get better at taking advantage of Styli when appropriate.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      SS wrote "my desktop"

      There's the issue. One desktop.

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      , the OS is still terrible. Big fat controls to be finger friendly, and I'm not on a touch screen machine so yuck, and the whole interface colour scheme style is painfully flat and ugly no matter how I set it. I can't believe I actually miss aero but at least it had some depth.

      How much time do you spend pissing with the OS interface? Start the thing up, launch the app you want and get on with being productive. 10 seconds in the OS, several hours in the app. I really couldn't give a flying fart about the fat "controls" as long as I can get my work done.

      1. nijam

        > ...launch the app you want and get on...

        And right there is the problem.

        "The app"?" Just one app? At a quick count I have 10 different "apps" (or programs, as we call them) running, in 32 windows, several of which have multiple tabs. So of course you need a decent OS (or window manager, as we call it) interface, unless all you are doing is "pissing" (as you call it) about.

        1. mmeier

          Aside from the fact that Win10 can launch and display multiple apps (A fact you most likely know but "ignore") the system is NOT restricted to them. If you want full scale applications - just start them. As many as memory allows / make sense on the screen(s) and desktop(s) (Jup, W10 can do THAT as well). And since the Surface/x86 all have a proper inductive stylus and well working handwriting recognition - they even work if you use the detached tablet (And have done so since XP Tablet Edition in 2003/4). Again it is safe to assume you just "forgot" that as well.

    5. oldsteel

      Redmond is indeed getting its act together. Not perfect, I am an early Win10 adopter on a Lenovo Yoga (cheapskate always) and its raw in places still - but I like it. I Iooked at Surface but the price tag was too high - I probably looked at Mac Air too and drew the same conclusion - so they are now playing in the same pricey ballpark! But at least now Apple doesn't occupy the high end, with credible alternatives from Dell, Lenovo and MS.

      I raised a support ticket this week for Outlook 2016, got a phone call within 1,5 hrs and after nearly two hours on the line my problem was fixed. I haven't paid a cent as I am still in free trial. I can recall not too long ago when it was a case of " ... call Microsoft? Don't even bother ..".

      1. mmeier

        I am testing W10 on two boxes (i5/gen1 ASUS EP121 Tablet PC and i5/gen 3 Tower) since the official "final" version was delivered. Not yet perfect IMHO so it is not on my "main tablet pc" (i5 Lenovo Helix). The systems run stable even under heavy use (LR5, Netbeans etc) but currently the update frequency is a bit to high and the little problems are a bit to nagging to make it my production and/or main privat system. OTOH I have a well behaved and set up Win8.1 as production and privat systems so my pressure to change is low.

        But with the progress done and the upcoming changes I will likely make the switch over the christmas hollidays. W10 has to many good elements over W8.1 (and a HUGE amount of them over W7 for my use cases) for me to ignore it and my "fewest amount of different OS" philosophie means just as I went Windows Phone I will also go Win10 for all client systems.

    6. mmeier

      The controls change depending on the mode you set. And unlike Win8.1 you can set this "per maschine" on the same (synced) account. Using W10 on two test boxes (Tower w Dual Monitors, elder Asus Tablet PC) with one set to "Desktop" the other to "Tablet". And each keeps the setting (W8.1 was "last configured wins). Since the Surface/x86 units have a inductive digitizer you can even use "Desktop" on them easily, the sytlus is more precise than the mouse (And NTrig is a tad more precise than Wacom on the corners)

      Color scheme is "some like, some do not". Since I have set all boxes up to Win7 to the "NT4" look and danced a jig on Aeros grave (after watering it with recycled beer) I am in the former group.

      Based on experience with similar units (Lenovo Helix for example) - the connector is not a problem. Nothing new actually, similar sytems exist from a number of companies. And looking at the other Surface/x86 systems - they are quite sturdy, the main known problem are scratches.

  5. Dave, Portsmouth

    Fastest... for a week!

    Isn't every high-end laptop / computer / phone / tablet always touted as the "fastest ever"? It's a basic consequence of Moore's Law. No doubt Samsung will release something faster in November, and maybe Dell in December, and Apple again in Jan...!?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Fastest... for a week!

      Since Intel CPUs have been getting faster by a mere 5-10% per generation the last few years, I suspect by being "twice as fast" this laptop has twice the cores of the Macbook. There's no CPU available that can be twice as fast as the Macbook for single core straight line code - you'd have to compare with the circa 2008 Macbook for that I suspect.

