Arguably, Microsoft most impressive device it showed off at its October 6th Windows 10 hardware event was the Surface Book. Coupled with Microsoft’s uncanny ability to remain tight-lipped on its existence, the Surface Book managed to surprise and impress most in attendance. More so than the Surface Pro 4, the Surface Book manages to address the long-standing issue many journalists tagged previous Surface efforts with, the use of an actual keyboard.
Beyond the highly requested lap-ability of a premium 2-in-1 experience, the Surface Book also manages to pack beefier specs and components than the Surface Pro 4. Rather than manageable laptop alternative, the Surface Book stands actually to fulfill the early promise the Surface as a real laptop replacement.
In reality, the Surface Book is another 2-in-1, not too dissimilar from the Surface Pro 4, so what is so special about it?
Lance Ulanoff over at Mashable had a chance to sit down with Microsoft’s recently appointed head of Windows devices, Panos Panay, after the event. As the two exchanged words, it becomes clear the reason the Surface Book is a standout differentiator to the Surface Pro 4 is its use of GPU. For heavier workloads, even a spec’d out Surface Pro 4 could cause some to be concerned, but not with the Surface Book.
There’s balance in the software,” said Panay, noting that the Surface Book’s ability to juggle multiple GPUs (one in the clipboard top and a more powerful Nvidia chip in the base) is a direct result of working closely with the Windows 10 software team. It’s also, claims Panay, a first. “It’s never been done before. "This product is the first ever where the GPU is in the base and then a second GPU is in the top." The result is a “balance” between hardware and software.”
The engineering prowess behind both the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are impressive. It’ll be some time before the experts get their hands on the devices, but some have managed to receive a tear-down version of them.