All too often when we see luxury design houses get involved with electronics, the result is something subpar on the hardware side — nice brand name and materials, outdated tech. Not so with Porsche Design. Late last year they had a version of the excellent Huawei Mate 9, and at Mobile World Congress 2017 they’re getting into 2-in-1 convertibles with the Book One, a serious laptop with a serious price tag.
Porsche Design is part of the larger Porsche family of companies, and usually handles licensing and luxury accessories. It’s not an electronics company — we’re not sure who’s doing the nitty gritty electronics work here, but we’re pretty sure it’s not Porsche Design itself. Their design work is definitely noticeable, though — in addition to the branding on the back, we’re looking at a sharp, milled aluminum laptop with stainless steel 360-degree hinges patterned after the gearboxes on Porsche sports cars.
But, this is no gimmick device. Not only is there a 360-degree hinge, the display can be separated from the keyboard and used as a tablet — we usually see one or the other, but almost never both. And, the spec sheet is loaded — a 13.3″ 3200 x 1800 IPS touch display, a 3.5 GHz 7th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD for storage, and a 5 MP front camera with an IR sensor, making it compatible with facial recognition sign-in using Windows Hello. File transfers will be speedy thanks to one USB Type-C 3.1 Thunderbolt 3 port, which is joined by two USB 3.0 ports and a Type-C 3.1 port, plus a microSD card slot. The Thunderbolt 3 port is on the tablet itself, with the rest found on the keyboard.
We’re not sure exactly how big the battery is, but Porsche Design says it should last 14 hours on a single charge, with only a two-hour charge time. The Book One will come with the keyboard, and it looks like it’ll get a battery-powered Porsche Design-branded stylus with a couple buttons on it, too.
The closest analogue to the Book One is Microsoft’s own Surface Book, but even that doesn’t have a 360-degree hinge — while it has the high-powered specs, it’s purely a detachable 2-in-1. Then again, the Surface Book has the option of a discrete Nvidia GPU, which appears to be missing on the Book One.
So, how much will this Porsche run you? It’s pricey, but it’s not as expensive as we might have expected. The Book One will be available online and in Porsche Design stores in April for $2,500 in the United States and €2,795 in Europe.