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The Surface Book, introduced during an event on Tuesday in New York City, is the company’s first laptop. Sure, Microsoft makes the Surface tablet. And sure, it’s got a keyboard thing (the “Type Cover”) that you can buy and attach, which turns it into kind of a laptop.The Surface Book is an actual laptop. The battery lasts for 12 hours. It has a real trackpad (with multitouch!) and a keyboard with keys that you depress to type letters. It’s powerful enough to run some games, edit movies, and crunch numbers. And it’s a direct shot at Microsoft’s long-time competition in Cupertino: Apple. Apple has three main pieces of metal and silicon to sell you: phones, tablets, and computers. If we’re being serious, Apple’s really in the phone business — the vast majority of its revenue comes from sales of the iPhone. Here’s the company’s latest earnings sheet (try to contain your excitement): But the top three? That’s Apple’s phone, Apple’s tablet, and Apple’s computers. Microsoft is taking aim at number three with the Surface Book. Specifically, Microsoft is going after the MacBook Pro power users, the folks who might want to, say, edit a video or crunch some numbers on a powerful laptop.

Here’s a look at the comparative specs of the latest MacBook Pro and the new Surface Book:amended chart 2 surface book macbook pro comp Skye Gould/Tech InsiderThese are very similar devices with very similar functionality. They’re both able to handle a modicum of heavy lifting, while also fitting snugly in a small backpack or travel bag when you’re on-the-go. The Surface Book costs a tad more ($200 for the base model), and the operating systems will automatically divide some folks used to using one or the other. But Microsoft has added a few smart components that could sway the graphic artists and film editors and tech bloggers and, yes, even the Apple devotees of the world:A detachable screen, so the laptop immediately feels more personal. Use it like a sketchpad! Use it as a notepad! A crazy future notepad!


And this is all in addition to Microsoft’s surprising success with the Surface Pro tablet. While paltry compared to Apple’s $4.5 billion in iPad revenue last quarter, Microsoft’s Surface business is humming along at $888 million in its latest report. That’s a 117% increase over the previous quarter, while iPad sales have been on the decline for several quarters.The reveal of the Surface Book is a hilariously timed return volley in the wake of Apple’s iPad Pro announcement — a tablet that in almost every way mirrors Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet. There’s a keyboard attachment that doubles as a cover. There’s a new stylus (the “Apple Pencil”) for drawing.So, while Apple’s announcing new products that compete with Microsoft’s surprisingly successful new hybrid category — one that Apple CEO Tim Cook took a swipe at years ago and has seemingly come around on — Microsoft’s taking aim at another of Apple’s underloved categories, the laptop. And Microsoft’s innovating.

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a small share of the revenue from your purchase.Since you don’t have all day to scour the web for noteworthy sales and discounts, we rounded up the best bargains for you to shop in one convenient place.You should never skimp on bed sheets. Considering you spend about a third of your life in bed, your sheets should look and feel great. If your current set could use replacing, head over to Serena & Lily’s site.During the company’s Winter Tent Sale, you can save up to 65% on sheet sets, bedding accessories, and tons of other styles. To sweeten the deal, Serena & Lily is offering an additional 20% discount on Winter Tent Sale items when you enter the promo code “HAPPYNEWYEAR” at checkout.Sous vide cooking is one of the newest trends that’s making its way into the everyday arsenal of the at-home chef. For those who aren’t familiar with this cooking technique, sous vide refers to a method of cooking in which food is vacuum-sealed in plastic bags, then slow-cooked in water heated to a precisely controlled temperature. The result: steaks are evenly cooked, meats are tender and moist, and side dishes retain their flavors.


With courses on every topic you can think of, Udemy offers a great way to pad your résumé with relevant skills or simply learn something new for fun. Today is the last day you can enroll in tons of courses for $10 each.Layering is the key to keeping warm in the winter. That’s why every guy should own an insulating zip-up jacket, like this one from Patagonia. Several colors are currently on sale, so you’re bound to find one that suits your style.If you’ve been wanting one for a while, now might be a good time to buy. For a limited time, the Samsung Galaxy Tablet S2 is available for $400 — $100 cheaper than it normally costs.A watch is one of those accessories that will never go out of style. If you need a new piece of functional wrist wear, then you might want to consider buying a smartwatch.


One of the best on the market is the Apple Watch; its ability to display notifications makes it the perfect complement to your smart phone. This first generation model isn’t the latest and greatest, but it still has great battery life and water resistance. It’s the perfect deal if you’re looking to get your first smart watch.Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider’s Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners, including Amazon. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback.