      I guess with the CPU in the screen part rather than the part sitting on your lap, at least when you max out all four cores and it gets red hot it won't burn your legs!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fastest... for a week!

        I guess with the CPU in the screen part rather than the part sitting on your lap, at least when you max out all four cores and it gets red hot it won't burn your legs!

        Unless you get the higher end version with the Nvidia GPU in the base, in which case it will.

        Aside from the buttonless trackpad, this should be a nice bit of kit, once they get the kinks worked out (there's a reason they didn't "pound on the item itself" as Michael 5 wishes -- remember embarrassing problems in live demos in the past?).

      2. Naselus

        Re: Fastest... for a week!

        "Since Intel CPUs have been getting faster by a mere 5-10% per generation the last few years, I suspect by being "twice as fast" this laptop has twice the cores of the Macbook"

        Or it might just be that it's using the latest architecture with more cores, higher frequencies and way more graphical grunt and RAM. Funny thing; Macbooks aren't automatically faster becaues there's an Apple logo on the front.

        It's hard to judge either way though, given the differences between the OSes. Hackintoshes often perform worse than Windows 10 on equivalent hardware, though.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Fastest... for a week!

          Where did I suggest "Macbooks are automatically faster because there's an Apple logo"? Apple isn't using Celerons in their Macbooks, and Intel is advancing x86 speeds at a snail's pace these days. It simply isn't possible for this to be 2x the speed of a Macbook unless they're talking more cores (or maybe not talking CPU but are talking graphics, since Apple doesn't offer one with two GPUs)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      *NOT* the "fastest"...

      ... "the fastest ounce for ounce"

      Not sure when ounces became a unit of speed but I have more than a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with a leftpondian sales-artist desperately trying to twist mundane insignificance into sensationalist marketing copy.

      ;)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fastest... for a week!

      But... but... he said it was the ultimate! There will never be a better one!

  6. Erik4872

    Interesting direction!

    It's very interesting watching Microsoft trying to emulate the Jobsian product demos.

    Two observations:

    - I'll bet third party OEMs are just slightly more pissed off now that Microsoft is trying to cannibalize the rest of the device market. Tablets are one thing, but it looks like Microsoft is going full-on Apple with regards to hardware.

    - If this and the Surface Pro 4 really do catch on, I'm not too hopeful about the future of the PC as we know it. This will just be another vendor selling a locked-down product with no customization and no access to anything other than their Store once they finish. At least they're still putting ports and SD slots on these things, but one wonders how much longer until they start charging $300 for 32 GB of extra soldered-in non-upgradeable flash memory.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Interesting direction!

      If the OEMs had produced devices capable of competing with Apple, then Microsoft wouldn't need to do enter their space. I'm not a Microsoft zealot and concede they might have been part of the problem, but Microsoft's long term survival depends on them doing this. If the OEMs start producing equivalent devices then perhaps Microsoft will drop out the market.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Interesting direction!

      Actually the Surface/x86 systems have been competing with Samsung, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Dell and HP units of similar makes for quite some time. This is "just another one" competing basically with the Lenovo Helix-B and the Fujitsu Q704 series.

      The competition all have their own selling features, even more so in the business end of the market where "buying from one brand" and "service contracts" are quite common. And there is quite a bit room for "different breeds" within the form factor. Say "user changeable batteries" or "hot swap batteries" (Likely from Dell or Fujitsu), (semi)sealed systems etc. Stuff that is in demand from business customers. Same for "digitiser loyalty" - Wacom users will look at other brands since MS offers NTrig (not everybodies darling)

      On the low end (served by the Surface/3 with Atom) competition will be by price and again by "special features". If I want a very rugged unit - Fujitsu. A S/3 competitor at a slightly lower price from a "business brand" - Lenovo TPT/10. Something I can touch/test in the store: S/3. Cheaper: HP oder DELL. and so on.

      ================

      As for "catching on": These systems exists since 2003/4 from various brands and in various forms. Yes, they are not user maintainable but most users do not care. They buy the "right sized system" and replace it 3+ years down the road with a new one. And when it comes to software - this is just another Win/x86 box. Most software still runs perfectly (I have two elderly games that do not) and installation is done the "old fashioned way" from a DVD. The store is just another source and apps are just another way of doing stuff. Same for stuff like Office/365.

