Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The New Microsoft Surface Book Laptop

At its Windows 10 Hardware Press Conference held at 10am today in New York Microsoft also announced its first ever laptop, the Surface Book. It features a 13.5-inch PixelSense detachable display screen which at 267 DPI gives a super quality 6 million pixels (3000 x 2000) resolution, optically bonded, color, contrast and clarity. The touch screen display is 7.7mm thick and weighs just 1.6 pounds. The screen opens up in a dynamic fulcrum hinge and it's also easily detached turning this powerful laptop into a convenient digital clipboard. The Surface Book also features a backlit keyboard and a glass trackpad all packaged in a magnesium body.

Microsoft | Surface | Surface Book | Laptop | Ultra-portable
The New Microsoft Surface Book

In its announcement Microsoft said that the Surface Book is the ultimate laptop doing to the laptop what the Surface Pro did to the tablet. With the latest generation (6th generation) Intel Core i7 Processor, NVIDIA GeForce GPU and High-speed GDDR5 memory, Microsoft has said that the Surface Book will deliver ultimate performance and is the fastest 13-inch laptop ever made!!!



How does it the Surface Book compare?

According to Microsoft, the Surface Book outperforms any competitor in its class and is two times more powerful and faster than the MacBook Pro!!

Surface Book Features

The Microsfot Surfae Book will support up to 16GB RAM and 1 TB of storage. It offers the best portability and performance in the one package. Other features of the Microsfot Surface Book include:

  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • Full size SD card slot
  • Integrated keyboard with backlit keys
  • Precision glass, 5-point multitouch trackpad (40% larger than that on the Surface Pro 3)
  • Up to 12 hour battery life
  • Machined magnesium body
  • Weighs only 3.48 pounds (1576 grams)
  • The Microsoft Surface Pen is included
  • A new Surface Pro 4 cover which is lighter, thinner and sturdier and also works with the Surface Pro 3.

Surface Book Price & Availability

Prices for the Microsoft Surface Book start at $1499 (128 GB Intel Core i5 with 8 GB RAM) and $2,699 at the top end (512 GB Intel Core i7 with 16 GB RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor).

A shown in the following table, the price of the Surface Book ranges from $1,499 to $3,199 depending on the type of processor, RAM and storage configuration:

Model / Configuration    Price   
Microsoft Surface Book - Intel Core i5   8GB RAM 128GB Storage   $1,499
Microsoft Surface Book - Intel Core i5   8GB RAM 256GB Storage   $1,699
Microsoft Surface Book - Intel Core i5   8GB RAM 256GB Storage dGPU   $1,899
Microsoft Surface Book - Intel Core i7   8GB RAM 256GB Storage dGPU   $2,099
Microsoft Surface Book - Intel Core i7 16GB RAM 512GB Storage dGPU   $2,699
Microsoft Surface Book - Intel Core i7 16GB RAM   1TGB Storage dGPU   $3,199

Like the Surface Pro 4, you can pre-order your Surface Book right now but the devices won't be available until 26 October.

The Microsoft Surface Book is certainly the perfect replacement for those old and tierd laptop computers like my luggable Dell Laptop. More than just a tablet, with its detachable screen it's the ultimate 2-in-1 capable of running powerful desktop applications under the latest Windows 10 Operating System.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Announced

At its Windows 10 Hardware Press Conference held at 10am today in New York, Microsoft announced a suite of new generation hardware devices including the much-anticipated and long-awaited Surface Pro 4 with a Skylake 6th Generation Intel Core processor, up to 16GB RAM and 1TB storage.

Microsoft | Surface | Surface Pro 4 | Tablet | Laptop | Ultra-portable
The New Microsoft Surface Pro 4

The Surface Pro 4 has a 12.3-inch screen so it's 40% larger and boasts 267 DPI; that's over 5 million pixels on the screen!!! The good news is that the increased screen size hasn't been achieved by increasing the footprint of the device. Rather, it's been achieved by decreasing the size of the bezel. So there's more real-estate for Windows 10 and your applications.



Microsoft's new flagship tablet is the size of a sheet of paper and thinner and lighter. It's 8.4mm thick and weighs just 1.73 pounds (786 grams). The company has said that its Surface Pro 4 is the thinnest, most powerful Surface yet. It sports the latest Skylake 6th generation Intel Core processor and NVIDIA GPU with GDDR5 memory and has up to 16GB RAM and up to 1TB of storage. The new Surface Pro 4 has a battery life of up to 9 hours.

