It's been a month since Microsoft unveiled its new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro devices at separate events in New York and Shanghai, and both products are finally starting to ship in 25 markets today. This represents the company's biggest product launch this year, and it's also a great new milestone for the Surface line.
"With Surface Pro, we created a new category and challenged the status quo of the laptop,"explained Microsoft's Panos Panay. "With every Surface release since we have continued to push the boundaries of existing categories – bringing more power, more pixels and more versatility to help people work how they want, where they want."
The fifth generation Surface Pro does stick with the same overall form factor of its predecessor, but the under the hood inprovements are quite significant: it comes with Intel's 7th gen Kaby Lake processors, and the mid-range Core i5 model is now fanless. Microsoft claims that it can deliver over 2.5x more power than Surface Pro 3, and the hybrid tablet now offers up to 13.5 hours of battery life.
The new Surface Pro starts at $799 in the US, and a model with 4G connectivity will be available to purchase later this year. The Surface Pen ($99) is now a separate purchase, but the new model is much more responsive thanks to better pressure sensitivity and reduced latency. Moreover, Microsoft is offering new Surface Pro Signature Type Covers ($159.99) covered with Alcantara, which are available in three different colours .
Starting at $999, the Surface Laptop may be the most exciting addition to the Surface portfolio this year. It's a premium looking ultrabook that has often been compared to Apple's MacBook Air, but it packs some unique features. First of all, Microsoft's first laptop comes with a 13.5 touch screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, something that we don't often see on an ultrabook. It's also available in four different colours, with an Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard similar to Microsoft's new Surface Pro Type Covers.
The most unique feature of the Surface Laptop is probably Windows 10 S, a locked-down version of Windows 10 which only runs Windows Store apps. This limitation is not as bad as it seems as it brings major improvements to security, boot time and battery life (up to 14.5 hours). The Windows Store may not have all the apps you need right now (Google Chrome and Firefox are not available, as an example), but the Office 2016 desktop apps are coming very soon and so will iTunes and Spotify later this year.
If you don't like the limitations of Windows 10 S, you can upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro for free for a limited time. In addition, Microsoft is also offering a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal through October 15.
Last but not least, the Surface Studio all-in-one PC is now available in 13 new markets starting today. After recently launching in Canada and Australia and New Zealand, the powerful and versatile PC for creative professionnals can now be purchased in Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.
"The team is humbled by the excitement we’ve seen for these products, and it is inspiring to see all of the brilliant things people from around the world create every day using their Surface," shared Panos Panay. "We can’t wait to see what you build with the two new products available today," he added.