The Surface Book’s refreshed performance base and the Surface Dial go on sale today; available straight from the Microsoft Store and Best Buy, these devices and accessories were already available for pre-order, but now they are shipping and are available for sale.
Panos Panay showcased all the latest and greatest Microsoft hardware at the October Surface event last month – including the Surface Studio that will be available for sale sometime early next year; the Surface Book with Performance Base was one of them – but there’s a problem with it.
The Surface Book
The problem with Surface Book isn’t that it costs an exorbitant amount – which is debatable – but that the refresh is not a refresh for the Surface.
You see, the Surface Book has two components – we discussed this when we reported the first announcement of this refresh – the two components split the international specifications. The division, allows the Surface Book to do what it does – break away from the keyboard and be used as a tablet.
The processor, storage, and everything essential is present in the “display” – it’s essentially a tablet; however, when you connect it to the keyboard, you get extra ports, a larger battery, and a dedicated graphics card to provide some extra graphics horsepower.
The incredible improvements made to the Windows operating system to handle this kind of disconnect in real-time are incredible, but putting that aside – the upgrades announced for the refresh, are all limited to the keyboard base.
If it’s not clear yet: this update brings a few improvements to the base, but none to the Surface tablet – in other words, if you connect an old Surface to the new Performance base, it would work and be “upgraded.”
The Performance Base
Performance Base is what Microsoft itself is calling this refresh – it’s the Surface Book with Performance Base – but Microsoft refuses to sell the base without the rest of the Surface.
For those who already own the Surface Book, purchasing the “Performance Base” separately would be ideal – it’s a performance boost, and it would cost less.
Microsoft’s decision to not sell the Performance Base separately is leaving us scratching our heads; it is quite a missed opportunity.
Alas, the Surface Book with Performance Base is a decent sidegrade for a great device. Availability and pricing details are below.
The Surface Dial
The Surface Dial is Microsoft’s latest innovations, along with the Surface Studio; it presents an entirely new form of interacting with a computer and brings new opportunities and challenges along with it.
While the Dial was demoed with a Surface Studio; it does work with the Surface Book, Surface Pro, and other touchscreen devices – if it has a touchscreen and runs Windows 10, the Dial will work with it.
Microsoft also made a few videos to showcase what the Surface Dial is capable of; if you can’t think of any use cases for it, perhaps watch the videos for some inspiration.
Availability & Pricing
Since the Surface Dial is capable of working with devices other than Surface Studio, Microsoft is selling the new accessory separately – something we wish it also did with the Performance Base for Surface Book.
The Surface Dial costs $99 and is available only in the U.S. via Microsoft Stores and Best Buy – if you can find it since the inventory is running out if it hasn’t already.
Microsoft Store online is already out of stock and is back to taking pre-orders for the accessory; these pre-orders will start shipping by 15th December this year. Here’s the store link.
You will probably need to find a Surface Dial at a physical Microsoft Store or Best Buy if you want to get one right now – good luck.
The Surface Book with Performance Base is available from physical Microsoft Store and Best Buy locations, as well as online on Microsoft Store – here’s the store link.
There’re three models with different pricing:
- 256 GB storage with 8 GB RAM costs $2,399
- 512 GB storage with 16 GB RAM costs $2,799
- 1 TB storage with 16 GB RAM costs $3,299
These prices could have been considerably lower if Microsoft were to sell the Performance Base separately.
Microsoft is also running a trade-in program for MacBook users, you can read more about that here.