Microsoft's first-ever laptop, the Surface Book, and its Surface Pro 4 tablet are available in high-end configurations that pack powerful Intel Core i7 processors and 1TB of flash storage. Apart from their lofty price tags—$3,199 for the Surface Book and $2,699 for the Surface Pro 4—the devices maintained their exclusivity by being sold only in the United States and Canada.
Today, that changes as the company has begun distributing the devices to 10 additional markets, announced Dan Laycock, senior communications manager for Microsoft Surface. Now buyers in Australia, Austria, China, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Switzerland and the Brexit-embroiled United Kingdom can order the premium configurations through Microsoft Stores and select retail and reseller partners. Germany and Japan will soon follow suit, said the company. In addition, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands will be getting 1TB Surface Pro 4s sometime this summer.
Last October, Microsoft surprised attendees of a hardware event in New York City by unveiling its first-ever laptop, the Surface Book. The 2-in-1 hybrid device features a detachable, high-resolution (3,000 by 2,000 pixels), 13.5-inch PixelSense display and a discrete graphics chip option on certain models. During the same media event, the company took the wraps off the Surface Pro 4, the thinner, lighter and higher-performance follow-up to its successful business tablet.
Who needs a Windows portable with a full terabyte of solid-state drive (SSD) storage? While Microsoft has been on a cloud-first kick for the past few years, Laycock tacitly acknowledged in a June 30 announcement that the cloud can still fall short for some workstyles.
In addition to videographers, photographers, researchers and other professionals who juggle big files and huge amounts of data, Laycock said, "there are people in a huge variety of fields—from legal to sales to medicine to digital art and music—who depend on a library of presentations, digital content, and image and video files relating to client projects who want truly instant access to all of these resources on job sites, in the air, and wherever else they may find themselves." Having a generous amount of fast on-board storage enables users to work with their capacity-straining content without waiting for cloud downloads to complete and in places that lack Internet connections.
"This is where 1TB of SSD storage can be invaluable, giving these power users the peace of mind they want and need, that they can store everything on their device without sacrificing weight, performance and speed, or aesthetics," added Laycock.
Fast processors and plentiful storage are powerful draws, but a flurry of recent reports make a strong case for waiting a bit before investing in a new Surface Book.
Microsoft is reportedly working on the Surface Book 2, improving on virtually every aspect of the hybrid device. Industry watchers expect the next-generation hardware to pack a 4K display, a USB-C port and upgraded cameras. Microsoft is also expected to address the battery life issues that plagued many users of the first-gen model.