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Laptops

Surface Book i7 adds speed and battery life to Microsoft's 2-in-1 laptop (hands-on)

If the performance-to-price ratio for Microsoft's hybrid laptop kept you from opening your wallet, the tech giant may have something that'll loosen the purse strings.

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Microsoft's ultimate laptop is now even more ultimate.

Joining the all-new Surface Studio all-in-one and current Surface Pro 4, the new Surface Book i7 two-in-one is a juiced-up version of Microsoft's original Surface Book (which is still part of the Surface family) for people who found those configurations lacking in graphics performance and battery life.

Pushing pixels with twice the graphics performance of the prior highest-end Surface Book is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Microsoft claims the graphics processor as well as its sixth-gen Intel Core i7 processor delivers twice the performance of the current highest-end MacBook Pro 13.

To handle the performance bump, the Surface Book needed a full thermal redesign on the inside, including the addition of a second fan and a set of hyperbolic cooling fins. The other major internal change: More batteries.

Even with the increased performance, Microsoft claims the additional batteries bring the Surface Book i7's runtime up to 16 hours. (We got 11 hours and 24 minutes when we reviewed it the first time around.)

Other specs appear pretty much unchanged:

  • 13.5-inch PixelSense display with 3,000x2,000-pixel resolution (267 ppi)
  • Two full-size USB 3.0
  • Full-size SD card reader
  • Mini Displayport
  • Headset jack

CNET Senior Editor Scott Stein got a little hands-on time and confirmed that little has changed on the outside from the original:

If you remember the Surface Book last year, that's what the new Surface Book is...with a thicker base. The slightly thicker base isn't as super-razor-thin as last year, but it gives a similar feeling overall. The rest, as they say, is performance tests. But the little gap between the hinge when the Surface Book is shut remains the same as last year, like it or hate it.

The Microsoft Surface Book i7 is available for preorder from the company's store starting at $2,399. That converts to approximately AU$3,150 and £2,000 in Australia and the UK, respectively. Microsoft expects to start shipping by mid-November.

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