Surface Pro 4 Price & Availability

A shown in the following table, the price of the Surface Pro 4 ranges from $899 to $2,699 depending on the type of processor, RAM and storage configuration:

Model / Configuration    Price   
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core m3  4GB RAM 128GB Storage    $899
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core i5    4GB RAM 128GB Storage    $999
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core i5    8GB RAM 256GB Storage  $1,299
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core i5    8GB RAM 512GB Storage  $1,699
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core i5   16GB RAM 256GB Storage  $1,499
Microsoft Surface Pro 4   Intel Core i5   16GB RAM 512GB Storage  $1,899
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core i7     8GB RAM 256GB Storage  $1,599
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core i7   16GB RAM 256GB Storage  $1,799
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core i7   16GB RAM 512GB Storage  $2,199
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - Intel Core i7   16GB RAM     1TB Storage  $2,699

You can pre-order your Surface Pro 4 right now but the devices won't be available until 26 October.

Surface Pro 4 Accessories

The main accessories for the Surface Pro 4 are the Pen and Docking Station, referred to as the Surface Dock.

The new Surface Pro 4 Pen enables you to write and draw directly on the Surface Pro 4 screen. With 1024 touch levels of pressure sensitivity and low latency Microsoft has said that the pen will give a real pen on paper feeling. It will be available in 5 different colors and has a tail eraser. The new Pen offers a full-year of battery life. The Surface Pro 4 Pen comes with a Surface Pen Tip Kit with a set of 4 different tips (2H, H, HB and B) to choose from.

Microsoft | Surface | Surface Pro 4 | Surface Pen | Tablet | Laptop | Ultra-portable
Surface Pro 4 Pen

The Surface Dock docking station measures only 130 x 30mm and thus has quite a small footprint. It features two 4K mini DisplayPorts, 1 GB Ethernet port, 4 USB 3.0 ports and 1 audio output port which easily allow you to turn your Surface Pro 4 into a desktop PC. Plug your Surface Pro 4 into this docking station via a SurfaceConnect cable and you will quickly and easily access external monitors and keyboard etc. The good news is that the Surface Dock is also compatible with both the Surface Pro 3 and the Surface Book. The price of the Surface Pro 4 docking station is $200.

Microsoft | Surface | Surface Pro 4 | Surface Dock | Docking Station | Tablet | Laptop | Ultra-portable
Surface Pro 4 Docking Station (Surface Dock)

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Monday, April 06, 2015

Microsoft Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3, What's the Difference?

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was looking at purchasing an ultra-portable to replace my now tired luggable Dell laptop computer. In that post I briefly looked at the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 first released on 20 June 2014 and ranging in price from $799 to $1949 depending on the processor and internal RAM and storage options, and the Apple MacBook 2015 to be released on April 10 at a price of $1,299. I mentioned that my preference was to go with the Surface Pro 3. But now Microsoft has just announced a new Surface device, named Surface 3 and this new 2-in-1 tablet/laptop is to be released on May 5. So how does the new Surface 3 ultrabook compare with the Surface Pro 3?

Microsoft | Surface | Surface 3 | Surface Pro 3 | Windows | Tablet | Laptop | Ultra-portable
The Microsoft Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 Ultraportables

Screen Display

The Surface Pro 3 has a bright 12-inch Full HD Plus touchscreen with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,440 pixels whereas the Surface 3 has a smaller 10.8-inch Full HD Plus screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1280 pixels and with the same web-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio as the 12-inch SP3. So the Surface 3 has a smaller screen size and a marginally lower screen resolution but both use the same ClearType HD display technology. Therefore, while the Surface 3 screen will not be as sharp as that on the Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 will certainly compete well with most tablets and 11-inch laptops on the market.

Size and Weight

When compared to the Surface Pro 3 at 292 x 201 x 9.1mm (11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36 inch) and 800 grams (1.76 lbs), the Surface 3 measures 267 x 187 x 8.7mm (10.52 x 7.36 x 0.34 inch), and weighs 622 grams or 1.37 pounds. So the Surface 3 is smaller and lighter, in fact, it's ultra-thin and super-light!!! At 622 grams it's the lightest Surface ever!

Processor

Whereas the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has Intel Core i3 (Max 1.5GHz), i5 (Max 2.9GHz) and i7 (Max 3.3GHz) CPU options, the Surface 3 is limited to Intel's Quad-core Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz). Having 4th generation Intel Core processor, the Surface Pro 3 will faster and have much better performance especially for power-hungry professional applications.

Memory & Storage

The new Microsoft Surface 3 has two RAM and storage options, namely 2GB RAM with 64GB storage ($499) or 4GB RAM with 128GB storage ($599). So there's no 8GB RAM option with the Surface 3!!! The SP3 has greater optional RAM and storage namely, 4GB RAM with 64GB or 128GB storage or 8GB RAM with 256GB or 512GB storage.

Graphics

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 CPU models have Intel's 4200, 4400 and 5000 Graphics Chips respectively.