For the longest time, if you needed a laptop for Getting Things Done, the simplest solution was to buy a MacBook Pro from Apple.
Yes, it’s expensive, but there’s been little else in that “power user” range just works the way it has — especially with its stellar keyboard, world-class trackpad, long battery life, and gorgeous display.It’s been more than a year since Apple updated the MacBook Pro line. A potentially significant update is coming, but in the meantime, a handful of Windows 10 devices have emerged as genuine alternatives in that high-end, pro-level bracket. (Microsoft’s own Surface Book is one, Lenovo’s Yoga 900 is another.)For the past month, I’ve been using two newer contenders: the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, and the Vaio Z Flip. Though they both come with very real tradeoffs compared to the pure accessibility of the Pro, they also do things that any Apple machine simply cannot. They do have their differences, though — so I put them head-to-head.


If you’re on the fence about buying a new power notebook, it’s worth waiting and seeing what exactly Apple has up its sleeve. But if you don’t want the new macOS to nudge you into Apple’s ecosystem, or you just want to try something different, here’s a good look at what’s premium on the other side. To be clear, I used Lenovo’s most expensive Yoga model, which includes a new Core i7-6600U chip, a whopping 16GB of RAM, and a big 512GB solid state drive. It costs $2,100.I used the second most expensive Vaio, priced at $2,000, which includes a Core i7-6567U chip, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.In English: They’re strong. If you’re aren’t doing Professional Things, both will chomp through whatever you feed it.If you do want to keep a truckload of tabs open, edit photos, or what have you, both are up to the task there, too. I simply didn’t have any significant problems doing things with the horsepower that’s packed here. Just know that they aren’t built for gaming, and that they can get a pinch warm when stressed.

More specifically, the Vaio houses a 28-watt chip. That’s more powerful than the 15-watt CPUs most others use. The only major competitor to use a 28W model is, you guessed it, the MacBook Pro. But again, that’s using last year’s processors.So, if you bump the Vaio up to 16GB of RAM, it’s not only a tier above the Yoga, it’s one of the few Windows machines that can compete with, and even best, the highest-end MacBook Pro.To get that, though, you need to shell out $2,400. That’s $300 more than the top-tier Yoga, which is still plenty capable in its own right. (But it’s still $100 less than the best MacBook Pro.) The entry-level, $1,400 model has a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a paltry 128GB of storage. If you need power user performance, I’d step up to my configuration. If you’ve ever seen a ThinkPad laptop, you’ve seen the X1 Yoga’s smooth, black matte finish before. The boxy look isn’t flashy, but it fits the professional mold well. It’s also sturdy, and came up no worse for wear after being stashed in my backpack for a few trips.


The Vaio, meanwhile, puts more emphasis on aesthetics. Its cool, aluminum finish feels like it belongs on a laptop as expensive as this. It’s solidly built, and its creased, dark grey lid comes off as understated yet distinct.That’s one thing I like about both devices, really: They’re each doing their own thing, not aping the MacBook’s success.Another thing that’s easy to like is how thin and light they are. The Yoga is a pinch lighter — at 2.8 lbs, versus the Vaio’s 2.96 lbs — even though it’s bigger, while both come in at a fairly svelte 0.66 inches. Neither are a burden to carry, in other words. And technically, they’re both more compact than the MacBook Pro.Like many premium Windows notebooks, both the Yoga and Vaio are designed to be flexible and welcoming to touch controls. This is a major difference from Apple’s design philosophy, and often times, a big advantage over the MacBook Pro.

Now, for me, having a touchscreen means little when it’s time to do work. Using a web browser or Photoshop with your fingers isn’t fun, and Windows 10 does an iffy job of laying out its settings in tablet mode.But the freedom is appreciated. When I want to stream YouTube or WatchESPN, it’s nice to flip my laptop around and turn it into a mini TV, instead of reaching for the tablet I normally use the same way. You have to look at as an added bonus: Windows 10 has a lack of apps built for touch, but since it works fine the normal way, that’s not so bad.Both devices also come with styluses, which is good if you’re a designer or just don’t want your fingers to smudge up your screen. They’re both comfortable and accurate, though the Yoga’s stylus seemed a bit smoother in operation. The Vaio also lacks a slot for holding its pen, which could get annoying. I preferred the Yoga’s setup — if you want to turn it into a monstrous 14-inch tablet, just bend it back. When you do that, the keyboard becomes totally flush and sits flat. Again, Lenovo’s done this before, but it feels natural, and it works.


The Vaio, on the other hand, is a little more complex. Below its display is a “release” switch; hold it, and you can flip the screen 180°. (Hence the name.) This isn’t much of an inconvenience, and I can appreciate the engineering that went into building that without turning the rest of the machine into a mess, but the Yoga’s method just comes easier.Of the two, the Yoga is more of an out-and-out business laptop. As such, it packs more ports and connectivity options.MacBooks, these are not. Despite its thinness, the Yoga includes three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a mini DisplayPort, a Kensington lock, microSD and SIM slots, a docking port, and other things you might one day need. It’s more plentiful than the Pro, to put it one way.The Vaio isn’t as stacked, though it does include a couple of USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and an SD card slot for extra storage.The noticeable absentee here is USB-C. You should be able to live with that for the time being, but it is the future — especially if the new MacBook Pro loads up on them, as rumored. For now, though, I didn’t miss it.

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