Surface Book Impressions

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by Southernboyj, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. Southernboyj macrumors 68000

    Southernboyj

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Location:
    Mobile, AL
    #1
    I've been using various devious for years. I've used many iPhones and Android phones. I've owned iMac's and multiple MacBooks. A few weeks ago I sold my iPad Air 2 and picked up a used Surface Pro 3.

    I really really liked it, but the Type Cover was terrible. This Monday the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book came out. I went to Best Buy to pick up a Surface Pro 4 Type Cover for my SP3. The new Type Cover is very very nice. The trackpad and keyboard both feel great. However, while I was there, I tried the new Surface Book and I fell in love. I played with it for about 10 minutes.

    The other night I was browsing Reddit and realized the Surface Book was back in stock with very limited stock. I placed an order and it sold out about 10 minutes later. I got the Surface Book this morning.

    First, the packaging is very very nice. It's different from Apple's but has the same premium experience.
    Setup was swift. The device feels very high end. I got the Intel i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, w/ dGPU model.

    I've been using it all day and here's some observations:

    • The trackpad feels just as good as a MacBook, as does the keyboard
    • The screen is BEAUTIFUL and bright
    • Windows Hello works like a charm, and very fast
    • Using the tablet portion to work videos with the front facing speakers is very nice
    • I only play 2 games, RuneScape and League of Legends, it handled them both at 60fps on max settings
    • I'm not a big pen user, but it works very well

    Overall, I considered getting a 2015 MacBook, but I wanted a dedicated GPU. Windows 10 is much much better than Windows 7 & 8, and this hardware is just as high end as Apple's, but the tablet+laptop functionality could really change the game. I'm happy with my choice of the Surface Book
     
  2. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #2
    Congrats on your buy and thks for your first Impressions

    What about the hinge is it nice to deploy ?

    Also look at this thread http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/surface-pro-4-first-impressions.1932451/ re the Vaio Canvas is also seems very nice and competes even against the rMBP 15
     
  3. RickTaylor macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2013
    #3
    Congratulations. I was attracted by the idea of a laptop one could fold backwards and draw on, and was going to get a surface book. I decided a Lenovo think pad 14 with an active pen might be better for me and ordered one. If it doesn't work out though, I'll be back to the surface book.
     
  4. Southernboyj thread starter macrumors 68000

    Southernboyj

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    Mar 8, 2012
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    Mobile, AL
    #4
    I actually really like the hinge. I think it looks great and it functions very well. Very happy with my purchase so far.
     
  5. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    #5
    Any plans to hack it to run Hackintosh? When it gets at least as good OS X support as the SP3, I'll surely get it.

    AFAIK the Hackintosh running on the SP3 has no Wi-Fi and no pen support. These are not that big a problem as one can
    - always use USB WiFi sticks
    - always switch back to Windows to use the pen
     
  6. whodatrr macrumors 6502a

    whodatrr

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    #6
    Have played with it a bit and it looks very good. But I'm more a Surface Pro guy. Like you, I upgraded to the new keyboard on my SP3. But that SP4 screen is calling me.

    Glad you like your purchase! On my end, I'll try to hold out for the SP5.
     
  7. jamezr, Oct 31, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015

    jamezr macrumors G4

    jamezr

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    US
    #7
    I have been pondering selling my rMBP 13 and getting a surface book. So thanks for the review!
     
  8. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #8
    I had the opportunity to play with one finally on Friday and I'd agree-it's a beautiful device. I love everything about how it feels and even love the feel of the clip board in-hand. It feels like a slab of newspaper and is gorgeous to handle. Unfortunately the Keyboard base wasn't working even with a restart, but when I'm ready to upgrade the SP3 it will be a tough choice. I'm finding myself using the SP as a tablet more an more every day So...
     
  9. Sym0 macrumors 6502

    Sym0

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2013
    #9
    In Australia, entry level SB4 $2200 - top model $4200, top of the range 15" rMBP $3200... enough said.
     
  10. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #10
    How so? The 15" RMBP is a nice machine, but it's just a laptop. There's nothing especially cutting edge about it. Apple has barely done anything with it since that model came out. It's a great laptop, but.. yeah.

    The surfacebook is trying to do all sorts of things. All of them have been done before, but not all of them have been done before in 1 device, and as nice a device. I mean the laptop dock has a dgpu in it! That's cool. And they're trying to go with a semi-seamless transition between DGPU present and not present. And it has a high quality pen + digitizer, something Apple has only had the balls to try with the ipad Pro just now. And it has a cool new hinge.

    Microsoft is taking risks. They might not be big risks, or risks you agree with, but I have to give them credit for that.

    Apple is, and has been playing it too safe. They haven't stuck a single interesting piece of hardware in any of their macs in years.
     