Networking

Both the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and the Surface 3 have inbuilt Wireless WiFi with Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology. However, one advantage that the Surface 3 has over its big brother the Surface Pro 3 is that eventually, the Surface 3 range will also include an optional 4G LTE mobile broadband version ($100) thus allowing Internet connectivity even when you're not at a Wi-Fi hotspot. However, rather than be tied to say the Verizon and T-Mobile networks it would be great if the 4G LTE was carrier unlocked.


Microsoft | Surface 3 | Windows | Tablet | Laptop | Ultraportable
The Microsoft Surface 3


External Ports

Both the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 have a Full-size USB 3.0 port which is great for connecting thumb and external hard drives for greater external storage space, a microSD slot compatible with microSD cards up to 128GB for adding additional storage, a Micro USB charging port, and a Mini DisplayPort for video output when connecting to say a larger external desktop monitor.

Cameras & Audio

The Surface Pro 3 has 5.0 megapixel rear and front-facing autofocus cameras capable of 1080p video whereas the Surface 3 has 8 megapixel rear and 3.5 megapixel front-facing autofocus cameras capable of 1080p video.

For audio, both the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 feature stereo microphone and speakers with Dolby® sound.

Sensors

The Surface 3 has an Ambient light, Proximity, Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Magnetometer sensors. Additional to these, the Surface Pro 3 has a Digital Compass.

Battery Life

According to Microsoft, its flagship Surface Pro 3 has a battery life of up to 9 hours and the Surface 3 up to 10 hours when web browsing. Thus, these two ultraportables have similar battery life.

Price

The price of the Surface Pro 3 depends on the processor, RAM (4GB or 8GB) and internal storage (64GB to 512GB) configuration. Here are the configuration and pricing options:

Surface Pro 3 Intel Core i3 1.5GHz Processor

This SP3 model having 4GB RAM + 64GB storage is price at $799. The Core i3 model is suitable for common desktop applications, basic photo editing, mail, and word processing.

Surface Pro 3 Intel Core i5 1.9GHz Processor

The Core i5 Surface Pro 3 model with 4GB RAM + 128GB storage is priced at $999 and with 8GB RAM + 256GB storage at $1,299. The Core i5 models include everything the Core i3 can do, plus working with larger databases and documents and more advanced photo editing.

Surface Pro 3 Intel Core i7 1.7GHz Processor

The SP3 top-end Core i7 model with 8GB RAM + 256GB storage is priced at $1,549 and with 8GB RAM + 512GB storage at $1,949. The Core i7 models include everything the Core i5 can do, plus: professional HD video editing, and 3D modeling with programs like AutoCAD5 etc.

Surface 3 Pricing

The Surface 3 is available with two RAM and storage options, namely 2GB and 4GB RAM, and 64GB and 128GB storage. The price of the Surface 3 with 2GB RAM + 64GB storage + WiFi is $499 and that of the Surface 3 with 4GB RAM + 128GB storage + WiFi is $599. Prices for the Surface 3 with 2GB RAM + 64GB storage + WiFi + 4G LTE and the Surface 3 with 4GB RAM + 128GB storage + WiFi + 4G LTE have not as yet been released.

Operating System

While unlike the predecessor Surface Pro 2 which ran the somewhat restricted Windows RT, the Surface 3 like the Surface Pro 3 ultra-portables runs Windows 8.1 with FREE upgrade to Windows 10 when it becomes available.

Accessories

There is range of accessories to choose from. There's a Surface Pro and Surface 3 Type Cover (featuring a QWERTY keyboard) both at at $129.99. Currently all of the Surface Pro 3 models include a free protective sleeve from a choice of styles and colors (was $19.99-$39.99) , Also available is a Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 Docking Station ($199.99) to transform your ultra-portable into a complete desktop workstation and to allow the easy connection to other accessories. Both the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 have an optional Surface Pen at $49.99. There's also an optional Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter ($59.85) to enable both the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 to display what’s on your phone, tablet, or laptop to your big-screen HDTV or monitor using the devices Mini DisplayPort.

Microsoft | Surface 3 | Windows | Tablet | Laptop | Ultra-portable | Docking Station
Microsoft Surface 3 Ultra-portable and Docking Station

So, Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or the New Surface 3?

From the foregoing comparison, one could easily be excused for thinking of the Surface 3 as the Surface Pro 3 Mini or Surface Pro 3 Lite. It certainly fills a gap in the Microsoft Surface product line and unlike the predecessor Surface RT and Surface 2 models which were restricted to only running apps downloadable from the Windows Store, the Surface 3 runs the same full version of the Windows 8.1 Operating System as the Surface Pro 3 models.