  7. url

    Finally

    i was gonna go for a surface 4 having held off on the 3. now i can actually have the exact thing i wanted.

    i.e. not a half assed netbook with android, and not a weak OSX ipad.

    1 x sale forthcoming.

    gj redmond, stellar in fact!

  8. DainB Bronze badge

    Want one

    Damn, Surface Book is absolutely gorgeous, definitely getting one.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Want one

      When you get one how about writing a piece for us not believers on how it works, constricted etc, etc.

      A good few of us may well never see one in the wild so I'd expect a good deal of interest.

  9. Michael 5

    umm.... as much as I want this to be as real as the showman has presented... I cannot help but to be a bit skeptical. To many plays on words and comparisons and not enough pure pounding of the item itself tells me that it won't stand well on its own. - just my gut feeling.

  10. TheJokker

    History is repeating itself. Apple invented a great interface with the first Mac and then nothing... Microsoft picks the ball up and runs and dominates.

    Apple invents a great interface with the iPad and then nothing. Microsoft picks up the ball and runs and dominates...

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      > Apple invents a great interface with the iPad and then nothing. Microsoft picks up the ball and runs and dominates...

      Of course, because Microsoft has sold way more Surface* and Windows Phones than Apple has sold iPads and iPhones ... oh, wait ...

      * except the 6 million it wrote off last year.

      1. dogged
        Meh

        Because Nokia is exactly the same as the Surface division.

      2. mmeier

        Surface/Arm != Surface/x86. The former family was (finally) shot and laid to rest the latter family sells quite well and is making money for MS quite nicely. Not to mention proding companies like Lenovo/Dell/HP to produce updated versions of their units and improve while keeping a certain price range.

        As for "great interface" - well if one likes cleaning the screen regularly and use an OSK instead of handwriting on a tablet then Apple did. Otherwise all they produced was another content consumation device and others did THAT better (but did not market it well - see Nokia N770/800/900). For productive use - even a Win7 Tablet PC with Wacom/Ntrig beats an iThingy

  11. Tannin

    In your dreams

    "Apple's hegemony as the luxury laptop ... vendor of choice."

    In your dreams. Two or three well-known and long-established specialist computer hardware makers compete constantly to be the most-wanted high-end laptop brand. Hint: none of them are called "Apple" or "Microsoft".

    1. Keef

      Re: In your dreams

      How about telling us which, in your opinion, are the makers of the most-wanted high-end laptops?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In your dreams

        Sony (Vaio) and Asus (?)

        Just guessing ...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In your dreams

        Hint: he doesn't know.

      3. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: In your dreams

        "How about telling us which, in your opinion, are the makers of the most-wanted high-end laptops?"

        Historically Dell (XPS and Alienware), but now Microsoft too.

    2. jzl

      Re: In your dreams

      If there's real (not token) competition for the high-end laptop market, why is the T5 business lounge full of macbooks?

      The only non-Apple devices tend to be cheap Dells or Lenovos plastered with electrical safety stickers and inventory tags. I'm guessing they're not personal purchases.

      1. jzl

        Re: In your dreams

        Note that I'm not saying that this is a good thing. Just that it appears to be reality.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In your dreams

        Because the T5 business lounge is full of C-suite types who wouldn't know a days productivity if it sent them an email, inviting them to a "getting to know a days productivity" seminar and then danced around their office in a Borat mankini with 'get a load of this productivity' tattooed across their body in 72 point comic sans ms.

        They're the type who always have an 'accident' with their current 6 month old iphone as the next model phones are announced, and who need an ipad even though it doesn't have half the apps they need, or connection to the files they want. Because having a Dell or Lenovo ultrabook would mean the other c-suite types would pick on them and call them names and they would look un-cool. And as for asset tagging - the ipad is company property but noooo you can't put a sticker on to that effect!

        As for the actual topic on discussion. Some solid looking products there. Good to see the bar being raised again, and look forward to other manufactures launching competing products.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In your dreams

          "C level types"?????

          This user of the T5 Business Lounge is most certainly not one of them. Especially as I don't fly biz class on business. Strictly cattle class for me. I only get in because I take at least 10 long haul flights a year. (Off to India next week. Was in the US last week)

          I get out my MacBook Pro like many others. In my hand baggage is a Windows Laptop for work.

          There again, I never work (on business) while I am travelling from A-to-B for work. It is 'me' time.

