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Close to the Metal Ep. 47: The Surface Laptop is in the building

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After dancing around the issue for several years, Microsoft has finally built a true laptop. The aptly-named Surface Laptop borrows heavily from the Surface Pro and Surface Book’s design elements, with a focus on the beautiful PixelSense display and fuzzy alcantara fabric surrounding the keyboard. It certainly looks the part, but there’s a lot more to high-end laptops than aesthetics.

It’s also the first system to run Windows 10 S, a special version of the operating system that cuts out x86 app compatibility, leaving only software downloaded from the Universal Windows Platform to run. To a lot of users, that sounds like a downgrade from the regular version of Windows 10, because it is. It’s intended for administrators handling dozens or hundreds of systems, because it prevents the end user from installing any malware or custom software. It’s a direct attack on a piece of the market entirely owned by Chrome OS, except Microsoft forgot to drop the price.

The Surface Laptop starts at $1,000, well above the $150+ Chromebook starting price, and the $300+ point where Windows 10 with Bing laptops are available. It includes more premium components, and a high-resolution PixelSense touch display, but not all of the parts are up to snuff with its competitors in the $1,000+ price range.

So why would someone want to pay more, for less? We’ll talk about our time with Windows 10 S and the Surface Laptop, and maybe even glean some insight from our conversation last week with Panos Panay, and our very recent trip to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, all on this week’s episode of Close to the Metal.

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that takes a deep dive into computing and PC gaming topics. Each show, we’ll focus in on one topic, and leave no stone unturned as we show off the latest in hardware and software. Whether it’s the latest GPU, supercomputers, or which 2-in-1 you should buy, we break down the complicated jargon and talk about how user experience is affected in the real world. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Tuesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.

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