Close to the Metal Ep. 41: Everything Microsoft, and our first reader poll

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As Microsoft gears up for Build, it’s only natural the software producer-turned hardware maker would want to show off what its been working on. The press conference today marked the release of the Surface Laptop, a traditional notebook, and a Windows 10 S, a student edition with specific limits and quick pick-up time.

Software limitations set Windows 10 S apart from its full-featured sibling. Users can only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store, preventing any unwanted problematic installations or security issues. If need be, an administrator can install more typical x86 applications, but it wasn’t made clear exactly what that process would look like. In addition to client systems, Windows 10 S helps administrators configure other systems, with a simple wizard that creates USB drives to load that image onto new computers.

Speaking of new computers, Microsoft took the opportunity to roll out the Surface Laptop, starting at $999. While the Redmond team didn’t mention any specific configurations, the system will come with Seventh-Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, and up to 1TB NVMe SSD options, with an estimated battery life of more than 14 hours.

Microsoft is certainly swinging for the fences, but is it risking its OEM partners by infringing on their territory? We’ll discuss all that and more 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.