Surface book

The_Joker13

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 9, 2016
76
129
Florida
Can anyone give their opinions on Microsoft surface book line? I use office 365 for work and I really like the combo of tablet and laptop in one. I’ve heard that as a tablet it is rather lackluster but i pretty much just surf the web and consume media on my ipad as it is so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be an acceptable alternative. I was ready to get a new iPad Pro but the cost plus the keyboard losing functionality from gen 1(imo) is just a deal breaker. If apple would make a mac book like the surface book I’d buy day one but I have lost faith in apple to create something I want. Plus I’d like something I can do lite gaming on as I have an xbox as well. Also, please don’t turn this into a windows hate thread, i know windows sucks compared to Mac OS.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
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Highlands Ranch, CO
I suppose it could be argued that as a tablet it is lackluster. It does lack the polish, the apps and IOS better support the form factor I think. But my tablet needs are minimal and I like using the tablet portion of the Surface Devices for powerpoint presentation, web browsing, etc. I can just carry the tablet portion and swipe from one slide to the next on the touch screen and then re-attach it for full laptop use. It sounds as though your use case is similar to mine. If I needed something that was strictly a tablet, I would prefer the iPad. But the iPad imho does a far worse job at doubling as a computer than the Surface devices do at doubling as a tablet.

I have a Surface Pro that I love and it is my device for travel and heading off to a meeting to do a presentation. I did have a try with the Surface Book to replace my MacBook Pro, but I did find that I wished it had a TB3 port rather than just a USB-C port and ultimately returned it. I am patiently waiting for October to see if the Surface Book 3 has that feature. But if you don't care/need TB3, I think you would enjoy the Surface Book 2. The build quality is nice, the screen is great, the keyboard is great, trackpad as good as it gets in a non-apple device.

I definitely won't hate on Windows, I actually kind of like it and really don't find a major distinction between MacOS and Windows 10. They both do their job and get out of the way.

You are far less likely to get Windows bashing in this section than in the main :)
 

The_Joker13

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 9, 2016
76
129
Florida
I suppose it could be argued that as a tablet it is lackluster. It does lack the polish, the apps and IOS better support the form factor I think. But my tablet needs are minimal and I like using the tablet portion of the Surface Devices for powerpoint presentation, web browsing, etc. I can just carry the tablet portion and swipe from one slide to the next on the touch screen and then re-attach it for full laptop use. It sounds as though your use case is similar to mine. If I needed something that was strictly a tablet, I would prefer the iPad. But the iPad imho does a far worse job at doubling as a computer than the Surface devices do at doubling as a tablet.

I have a Surface Pro that I love and it is my device for travel and heading off to a meeting to do a presentation. I did have a try with the Surface Book to replace my MacBook Pro, but I did find that I wished it had a TB3 port rather than just a USB-C port and ultimately returned it. I am patiently waiting for October to see if the Surface Book 3 has that feature. But if you don't care/need TB3, I think you would enjoy the Surface Book 2. The build quality is nice, the screen is great, the keyboard is great, trackpad as good as it gets in a non-apple device.

I definitely won't hate on Windows, I actually kind of like it and really don't find a major distinction between MacOS and Windows 10. They both do their job and get out of the way.

You are far less likely to get Windows bashing in this section than in the main :)
Thanks, I appreciate your input. I’ve been running macOS for almost 10 years, but Apple has lost it’s way imo. If they would make something similar to the surface book I believe it would sell like hot cakes. Unfortunately Apple is hell bent on forcing people to choose between traditional laptop or a tablet that runs a gimped os. I don’t want to carry two devices when one would suffice. Also, do you have some kind of inside info about the surface book 3 release? everywhere I’ve looked it seems no one knows for sure, but that it is due for an update. I’ll probably just buy a cheap refurbished for now and possibly upgrade if I can get accustomed to windows.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
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Highlands Ranch, CO
I went through the iPad routine trying to make one work for me in any meaningful way and I just couldn't. They came out the Pro and I liked the pencil support, but still found it hampered and it was relegated to a bedside table device. Then I thought I would try the ASK, but the Apple Smart Keyboard isn't all that smart. It is a miserable typing experience and has no trackpad and it was once again relegated to a bedside table device. Then they upgraded the OS and promised it is now better than ever as a computing device so I went all in and tried the 12.9 again with the ASK, but nope. It is a lousy computer imho. I feel that anything you can say negative about the Surface as a tablet, it pales in comparison to how bad the iPad is at being a computer. Just my opinion, but nobody is going to convince me otherwise either :)

Like you I would *love* to see Apple develop a hybrid iPad/Laptop device. I was really hoping they would do that rather than the air, which just 1 step forward and 2 steps back to me. Is it really what anybody wanted or asked for? It seemed like a refresh for the sake of doing a refresh.

