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On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled new Surface, Lumia and Microsoft Band devices, among other important announcements. It’s pretty soon to tell which device will deliver and which will not, but one thing is certain: the Surface Book is a possible MacBook Pro killer. This laptop/tablet was definitely the highlight of the event.

With Windows 10 running on 110 million devices around the world, the obvious added benefit for the new Microsoft devices is that they take full advantage of powerful and versatile hardware to unlock new Windows 10 experiences, including fast and secured login with Windows Hello1; new Cortana2 experiences that turn Windows 10 devices into a personal assistant; improved touch and pen experiences on Surface; and Continuum for phones, which enables the new Lumia 950 and 950 XL phones to work like PCs3. Showcasing the innovation possible with Windows 10, Microsoft also shared new gaming experiences from Xbox and new details on Microsoft HoloLens, the first fully untethered holographic computer.

“With Windows 10 and these new Microsoft devices, you are at the center of magical new experiences,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We’re moving people from needing to choosing to loving Windows, and these devices promise to fuel even more enthusiasm and opportunity for the entire Windows ecosystem.”

The convertible laptop that changes the game

In a couple of years, we will probably call Microsoft’s Surface Book the Cadillac of laptops. For some time now, laptops haven’t really gone anywhere new. They have been getting better, of course, but not much else has changed.

Microsoft’s Surface Book is a powerful, high-performance laptop, with responsive pen and touch support. Ultrathin, Surface Book combines the impressive power of 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 and Core™ i7 processors with up to 12 hours of battery life4. The 13.5-inch optically bonded PixelSense Display delivers a high-contrast 267 dpi display with improved latency and parallax, making it not just beautiful to look at but natural and fluid to write on. The pen holds to the side of the screen, in a magnetic grip. An optional discrete GPU allows Surface Book to harness the full power of hardware-accelerated graphics for seamless video editing, fast rendering or immersive gaming. According to Microsoft, when used as a laptop, the Surface Book is more powerful than the MacBook Pro.

The Surface Book brings something new to the table, and the most interesting feature is its detachable screen that practically becomes a tablet, well not exactly a tablet but more of a clipboard according to Panos Panay, head of the Microsoft 10 devices. The device will be used about 80% of the time as a laptop, that’s why they call the detachable part a clipboard instead of a tablet.

Is Microsoft's new Surface Book a MacBook Pro killer 2

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It will be used for reading, and learning more than anything else. There is a prompt displayed on your screen so that you know when the thin lightweight clipboard is safe to lift. When you need more power for your device, you can assemble the full laptop with a simple click of the display unit into the base unit. The safe-to-remove click that you hear is actually a little audio effect that reassures you that it’s ok to detach the screen. The display can also be reversed. After you detach the clipboard, you can simply reattach it reversed, so that you can take full advantage of the laptop’s graphic power.

Is Microsoft's new Surface Book a MacBook Pro killer 3

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The battery and the Intel Core processor are built into the screen, while the GPU is in the base. That’s why the detachable part won’t be used as a tablet that much, because it will be more convenient to reattach it for more power. The battery should hold up to 12 hours in laptop mode, and about 3 hours in tablet mode.

Another major improvement is the multi-touch glass trackpad, a much needed change given the previous trackpads of the Windows laptops. The Surface Book trackpad has a special edge palm rejection feature that allows you to type without constantly looking at your cursor flying about. The keyboard is also similar to the one of the 12-inch MacBook, in the sense that the buttons are more rigid.

The basic configuration of the Surface Book includes 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM, and starts at $1,500. The full-option configuration tops out at 1TB storage and 16GB of RAM (same as the MacBook Pro), with a price that goes over $3,000. It’s not the cheapest laptop you can get, but not exactly overpriced either.

Is this the MacBook Pro killer?

It’s still early to say, but it definitely has a good shot. The Surface Book is without a doubt one of (if not the) best Windows laptop in recent years. Its success should be guaranteed, but it probably won’t “kill” the MacBook Pro, simply because usually, one product isn’t enough for customers to agree to switch tech ecosystems. This is an aggressive move for Microsoft nonetheless, that forces PC makers to either innovate and improve, or leave the business altogether.

Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 and new accessories are available for preorder in select markets Oct. 7. Shipments begin on October 26th.

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