Microsoft Surface Book From £1,299, microsoft.com
We are an odd tribe, the nomadic café workers of this world.
I’m often so overwhelmed by the number of chattering ‘creative’ types on MacBooks in my local coffee shop that I’ve actually gone home and run the gauntlet of howling children instead.
This may be to do with the fact that I’m trying to earn a living, rather than writing an ‘edgy’ screenplay while being supported by my parents.
The 13-inch Microsoft Surface Book laptop marks itself out from the crowd with a magnetic pen that clips onto the side of the touchscreen so you can scribble on screen
Sadly, being the guy with the paving slab-sized Windows machine often feels rather like enjoying some reliable but terribly untrendy band like Status Quo.
Microsoft is trying its hardest to change that – and has unveiled its first-ever laptop in a bid to overturn the, er, status quo.
The 13-inch Surface Book laptop even has its own shining, Apple-esque symbol on the back – the Windows flag – and marks itself out from the crowd with a magnetic pen that clips onto the side of the touchscreen so you can scribble on screen.
I have to confess I have, so far, only used it to scribble down ‘Chicken, carrots, milk’, and then email it to my phone, in a process far more laborious than writing a shopping list on paper.
The Surface Book is a follow-up to Microsoft’s Surface tablets (convertible devices with clip-on keyboards, which have defied a chorus of mockery to become a billion-pound business for the firm) – but it’s the first that’s a laptop first, tablet second.
On the Microsoft Surface Book, the hinge part bends round like a pipe-cleaner and the detachable screen clicks magnetically into a slot with the reassuring firmness of a seat-belt
The Surface Book is also a phenomenal piece of design.
It’s usually difficult to get excited over hinges but I can safely say the one here (Microsoft calls it a ‘dynamic fulcrum’) is going to change the world.
Every previous ‘convertible’ device has relied on hinges that clip together, most of which felt they were either going to wobble free or sever your fingers if mistreated.
On the Surface Book, the hinge part bends round like a pipe-cleaner and the detachable screen clicks magnetically into a slot with the reassuring firmness of a seat-belt.
You can fold the thing over like an easel and scribble on screen, if you’re that way inclined, and you press a button on the keyboard to eject it, rather than wrestling until you feel a ‘crunch’ inside.
Cleverly, half the computer’s brains and half the battery are in the screen, and half in the full-sized keyboard.
So you can snap it off, be that annoying guy who’s brought a Powerpoint presentation to the meeting, then snap it back and enjoy the full power of your PC again. A neat idea, neatly executed.
The one bugbear is that it’s £1,299 for the basic model and £2,249 for the one I tested.
As any Apple fan will tell you, good ideas come at a price.
£4.22, IOS & ANDROID
Imagine The Martian but with more aliens and fewer ways to fertilise potatoes and you’re halfway to Crashlands, a colourful adventure set on an alien planet where you have to craft things to survive. One of the best ‘story’ games in months
FREE, IOS & ANDROID
Utterly brainless but nicely drawn – ie, perfect time-wasting fodder – this has you raising and lowering bits of sea as a crocodile on a surfboard zooms across the screen from left to right. Expect to miss your stop on the bus if you download this
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