Geek Beat: High-End Hardware

Microsoft staked its claim to the high-end hardware market with the announcement of its new Surface Book and its giant Surface Studio. The company is clearly positioning itself against Apple, which announced a new MacBook Pro that has left some Apple fans wanting.

The Microsoft Surface Book i7 is the follow up to last year’s Surface Book, its first-ever laptop. But, not to be confused with the Surface Pro 4, the new Surface Book has one big upgrade that’s turning some fans off: the starting price is $2,400, compared to the $1,300 entry point for its 2015 predecessor. Still, for an “ultimate 2-in-1” that can be a laptop and a tablet, it looks pretty slick.

There’s nothing at all practical about the Microsoft Surface Studio, but that’s why it’s so impressive. Sure it costs more than $3,000, but it’s a massive, brilliant, 28-inch touchscreen that can lay back and basically become a digital drafting board. Some of its neatest features require a Surface Dial, which adds additional physical dimensions to digital controls.

Microsoft’s big news comes as Apple’s long, long, long awaited update to its MacBook Pro line has left some Apple fans underwhelmed. Sure, there’s the great screen, the more powerful processor, and the brand new “Touch Bar” that replaces the top row of function keys with a customizable touch screen. It looks great, and weighs the same as the once “ultralight” MacBook Air. But Apple is also dropping MagSafe for USB-C, and in fact going so big on USB-C that there are no “old-fashioned” USB ports at all.

Still, I really want one.


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