Do you like the Surface, but want a more traditional laptop design? Microsoft has built the Surface Book, a Surface tablet that clicks into a keyboard dock that makes it look like a laptop. The software giant showed it off during its press event in New York today.
This is a slim, stark-looking 13-inch laptop — the off-white design reminds me of the classic white MacBook, although this is metal, not polycarbonate plastic.
The hinge, with its flexible “dynamic fulcrum” design is one of the truly unique design elements here. It needs to move freely, but remain in place when you set it to your preferred angle. The movement is smooth, at least in the few moments we could try it.
There’s a glass touchpad with multitouch, and backlit keys that are quiet and comfortable. The key depth, sometimes called travel, feels very thick for such a small laptop. It’s a big change from the very shallow keys on something like the 12-inch MacBook. A big touchpad is a must. In a few swipes, it’s impossible to tell how well it works with multitouch gestures and Windows 10 gestures, but that’s one area no one has been able to beat Apple on, at least so far.
The big surprise here is that the screen pops off, making this a laptop-first hybrid, rather than the Surface Pro 4, which is a tablet-first hybrid. Removing the screen was not as seamless as it is on some other magnetic hybrid hinges we’ve tried, but it may just take some practice to get used to. The tablet half feels bigger and heftier than a Surface Pro, but not by much. Unless they were side by side, you might have trouble telling them apart at first.