If hardware isn’t the first word that pops into your mind when you hear the name Microsoft then we can’t blame you; until some years ago Microsoft was predominantly a software company. The majority of its business was (and still is) software but that didn’t stop the tech giant from foraying into the hardware territory. Not only did Microsoft succeed in putting out some great hardware in the market it also showed its partners – the hardware vendors like Dell, HP, Acer, Asus etc. – that what can be done when it comes to creating new product categories and niche products.
At an event held just a few days ago, Microsoft took the stage to announce an update to its existing product categories and a brilliant new laptop. Just like Google with its Nexus devices program, Microsoft wants to show the world that Windows can have top notch hardware as well. And indeed, that was apparent from this event.
Microsoft announced a trio of new phones, a tablet and an all new laptop. While each one of these products is quite interesting and allows Microsoft to compete on all fronts with Apple and Google, the laptop which was announced by Microsoft is by far the most interesting thing.
Microsoft Surface Book
If you have always wanted your Surface Pro to act more like a laptop then Microsoft has answered your prayers. Microsoft revealed Surface Book which it claims to be the “ultimate laptop”. While only time – and full blown reviews – will tell whether there is any truth in that claim, the Surface Book sure packs a lot of punch. Microsoft has succeeded in squeezing all the latest and the greatest technology (the latest gen Intel processor, upto 16 GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD, and a discrete GPU etc.) in a sleek metal design that doesn’t look like a copy of MacBook.
The stand out features of the Surface Book are many. Starting with the high resolution screen which touts a resolution of 3000×2000 and is also touch enabled and supports 1024 distinct levels of pressure sensing. Another thing which makes the Surface Book unique is its hinge which Microsoft has christened Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge. It supports a unique and functional design not found in any other laptop on the market.
The best and the biggest standout feature of the Surface Book is that its screen can be detached and can be used as a standalone tablet. Microsoft has put all the necessary hardware in the screen while only discrete GPU lives in the lower body. This is what enables it to be detached and used as a tablet. It is, without a doubt, a pretty cool feature.
The Surface Book starts from $1499 and goes all the way up to $2699.
Surface Pro 4
Surface Pro 4 is the latest update to the Surface Pro family, a product category that Microsoft kickstarted with the original Surface Pro. Like the Surface Book, it packs all the latest and greatest. In fact, Microsoft is so confident of its performance that it compared it to a MacBook Air instead of an iPad Pro. That says a lot about what category Microsoft wants it Surface Pro to compete in.
The Surface Pro starts from $899 for the base model and can go all the way up to $2699 for the top configuration which includes 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM.
The Lumia Phones
(image source: The Verge)
Microsoft also unveiled a trio of new Lumia phones. The Lumia 550 is the low end model and only costs $139. Despite that meagre price tag, the hardware that it packs is still reasonable. At the high end, Microsoft has two devices: Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL. The major difference between them is the screen size; the 950 comes in at 5.2 inch while 950XL supports a 5.7 inch screen. Both screens are OLED with resolution of 2560×1440.
Lumia 950 will set you back $549 while its big brother will cost you an extra 100 bucks at $649.