Will Microsoft's new Surface line-up work for India? Unlikely
On Tuesday, Microsoft launched its new Surface line-up in India comprising two devices - the Surface Laptop, and the Surface Book 2.
Unveiled and launched in 2017 in other parts of the world, the arrival of these two products in the Indian market, given their prices, might be disappointing for most, except for Microsoft Surface loyalists.
Why? We explain.
India is a highly price sensitive market
First things first: understanding the Indian market.
India is a highly price sensitive market where good products often fail because of bad pricing - Indians are rarely willing to burn holes in their pockets for any product that is anything short of exceptional, revolutionary, or aspirational (we're looking at you, Apple).
Case in point: Surface Pros never really caught on despite being great products.
The new Surface line-up is very, very expensive
For those unaware, Microsoft's Surface Laptop has prices ranging from Rs. 86,999 to Rs. 2,39,999, and it's not even Microsoft's most premium product.
The premium Surface Book 2 has a price ranging from Rs. 1,37,999 to Rs. 2,57,999 for the 13.5-inch variants, and a price ranging from Rs. 2,22,499 to Rs. 2,95,999 for the 15-inch variants.
Are Microsoft's offerings at par with this pricing?
The Surface Laptop's processors are dated
To start with, the Surface Laptop series will be powered by 7th generation Intel m3, Core i3, and Core i7 processors. It's worth noting that these processors are around two years old and considerably weaker than 8th generation processors being offered by many other competitors.
While the premium Surface Book 2 will offer 8th generation Intel processors, the price tag still seems extremely high.
Microsoft offers nothing exceptional or new, specs wise
As far as other specs go, the new Surface line-up offers pretty much standard gear found on any premium or mid to high-end gaming laptop.
Depending on variants, Microsoft is offering between 128GB to 1TB SSD, 8GB to 16GB of RAM, and graphics options ranging from integrated Intel HD 620s to discrete, top-notch NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060s.
Microsoft's Surface line-up is rather pricey compared to competition
Insofar as competition is concerned, Surface Laptop's price range puts it in direct competition with premium thin-and-light laptops like the Lenovo Yoga 920, Dell XPS 13 9370, all of which offer 8th Gen processors and equivalent hardware.
Coming to the Surface Book 2, there are a host of gaming laptops out there which offer similar, if not better specs at lower prices.
Saving grace: The new Surface line-up's display is exemplary
Yet, while the new Surface line-up lacks somewhat in the processor department, it's worth mentioning that both the devices come with Microsoft's PixelSense displays that are so sharp that they're nigh-unmatched save for 4K displays.
The devices have an odd 3:2 aspect ratio, but their high-resolutions and brilliant colors make them untouchable for even Apple, if a pixel-by-pixel comparison is done.
That is, perhaps, the only reason to buy them.
It's unlikely Microsoft will even capture the tech-savvy Indian's imagination
Its display and portability apart, Microsoft's new Surface line-up has nothing novel or exceptional to offer, and pales in front of competition that offers better specs for lower prices.
Neither do the new Surface products carry the intangible aspirational value Apple products do.
Given these facts, and the exorbitant pricing, it's unlikely that Microsoft will capture even the tech-savvy Indian's imagination.