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Microsoft soups up the Surface Book with i7 processor and 16 hours of battery

Although the Surface Studio stole the headlines, the new Surface Book is looking great

Last night’s Microsoft conference was pretty impressive. And nestled between news of a monster Windows 10 update and Microsoft’s plans to resurrect the desktop computer was confirmation that the company hasn’t forgotten the Surface Book. In fact, it’s lavishing it with attention in a new model that looks absolutely brilliant.

The Surface Book i7, as it was referred to on the night (although Microsoft now lists it as the even less catchy “Surface Book with Performance Base”), is an impressive upgrade, getting a big boost to its graphics capabilities and its battery life. Microsoft claims that the switch from the Nvidia GeForce 940M to the 965M gives it twice the graphical performance, and its stamina should actually improve as the new 30% larger battery will give it 12-16 hours’ worth of life.

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Despite this, the new Surface Book doesn’t come in much larger than its older sibling. The base is marginally thicker and it gains a tiny bit of weight (up to 3.63lbs from 3.48lbs), but assuming the system gives the performance boost that Microsoft is promising, it’ll be well worth it. Indeed, Panos Panay boasted that it offers three times the performance of an equivalently priced MacBook – although of course that could be about to change with tonight’s event.

What is interesting – and may explain the slightly strange name it has been christened with – is that it appears that just the base has been updated, while the detachable tablet segment is identical to what appeared in last year’s version. You might think that means you can just plug in your old screen into the new Surface base, and apparently you can… except that Microsoft has no plans to sell them separately, which feels like a missed opportunity.

The new Surface Book is available to pre-order now in the US, with prices ranging from $2,399 for the 256GB model with 8GB of RAM up to $3,299 for the 1TB model with 16GB of RAM.

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