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Microsoft Unveils Cheaper But Slower Surface Models Starting At $799

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Microsoft has quietly revealed much cheaper versions of its Surface Laptop and Surface Book 2 devices, bringing the base unit down to just $799. The just-released models are now up at Microsoft's online store, with the new base variant shipping with an Intel Core m3 processor instead of a seventh-generation Kaby Lake chip, 4 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of onboard storage.

Surface Laptop

Previously, the cheapest model customers could get was a $999 variant with an Intel Core i5 chip and the same amount of RAM. The new variant is probably geared for people who don't care much for speed and processors, but is it worth it?

Just for comparison, Microsoft's new Surface Laptop variant now directly competes with the base Surface Pro model, which also comes with an Intel Core m3 chip and the same RAM and storage combo. Though if consumers go for this instead, they'd have to buy the $130 Surface Type cover, which Microsoft sells separately.

Surface Book 2

The Redmond company has also unveiled a cheaper Surface Book 2 variant at $1,199, which includes a 13.5-inch screen, a seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. The price drop is likely the result of the storage drop, since the previous base offering had 256 GB, as The Verge points out.

Why Introduce Cheaper Models?

It's not exactly clear why Microsoft has introduced two new Surface models to its laptop and tablet lineup, but their launch comes just days after the company revealed its revenue from Surface sales only increased a measly 1 percent from last year, an indication that its Surface devices weren't hot products during the critical holiday period.

It appears what could be holding back consumers from the Surface lineup is the pricing, particularly when there are far cheaper options out there. Plus the Surface Laptop's limited Windows 10 S operating system is probably a factor too, although Microsoft does offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro until March.

Cheaper variants of the Surface Laptop and the Surface Book 2 could be a way for Microsoft to introduce its Surface lineup to audiences who aren't willing to shell out $1,000 or more for a laptop. Should this work, maybe it'll help with sales numbers and revenue figures for the current financial quarter.

Thoughts about the new Surface models? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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