Microsoft has a new laptop. It’s called the Surface Laptop, and it appears to do many things well. It’s basically a spiritual successor to the MacBook Air, but more quirky, because it comes in various colors and has fabric on the keyboard.
Unfortunately, Microsoft took its rather good-looking laptop out behind the woodshed and murdered it with one particularly dumb choice: there’s no USB-C port.
Microsoft chose to go with its proprietary magnetic charger, a USB-A port, a miniDisplayPort, and a headphone jack. Apple was lambasted (and rightly so) for the lack of ports on its new MacBook, but at least it had an explanation: USB-C is the future, therefore we’re just going to stick only USB-C ports on our futuristic laptop.
Microsoft’s approach seems to just be to give a stiff middle finger to common sense.
USB-C is the future. It’s not the only port you need right now — chances are you still have a whole bunch of things that use USB-A — but it is a fantastic standard for the future. The port is tiny, you can connect it both ways, and it’s incredibly powerful. You can use it to charge device, you can use it to hook up a laptop to a monitor and charge it with just one cable. You can use the same cable that you use to charge your phone to charge your laptop.
Even better, using USB-C for charging gives people choice over chargers. I’ve been using a tiny USB-C charger for my laptop for months now, and it really does feel like the future. Remember when cellphones used to have proprietary chargers, and then everyone switched to microUSB and the world became a better place? That’s what’s about to happen with laptops, but Microsoft apparently doesn’t want to be a part of it.
During the education-focused event, Microsoft said that the Surface Laptop would be “just as good on graduation day as day one.” As USB-C infiltrates portable hard drives, projector hookups, flash drives and phone cables, Surface Laptop-toting students are going to be left behind. That’s the opposite of what Microsoft wants, and I just don’t understand.