Now shipping: the new Surface Laptop

Yesterday we mentioned a Chromebook, so the Fairness Doctrine requires that we must mention a Windows device within 24 hours. Which is convenient because today the brand new Microsoft Surface Laptop (actual laptop with screen glued to the keyboard) has began shipping at various authorized dealers including the official Microsoft Online Store and B&H Photo and various at Amazon.

Some options may not be available in-stock at every retailer. Prices start at $999 (i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB, HD 620), then go to $1299 (i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB, HD 620), then $1599 (i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB, HD 640), and $2199 (i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB, HD 640). The Platinum color has all four configurations. The other three colors are only the i5/256. A cellular model is coming later in the year.

NOTE: this comes with “Windows 10 S” out of the box, but you have until December 31 in 2017 for a FREE upgrade to “Windows 10 PRO”. This is officially mentioned in the Surface Laptop specs [under the “Software” box]. Once you go Windows 10 PRO however, you cannot switch back to Windows 10 S.

NOTE #2: No official Surface accessories are included, so if you want to use it with the Surface Pen, Dock, Dial, Mouse, you have to use your own or purchase them too.

Samsung Chromebook Plus Convertible Touch Laptop drops to $379

Temptation time! The Samsung Chromebook PLUS (PLUS = ARM processor; PRO = Intel) Convertible Touch Laptop, model XE513C24-K01US, is on sale for $379 with free shipping at Amazon by Amazon itself with a limit of up to three per customer.

Of interest if you want a multi-purpose device, as you get a ChromeOS laptop that can officially run Android apps through Google PLAY, a touchscreen display, a built-in and included Samsung stylus (S-Pen), a non-widescreen aspect ratio, a 360-degree rotating screen, and more.

This will not replace a Photoshop machine, but you can use it for all kinds of other tasks. Also handy when on assignment or when working with others, you can put it in Guest mode or they can login with their own Google account and pick up quickly from where they left off.

The PRO (Intel) model remains at $550 and was the one that got delayed because of hardware and software issues.

PS: I don’t know if the included S-Pen is compatible with (or which) other Samsung devices that have their own version of the S-Pen (phones, tablets, laptops, etc).

PS2: one lesser known feature of ChromeOS is that you can login with multiple Google accounts at the same time and switch between them as needed. You don’t have to login and logout all the time. Handy if you use it for both personal and work, or have one account with paid subscriptions (eg YouTube RED or Music All Access or extra Google Drive storage).

Orderable Again: Samsung Chromebook PRO for $550

If you are a boldly going early adopter, the Samsung Chromebook PRO is orderable again for $550 at Amazon by Amazon itself. It had returned a few days ago but then quickly became un-orderable again. But as of the time of writing, this is orderable again in the all-encompassing “temporarily out of stock” status.

The difference between this and the $436 PLUS model is that the PRO has an Intel processor versus ARM of the PLUS.

More details on what caused the delays and their plans for the future of the ChromeOS + Android marriage can be found in this Google I/O 2017 Verge post. It turns out the delays were a mix of software and hardware:

“The Chromebook Pro hardware itself needed to be redesigned. Issues with the thermals and antennas meant some things had to get shifted around. Google itself handles the software stack, so it needed to tweak that software as Samsung tweaked the hardware.”

Of photography interest is the combination of the S-Pen (for retouching and such), touchscreen, combination of Android and ChromeOS apps and options, a 3:2 QHD screen (if you prefer to work in this aspect ratio), and such.

Note however that it may take a few weeks/months before everything gels as Android apps are in Beta. On the plus side, it is on a six week update cycle, so fixes will definitely come faster than they do with Android phones.

If I wasn’t a poor blogger I would scoop this up 🙂 Please feel free to send me one 🙂

11.6″ ASUS C201PA-DS02 Chromebook (4GB RAM, 16GB SSD) [supports Android Apps] for $159

UPDATE Thur 10:53pm ET: ships in 1-3 months, but still available for $159. Updated link below…

If you want to try your Android photo apps on a Chromebook (even Lightroom is on Google Play these days), AND you don’t want to wait for the IFA 2016 new ChromeOS announcements [see Trade Show Calendar], one of the devices that supports this new feature [running Google Play Android apps on ChromeOs devices] is on sale, the 11.6″ ASUS C201PA-DS02 (4GB RAM, 16GB SSD) for $159 with free shipping with a limit of three per customer. Other specs: 1366×768, no touchscreen, Rockchip 1.8 GHz Processor, TPM, promised long battery life, 2-years of 100GB Google Drive free, HDMI, USB, SD card reader (up to 128GB).

PS: with the web getting more bloated every day, and HTML5 replacing Flash (HTML5 can’t be blocked by blocking/turning-off Flash], 4GB RAM is minimum RAM even for a relatively minimalist OS like ChromeOS.

Case Logic CPL-108 DSLR Camera and iPad/Netbook Backpack for $25 w/free S&H

Bags and more bags, the Case Logic CPL-108 DSLR Camera and iPad/Netbook Backpack in the grey color scheme is on sale for $25 with free shipping at Adorama until 7/31/16 or earlier if sold out.

While there, they have the Dell 13 7000 Series 13.3″ Full HD Signature Edition 2 in 1 Touchscreen Notebook on special for $620 with free shipping with a limit of one per customer until 7/30/16 or earlier if sold out. This is Core i7-6500U 2.5GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 13.3″ 1920×1080 screen, Stylus with holder, IPS, Win10, card reader, HDMI, backlit keyboard, Intel HD Graphics, etc.

11.6″ Apple MacBook Air MD711LL/B for $840 [limit 3]

If you are a fan of the SSD powered 11.6-inch Apple MBAs (MacBook Airs), model MD711LL/B is currently on sale for $840 with free shipping at Amazon by Amazon herself. Limit three per customer during this sale. Quick specs rundown: Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 5000, 11.6″ screen, 1366 x 768 resolution, etc. I don’t know when this sale ends.