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Microsoft off to great start with first true laptop

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I wrote about the Microsoft Surface Book laptop a few weeks ago, but I finally had a chance to try one out and came away impressed.

The new device is a 2-in-1 hybrid that’s both a laptop and a tablet. But, unlike Microsoft’s other offering in that category — the Surface Pro — it’s a no-compromise laptop.

For example, unlike the Surface Pro and a lot of other 2-in-1s that have a kickstand to hold up the screen, the Surface Book’s screen has a strong hinge that allows it to adjust to any angle. And because the hinge is strong enough to hold up the screen, you can use it on your lap without worrying about the screen flopping over. That’s important for those of us who use our devices in places where we don’t have access to a table.

There are no compromises when it comes to the keyboard and the glass trackpad. In fact, the keyboard is excellent and the trackpad rivals that of the MacBook Air, which sets a high standard. And because it is also a touchscreen, you have the option of bypassing the trackpad if you want.

The 13.5-inch touchscreen is also impressive. Its 3,000 by 2,000 (267 pixels per inch) resolution is stunning.

When it comes to storage, you can choose between a 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB solid state drive but the bigger the drive, the pricier the machine. It starts at $1,499 for a version with 128GB of storage

I bought a 13-inch MacBook Air a few months ago and if I hadn’t just invested in that Mac, I’d seriously consider buying the Surface Book. Starting at 3.45 pounds with the keyboard, it’s only only six ounces heavier than a 13-inch MacBook Air and 2 ounces lighter than a 13-inch MacBook Pro. The Surface Book gets about 12 hours of battery life, which is the same as Apple’s claim for the MacBook Air and two hours better than the MacBook Pro.

If you want to use the Surface Book as a tablet, you simply press a key and then snap off the screen without having to close any applications. It’s easy and takes just a few seconds. You can then put it back when you’re ready to resume using the keyboard.

Microsoft has been partnering with laptop makers for decades, but this is the company’s first full-fledged laptop. And, based on what I’ve seen so far, they’re getting off to a good start.