Tuesday , October 16 2018

You Can Buy a $999 Surface Laptop 2 in Any Color, as Long as It’s Platinum

Surface Laptop 2

Last week, Microsoft announced new Surface devices, including the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2. As part of the announcement, the company cut the base price on both units down to $899 and $999 respectively. But there are some asterisks attached to those offers that you may want to be aware of before going shopping for a unit. While this isn’t the first time Microsoft has done this, the company charges a fee for certain colors and restricts some system configurations depending on which colors you choose.

For example, the $999 Surface Laptop 2SEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce with 8GB of RAM, a Core i5, and a 128GB SSD? It’s only available in one color — Platinum. And that’s not the color that the Surface Laptop 2 selects by default, which means that if you start with the default color (black), the cheapest system you’ll see available is a 256GB laptop for $1,299. The 128GB storage option is grayed out on a black system (the image below shows this: the two boxes I’ve selected have outlines around them, while no storage option has been chosen yet).

Surface-Laptop2

If you want the $999 Surface Laptop 2, you have to choose Platinum. So far as I can tell, nothing in Microsoft’s guidance suggests that this is true, which means most users will see the $1,299 price tag as the minimum they can purchase. It’s an excellent example of a dark pattern; Microsoft doesn’t disclose that its product configurations vary by color, and the color with the cheapest system configuration is not the default.

Microsoft’s configurator isn’t exactly known for its wide range of choices. You’re sharply constrained in most respects, including limits on how much RAM and storage a Core i5 is even allowed to ship with. Similarly, if you choose 8GB of RAM and a Core i7, you’re only allowed to buy a 256GB SSD, despite the complete nonsensicalness of this approach. Platinum is also the only color to offer a 1TB SSD, but only when paired with a Core i7 and 16GB of DDR RAM.

Microsoft has a right to sell its products at different prices depending on the paint job. This practice is actually fairly common at boutique builders like Origin, Alienware, or Falcon-Northwest, all of which have offered various paint options or customization capabilities for years. The difference, however, is that these companies typically communicate when the paint jobs you are using limit system configurations or will effectively raise the price of the machine.

As for why Microsoft doesn’t communicate it, the answer is obvious. When you charge $300 for an extra 128GB of SSD storage, you’ve got every reason not to want customers to buy the $999 option. Given that PCI-E-based, NVMe-supporting 128GB SSDs are available for as little as $38 at retail, it’s hard to explain how Microsoft is charging $300 for the same amount of storage. As you might expect, the value proposition of the Surface Laptop 2 drops like a stone once you’re paying such ridiculous premiums for mediocre storage upgrades.

Now Read: Microsoft’s Disappointing Surface Go Reportedly Used x86 at Intel’s Insistence, Microsoft Unveils Surface Studio 2, Surface Pro 6, and Surface Laptop 2, and Surface Pro, Surface Laptop Updates Leak, Still Lack USB-C

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