Microsoft seems to be adjusting its Surface Book pre-orders to the demands of potential buyers even before the Windows 2-in-1 launches. Ahead of the Surface Book release date on October 26th, Microsoft is letting shoppers on its website pre-order a new model configuration of the Surface Book that makes it cheaper for users to get one of its most futuristic features: a discrete graphics processor built-in its base.
The new Surface Book configuration appeared on the pre-order page at the Microsoft Store yesterday, according to some reports. The Surface Book itself was revealed by Microsoft at an event in New York City earlier this month. It’s described first and foremost as a Windows 10 notebook, but it’s also a convertible. Users can detach its screen and use it as a tablet if they’d like.
This new Surface Book configuration doesn’t bring down the overall cost of entry for the Surface Book; it still costs $1499, at least. That being said, a new $1699 Surface Book lets users get 128GB of storage, an Intel Core i5 processor and a discrete graphics processor. That definitely still a lot of money, but it’s a bit more reasonable than what was available previously.
Getting a discrete graphics processor within the Surface Book cost other buyers at least $1,899 when Surface Book pre-orders became available. Microsoft says that this new configuration will begin shipping on October 26th. That’s the same day that other Surface Book configurations are scheduled to ship. In fact, it’s the only configuration that’s still available for purchase and delivery on release day. All other versions are showing delays of four to six weeks.
Surface Books with a discrete graphics processor can handle tasks that require high-performance a bit better than other models. Games should play better and video rendering should take less time. When users undock the Surface Book from its base they switch an internal Intel graphics processor. When docked the switch to the better performing discrete graphics processor happens automatically. The base also has internal batteries of its own that lets users stay mobile for up to 12 hours, according to Microsoft.
This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has added a new configuration to its store pages. The Surface Book with 1TB of storage wasn’t originally available for pre-order. Microsoft is taking pre-orders now, but shoppers shouldn’t expect it to arrive until January 22nd at the earliest. Earlier this week many shoppers received emails confirming that their Surface Book pre-orders were cancelled because of payment issues. In a statement to Gotta Be Mobile Microsoft says that its working directly with these customers to get them their orders a few days after launch.
Microsoft is billing the Surface Book as a direct competitor to the MacBook Pro. The device features a 13.-5 inch 3000 x 2000 display and a magnesium base. The screen itself is actually a fully contained tablet that users can detach with the push of a button and take anywhere. The hinge looks sort-of like a spine. The entire Surface Book, when connected to its base, weighs 3.3 pounds. Microsoft bundles an optional Surface Pen for note taking and navigating Windows 10.
All told, this new configuration doesn’t make it a bit cheaper to get a premium Surface Book experience. Microsoft is hoping to attract users to Windows and inspire its hardware partners to create competing devices.
Also launching on October 26th is Microsoft’s answer to the MacBook. Called the Surface Pro 4, the device keeps the same form factor of the Surface Pro 3, but adds in a better, bigger display and new Intel Skylake processors that run cooler and perform better than the processors that were in the Surface 3. The Surface Pro 4 starts at $899.