New Surface Laptop, new pricing tricks

There’s no doubt that the Microsoft Surface is a nice piece of kit but you pay extra for it and even more than that!

Microsoft’s usual trick in promoting their Surface machines is to EXclude the price of the keyboard. That lets them promote a lower headline price which most media copy into their puff pieces.

The new Surface Laptop has some new pricing tricks to watch for.

Source: Microsoft

The headline price is US$999 which sounds great until you see that’s for 128GB of storage, only 4GB of RAM and a slower i5 processor. There are tablet devices that can do better than that.

A decent machine for any serious users you have to up the price to at least $1,300 for 256GB storage, 8GB RAM and i7 processor.

Even then, Microsoft is tricky with the pricing. They’ve structured the combinations of storage, RAM and processor to force customers to pay more.  To get, say, 256GB of storage you have to pay for 8GB of RAM.  For 512GB storage you must pay for 16GB RAM and the i7 processor.

Unlike other Surface devices, the Surface Laptop does NOT have a microSD slot for additional storage space. Only a single USB 3 socket.

Like the other Surface machines, they are ‘sealed units’ with nothing you can replace.

For the same money, you can get a Windows laptop from another company with more options or the ability to change some components like battery, hard drive or memory.

Less Windows

Surface Laptops come with the limited and somewhat unknown Windows 10S operating system.  A stripped down, cheaper version of Windows 10.

The major limitation of ’10S’ is that it can’t run full Office for Windows – only the limited Modern/Windows 10 apps.

Windows 10S will only run apps provided through the Windows Store.  Microsoft says that will help maintain the ‘security and speed’ of the laptop. They don’t mention that forcing people to buy via their Store lets Redmond get a nice 30% of every software purchase.  Microsoft also won’t admit that many Windows 10 apps are limited compared to their standard Windows equivalents.

Until the end of the year, Surface Laptop buyers will be able to switch to full Windows 10.  After that they’ll have to pay for an upgrade from Windows

Token Office

Surface Laptop comes with just a single year of Office 365 Personal which may have some value or not.  Many Surface buyers already have Office 365 Home or a business plan so the additional Personal licence isn’t any use.

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