Microsoft has launched its new Surface Laptop as its answer to Google’s Chromebook Pixel, a very similar rival. This isn’t just because they look alike and share similar specs, but also thanks to the new Windows 10 S operating system from Microsoft, which is simple and efficient.
So the Surface Laptop comes packing Windows 10 S, which is the company’s answer to Google’s Chrome OS. That means app-focused use which can be pre-loaded onto more affordable laptops, for a streamlined and secure end result.
So can Microsoft pack enough punch in this new OS and freshly-launched Surface Laptop to take on Google’s Chromebook Pixel, with the already well established Chrome OS? Here’s everything you need to know about the Google and Microsoft face-off.
Microsoft Surface Laptop is more powerful than the Google Chromebook Pixel
The Microsoft Surface Laptop packs a serious punch when it comes to power. Especially when you consider this device is built to run the far faster, minimalist Windows 10 S operating system.
The standard model from Microsoft comes packing Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 CPU options. While the Chromebook Pixel also offers these chipsets, they’re older than the Surface versions. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop will feature the latest Intel Kaby Lake processors for improved performance, along with the ability to stream 4K video from the likes of Netflix. Kaby Lake chipsets also offers the most optimum battery efficiency here.
The Surface Laptop in standard configuration comes with a 128GB SSD, where the Pixel tops out at 64GB. Both laptops come with up to 16GB of RAM as a top end option.
Ports are minimal, with a USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm headphone socket and SD card reader on offer – but since Microsoft’s device is thinner than a MacBook Air, that’s still pretty impressive. The Pixel features USB Type C for charging and data transfer, unlike the Surface.
Microsoft Surface Laptop has a less impressive screen than the Pixel
While the Microsoft Surface has a decent enough screen for the size, it tops out at a resolution lower than the Chromebook Pixel.
The Surface Laptop features a 13.5-inch display with a 2256×1504 resolution. The Google Chromebook Pixel may be smaller at 12.85-inches, but it crams in more pixels with a 2560×1700 resolution.
Despite this difference the Surface Laptop, with its PixelSense display and 3:2 aspect ratio, is what Microsoft claims is the thinnest LCD touchscreen anywhere.
You read that correctly; the Surface Laptop also offers touchscreen controls, meaning it can work with a stylus for a more comprehensive interactivity offering. The Laptop comes with Surface Pen support, making it ideal for drawing, annotating, sketching and more.
Microsoft Surface Laptop features a premium finish like the Google Chromebook Pixel
The Microsoft Surface Laptop has a similar metallic look to the Google Chromebook Pixel.
Those metal edges of the Surface Laptop body are smoothed at the corners and harshly defined along the sides. So far so similar. However, the Surface Laptop goes further by incorporating its Alcantara fabric into the keyboard, for a more tactile focused experience when typing.
Microsoft Surface Laptop has a killer battery compared with the Pixel’s
While the latest Chromebook Pixel does offer an impressive 12 hour battery life, this still pales when compared to the new Surface Laptop.
Microsoft has managed to cram in enough battery and processing efficiency to offer a whopping 14.5 hour battery life per charge. On top of that, Microsoft says that when the lid is closed, no power at all is consumed. That means you can close the Laptop to hibernate it and come back to the machine days later, to carry on using it exactly as you left off – without any visible battery drain.
Surface Laptop runs Windows 10 S over Pixel’s Chrome OS
At the time of publishing, other than a few descriptions about the latest Windows 10 S, there isn’t much to go on as far as user experience is concerned. It sounds like this new OS will be super fast and very secure, but will limit users to Windows Store apps only. Yup, no Chrome browser on offer.
Chrome OS, on the other hand, has been around for a while and has proved rather popular. This is thanks to Google’s comprehensive apps offering, which also are minimal and run quickly. Crucially, they are also free to download. While Microsoft has said Office 365 will be free for users, it remains to be seen what else will work on the Surface Laptop at no additional cost.
The operating system preferences of a buyer largely come down to what apps they use. If you’re team Google then Chrome OS is ideal, but if you are all about Windows apps then the new Surface Laptop could well be your new favourite gadget.
Google Chromebook Pixel is cheaper than Microsoft Surface Laptop
Microsoft has said that the Surface Laptop will start at a price of $999 (£772). But expect the UK pricing to be more, rather than a direct conversion. That makes it more pricey than the Pixel, which is currently available from £799.
Of course the Microsoft Surface Laptop isn’t out yet and if previous Microsoft pricing is anything to go by, you can expect that price to drop quite quickly.
The Surface will start selling in the UK from June 15, following pre-orders from May 2 onwards.