          As I commented last week, the Microsoft Store I walked by had ZERO customers. There were only MS Staff inside. It does not seem to be a place that the general public want to visit unlike the Apple Store less than 100m away. MS is just not Cool/Sexy in the eyes of the public.

          1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

            Re: In your dreams

            Generally speaking, "the public" equates "Sexy/Cool" with what's successful - it's comforting to know that you haven't made a "bad" choice. I can remember back to when Apple's retail efforts were similarly deserted: the one I visited was a fenced-off oasis of calm in a busy Best Buy megastore.

            It is nice to see some competition in the market again. The Windows OEMs were too content to rely on bulk corporate purchasing and they've somewhat neglected the personal purchaser. Unless you were a teenager looking for a facebook terminal or a hard-core gamer, there wasn't much of interest in the world of Windows laptops, design-wise.

            A Surface 3 or 4 Pro was in line to replace my MacBook Air - these days, I only use MacOS X as a launcher for ssh terminals, Illustrator and assorted text-editors. I'm intrigued by the "Book" model, though, but the lighter Pro4 is probably what I'll go for.

      3. dogged

        Re: In your dreams

        > If there's real (not token) competition for the high-end laptop market, why is the T5 business lounge full of macbooks?

        If Apple own the high-end laptop segment so utterly, how come OSX is less than 7% of the global desktop market? Are you suggesting that high-end laptops are exactly 7%? If so, where are all those iMacs?

        I don't mean to doubt you (okay, I do) but mathematics indicates that your assessment may be flawed.

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: In your dreams

          I get his point. The "high end" of the laptop market is very small numerically, probably less than 5% of all sales by volume (think of how few Windows laptops you see in shops priced over £1000). Of that, Apple probably does have the lion's share, as it holds about 3-4% of the total laptop market, and does not make any cost-conscious products.

          In a business with such razor-thin margins as PC laptops, anything with big margins can take a significant share of profits even from a minuscule numerical share. This is why MS is going for the high-end: it's an opportunity. (They also may have better insight than most into how many of those MacBook owners also run Windows via VMs)

      4. mmeier

        Re: In your dreams

        Depends on what you need/want.

        Fujitsu for "mobile workstations". Their T-series convertibles and the matching "pure" Notebooks are monsters when it comes to performance and due to user/hot swap batteries endurance and user-upgradeable/maintainable parts

        Panasonic when it "has to follow you to the construction site" with the Toughbooks

        High End Lenovo units are still the "system of choice" in many banks. Fujitsu is second to them, often depending on wether the business has desktops in use as well (In that case Lenovo)

        Oh and at least here in germany the "upper end systems" are NOT sold in the typical shops (These days mostly MediaMarkt and Saturn), sometimes even the whole BRAND is not (Fujitsu, Lenovo higher end notebooks/convertibles, HP "Business Line" systems).

  12. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    1TB storage?

    How much for the 1TB storage option?

    1. bobgameon

      Re: 1TB storage?

      Make sure you are sitting down when you read this.

      The 1 TB variant is: $2699.00

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: 1TB storage?

        £1700 but that includes the GPU and 16GB ram options too?

        If so then that's not a bad price... People pay that for a MacBook with lower spec.

        1. dogged

          Re: 1TB storage?

          If that had an LTE slot, it'd work out about £600 less than the equivalent Thinkpad X1 Carbon (and that has no GPU).

  13. goldcd

    RAH!

    Can I afford it - no.

    But lovely to see something novvel and good out there.

    More importantly that announcement came with the sound of a gauntlet slamming onto the floor.

    If you prefer the Apple ecosystem that's fine, this isn't for you. If you've bleated that you went with Apple as you didn't mind paying a bit more for a premium product (and my employer seems to have a few higher-management-tools who are running corporate Windows 7 on spendy Apple kit) - think again.

    Original surface impressed me, but deep down I knew a keyboard cover would never work however lovely it was. The rest of the surface - well maybe I could finally see hitting your fingers on a screen wasn't entirely pointless. This - I could actually do my job with.

    Sure I'm in a minority here, actually having liked Windows since it came into existence. Maybe coloured by my parallel game playing throughout - but let me have my moment of oft-denied-fanboy-pride.

    My greatest satisfaction is this coming so closely after the iPad Pro...

    Please let MS capture the aspirational-wanker crown, before Apple even has a chance to sniff it.

    1. Hellcat

      Re: RAH!

      Great rant!