The rumored release dates for Surface Book 3 are based on the current release pattern. The original was released in fall 2015, with the Surface Book 2 being released in October 2015. No guarantees that the Surface Book 3 will be released in 2019, but I would also be shocked if it wasn't since it was the only model not refreshed this past October and is beginning to get a little long in the tooth.

This is typical of the release type rumors. Updated CPU, latest GPU, TB3, possible full 4K display, black color:

https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/new-product/laptop/microsoft-surface-book-3-3679027/

https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/surface-book-3-rumors

https://www.techradar.com/news/surface-book-3
 

The_Joker13

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 9, 2016
76
129
Florida
I went through the iPad routine trying to make one work for me in any meaningful way and I just couldn't. They came out the Pro and I liked the pencil support, but still found it hampered and it was relegated to a bedside table device. Then I thought I would try the ASK, but the Apple Smart Keyboard isn't all that smart. It is a miserable typing experience and has no trackpad and it was once again relegated to a bedside table device. Then they upgraded the OS and promised it is now better than ever as a computing device so I went all in and tried the 12.9 again with the ASK, but nope. It is a lousy computer imho. I feel that anything you can say negative about the Surface as a tablet, it pales in comparison to how bad the iPad is at being a computer. Just my opinion, but nobody is going to convince me otherwise either :)

Like you I would *love* to see Apple develop a hybrid iPad/Laptop device. I was really hoping they would do that rather than the air, which just 1 step forward and 2 steps back to me. Is it really what anybody wanted or asked for? It seemed like a refresh for the sake of doing a refresh.

The rumored release dates for Surface Book 3 are based on the current release pattern. The original was released in fall 2015, with the Surface Book 2 being released in October 2015. No guarantees that the Surface Book 3 will be released in 2019, but I would also be shocked if it wasn't since it was the only model not refreshed this past October and is beginning to get a little long in the tooth.

This is typical of the release type rumors. Updated CPU, latest GPU, TB3, possible full 4K display, black color:

https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/new-product/laptop/microsoft-surface-book-3-3679027/

https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/surface-book-3-rumors

https://www.techradar.com/news/surface-book-3
Awesome, thanks for links. I found a refurb 13.5 512gb 16gig i7 with discrete graphics for around $1600. Think I might just pull the trigger.
 

kazmac

macrumors 604
Mar 24, 2010
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I tried a 15” SB2 and really enjoyed it as a the laptop, but my current lack of W10 knowledge screwed things up in the settings. I know this was all on me, but the build quality and feel of the SB2 as a laptop was very impressive. I know now I need a separate laptop and drawing tablet, but if you have no need for the tablet mode beyond consumption (games, movies) you should be fine.

I also tried to make the iPad Pro work and no dice.

I am ready to learn Windows 10 and the Surface line is very well built. I need more horse power and separate laptop & drawing devices which is why I am looking at other manufacturers. If the Surface had better tablet and Pen capabilities, no question I’d try again. I was blown away at how pleasant it was to type on and the display is terrific. Congrats on your 13”.

Would like to hear more of your experience, and hope you enjoy it.
 

SteveJUAE

macrumors 68030
Aug 14, 2015
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Land of Smiles
Can anyone give their opinions on Microsoft surface book line? I use office 365 for work and I really like the combo of tablet and laptop in one. I’ve heard that as a tablet it is rather lackluster but i pretty much just surf the web and consume media on my ipad as it is so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be an acceptable alternative. I was ready to get a new iPad Pro but the cost plus the keyboard losing functionality from gen 1(imo) is just a deal breaker. If apple would make a mac book like the surface book I’d buy day one but I have lost faith in apple to create something I want. Plus I’d like something I can do lite gaming on as I have an xbox as well. Also, please don’t turn this into a windows hate thread, i know windows sucks compared to Mac OS.
Given your modest tablet like requirements there is no loss.

The so called lack luster is due to the simplicity of functionality gained with mobile OS apps opposed to the full functionality of desktop/Full OS type apps.

You would expect something that is simpler to be more fluid in some respects but these little gains or niceties are far outweighed by Surface capability as a full OS

If you want something thats a good coffee table/bedside usage then IPP is an expensive premium media consumption device that only a relatively few get full advantage.

The Surface devices will cover all your tablet needs easily and whilst also having all a laptop needs equally covered.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
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I've had a 13.5" Surface Book 2 (i7 quad/16GB/512GB/1050 GPU) for about 4 months now, having switched from a 2016 15" MBP. I've been extremely happy with my choice.

The Surface Book 2, if it were only just a laptop, would still be great - excellent keyboard, great battery life, extremely fast, and completely silent.

But pop the screen off and it becomes basically a Surface Pro (albeit without the kickstand and keyboard cover). I use OneNote and Drawboard constantly with the Surface Pen and couldn't be happier.

