Surface Book, the first laptop of Microsoft, succeeded in extending the company’s reach in new and interesting directions. Even though Surface Book is a little bit pricey, its gorgeous design and display, clever and interesting hinge and smart graphics switching tempts the customers to experience the luxury and comfort of the device.
Look & feel of the device
Designed around the form factor of a piece of A4 paper, Microsoft Surface Book has a shape and size for an ideal laptop. The device, which measures 312x232mm, is 13mm at its thinnest point and 23mm at its thickest. Surface Book is has 7.7 mm thickness and 728g weight, when you use it as a tablet. But its total weight including the keyboard is 1.5kg. Microsoft Surface is cased in brushed magnesium with a pronounced lip in front of the track pad and a dynamic fulcrum hinge that let the users open the laptop easily. The fulcrum hinge looks like a tiny metal gauntlet and it increases the surface area of the laptop’s base, which counters the weight of the tablet it is attached to. The hinge gives a comfortable hold when carrying, as the device closes in a sort of semicircle rather than flat.
The 13.5-inch premium laptop, Surface Book, comes with a detachable 3,000x 2,000 PixelSense touchscreen display. Its unusual 3:2 screen aspect ratios matches the shape of the standard A4 paper size. So, those work on projects designed for print, using the tablet half of Surface Book in portrait mode is very useful. Due to its 3:2 aspect ratios, the device’s screen is taller than usual, compared to its width. As a result, significant black bars can be displayed across the top and bottom, while playing movies. However, it helps working with documents and productivity apps. Apart from the aspect ratio, the display of Surface Book has a maximum brightness of 355 lux. The outstanding contrast level of 1440:1 of Surface Book makes the dark scenes in movies look deep and true.
Microsoft Surface Book has familiar widely spaced keyboard like every other current laptop. The backlit keyboard helps you work even if the poor lighting conditions. However, turning the backlit off actually increases visibility, as backlit makes the keys harder to see in brightly lit rooms or outside. Moreover the light matches the chassis color and so the letters will blend in. But key travel is not satisfactory compared to other models and so tying with Surface Book may feel a little hard. Moreover, you will take a few hours of typing to get used to it. However, the keyboards of Surface Book generally provide a good experience to the users.
Touchpad & Stylus
The big, wide and smooth glass touchpad of the Surface Book is really appreciable, as it reads gestures and movements properly, but ignores light touches deftly. The trackpad of the Surface Book is complete opposite to that of Surface Pro 3, which was a little fiddly and too small. It also allows smooth scrolling around Windows, even though some stuttering in both Chrome and Edge.
The redesigned stylus, which feels sturdy and begs to be used for every task, is really the star of the Surface Book. The pencil is very responsive and so clicking and tapping on objects of the scree using it is very simple. You can feel a naturally smooth and flowing experience while writing on the screen or drawing in an app using the stylus. It also makes the users easier to use the device as a tablet. There is a right click button on the side of the pen and an eraser on the end. If you press and hold the top, the Cortana is brought up and you get the voice-assistant with the help of which you can do further tasks without using keyboard or trackpad.
The hardware aspects
The tablet portion of the Surface Book has no connectivity ports except a 3.5mm audio output in the top right corner and an unadvertised power port on the bottom. The location of audio output is not great, as the cords may dangle over the keyboard when the headphones are attached. Similarly, the power port is a little too snug and so it may not be so comfortable to plug and remove the device. At the base of the laptop, there are two USB 3.0 ports and the SD card slot on the left side as well as Mini-Display Port and Microsoft’s new power plug on the right.
Micromax Surface has loud and pleasing speakers in the outside of the tablet half. Even though you may experience a little bit of distortion at maximum volume, it is loud enough to fill a medium sized room at half volume.
Performance and Battery life
Microsoft Surface Book is a power-packed computing machine that is capable of 50 percent faster performance than the other device in the category. The device comes with a Core Intel i5 processor and 8GB RAM, Core Intel i7 processor and 8GB RAM or a Core Intel i7 processor with 16GB RAM. As for connectivity, the device provides 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. The GeekBench CPU benchmark is an important victory of Surface Book. You can experience that the apps open fast, the interface is responsive and programs such as 7-Zip and Handbrake run without complaint. You don’t face lag to access or move files.
The company claims 12 hours of battery life to Surface Book, while it is using a regular laptop. The tests for battery life proved that it can work nearly 13 hours without the additional GPU. If you do some heavy works like watching HD movies, using Photoshop and surfing the web with Twitter open all day, the battery lasts upto seven hours. It takes nearly four or five hours to charge both the portions (tablet and keyboard). But charging only tablet portions require only two hours.
Microsoft offers one year limited warranty to the Surface Book and you can upgrade the level of warranty for $249. It also includes accidental damage for the first two years of ownership. The price of the deice starts at $1,500, but its advanced versions are not as reasonable. While the 512GB review version costs $2,700 (RS.125,000.00 in India), the upgraded version has a price of $3,200.
Pros and cons
Beautiful display, solid construction and versatile form factor are the main highlights of Microsoft Surface Book. Besides, it packs high-end components including optional Nvidia graphics and new Intel processors in its smart and slim body. The stylus pen is also an attractive option. Surface Book also offers long battery life. As many of the components and battery are packed in the base, the tablet version is lighter and comfortable to handle.
The main drawback is nothing but its price. Surface Book is a little expensive and not affordable for everybody. Configurations with the optional Nvidia GPU and more storage are costly. As the hinge that attaches the tablet portion with the base part of the device, actually makes a sizeable gap between the two portions, there are chances for dusts or some scratchy object to enter to the keyboard and the screen.