Surely, you have never seen a laptop from Microsoft before. It is truly the first one. For those who don’t know about it yet, the Surface Book is an amazing piece of hardware, and it’s the first laptop that was fully made by Microsoft. Interesting, isn’t it? If you want to know more, just stay with us through our Microsoft Surface Book Review.
Basically, it is a powerful Ultrabook which was designed to go head-to-head with Apple’s MacBook Pro and other premium Windows laptops. With 6th generation Intel Skylake core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB PCIe SSD, an NVIDIA dedicated graphics switchable with Intel HD 520 integrated graphics, and an IPS screen having (3000×2000) resolution, the Surface Book is the most powerful Ultrabook I’ve ever seen. It is certainly twice as powerful as a MacBook Pro or any recent Ultrabook for that matter. Now, if you interested to know if the $1499 base price worth your money, feel free to go through our review on this dream machine.
Incredibly long battery life
Tablet separation features
Top heavy design
Little bulky for its class
Unusual touchpad sensitivity
Weird gap between the keyboard and screen
Model: Surface Book
Processor: Intel Core i7 6600U
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 940M + Intel 520
Video Memory: 1 GB GDDR5
Memory: 16 GB DDR3 1866 MHz
Storage: 128 GB PCIe 3.0 SSD + 1TB HDD
Optical Drive: none
Display Type: IPS PixelSense™
Screen Size: 13.5 inch
Screen Resolution: 3000×2000 (267 PPI)
Audio: Front facing stereo speakers with Dolby audio
Keyboard: Chiclet style keyboard
Navigation: 4.1 x 2.8 inches touchpad
Camera: 5 MP front / 8 MP with autofocus rear
Video Ports: Mini display port
Audio Ports: Combo headphone and microphone jack
Total USB Ports: 2
USB 2.0 Ports: 0
USB 3.0 Ports: 2
Media Ports: SD reader
Wi-Fi: 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking / IEEE
Battery: 70 Wh (52 in base / 18 in tablet)
Battery Life: 13 hours
Width: 12.30 inches
Depth: 9.14 inches
Height: 0.51 inches
Weight: 3.3 pounds / 1.5 kg
Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64 bit
Software: Office 30 day trial
Warranty: 1 Year limited hardware warranty
Base Price: $1499
Price of the Reviewed Model: $2099
In the Box
Quick start guide
Safety and warranty documents
Build and Design
The 13.5 inch Surface Book has the same build quality of the rest of the Surface line. And it’s a good thing. The fit and finish is good, and the entire device feels as premium as anyone would expect. The design is unique, especially the hinge. It is truly unlike anything ever used on a laptop computer before. This new dynamic fulcrum hinge is not only for looks, it offers some new functions as well. It expands when you lift the display and contract when you lower it and also helps to evenly distribute the weight so the touch display doesn’t topple over when opened.
Now, you can see the gap between the screen and keyboard when the unit is closed. I don’t think there is a chance that something could get inside the gap and cause an issue, unless you have intentionally done it. Beside this, the Surface Book is sturdy as a rock, and you can even pick up it by one part and shake it about without worrying about the other part falling apart.
However, you can pop off the base with just the one tap. Technically, it is Microsoft’s late attempt to enter in the 2-in-1 laptop game. But they did it well. Undocking and attaching the Clipboard is nearly as seamless as the Surface Book’s design. After either pressing the eject button on the keyboard or the virtual button in the taskbar, the screen will blink off for a second and then notify you its safe to detach the screen.
Now, about the top half of the laptop, you can simply call it a tablet. Though Microsoft think, it will be detached only 20% of time and hence named it Clipboard. Anyway, the 13.5 inch tablet is just 0.3 inches thick, and weighs only 0.7 kg. Beside the weight, it feels and looks a lot like a slightly larger Surface Pro.
