Surface Book is the first Microsoft made laptop that directly competes with premium laptops such as MacBook Pro, Lenovo Yoga and more.How well does it stack up against the competition ? Here’s the comprehensive Surface Book review.
Surface Book is all-metal Magnesium casing with PixelSense display and a base that is connected by dynamic fulcrum that attaches to the base magnetically.Surface book is based on the philosophy that notebooks having high great battery life and being portable should also run pro desktop software like photoshop or AutoCAD.
It takes many design cues from Surface pro 4 starting with 3:2 aspect ratio that feels more natural for editing documents or editing videos taken with digital cameras.Microsoft says people will use it in 80/20 ways, 80% time as a laptop and the rest 20% as a digital clipboard as Microsoft calls it.
The touchscreen alone weighs around 1.7 pounds which is not too heavy for machine that has high end configuration like 8-16 gigs RAM while the whole device with base weighs around 3.4 pounds,condering its a pro machine its ok to bulky.
The touchscreen is a 13.5″ 10-point Pixelsense display which is built to work natively with Windows 10 and also with Surface pen.It has a ultra high res screen with 3000 x 2000 resolution and the Pixel density is around 267 ppi which can support gaming at full resolution provided you have chosen the discrete GPU model.
The screen also has several gaps around it that act as cooling system for the Surface Book and you can even hear the fans spinning.The contrast ratio is 1700:1 which displays colors clearly and vibrantly.
Ok so how to separate the screen from the base.its simple theres a simple key on the keyboard.Screen is connected using Microsoft’s proprietary 80-pin connector and the connection transmits power, data and video at the same time just like iPad Pro’s smart connector.The top parts only can separated if the bottom GPU is not being used which is when the detach key turns green on the keyboard.This is excellent piece of engineering from Microsoft and it provides that unique signature style to Surface Book.
And The base
The base which is connected using the fulcrum houses battery needed while watching HD movies,intense gaming or even graphic intense tasks like photoshop or auto-cad connects using the dynamic fulcrum designed to hold the laptop steady at any angle.The screen can be attached again simply by plugging it on it can be even attached with 180 degrees flip in case that’s how you want to work.
What’s more important for a laptop than the keyboard and trackpad?!Surface Book feels bulky to be carried around in hand all the time but if you just use it as Digital Clipboard by detaching the screen its quite handy.
The keyboard is one of the best in class with enough travel for the keys and spaced compactly.The trackpad is also the best in class which is equally good as Macbook’s Signature Glass and Metal Trackpad.
One more important thing to note here is that if you try to use the touch while still attached to the base the screen wobbles a bit which is kinda annoying but given that’s a problem all the hybrid 2-in-1 laptops face, can anyways be improved by Microsoft in the coming versions.
Software And Battery Life
Comes with Windows 10 Pro which can run professional grade software like AutoCAD,Adobe Premiere,Photoshop.The software also contains interesting features like Snap multitasking,Cortana,Xbox gaming ,Windows Ink and more.
One thing many people fail to notice is that battery life is related to hardware as well as it also depends on the software optimised to play with the hardware.Battery life on this machine is pretty impressive squeezing out around 13 hours of Video playback or 6 hours of Professional grade work on a Single charge.
Sensors,Ports ,Connections ,Audio,Video and Cameras
Considering the fact that Surface Studio is also a tablet it includes 8 MP camera to shoot HD videos and pictures,2 USB 3.0 ports,SDXC card reader,2 Surface connect ports,Headphone jack on the screen itself and Mini DisplayPort to connect it to your 4K monitor or TV.
It has 5 MP front facing Windows Hello camera,Stereo Microphones, Stereo Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium.
Sensors included in the Surface Book are Ambient light sensor,Accelerometer,Gyro,Magnetometer and Hall effect sensor.
Configurations and Performance
The only color included is Silver and at the core is intel 6th Gen core i7 with 8GB/16GB RAM and also if you want you can get a discrete GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M with 2 GB GDDR5 memory and 8/16 GB discrete GPU with 256/512/1 TB SSD Memory coming at 2399$/2799$/3299$ respectively.
While Specs are just one side of the story how well does Surface Book perform?While initial launch was glitchy with users facing unusual blank screen shutdowns ,overheating and Latency in Professional Apps while using the Surface pen,things got better over time with iterative software updates from Microsoft.Surface Book also packs lesser than expected RAM in the notebook which is a big turn off for professionals,given that Surface Book base can’t be upgraded over time as the casing is sealed.
Surface book is directly competing with premium laptops such MacBook Pro 15″ ,Hp Spectre x360,Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga,Razor Blade at the price point and also by the flash storage being offered
As a Microsoft made laptop with unique dynamic fulcrum that supports base and the touch screen Surface Book clearly makes a style statement.For Pro Users however Surface Book falls short of achieving prosumer product tag,howevever with one of a kind design, brilliant touch screen Microsoft Surface Book is one attractive piece of hardware.For Pros who just need a portable machine to quickly draft out their ideas, build prototypes Surface Book is fine.The final verdict keeping the versatility of the laptop in mind is Choose Wisely before you buy.