      The Mrs is bugging me for a new device. She's a surface fan so I was thinking of seeing how the new Surface compared to the old, and perhaps grab a 3 before they sold out in the stores if the next model wasn't much improvement.

      Now wondering if I should hang fire to see what she thinks of the surfacebook.

    2. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: RAH!

      Original surface impressed me, but deep down I knew a keyboard cover would never work however lovely it was.

      I've got an SP3, but opted to go with a detached Bluetooth micro keyboard and Arc Touch mouse. Can't stand touch pads (except for page scrolling - they're quite good for that).

  14. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If it can run Linux, then Android is more than likely doable. Who'd that please more, the Big M or the Big G?

    1. Hellcat

      Other than for curiosity, why*?!

      Decent android tabs are a fraction of the price, and Linux gives you more functionality than running droid.

      *serious question.

      1. mmeier

        The equivalent to a decend (brand named) Android tab is a Surface/3. Even that has quite a bit more computational power than a high end ARM unit while achieving similar endurance. Same for the high(er) end BayTrail units from Lenovo (TPT10) if you prefer Wacom over NTrig. With the stylus the whole set of MS Applications is useable within the limits of memory and the CPU.

        If you are living in an "MS centric" world with AD based networks and Exchange/Outlook/Sharepoint or Office set - the 10'' Windows unit with inductive stylus is a better choice than any 10 or 12'' ARM unit due to ease of integration (It's "just another Win/x86 PC after all)

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      If it is as quick as suggested then it should be doable with anything that will run in a VM.

  15. stucs201

    But why do I have to choose?

    Nice that they finally introduced an option for a more laptop type keyboard. However I don't think they've quite got things perfect.

    What I'd actually like to see (from Microsoft or anyone else) is not a purchase-time choice between a laptop-style keyboard and a built-into-tablet-cover style. It'd be better if the same tablet could use either keyboard. Then it could be a decision made when leaving the house: do you expect to do a lot of typing today? If so take the laptop style. Expect to be doing less typing? Take the lighter cover.

    1. Squander Two

      Re: But why do I have to choose?

      Good plan. And it would also help sales, surely, as people with the cheaper keyboard opted to upgrade it.

    2. mmeier

      Re: But why do I have to choose?

      Lenovo Helix-B basically is what you are thinking off. Has a light "keyboard only" cover and a heavier "with battery" keyboard unit that is similar to the Surface/Book in design (well, other way round).

      TPT/10 with dock can do the same, has a "classical cover" and IIRC a "folding stand" as an alternate.

  16. Champ

    Enough of this trivia...

    Is no one going to comment on Microsoft using AC/DC as the music for a product launch? ! ? !

    1. stucs201
      Coat

      Re: Enough of this trivia...

      AC to power the charger, which converts it to DC to charge and power the tablet itself.

    2. Hellcat

      Re: Enough of this trivia...

      You already did Sir.

    3. cambsukguy

      Re: Enough of this trivia...

      Thunderstruck has been used in various places recently, a movie trailer ISTR.

      Made watching the video and drooling over the kit even better.

    4. ScottK

      Re: Enough of this trivia...

      Haven't seen the launch, but you can't beat Thunderstruck. Great tune.

      The local Aussie Rules football team play Thunderstruck when they walk on the pitch (they are called NT Thunder).

      However, for extra epic points when using the tune it needs to be this this version?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT3SBzmDxGk

  17. stucs201

    Surely that fingerprint sensor is in the wrong place?

    Personally I'd be much more keen on a fingerprint as an option when the keyboard is disconnected and password entry isn't so easy (yes I know about the 'picture password option). If the sensor is on the keyboard and not the tablet it loses that benefit.

  18. Wade Burchette

    $1500

    When I saw the previous Surface models, I immediately said "me-wanty!" Then I saw the price tag. Immediately I said "no way". For $1500, I would want a laptop with a 500 GB 10 year warranty SSD, Blu-Ray burner, 16GB of memory, AMD Carrizo core CPU (for gaming and full H.265 decoding; my Intel desktop will handle all the video encoding), 1920x1080 IPS display with 99% sRGB but absolutely positively no touchscreen, Windows 7, backlit keyboard, 802.11ac and Bluetooth support, 4 USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2 and VGA outputs, and docking station support.

