Is Microsoft's 1TB Surface Book Worth It?

You like to horde your files, don't you? Isn't it more convenient to keep your work files, movies and music on your computer, rather than in a cloud server? Well, Microsoft sympathizes, so it announced today (June 30) that the 1TB model of its 13.5-inch Surface Book hybrid will be available in even more markets than before. But you might want to think for a moment before rushing out to buy one.

We're not cautious because Microsoft charges $500 to bump the 2-in-1 up from the 512GB option. That price is in line with what other makers of hard-to-repair devices charge. (And the Surface Book most definitely qualifies as a hard-to-repair device.) For example, Apple places the same premium for the same upgrade to its MacBook Pros.

So if you're comfortable spending $3,199, prefer a detachable tablet display and need the local storage immediately, feel free to fire up that credit card for the 1TB Surface Book, which also packs a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a Nvidia GeForce GPU. But if you flinched at that price, you've got a good reason to hold off, with some solid alternatives to consider instead.

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You should definitely pump the brakes if you don't need a new system immediately. The Surface Book launched in fall 2015, so there's a good chance that Microsoft could announce its successor soon. Nobody wants to pay a lot of money to wind up with the buyer's remorse that comes with seeing a better, faster, more productive model launch shortly after your order arrives.

If you don't need a detachable screen or a discrete graphics card, then there is a more affordable alternative to the Surface Book. The stylish copper-and-black HP Spectre x360 13t can be bought with 1TB of SSD storage, a Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, for the lower price of $1,574.99. That's less than half of what Microsoft charges for the 1TB Surface Book.

The biggest drawback is the x360 13t's touchscreen is only 2560 x 1440 pixels, while the Surface Book packs a 3000 x 2000-pixel panel. But with all that extra money you saved, you could buy a secondary display to extend the x360's.

Creative professionals with decent budgets and no allegiances to operating systems should consider saving money by checking out the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. You can buy it with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage and an Intel Iris GPU for only $2,699; that's $500 less than the Surface Book. Just forget about using any kind of touchscreen interface, as Apple doesn't provide that option on its notebooks.

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