The convertable 2-in-1 nature lets me carry one device, with one set of apps, with everything in the same place. No worries about what got synced and what didn't as when I used the MBP and an iPad. Somehow I feel like having just one device that can act as tablet, laptop and desktop has simplified my life a bit.

Windows in tablet mode isn't as finger-friendly as iOS on the iPad. Chrome isn't really optimized to run in tablet mode (there are issues with the on-screen keyboard not popping up when expected and when it does it doesn't seem to support the swipe-typing that it normally does). MS Edge is better for fingers but its got a few issues of its own (janky finger scrolling on some sites, especially Reddit, and odd controls behavior with certain embedded videos). And that means two sets of bookmarks, of course.

But having access to full Windows versions of Office 365 and other work apps for me outweighs the other drawbacks. And at least for me, Windows 10 has been solid and crash-free. Even the infamous 1809 October update has been running just fine.

I can't predict if I'll go back to Apple when the next generation of devices comes out -- I'm still an iPhone & Apple Watch user, at least for now. But at present I'm quite satisfied with my SB2.
 

Silvestru Hosszu

macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2016
127
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Europe
I had my maxed out 13.5'' sb2 since may. I use it mainly for productivity, no gaming, and occasional photoshop.
The 3:2 screen ratio is a tremendous help for everything office 365 related.
My only gripe is the unreliable battery life. Sometimes I get 12 hours, sometimes 7 for the same workload.
For this reason only I kept my 13'' MacBook pro around.
When Microsoft figures out reliable energy management I will be done with Apple.
 
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SDColorado

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I had my maxed out 13.5'' sb2 since may. I use it mainly for productivity, no gaming, and occasional photoshop.
The 3:2 screen ratio is a tremendous help for everything office 365 related.
My only gripe is the unreliable battery life. Sometimes I get 12 hours, sometimes 7 for the same workload.
For this reason only I kept my 13'' MacBook pro around.
When Microsoft figures out reliable energy management I will be done with Apple.
Interesting. That is quite the discrepancy in battery life. Is it really just a matter of MS energy management or something else going on? I had one of the SB 2 15" models that I demoed for 30 days, and while not a long trial period (certainly not as long as since May), I found the battery life to be reasonably consistent throughout my use day to day.
 

Silvestru Hosszu

macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2016
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It was consistent till September. After some cumulative update it went all over the place.
I am monitoring closely all the apps and processes but discovered nothing strange.
I have no idea what's causing it.
 
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SDColorado

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It was consistent till September. After some cumulative update it went all over the place.
I am monitoring closely all the apps and processes but discovered nothing strange.
I have no idea what's causing it.
Seems like something went wrong with the Cumulative Update? Any background processes stuck? I only had that SB2 for the 30 days, but there was an issue the first time I ran the cumulative update and there were background tasks that were not completing. I think maybe because it tried to do the cumulative update in the middle of the initial setup? The good thing about that is that the initial setup was all I had done so it was easy to just reset and start over at that point and I had no issues with it after that first couple of hours :)

My Surface Pro 5 had no problems with that same Update, but of course it had long ago been set up and battery life has been constant throughout.
 

Silvestru Hosszu

macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2016
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Europe
I am now on the latest official build (1809) and done a fresh battery report.
Everything seems fine.
I do routinely check the task manager and there are times when the cpu usage is abnormal.
The inconsistencies are still there but I do not have time to do much more research on this topic.
So for my days out of town I`ll take the mbp with me.
When I will have a spare day I`ll probably do a fresh install and see what's happening.
 
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SDColorado

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I am now on the latest official build (1809) and done a fresh battery report.
Everything seems fine.
I do routinely check the task manager and there are times when the cpu usage is abnormal.
The inconsistencies are still there but I do not have time to do much more research on this topic.
So for my days out of town I`ll take the mbp with me.
When I will have a spare day I`ll probably do a fresh install and see what's happening.
Good luck with it. I enjoy my SP5 and am really hoping the SB3 delivers what I hope/expect it will this October
 

Mendota

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2019
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Can anyone give their opinions on Microsoft surface book line? I use office 365 for work and I really like the combo of tablet and laptop in one. I’ve heard that as a tablet it is rather lackluster but i pretty much just surf the web and consume media on my ipad as it is so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be an acceptable alternative. I was ready to get a new iPad Pro but the cost plus the keyboard losing functionality from gen 1(imo) is just a deal breaker. If apple would make a mac book like the surface book I’d buy day one but I have lost faith in apple to create something I want. Plus I’d like something I can do lite gaming on as I have an xbox as well. Also, please don’t turn this into a windows hate thread, i know windows sucks compared to Mac OS.
I have a Surface Book and I am not sure what people are complaining about with it as a tablet. It might just be that the menu on some of the window and interface are a bit small for using touch. Aside from that it is a fantastic experience as a tablet. Instead of being limited to junk freemium or scaled down games, you can install Steam and enjoy a wide variety of real games. The tablet form of Office is first rate and will open any documents made with the desktop version and vice versa. A beautiful screen for watching movies, and reading e-books, and you can reverse position and use the base as a stand.
 

