Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is the computer that many have been waiting for. That computer that you can recommend to anyone without making a mistake.
With the launch of the first Surface – just five years ago – Microsoft made a firm declaration of intent. The company, then led by Steve Ballmer, wanted to get closer to hardware production while caring for its herd of partners and pushing the Windows business into new horizons.
But that first Surface was anything but perfect. It lacked power, Windows 8 was extremely confusing, and its innovative convertible form factor involved too many compromises in positioning itself as a sound and valid alternative to traditional laptops.
Everything gestated with the Surface and Surface Pro has been dumped on the Surface Laptop.
Despite this, Microsoft remained firm in its commitment and ended up consolidating its idea years later. If the original Surface was the coal under the mine, the Surface Pro (5) is a polished diamond posing on the edge of a golden circumference. And that, five years later, is celebrated with joy at Microsoft’s headquarters.
However, the most important thing in these five years is not the growth and consolidation of the Surface concept. The most valuable part of that period is all the knowledge that the Microsoft team has developed and developed for the future. Patents, technologies, design guides, experience with materials, experiences with suppliers. All this has immense value for the core of Microsoft, and, fortunately, it has served to conceive a fantastic laptop called the Surface Laptop.
What is the Surface Laptop and who does it seek to accompany.
Surface Laptop is the first Laptop – with permission from the Surface Book – that Microsoft manufactures and designs entirely. Its main focus is the educational field, the reason that has determined some of the characteristics of the product. However, the capabilities of the equipment make it valid for almost any environment: educational, professional, etc.
Inside, you can mount a wide range of components. In the most basic configuration, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of SSD memory, and a 7th generation Core i5 processor. In the most advanced configuration, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of SD memory, and a 7th generation Core i7 processor.
Although the focus is on the educational field, the range of users who would be satisfied with the benefits of the Laptop is much larger.
The unit Microsoft gave us fell right in the middle: 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD, and a 7th-generation Core i5 processor. The option, in fact, more sensible, balanced, and attractive. On it, everything flows, even the most advanced tasks.
Surfing the internet, operating with applications like Photoshop, working with multiple Office files. The Surface Laptop is more than capable of doing everything your potential users will need. And it will do so with an estimated autonomy of 14 hours which, in practice, are very close to reality.
Obviously, anyone who expects to find a device on the Surface Laptop in which to work with large Matlab or Adobe Premiere files will be disappointed. The team can work with these applications, of course, but the power of the Laptop is limited, and the experience with “heavy” applications inevitably degrades as the project on which it is working increases.
The offer of applications, coincidentally, is one of the greatest commitments of this machine. The Surface Laptop is marketed, by default, with Windows 10S, a sterilized version of Microsoft’s operating system that limits the installation of applications to the only ones available in the application store. Why? Because, as Microsoft explained in its presentation, this laptop is designed for the educational field, where the maintenance of the equipment and security are two essential aspects – by imposing fences in the field of possibilities of the equipment, threats, and maintenance costs are eliminated -.
Fortunately, it is possible to purchase the Surface Laptop with a full version of the operating system, but it involves an extra payment for the consumer. An extra payment that, today, is almost mandatory to unlock all the capabilities of the team. You can’t even install Google Chrome. And that is a big problem.
Except for schools, no one is going to want to limit themselves to Windows 10S. At least for the moment.
What isn’t a big deal is the excellent display that Microsoft has mounted on the Surface Laptop. 3: 2 format (somewhat higher than usual), multi-touch panel, high resolution, and a panel that offers a fairly high image quality – although without reaching the precision and quality of the current MacBook Pro, yes. The format is the highlight of this screen: the 3: 2 allows to show more vertical information, especially useful in everyday tasks such as office automation, web browsing, etc.
The increase in vertical size translates, of course, into a body slightly larger than expected, although the reduced screen frames, thickness, and weight compensate and make it a thinner, lighter, and more portable device than the MacBook Air. Apple, a leader in education so far.
In fact, much of the goal of this Surface Laptop is to take over the educational market that the MacBook Air has made its own – and that Apple has neglected for the past two years. But, contradictorily, Microsoft has made two decisions that, precisely, go against what it intends:
- Alcantara finish. The vicinity of the Surface Laptop’s keyboard is covered in a material known as Alcantara. The result is an attractive and very attractive team, without a doubt. But the durability of this material over time is highly questionable, especially among students.
USB-C? The team is fleeing the USB-C connectors that the entire industry pushes. Bet on the traditional USB (3.0, of course), a 3.5 mm connector for audio and a Mini DisplayPort port. In the short term, Microsoft’s solution is very smart. The education sector does not embrace major technologies as easily as the rest of the industry would like, and their USB-A is still king. However, these computers promise to accompany the student for the next four years. And that is just where the doubts begin to emerge. Will USB-C be the most used connector in two years? Probably yes, given the accelerated transition manufacturers are making. And the Surface Laptop won’t be ready for that future.
Especially important on this Surface Laptop is the excellent performance of the keyboard and the trackpad, two essential elements for interaction with the computer and, unfortunately, largely ignored by the manufacturers of the Windows platform. The travel, shape, and layout of the keys are precise and comfortable, as is the trackpad, whose performance is very close to or similar to that of Apple’s MacBooks. And that is excellent news.
The flawed Windows computer everyone expected.
With the Laptop, Microsoft has made the Windows computer that many have been waiting for years to come true. Its design is attractive, its chassis is light, it is powerful enough, the autonomy is comfortable, the screen is fantastic – except for some nuances – and the most essential, keyboard and trackpad, is up to the best.
But this shower of praise does not hide the imperfections that this Microsoft laptop brings with it. Offering a basic version with 4 GB of RAM in 2017 and with a price above 1,000 euros is an insult to the consumer. Betting on material like Alcantara is a fantastic idea in the utopian world of chocolate, but a serious mistake when it comes to the evolution of the product over time. And some minor decisions, such as rejecting USB-C, also significantly affect the timeless future that it promises to students.
Despite this, the Surface Laptop is the Windows laptop to recommend “by default. ” And that is precisely the definition that was coined for years to Apple’s MacBook Air. It is “the laptop for everyone.”