One of the other advantages of the gap is, it allowed the keyboard to keep distance with the deck unlike other Ultrabooks. Overall, the layout of the keyboard is great, with no keys in odd places, except for two deformed arrow keys. But it is easy to get used to the half height up and down keys. Beside these, the keyboard offers almost everything you expect (backlight, multimedia shortcuts and function keys). To be honest, there is no drawback in the keyboard.
The 4.1 x 2.8 inches large glass touchpad of the Surface Book is surely attracting. It supports all kinds of gestures and the navigation is as smooth as anyone would expect. However, scrolling and zooming is kind of odd when using certain web browsers, and you will need some time to get used to it. Besides that, you’re going to love the touchpad.
The pen is one of the best features of the Surface Book. And you don’t have to worry about the places to keep it. With built-in magnets on the side of the Surface Book, you can attach the pen easily.
Now, if you look at the pen, you’ll find a right click button on the side and an eraser on the end. The pen also comes with various tips and they can be used for different purposes, like note-taking, writing, sketching, drawing and shading. If you can get used to the pen, you surely will use it all the time.
The Surface Book comes with essential connectivity feature. It has almost everything you need, but that’s it.
The left side of the Surface Book has two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader.
On the other hand, the right side of the Book has a Mini DisplayPort and a Surface Connect port.
Beside these, the combo headphone jack is on the top part.
Surely the PixelSense display is one of the best features of the Surface Book. The 13.5 inch (3000×2000) IPS screen is really amazing.
With 390 nits the screen is brighter than almost all Ultrabook. The screen has no issues with the accuracy, panel has amazing contrast, and the backlighting provides great brightness despite the amorphous silicon TFT. The black levels are very good on this display, and accuracy is certainly good enough for almost anyone’s needs.
Overall, the high accuracy, combined with the high resolution, makes it one of the nicest displays around, and it’s a pleasure to use. Personally, I enjoyed every image and video I’ve watched on the Book.
Sadly, the speakers don’t make as big of an impression and really only sound good enough for some casual listening. It also lacks any depth and has barely any bass. So, if you want to enjoy movies, music, or a game, you will have to get a headphone or an external speaker.
The Surface Book I am reviewing came with a Core i7-6600U processor, 16 GB of DDR3 1866 MHz memory, 128 GB of SSD and a discrete NVIDIA GPU along with the Intel HD Graphics 520.
All this power makes the Surface Book a productivity beast that can easily take on task after task. Lightroom runs incredibly fast on this laptop, thanks to the NVIDIA graphics. As amazing as it is, you will be able to multitask without any hesitation.
Now, since the Book came with a discrete GPU, you will be able to game on it with pleasure. The combination of 6th Gen processor and NVIDIA graphics has enough power to run almost all common games like DOTA2, League of Legends, World of Tanks, and Hearthstone with decent FPS. And for games like Witcher 3 / MSG 5, you will have to turn your settings down to medium. And considering you are on a 2-in-1, that’s not a bad thing.
The Surface Book has 2 batteries, split into an 18 Wh battery in the Clipboard, and an 52 Wh one in the base. Combined, the 70 Wh battery gives the Surface an amazing battery capacity. When tested, I was able to get roughly 13 hours from it. But if you use only the tablet, with only 18 Wh battery, it will not last for long.
Heat and Noise
The Surface Book sports a fan less design. So, you will never have problems with noise. And the bottom part of the Book doesn’t really get hot. So, you won’t have to worry while using the Book on the lap. However, under heavy pressure, the tablet part gets hot. If you want to use the Book, you will have to deal with it.
Windows 2-in-1s are always a compromise. They are neither the best tablet nor the best laptop. As a tablet, the Surface Book is one of the most powerful one, but with its large dimension, weight, and heating problem it surely is not the best choice. And as laptop, it’s not the lightest or nearly the most powerful laptops similar money could buy. But when you look at the high end products, the price performance ratio means nothing! And, the Surface Book concept is great and Microsoft surely will fix all the drawbacks in time.
After all, underneath all the extra stuff, the Surface Book is a solid laptop. So, if you are looking for an Ultrabook which can occasionally be used as a tablet, then the Surface Book is the perfect choice.