If you're budget critical or want the lightest device possible and have less intense processing requirements that require less computing horsepower (eg consumer, home and student use including for example web browsing, working with Office documents, social networking and perhaps the odd game), then the smaller (10.8-inch) Microsoft Surface 3 powered by the new Intel Atom X7-Z8700 quad-core processor would be a good option. Starting at $499 the Surface 3 offers consumers, students and home users alike, a cheaper option to the Surface Pro 3 and a better opportunity to get a great low-profiled and great value ultrabook. Also, given that the S3 runs a full version of Windows 8.1 with a FREE upgrade to Windows 10 when it is released, it will compete extremely well with iPads and the cheaper laptops on the market.

If however you're a power user needing to run professional-grade programs with high-end performance requirements and likely need to run several programs simultaneously, then you might think about getting a fully-optioned Surface 3. However, if you think about it, by the time you add the additional options you'd need, the price of the Surface 3 wouldn't be that much less than an entry-level Surface Pro 3 which has the added advantages of having a faster and more powerful processor and far better expandability options in terms of greater internal memory and storage. Regardless, I think for power users needing to run high-end power hungry applications, the Surface Pro 3 with the full-blown Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor would be a far better choice. As well as having a faster and more powerful processor than the Surface 3, the big brother Surface Pro 3 has double the internal RAM memory and up to 4 times the internal storage capacity.

In my view, while the Surface 3 is certainly a nice and slick ultraportable device, because it doesn't have an 8GB RAM option, and from my experience with the Windows OS and applications, 8GB is the minimum RAM I'd go for, hence the Surface Pro 3 is my preferred option. Also, the SP3 can be optioned with up to 512GB of solid-state storage which is twice that of the Surface 3.

Microsoft | Surface Pro 3 | Window | Tablet | Laptop | Ultrabook | Ultra-portable
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Ultra-portable

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Apple MacBook 2015

When I first created the Chic Alert, aimed at women, I said that it would be about all things chic: Apparel, Clothing, Shoes, Handbags, Lingerie, Jewelry, Fragrances, Makeup, Cosmetics and even chic gadgets and other must-have products from all over the world! To date, the focus has been on chic fashion and yes it's been a while chiccas but here's something different, brought about by the fact that I'm currently in the market for a new, lighter laptop. Yes compared to the many slick tablets about, my Dell laptop has become nothing more than a luggable computer so it's time that I upgrade. However, I thought that perhaps instead of another laptop, it might just be time to look at one of the ultraportables and 2-in-1's now on the market. Basically, these are mobile-broadband capable devices but unlike the more familiar tablets, they are capable of also running desktop Operating Systems like Windows 8.1 and the same desktop browsers and programs, apps, including Firefox and Chrome, Office, Word Processing and Spreadsheets, iTunes and Netflix, that you run on a desktop PC. So they are both devices in one, hence sometimes referred to as 2-in-1's, a tablet that can also be used as a laptop/notebook. They are the "hot" new devices from companies like Apple and Microsoft.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or Apple MacBook 2015?

There are a number of ultra-portables on the market but noteworthy of these, and possibly the best two options available, are the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 which was released on 20 June 2014 and the recently announced Apple MacBook 2015. 

At 13.1mm in thickness and weighing 2.03 pounds the Apple MacBook 2015 is the thinnest MacBook ever. It has a 12-inch Retina display and 2304 x 1440 pixels screen and comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of in-built storage. Under the hood the MackBook 2015 has the Intel Broadwell Core M processor.

In comparison, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 comes with 4GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB to 512GB of internal storage, and 12-inch, 2,160 x 1,440 pixels screen. Under the hood the Surface Pro 3 has either the Intel Core i3 (Max 1.5GHz), Core i5 (Max 2.9GHz) or Core i7 (Max 3.3GHz) CPU,

At only 9.1mm and lighter at 1.75 pounds or 800 grams it's also thinner and lighter than the MacBook.

Microsoft | Surface Pro 3 | Tablet | Ultra-portable
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Compared to my 35mm nearly 1.5-inch luggable Dell laptop computer, both the power packed Apple MacBook 2015 at 13mm thick and which will be released on April 10 at a price of $1,299 and the currently available Microsoft SP3 at 9mm thick and priced from $799 for the Intel Core i3 1.5GHz Processor model with 4GB RAM + 64GB storage to $1,949 for the Intel Core i7 1.7GHz Processor model with 8GB RAM + 512GB storage are certainly very impressive and worth considering!!! Some consider the Apple MaBook 2015 as being the best and most powerful ultraportable device available. However, I very much like the thinner (incredibly thin at only 9mm) and lighter Surface Pro 3 and as I'm a long-time Windows and not a Mac user, my preference is to go for a Microsoft ultraportable.

Apple | MacBook Air | Microsoft | Surface | Surface Pro 3 | Windows | Tablet | Laptop | Ultrabook | Ultraportable
Apple MaBook Air vs Microsoft Surface Pro 3


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