    It doesn't matter how good the product is, if it is too expensive nobody will buy it. $400 Android tablets work quite well for what people need and want. Do you really think they will pay almost 4 times as much just because it has the Microsoft name on it? If only Microsoft would stop trying to make the desktop/laptop OS the same as the tablet OS. Then they could have reasonably priced tablets that people would buy. One ring to rule them all doesn't work in computing.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: $1500

      "It doesn't matter how good the product is, if it is too expensive nobody will buy it."

      History conclusively proves that you're wrong.

    2. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: $1500

      So you won't buy it, people who earn more than you will.

      Incidentally those people who can buy it do not really need BluRay players or gaming GPU, so there must be some correlation between desires and abilities to fulfill them.

      p.s. if you can put in on tax as work laptop price is essentially halved, don't see any issues to buy this beauty for $750.

    3. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      @Wade Burchette Re:"if it is too expensive nobody will buy it."

      The Surface Book is not remotely aimed at the general retail market - this is very high end premium kit (and at that price point it frakking well should be!). In my opinion it is aimed at, amongst others, the following:

      1. CAD professionals

      2. Top flight graphic artists (who might otherwise buy Wacom kit, for example)

      Just two examples, there are several others that come to mind. Also let us not forget its importance to Redmond as a willy-waver for senior members of the "managerati" who want to have kit that gives them bragging rights amongst their peer group whilst getting Win 10 into as many boardrooms and senior managerial offices as possible.

      In my personal opinion it is a very fine piece of kit, enterprise kit.

    4. mmeier

      Re: $1500

      Lenovo Helix-A and Helix-B - basically the same approach and price tag. The A sold so well that Lenovo did a complete overhaul (Broadwell CPU IIRC). And some of their Yogas while classic "convertibles" play in the same field/use case (Notebook that can be a tablet pc)

      Fujitsu Q70x and T70x/T90x series. The Q is close to the book, the Ts are classic convertibles now in the 4th generation.

      HP just (re)entered the segment with a range of units in their business line (not commonly seen in the greater retail shops) in that price range.

      ==================

      If one wants a "resonable" priced Win/x86 tablet pc that can run rings around iThingys and Fandroids the Atom-Based units will provide that below 1000€. Again from quite a few companies (Surface/3, ThinkpadTablet, Q5xxx, Dell Venue, HP has some) with capabilities that ultimately even a Note-Series Andy or an iThingy Pro can not match since they lack the support software and "no cloud / company operated cloud" option (OneNote Application, Sharepoint Server etc)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    This looks fantastic...

    ...but such a shame it ships with Windows.

  20. Richie 1

    for those of you who don't do imperial units

    3.48lb = 376mJub

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    I'm confused.

    Apparently, the Surface is the tablet that can replace your laptop and now they bring out a laptop?

  22. Andy Towler

    I'd consider a Surface Book if...

    ...it ran OSX.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: I'd consider a Surface Book if...

      "I'd consider a Surface Book if...

      ...it ran OSX."

      So would I - the hardware is awesome enough even if you had extra the hassle of formatting and installing Windows...

  23. Dave K Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    No 16:9!!

    I'm genuinely interested in this. Mostly for the chance to FINALLY get a PC-based laptop that doesn't have a pathetic 16:9 display. The 3:2 screen in this one looks very nice and far less cramped. Tack on a bit of proper graphics grunt as well, plus the ability to use the top half as a tablet if necessary, and I'll have to keep a close eye on this.

    Lenovo, Dell, HP That's: Apple, Microsoft and Google all now making laptops without nasty 16:9 panels. Your move!

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: No 16:9!!

      Another thing Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer and others will hopefully learn from Microsoft : a laptop without parasitewareTM !

  24. Steve I

    I'm surprised that Apple haven't done this with the Macbook/Macbook Air yet - a machine that can switch between OS X and iOS modes with the ability to remove the screen for an iPad Pro experience. If the detached screen could also be switched into OS X when not joined, or perhaps paired with a BT keyboard then that would be nice too. (E.g. grab screen to take to work for some iOS fun/videos on the train. At work, realise you need to carry on some serious work so get the BT keyboard you keep at work, connect, switch to OS X, work on document in iCloud).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      just wait 3 years, then another 5 for os to reach win 95 level as it ascends from its current amigaOS look n feel.

      1. wdmot

        @terra

        its current amigaOS look n feel

        Take that back! AmigaOS never looked or felt that bad!

  25. KRG

    Just like the Acer Iconia then...

    ...but three years later.