  11. Southernboyj thread starter macrumors 68000

    Southernboyj

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    Mar 8, 2012
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    Mobile, AL
    #11
    I love OS X, but the more I've been using Windows 10, the more I like it. The Surface Book definitely reminds me of a MacBook though.. Which I consider a good thing.
     
  12. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    #12
    The iPad Pro doesn't have a digitizer similar to that of Wacom or nTrig. This is why palm rejection isn't flawless.
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #13
    I have to agree. I think windows 10, offers a lot and I enjoy using it. Nothing's perfect but windows 10 is a solid version of windows.

    Good luck on your SB. I like the surface book a lot, but for me, I'm not sure I'm willing to get a 13" laptop when I use a SP3. I'm looking for a desktop at this stage
     
  14. Southernboyj thread starter macrumors 68000

    Southernboyj

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Location:
    Mobile, AL
    #14
    Yeah my Surface Book isn't my main computer.

    My main computer is a custom one I built that consists of:

    i7-4790K @ 5 GHz
    16GB RAM
    500GB SSD
    1 TB HDD
    EVGA 980 Ti Overclocked
    And 2 27" 4K monitors

    :p
     
  15. Sym0 macrumors 6502

    Sym0

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    Jun 6, 2013
    #15
    I guess my point is that if you are willing to pay that much for a powerful computer (and considering that the only Surface Book that is a competitor is the top model) you would get 'more' computer for your dollar with the rMBP. By that I mean better peak performance, and a bigger screen. I supposed that is about it but size matters when you are paying an extra $1000 but getting a smaller slightly slower machine? (comparing both top spec models here).
    I just feel it should be priced to match the 13" rMBP, not exceed its bigger brother.
     
  16. Southernboyj thread starter macrumors 68000

    Southernboyj

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    Mobile, AL
    #16
    The 13" MacBook has no dGPU. Thats huge. The Surface Book does.
     
  17. jamezr macrumors G4

    jamezr

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    US
    #17
    And has touch screen and pen features and can be a tablet. :)
     
  18. SteveJUAE, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    Aug 14, 2015
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    Land of Smiles
    #18


    Once you start looking at the high end SB or even the 15" RMP then the Vaio Canvas makes even more sense for cutting edge powerful dual purpose/hybrid machines, providing you can live with battery life similar to a rMB

    But that's the price you pay for a quad core in a 12" footprint
     
  19. fieldsphotos macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    #19
    I just picked up a Vaio Canvas this week. I was debating between a Surface Book and a 15" MBP, then saw the Vaio which seemed the perfect mix between the two. I want stylus support as a photographer, and the wide gamut screen on the Vaio won me over even if I lose screen real estate vs the Surface and the MBP. And it's more portable than a 15" MBP.

    So far it's been a beast. The fans do fire up, but they are quieter than my old MBA fans, so that is OK. Battery life will probably be equivalent to the 2011 MBA I am coming from. I don't like the N-trig pen for drawing in Photoshop due to the jitter, but it's great in Illustrator and Magna Studio which have more options for pen smoothing.
     
  20. SteveJUAE, Nov 2, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #20
    Wow super jelly on my part :)

    Definitely would like to hear some more feed back, it looks a stunning device

    I expect the battery life to be low especially using some high end apps but it would be nice to find out how it is just on normal day to day usage when the quad and the 3 fans have not even woken up lol

    Not that its my thing but I understand you can use SP3/4 drivers with the Vaio pen and even the SP4 pen, do not know if that will help you

    I hope you got the middle spec with the fast SDD, ignoring the real estate of screen, spec for spec it is as you note a beast
     
  21. fieldsphotos macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    #21
    I did get the 512 GB edition. It was $100 less than the equivalent Surface Book and I was able to purchase Microsoft Complete with it for accident coverage which was nice.

    I haven't tried any serious battery tests yet, I have spent most of the time tethered while I downloaded all the software and got it set up. I did see in the Mobile Tech review for it that you can use the Surface drivers for the pen. I may try that to see if it's improved from what I am getting now.

    I will report back once I start using it a lot off wall power. I am looking forward to curling up in a comfy chair to do some drawing. :)
     
  22. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    Aug 14, 2015
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    Land of Smiles
    #22
    Enjoy :) and please let us know more details soon
     
  23. Durious macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    #23
    Had these issues with it and returned it after 2 weeks. Had daily crashing (3-4) even after a OS reload. Unsure if I got a gimp or not but it was pretty terrible. Even simple watching of videos on youtube crashed the browser daily.

    Random graphical issues:


    Almost daily blue screen odd noise crash:
     
  24. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    #24
    Was this after the Nov 4 update?

    From what I hear - that update solved these issues.

    But I don't have a SB, so am really just curious.
     
  25. seasurfer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #25
    The demo surface book in the microsoft store near my place does not work. The tablet cannot be detached from the keyboard, it got stuck, the button that suppose to detach just didn't work, even the microsoft employee does not know why.

    That was my first impression of the surface book. Sad!
     

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