In Depth

Surface Laptop: Microsoft's answer to the MacBook Pro

New premium laptop is thinner, lighter and cheaper than Apple's 13ins portable

A few years ago, Microsoft's involvement in the PC industry was purely software based, with its Windows operating system being the standardised platform for professional and personal computing.

However, the rise of premium hardware and software packages from Apple and Google meant the company had to respond to stay competitive, which it did with its range of high-end Surface tablets and notebooks, featuring top-quality materials and high-performing processors. 

The latest addition to the line-up, the Surface Laptop, enters into a straight fight between Apple's high-end MacBook Pro and Google's web-driven Chromebook range. 

Microsoft's latest baby adopts several features from others in the range, says The Guardian, including a "13.5in touchscreen" and a fabric-covered palm rest.  

It weighs 2.76lbs (1.25kg), around 0.26lbs (0.12kg) lighter than Apple's 13ins MacBook Pro, and boasts a thickness of just 0.57ins, adds the newspaper, although it's only available with Microsoft's own charging socket and not a more universal USB-C port. 

Users can expect a 14.5-hour battery life, reports Trusted Reviews, as well as a 1TB solid-state storage drive on top-spec models. Entry-level Surface Laptops get a seventh-generation Intel i5 processor and 128GB of solid-state storage. 

It also comes with a copy of Window 10 S, a streamlined version of Microsoft's operating system, which TechRadar says "only accepts app installs downloaded from the Windows Store". 

Buyers can upgrade to a Windows 10 Pro for free during 2017, but users will have to pay a £49 fee if they wait until next year onwards.

Microsoft begins shipping the Surface Laptop in June, with prices starting from £979, £470 cheaper than Apple's entry-level 13ins MacBook Pro. Chromebooks, however, start from as little as £300.

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