    I bought one of these for the lady of my life back in 2013:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Acer-10-1-inch-Keyboard-Silver-Integrated-Graphics/dp/B009T69O44

    ..and not looked back.

    It's a Laptop, a real Computer when connected to a big screen and also a tablet when you need one, excellent battery life, etc., etc. The only thing I would criticise from her (Non-professional user) perspective is that the HDMI port should have been in the base, thereby enabling a simple 'undocking' to use as a tablet.

    Still available I see, although much cheaper now :( Maybe I'll buy another for my retirement!

    1. Simon_E

      Re: Just like the Acer Iconia then...

      I have one of those still hanging around. Mostly because I don't feel like foisting it on anyone else now the keyboard has become so temperamental as to not work an annoying percentage of the time - and most of the battery is in the keyboard, so I can't really leave it behind...

    2. mmeier

      Re: Just like the Acer Iconia then...

      Recently bought myself one of the last batch of Lenovo Helix-A systems for 500€ (gen 3 i5/4GB/128GBSSD) as a replacement for my privat tablet pc. Similar design and for my usage pattern more than good enough. Basically a "digital notepad" with Journal or OneNote. Won out over a Surface/Pro 3 due to price and LACK of a retina display(1) and over the Surface/3 due to bigger screen and WACOM.

      In my usage pattern the CPU generally runs at 800MHz and the two batteries easily get me 9h of usage. Good enough for a workday without charger. Works nicely under Win8.1 and MiraCast is VERY useful. OTOH if I NEED power - the old beast even runs Lightroom 5 (Pictures on an external USB-3 SSD) resonably fast for "on site/in holliday" work

      (1) Font scaling outside MS Software is still a "hit and miss" and without the pixels are to fine. 1920x1080 OTOH on 11.6'' are "just fine".

  26. 0laf Silver badge

    $1500 probably means £1500

    We'll wait on Dell or Lenovo to make one with 80% of the functionality and speed for 50% of the price.

    1. mmeier

      Re: $1500 probably means £1500

      Lenovo makes one at the same price range, the Helix-B.

      Dell could make one, their Venues are basically very fine systems by now and they have done tablet pc before (and well). What they currently lack is a good pen. Going back to WACOM like they did in the generation prior to the Venues would nicely solve that.

      Samsung has the knowledge (They did a number of Win7 and Win8 tablet PC) and their prices (and sadly their build) are cheaper. Still, the final batches of the Ativ 500 series where sturdy and well behaved. An aquantance of mine still uses one without problems.

      Asus could do it but strangely they never followed up their quite successful EP121 with a similar unit. Even their R7-572 "mobile grafik tablet" is no longer on the market. Nice and sturdy if huge and heavy unit loved by some painters/artists

  27. Ken 16 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Weights and measures

    The weight is in lbs and I don't understand ellbees but the dimensions are in mm, which is fine except for the screen which is in inches and I kind of do understand those.

    What's its weight in units that people outside of Liberia and Myanmar can understand?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looky Here

    for more pics, the badly designed wedge, the awful tablet connection mechanism.

    http://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/surface-book-versus-macbook-pro-1306186

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Looky Here

      "the Surface Book looks more modern with its sharp edges, and dramatic wedge design, compared to the softer curves on Apple's notebook." and "The Surface Book also has a more pronounced hinge design, which Microsoft is dubbing the Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge. While the hinge adds to the tech-inspired design of the Surface Book, it's not an entirely new design"

      Sounds like they like it to me....

      1. dogged

        Re: Looky Here

        oh stop it, she's clearly desperate to find something wrong with it so indulge her.

        It's not as if it matters.

  29. Slx

    I quite honestly don't think Apple's likely to be that worried. They operate off on their own OS X planet anyway and are driving Mac sales largely through introducing the brand to people through iOS devices. Quite a lot of people I know (who aren't long-term Mac users) picked up an MacBook or MacBook Pro after having had a good experience with iPhone or iPad.

    This is much, much more of a threat to the Microsoft OEMs, in the same way as the Google Nexus phones are a threat to Android manufacturers.

    I would be surprised if they have a major impact on Apple, as I don't really think MS is in the same league in terms of brand perception. Like them or loath them, the fruity one is an iconic consumer brand and Microsoft's brands, other than maybe Xbox, aren't and never have been in that space really.

    What Apple has done is turned a rather utilitarian geeky device - the laptop, into a highly sought after, good looking consumer product.

