Microsoft officially announced its Surface Book 2 would-be MacBook Pro killer on Tuesday, and early reviews are pretty good.
Microsoft (MSFT) says the new item, which will start shipping November 16, doubles the battery life of rival Apple (AAPL) laptops.
In his introductory blog post, Microsoft corporate vice president Panos Panay said the company’s newest laptop is “powerful enough to fuel the next wave of computing across mixed reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and immersive gaming.”
There are two basic versions of the new computer. The model with 13.5-inch screen starts at $1,499 and the larger 15-inch version starts at $2,499. Higher-end versions also come with Nvidia’s (NVDA) powerful GeForce graphics processors and as much as 1TB of solid-state storage.
The Surface Book 2 takes aim at people needing serious firepower, according to TechCrunch. It should last through the workday as well. Business Insider lauded the Surface Book 2’s 17-hour battery life (at least when it’s streaming video via the Microsoft Edge browser) and proclaimed the machine overall as “awesome.”
Wired characterized it as Microsoft’s most “combinatory” device to date in that it includes laptop features like keyboard and trackpad along with tablet perks, like a detachable touch-sensitive screen and a pen to operate it. And yes, it’s also a desktop that “screams” because it’s running Intel’s (INTC) latest and greatest i5 or Core i7 processors.
Wired also notes that at 3.5 pounds, it is still heavier than the lithe 3-pound MacBook Air, but that is “close enough to be interesting.” The new Surface Book 2, the reviewer concludes, can be used for nearly anything.
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With its Surface lineup, Microsoft is trying to build a strong competitor to Apple’s MacBook franchise on the high-end and Google (GOOG) Chromebooks in other markets.
While the hardware has been well reviewed, there have been some glitches. In August, for example, Consumer Reports pulled its coveted recommendation of Surface and Surface Books citing reliability problems.