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Surface Book i7: 8 things you need to know

Microsoft has just announced the Surface Book i7 2016, an updated version of its powerful laptop which converts into a tablet with a quick pull or twist. Here are 8 of the best features that you should know about this MacBook Pro rival.

Read next: Surface Book i7 2016 vs Apple Macbook Pro 2016, which is best for me?

1) The Surface Book i7 2016 has 30 per cent better battery life

16 hours. That is how long Microsoft claims the Surface Book i7 2016 will last between charges, bettering the battery life of the MacBook Pro if the claim turns out to be true. Even if not, having added peace of mind on those days where you are away from a plug is always a good thing. 

2) The Surface Book i7 2016’s processor is newer and faster

A new Intel Core i7 is at the heart of the new Surface Book i7, which should make it a snappier experience and better at dealing with more CPU heavy tasks. A shiny new Skylake processor, that is, making it bang up to date.

3) You will be able to use Paint3D on the new Surface Book i7

Paint is back and now has a 3D theme. Paint3D is designed to help consumers ease themselves into the world of 3D computing and modelling, and it does so by providing users the ability to turn parts of a photo into 3D objects or a 2D doodle into a 3D image. By no means essential, but Microsoft sees the next ten years as all about being creative and this software forms part of that vision.

4) The design is unchanged…

The new Surface Book i7 2016 edition has the exact same design as the first Surface Book model, which is good if you liked its sleek look and 13.5-inch detachable display and bad if you felt it was a bit drab. This update was more of a facelift for the internals, which is fine from our perspective as the build quality seen on the device is some of the best around.

5) …unless you are talking about internals

You would have to take the Surface Book i7 apart to see this particular point, but it is good to know that the 2016 model has been given a second fan and the internals redesigned to help it cope better with heat. And coping better with heat means it should last longer or at least keep up with the more demanding computery bits inside it.

6) Expect all the graphics

Microsoft says you can expect “two times” better graphics with the Surface Book i7 2016, although that means next to nothing. Two times faster? Two times the detail? Two times as appealing? Yeah, we’re not sure either. What is clear, however, is that a more powerful GeForce GTX 965M graphics card has been put inside, meaning it should help make video games look better. The previous card was a GeForce 940MX.

7) Windows 10 runs the show

Yes, the polarising operating system features again, which makes sense when Windows 10 is still the latest offering from Microsoft. That means access to Cortana voice stuff, apps and games and that love or hate mixture of the traditional start button and the Metro user-interface brought in with Windows 8. Though it had a rocky start, recent updates have made Windows 10 far more stable.

8) The Surface Book i7 2016 costs this much

The new Surface Book i7 is available to pre-order now for US$1,499 before it begins shipping on the 10th of November 2016, while the Surface Pro 4 remains at US$899. We are waiting on clarification for the UK prices and other specs. Stay tuned.

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