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The fatal flaws of Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop

The fatal flaws of Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop

Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop is a looker. Featuring a sleek metal design, Italian cloth lined keyboard, and reflective Microsoft logo, it’s clear that Microsoft’s hardware design department has really been stepping things up.

Unfortunately, the Surface Laptop carries with it several fatal flaws. Let’s dive right in to Microsoft’s latest mistakes.

Value

The Surface Laptop isn’t cheap. It’s $999 for the base model. Price-wise, it’s in the same territory as high-end laptops like the MacBook or MacBook Air, but, for the base model, it doesn’t deliver the specs to match. The $1K base model contains a mere 4GB of RAM, which, honestly, is an embarrassment. This is 2017, Microsoft. 8GB should come standard. Apple’s often-criticized MacBook Air comes with 8 gigs for the same price.

Of course, the Surface Laptop isn’t all bad. It has an impressive “PixelSense” display that’s gorgeously high-res, much better than the MacBook Air. But what’s the point of a high-res screen on an underpowered computer? At least users will be able to see the Windows loading symbol in crystal clarity.

With more money, of course, comes more computing power. The Surface Laptop maxes out at $2,199 for an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Apple’s Retina MacBook Pro matches those specs for the same price. Microsoft is playing Apple’s game now.

In short, if you’re looking at getting the Surface Laptop, go for a pricier model. It’s a better value.

Market Approach

The Surface Laptop runs Windows 10S. Windows 10S is aiming to increase security and reliability, while making the platform faster. To do this, Windows 10S only allows apps from the meager selection offered by the Windows Store. That means no Google Chrome. No Adobe Illustrator. No Photoshop.

If you recall, that sounds uncomfortably similar to Microsoft’s failed Windows RT.

Luckily, Microsoft will allow Surface Laptop owners to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free until the end of 2017. If you end up getting a model with decent specs, definitely do this ASAP if you plan on getting the most from the Surface Laptop.

Cloth-lined Keyboard

Surrounding the Surface Laptop’s keyboard is a sheet of Italian alcantara cloth. Perhaps regrettably for Microsoft, the fabric spans over to both sides of the trackpad, where a user’s palms naturally rest while typing. Sweaty palms are likely to make the fabric rather dirty far faster than a metal or even plastic design. Ugh.

No 360 Hinge

One touted advantage of the Surface Laptop over the MacBook is its touchscreen. But what good is a touchscreen if it doesn’t lay flat? The Surface Laptop features a traditional clamshell design, meaning that the screen will likely never be comfortable for writing or drawing. Seriously, Microsoft, skip the touchscreen and give us a respectable amount of RAM instead.

The Surface Laptop is pretty, powerful at high price points, and reflective of Microsoft’s larger ambitions to take over the premium computing market. But a more quickly deteriorating design, unimpressive baseline specs, and Chromebook-style OS doesn’t exactly sound like the right approach for high-end. Maybe next time, Microsoft. If you’re looking for a powerful and truly capable PC, check out the Surface Book or MacBook Pro.

Image credit: Microsoft

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