    Competition's good for the rest of us though, so, bring it on!

    The major thing that will make or break this is Windows 10 though. Windows 8 was really jarring to consumers and I think it did frighten a lot of people into either not upgrading or in some cases moving over to the fruity side.

    I think the biggest threat to Apple is their own arrogance. They have treated a lot of pro Mac users very badly over the years and I think that's where you could see the polish starting to wear off. Apple's connection to creative media professionals is very much part of what drives their brand kudos as it's those people who are trend setters.

    Killing apps like Aperture and dumbing down FinalCut as well as abandoning people with lack of servers and all sorts of things is really what will do the Mac platform damage long term. Even if they're not super profitable, I think they need to see them as part of their marketing budget.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As an exceptionally proud owner of a surface 3 pro this is really great to hear. how many suppliers and customers have marvelled at my sleek device as i whip up visual studio, connect 2 monitors, and write and debug code in their office. i must have sold a 50 or more on this alone. imagine building the next generation media server anywhere and everywhere on any network and not even notice the immense compute power slung into a couple pounds in your bag. put it in tablet mode and you might as well be carrying a piece of technical paper around with you, again a sight to behold and marvel at. an amazing device, i shall not hesitate (when win 10 is actually ready) to take the next upgrade.

    p.s yes i did upgrade it to win 10 and in the same day downgraded. but there is no faulting the hardware they made (save a few hiccups which hopefully they ironed out in surface 4 - i believe they have since most of mine disappeared in the last firmware update) and the stuff that ms makes which does work for sure packs every dollar spent into my own super amplified productivity.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      " terra

      I think that bit of kit you're so proud of has an obscure fault. The only upper case letter that works seems to be the "A".

  31. Cuddles Silver badge

    "an Alienware-grade gaming machine"

    So overpriced and nowhere near as good as fans would like everyone to believe? I can certainly see why you suggest Apple would be worried by this, MS are apparently copying their business model.

    On a more serious note, it looks pretty good. The main concern I have is the hinge, since I have yet to see one that wasn't unbelievably shit. Asus have generally been the best for that, but even their Transformers just didn't have a reliable or robust locking mechanism and hinge. And while that's a bit of an annoyance when it's just a keyboard and battery, what's going to happen when your GPU keeps getting dropping out due to an unreliable connection?

  32. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    The screen/tablet alone weighs 1.6lb, while the whole unit is a very portable 3.34lb, or 3.48lb with the extra GPU option.

    Then the comparisons with a MacBook Air are way off the mark: people don't buy them because they're fast – though they're usually fast enough – but because they're extremely light and can last a working day without a charge. Storage is more of an issue which is why Apple knows to charge a premium for it.

    This machine may be powerful but it's also heavy and you're paying a lot for a tablet part you might not use so much. Colour me sceptical but I don't see the demand for these devices coming close to that for Apple's fare.

    Be interesting to see how good the sales for Apple's even lighter (and more crippled) MacBook have been.

  33. M Bargo

    I can see a Macbook in my future

  34. Nanners

    You know you can

    install OSX on these things right?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: You know you can

      Make a really heavy macbookoid?

  35. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Sounds like a winner.

    But then again, Windows 10 ....

  36. Sr. Handle

    Waiting for third party test

    "Twice the fast of MacBook Pro" is a bold statement, sorry for don't believe in MS but since they uses the same processor just a generation ahead I don't see where they get a 100% gain so I will wait for third party testers with hard numbers.

    1. Fitz_

      Re: Waiting for third party test

      ...ah but they didn't specify *which* MacBook Pro. I'm sure it's at least twice as fast as the 2008 model.

  37. thtechnologist

    The comments here have me rolling in laughter. Why is there so much MS hate in the world? I just don't understand it.

  38. Herby Silver badge

    Why is there so much MS hate in the world??

    A couple of reasons (as I understand it):

    1) They're Microsoft, and they don't care!

    2) You can't buy a computer without Windows installed.

    3) They upgrade and change file formats on a whim, and if the rest of your group doesn't upgrade, they are hopelessly lost with incomplete compatibility.

    4) Many of the commenters like Linux.

    5) It is an easy target.

    I suspect that reason #5 is the most common. Others will probably add reasons in future comments, feel free.

  39. Uberseehandel

    Register Sub-Editor Deactivated

    Just joshing!

    You see how irritating it is

    Please give it up

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