Microsoft launched its new Surface Laptop onto the market with a mighty roar, collecting nearly 4 million views on the dramatic product launch video. You might watch that engaging video and then immediately reach for your wallet, caught up in the siren call of the unusual laptop’s promises of personalized performance, a fabric-covered keyboard, touchscreen elegance and attractive colors.
It might be the laptop for you. But it also might not be. Here’s why you should consider it, and also why you might want to skip it:
Yes: As a MacBook alternative
The Surface Laptop is lightweight and stylish, which puts it in direct competition with Apple’s MacBook Air line. Dedicated Windows users who want to stick with Microsoft’s operating system should check out the Surface device. Looking at the specifications for each machine shows the weight, price tag, and battery life for the Surface are all equal to or better than those of a MacBook Air with a comparably sized 13-inch screen. This probably won’t be enough to pull away Apple fans, but people who are on the fence might also be swayed by the Surface’s touchscreen capabilities.
Yes: If you’re a student
Microsoft has its eyes on the student market for the Surface Laptop and it isn’t shy about talking it up. Panos Panay, a corporate vice president at Microsoft, called the Surface Laptop a “vision for empowering today’s students and teachers to create the world of tomorrow.” Panay went on to write, “We built [the] Surface Laptop to do two things: refresh the classic laptop form factor that our customers, especially college students, have been asking for; and make a Surface that works seamlessly to showcase the best of Windows 10 S.”
Windows 10 S is a different sort of Windows experience. The streamlined operating system is geared toward the education market and has a focus on stricter security features, speed and prolonged battery life. This comes at the cost of limitations on the apps you can run on the OS. It only allows tested and verified apps available through Microsoft’s own app store. If this doesn’t sound appealing, Microsoft will allow Surface Laptop buyers to switch to regular Windows 10 for free through the end of the year.
Yes: If you’re ready to embrace a touchscreen
You use a touchscreen on your phone. You use a touchscreen tablet. Maybe you also have a touchscreen in your car. Touchscreens are becoming so common, some of us are trying to reach out and touch any display we come across. It makes sense for our everyday computers to also sport touch-sensitive displays. The Surface Laptop bypasses the convertible, keyboard-optional, tablet-first design of some previous Surface devices and instead embraces the traditional laptop clamshell. But Microsoft has learned a lot about delivering quality touchscreens from those other Surface machines. The Surface Laptop offers a comfortable middle ground for people who want a touchscreen, but don’t want to fiddle with a removable keyboard.
No: If you’re on a budget
The Surface Laptop’s $999 price tag comes in on the higher end for the money-conscious student market, though a 10 percent discount for students and educators might help a little with the budget crunch. That cost puts the Surface device on the premium end of the laptop spectrum. There are many ways to buy a capable laptop for very little money. Buyers on a budget will likely bypass Microsoft’s fancy but pricey machine and instead opt for ChromeBooks or much less expensive Windows 10 laptops.
No: If you want a true convertible
The Surface Laptop may have a touchscreen, but you won’t confuse it with the Surface Pro, Microsoft’s convertible tablet-laptop hybrid that lets you take or leave the keyboard. The Surface Pro is popular with visual artists and graphic designers thanks to its ability to act as a drawing board. You won’t get that same sort of versatility from the Surface Laptop.
The Surface Laptop is expected to start shipping in mid-June with prices starting at $999 and going up to a much heftier $2,199 for a faster process and maxed-out memory and storage. Microsoft is currently accepting pre-orders.
For more details on the Surface Laptop press play to watch the launch video below or click here to visit Microsoft's website.