SDColorado

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Nov 6, 2011
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Highlands Ranch, CO
I have a Surface Book and I am not sure what people are complaining about with it as a tablet. It might just be that the menu on some of the window and interface are a bit small for using touch. Aside from that it is a fantastic experience as a tablet. Instead of being limited to junk freemium or scaled down games, you can install Steam and enjoy a wide variety of real games. The tablet form of Office is first rate and will open any documents made with the desktop version and vice versa. A beautiful screen for watching movies, and reading e-books, and you can reverse position and use the base as a stand.
There is a discussion about it in the Surface Devices section as well. One person who recently purchased a SP6, didn't feel it was a good tablet at all, much of the arguments centered around how the Microsoft App Store pales in comparison to the Apple App Store. I think because people are so used to the dependency that iPad has on the App store, the concept of just downloading a full program for anything you want to do, for some just doesn't appeal?

In particular two examples are given were YouTube (and no Windows 10 does not have a YouTube App) in the App store, but there are MyTube and TubeCast that can be downloaded if you look beyond the store. The other example was Pixelmator, which also does not have a Windows 10 App, but you can download a ton of photo editing Apps for Windows 10, some much better than Pixelmator and without the limitations of an App on a device without a full file system.

I think in some cases it is a matter of thinking outside the App store, which Apple has sort of trained us to do with first the App Store for iDevices and then bringing it to MacOS. The one-stop, tabbed, categorized, shopping experience.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
There is a discussion about it in the Surface Devices section as well. One person who recently purchased a SP6, didn't feel it was a good tablet at all, much of the arguments centered around how the Microsoft App Store pales in comparison to the Apple App Store. I think because people are so used to the dependency that iPad has on the App store, the concept of just downloading a full program for anything you want to do, for some just doesn't appeal?

In particular two examples are given were YouTube (and no Windows 10 does not have a YouTube App) in the App store, but there are MyTube and TubeCast that can be downloaded if you look beyond the store. The other example was Pixelmator, which also does not have a Windows 10 App, but you can download a ton of photo editing Apps for Windows 10, some much better than Pixelmator and without the limitations of an App on a device without a full file system.

I think in some cases it is a matter of thinking outside the App store, which Apple has sort of trained us to do with first the App Store for iDevices and then bringing it to MacOS. The one-stop, tabbed, categorized, shopping experience.
I agree I don't want someone to curate my apps & applications, I want a free and open market for all, I'll decide for myself. Very last thing I want is it all to be locked down & locked in, as monopolies never serve the customer, that is exactly what Apple has become and wants to be ever more so...

Q-6
 
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SDColorado

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Nov 6, 2011
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I agree I don't want someone to curate my apps & applications, I want a free and open market for all, I'll decide for myself. Very last thing I want is it all to be locked down & locked in, as monopolies never serve the customer, that is exactly what Apple has become and wants to be ever more so...

Q-6
I am grateful for the wealth of Apps in the App store for my phone because of course, it is the only option. So happy to have the vast store for that. Though arguably it is too vast and filled with a lot of garbage and poorly updated apps as well.

But the Apple App Store is always a last resort for me on my MacBook Pro. In part because as you say, I think you can curate better options yourself outside the App store, but also the being locked in part. I didn't realize how important the being locked in part could be until Apple screwed up my original account on me. I contacted Apple due to an attempted hack and in trying to help me lock it down, they completely locked me and themselves out of it and all they could do is tell me to create another. What happens to all your purchased Apps associated with that now completely locked out account... bye bye. Money well spent? not so much.
 

derekamoss

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2002
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446
Houston, TX
I think the main problem is the iPad and iOS just became the standard experience expected on a tablet. People buy the tablet for consumption and then have it ingrained that anything in a tablet form factor should be the same. I switched to the Surface Pro because I wanted a full desktop OS in a tablet form but a lot of the people who went Mac to Windows just expected that if they bought a Windows Tablet, it would be the same experience not realizing they were getting the windows equivalent of OS X.

As for tablet mode on Windows 10.... It sucks.... ALOT. When I first got my Surface it was running Windows 8 and I see why everyone who wasn't using a touch screen tablet hated it but, it pretty much was the best UI there was and still is IMO. Sometimes I wish I could install Windows 8 on my Surface. I don't know how Microsoft didn't just make Windows 10 tablet mode exactly like Windows 8 and desktop mode just like Windows 10. Honestly someone there had to have said that, I just wish I knew who said no to that and back slap him lol.