Microsoft Event Recap: Surface Book, Powerful Lumias and a New Band
If you haven't caught up on everything Microsoft unveiled at its big Windows 10 devices event, we don't blame you. The Oct. 6 showcase was one of the Redmond tech giant's biggest yet, featuring phones that transform into PCs, some exciting new HoloLens news and Microsoft's first-ever laptop. From wearables to powerful computers, here's everything Microsoft revealed.
Surface Book: Microsoft's First True Laptop
If the Surface Pro 4 is meant replace your laptop, the new Surface Book seems specifically built to dethrone your MacBook Pro. Microsoft's first-ever laptop features a 6th-generation Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, optional discrete Nvidia graphics and PCIe flash storage, all of which combine to deliver what Microsoft calls the fastest 13-inch laptop ever.
The Surface Book employs a glass, five-point multitouch trackpad, an estimated 12 hours of battery, and a detachable display that boasts 6 million pixels. The ability to double as a tablet could be the killer feature that makes MacBook Pro users raise an eyebrow, and we're eager to take a closer look at how the two machines stack up. The Surface Book launches on Oct. 26 for a starting price of $1,499.
Surface Pro 4: A Better Laptop Replacement
Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 makes the Surface lineup's most compelling case yet as a laptop replacement, featuring a 6th-generation Intel Core processor, an improved Type Cover keyboard and options for up to 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM. The new hybrid launches on Oct. 26 starting at $899.
The latest Surface puts a big emphasis on the touch and stylus experience, with a new pen that supports 1,024 levels of pressure, interchangeable tips and even an eraser in the back (take that, Apple Pencil). The Pro 4's 12.3-inch Gorilla Glass display is backed by a new chipset that aims to make drawing and sketching more accurate.
Lumia 950 and 950 XL Phones Can Transform into PCs
Packing quad-HD displays, 20-megapixel cameras and speedy Snapdragon processors, Microsoft's new Lumia 950 and 950 XL phones are impressive on their own. However, its Windows 10 Mobile that promises to bring these handsets to life.
Thanks to Windows 10's Continuum feature, the new Lumia phones can act as full PCs when attached to a keyboard, mouse and external display via a docking station. Once you switch back to smartphone mode, you'll be treated to mobile-friendly versions of popular Windows apps such as Office and OneDrive.
Microsoft Band Gets Curvy
Microsoft's debut wearable is back for a second round, this time featuring an elegant, more wrist-friendly curved design and a handful of useful new fitness features. Launching Oct. 30 for $249, the new Microsoft band now packs a barometer for tracking elevation, as well as Cortana integration for using Microsoft's virtual assistant while you run.
These new features will combine with the Band's existing built-in GPS and sleep and calorie tracking abilities to give fitness fans plenty of ways to track their day via the Microsoft Health platform. You won't just be tracking exercise on the new Band either — Microsoft is working with a slew of partners including Uber, Twitter and Subway to bring lifestyle-oriented apps to its smartwatch.
HoloLens Gets Awesome AR Game, Developer Kit Coming Soon
Microsoft started its media briefing with a bang by introducing Project X Ray, an augmented reality game that lets you shoot robots in your living room using a HoloLens headset. Players can "wear" holographic weapons and shields, and your virtual enemies will get to know to your home layout in order to keep you on your toes.
While there's still no word on a consumer release, Microsoft announced that a HoloLens developer kit will be available for creators during Q1 2016 — so long as they're willing to pay its steep $3,000 asking price.