Earlier this week, Microsoft announced its newest Surface device, the Laptop. As with all major product announcements, there is a lot of excitement around the event and often times, you can get caught up in the carefully crafted marketing and displays. With about 48hrs now having passed and more time to reflect on the device, it’s appropriate to look at the device a bit more critically.
First off, the device looks gorgeous and Microsoft did a great job with choosing colors that help differentiate the device from other laptops on the market; the Alcantara covering on the keyboard is a unique touch that makes it stand out in a crowd. The battery life and specs all look fine and nothing too shocking on that front.
I am still a bit perplexed about Microsoft’s choice to not include USB-C. Yes, I know that as of today, only having USB-A is fine but the company clearly stated this device is designed to last four years; in four years USB-C will be the default and USB-A will be the legacy port like VGA is today.
What’s more frustrating is that a Surface Laptop prototype had two USB-C ports and one A, that would have been the perfect combination. Alas, here we are with only one USB-A and DisplayPort.
While the keyboard being covered in Alcantara looks fantastic, I do worry about the longevity of the material. In four years, is the material going to look like the futon I had in my college dorm or will it stand the test of time? This is a big unknown and having personally experienced metal laptops showing heavy signs of wear and tear after a year or two, I hope the material doesn’t become discolored or worn through on the palm rests.
Despite these concerns, I’m still optimistic about the laptop and believe it will be the best-selling Surface in the company’s lineup. That being said, it’s still a premium device by all accounts with the price point starting at $999 for a basic model, the color options cost $1299 and if you have money to burn, the top end goes for $2199.
The other unknown about this laptop is its software. This laptop will be the hero for the Windows 10 S platform and Microsoft has a lot of work to do to educate the consumer about how this OS is different than the Windows they have used for decades. This was a big problem with Windows RT and Microsoft must find a way to overcome this challenge before the public sentiment turns against them.
If Microsoft is not careful about their message, their beautiful hardware could be soured by consumers who spend over $1000 for the device and then find out they need to pay $50 more to upgrade (after the free upgrade offer expires at the end of this year). With all that being said, I’m still optimistic about this laptop as the faults, on paper, appear to be minor.