Surface Book

Microsoft have provoked the ire of fans for their recent software updates - and, to be fair, sometimes it does seem like they don't have their finger on the pulse of user opinion - but give them their due: they have been at the forefront of recent hardware innovations.

The Surface Book - a slick, slim and very stylish laptop, which has been marked up at more than a grand - has been making waves in the tech community... and not just because the screen can be outright detached from the keyboard. Gimmicks aside, it's also super durable (thanks to a reinforced metal chassis) and packed with some impressive processing power.

Features
Touchscreen display
There aren't too many laptops on the market which essentially double up as an elongated tablet. If you aren't in the mood for typing on the keyboard you can detach the screen and dig out the stylus pen for navigation.

Portability
The Surface Book has managed all at once to be both more durable and more portable than its competitors. The reason? It's incredibly thin and remarkably light as well. If you are going to be on the move, this laptop can be slipped into your backpack without a problem.

Performance
You get the feeling Miscrosoft had in mind busy professionals when they designed the Surface Book. Whopping processors and huge memory space (up to 16GB) mean that it can easily handle the demands of everyday use without succumbing to system clogging.

Battery life
Forget slick marketing, there is plenty of user testimony which confirms the battery life on this thing is just about as good as it gets. The only problem is you need a to hit a certain threshold of power before you can detach the screen - but it should charge up pretty swiftly once plugged in.

Any downsides?

For all its promise, don't be surprised if the usual Microsoft problems creep up on you in the beginning - there have been no shortage of users complaining about system issues and the odd bug or two - but these should work themselves out as updates are released.

Aside from that, it's only the cost that might put you off. A decent laptop can be yours for as little as £200 these days; it might be difficult to tempt yourself into spending five or six times that (memory space permitting).

Our verdict

Make no mistake about it: in the Surface Book, Microsoft have delivered in producing one of the most exciting hardware releases of the year. It has everything you could hope for from a laptop and has been expertly crafted to fit the needs of all comers, from business executives to budding photographers.

It really depends on whether you can justify such a big outlay. A lot of buyers have found use for the Surface Book as a tool for quick note-taking - so if you're a snowed-under student who struggles to keep up in lectures, or a hectic worker who needs to record everything during a feisty board meeting, it might end up paying for itself.