Microsoft is driving multiple new standards for 2-in-1 computing with its latest 2-in1- portable, the Microsoft Surface book portable.
I’ve wanted to review the Microsoft Surface Book since I first heard about it late this summer. Surface book is a four-member family of high performance portables with detachable 13.5-inch 2000 by 3000 pixel screens that can be used as tablet computers. The entry-level Surface Book costs appx $1,499. It comes with 8GB of memory an I5 processor and a 256 GB SSD. The most expensive Surface Book is about $2,300. Microsoft uses I7 processors, SSD storage capacity and an NVidia graphics chip to differentiate members of this 2-in-1 notebook family.
The unit I reviewed is the second least expensive member of the Surface Book family. It comes with 8GB of memory, the 256 GB SSD and an NVidia graphics chip. I paid $2,053 (including taxes) for the unit at a Microsoft retail store here in San Diego.
The unboxing experience was very good, with one exception: I believe Microsoft needs to do a better job explaining where and how the magnetic power cable connector plugs into the upper right side of this portable family’s system case. Some experienced Windows notebook users may be perplexed by the magnetic power cable connection. The very good news is that magnetic connectors help prevent machines from being pulled to the floor, if someone trips on the power cord.
The large Bento-like box shipping container is extremely sturdy. I suggest storing The total time it took me to put my surface book to work—including an operating system update was under 20 minutes, much less time than I’ve spent getting other portables up and running
Microsoft advertises a battery life of 12 hours when Surface Book is uses exclusively for streaming video. The longest I’ve been able to use my new Surface book running office productivity applications without recharging has been 9.25 hours. It needs to be noted that the battery on this notebook cannot be recharged indefinitely and eventually it will fail to charge (replacement can be done at any authorized Microsoft retail store or most computer repair service shops.
Although there are much less expensive 2-in-1 convertible notebooks, I chose the Surface book for two specific reasons: 1. my need for an ultra-high resolution screen (its 2000 by 3000 pixel screen resolution and, 2, its detachable Windows tablet screen.
Microsoft’s Surface book has the horse power to plow through virtually all computing tasks including high res photo editing and image processing and it’s just as adept when it comes to mainstream office productivity applications.
Surface Book has two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card reader. The external video connector on this portable is called Surface Connect. Weighing 3.3 pounds, this new portable is a tad on the heavy side, when compared to other brand name 2-in-1 laptops such as those made by Lenovo.
I have absolutely no concerns about the mechanical features of Microsoft’s new Surface Book. I’ve released and reattached the tablet screen scores of time and it locks as securely today as it did when I bought it.
Anyone who relies on a computer for graphics applications will quickly appreciate the “Surface Pen” electronic stylus that’s included with the unit. The stylus used by Microsoft on Surface Book attaches magnetically to the case and I have yet to have it come off as I slip this notebook in and out of its padded sleeve. It’s the perfect accoutrement for a notebook that’s as capable running engineering drafting programs and mapping software as it blasting through the creation and display of pixel gobbling Power Point decks.
There is a downside to the Surface Book that may be a deal killer for some: although there is an audio jack on the upper right corner of the tablet/scree: There is no USB or other expansion capability on the screen/tablet, .
I wanted this new notebook because its architecture is highly suited to my avocational interest (locating 19th and 20th century gold prospectors’ campsites and trails) using overhead imagery and topo maps of the gold fields in northern and here in Southern California. The combination of the Surface Book’s core logic and NVidia graphics processor coupled to this portable’s ultrahigh res display is perfect for these tasks.
The graphics processor on Surface book is mounted mounted on the motherboard in thesystem case, which means it doesn’t kick in when the screen is used as a standalone tablet.
I was surprised by how much I liked the Surface book’s keyboard. The keys have sufficient travel to provide positive feedback and the track pad cursor controller pad is centered on the bottom of the system case, a design feature that minimizes users accidentally initiating cursor controlled actions.
The design of this portable has a pronounced gap between the screen and its keyboard. Because of this, I recommend anyone who buys a Surface Book carry it in a padded sleeve with a flap that can be secured shut.
With entry pricing of about$1,499.00, Surface Book is up to one third more expensive than portables such as some Lenovo 2-in-1 notebooks. However after using this portable for more than a week as both a portable and a wide screen high res tablet, I have reached a conclusion: Microsoft has a potential home run and category standard in the Surface book family.
If you’re out gold prospecting on the American or San Gabriel rivers and stumble on someone hunched over dude puzzling out map locations on a small silver colored notebook, there’s a good chance it will be me with my brand new Microsoft Surface Book. –Jim Forbes on 11/18/2015.