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Surface Book Review

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+fusi0n    2,036

IMG_1012.thumb.JPG.76800c7a3a4e83752a198

After owning the Surface Book for a week, I thought I’d give my thoughts on the device. I bought this device for work, but was afraid that it wasn’t going to be powerful enough for everything I do.. I was very back and forth if I should get the Surface Book or a powerful laptop.. The other downside to the Surface Book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to really “game” on it.. I decided that I needed this mostly for work and not to worry about that aspect.

About my “work style”.. At any given time, I can have 20 tabs open in Chrome, 5-6 Tabs open in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Sony Vegas, Outlook, Word, Evernote, NotePad++, 2-3 RDP Sessions, Putty Sessions.. Adobe After Effects, and some Visual Studio..

Doing all of that and running multiple demanding applications at the same time, I was worried about the Intel i7 CPU only being dual core.. I have to say, this Surface Book is a great deal faster than my Intel i5 Quad Core iMac..

 

 

 

What I like about the Surface Book:

 

-Portably. It’s very light weight, if I need to go into a meeting, I can just detach it from the keyboard and use Miracast.  

 

-Speed. Like I said, this thing is fast.. Even for a dual core.. I can do all my video editing and just send it over to our rendering computer..

 

-Keyboard. I really like the keyboard.. They did a good job on keeping it comfortable while being so slim and flat.. I thought I was going to hate it..

 

-Screen. The Screen is Amazing and one of the best screens I’ve ever seen on a laptop.

 

What I don’t like about the Surface Book:

 

-Buggy. Holy ###### this thing is buggy. 2-3 Times a week (not bad) my cursor will disappear and I’ll have to detach the screen and attach it back.
One thing that is about to drive me mad.. Using multiple montiors.. As you can see, I have an external monitor and a 55” LED I use.. If I detach or disconnect the dock.. Everything is great.. Until I connect the dock again.. The Surface Books screen just blinks and I hear connect/disconnect sounds.. I have to do a full restart, and even a hold the power button down until it turns off, to get it working again.. I’ve notice this only happens when I have both screens connected.. But, it’s still a shame.I’ve tried using different cables, connectors, ect.. Nothing has made a difference..

 

-DPI? I guess this is the way to put it? Some apps, Adobe Acrobat for Example, the Window Bars are huge and doesn’t fit on the external monitors at all.. The same goes for Remote Desktop Windows.. It’s Crazy Huge. My IPS Monitor is a little blurry.. After some research, I was told that it’s because of Windows having to change the DPI since the resolution doesn’t match the Surface Book..
-Sound Devices. When the dock is connected to the screens, it will SOMETIMES use my TV Speakers which sound pretty good.. But, sometimes, it doesn't even show up.. 

With the things I don’t like, I’m sure there will be soultions and the bugs will get worked out. One huge surprise is how well this thing plays game.. Battlefield 4, Counter Strike GO, Battlefront, Unreal Tournament 4 Pre-Alpha, all very playable.

 

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zhangm    1,333
Quote

Keyboard. I really like the keyboard.. They did a good job on keeping it comfortable while being so slim and flat.. I thought I was going to hate it.

 

I noticed that this is part of what we get in exchange for the gap when the book is closed. Instead of being sunk into the chassis like most keyboard decks on laptops, the keys here are raised, which gives them about twice the depth that could otherwise fit into the space. It's great that they have the processor living in the display/tablet portion. The base barely and rarely heats up (dGPU), making it comfortable to use and hold.

 

Another gotcha that I noticed but haven't seen mentioned in many reviews is that this thing is really thin, so people moving from laptops may find that some peripherals (mostly thumb drives) that worked fine in a thicker device extend down a bit too far and hit whatever surface the Surface is resting on. In my case, I have a USB 3 hub, and the cable fitting is just barely thinner than the base. Not so big of an issue for people who got the dock as well, I'm sure.

Edited by zhangm
omg quote tag why
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+fusi0n    2,036
14 hours ago, zhangm said:

 

Yeah, the keyboard is surprisingly good.. I don't really mind the gap..  The dock helps a lot.. but the dock is also a huge fail at the same time.. MS really messed up.. I'm hoping they fix the display issues soon.. 

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Guest   

i have a surface book and disagree with the above.

 

i use mine daily for work and dont have the "bugs" the guy above is seeing - maybe my work flow is different.

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+fusi0n    2,036
10 minutes ago, tomcoleman said:

i have a surface book and disagree with the above.

 

i use mine daily for work and dont have the "bugs" the guy above is seeing - maybe my work flow is different.

Yeah same here.. I use mine all day..  It's more of a dock issue.. Another guy at work that has a Surface Pro 4, has the same display issues.. Are you using two external monitors on your dock?

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adrynalyne    11,900
16 minutes ago, tomcoleman said:

i have a surface book and disagree with the above.

 

i use mine daily for work and dont have the "bugs" the guy above is seeing - maybe my work flow is different.

It depends on the monitors I think. We are seeing the same issue as the OP here at work with a bunch of Surface Pro 4s and multiple monitors through the dock (all same model monitor). The connector type seems to matter too. DVI works a lot better than HDMI for example. A Surface Book here has the same issue with the dock.

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+fusi0n    2,036
9 minutes ago, adrynalyne said:

It depends on the monitors I think. We are seeing the same issue as the OP here at work with a bunch of Surface Pro 4s and multiple monitors through the dock (all same model monitor). The connector type seems to matter too. DVI works a lot better than HDMI for example. A Surface Book here has the same issue with the dock.

The only way I have been able to fix the issue is using a USB video card for one monitor and using the DP on the dock on the other.. 
http://www.amazon.com/Targus-SuperSpeed-Video-Adapter-ACA039US/dp/B006ZB328U

That's what has fixed the issue.. I don't like using it because I don't want to give up any of the "video card power" that built into the surface.. but since you are just using it on a 3rd monitor..  

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tsupersonic    1,805

It is so surprising that a company who makes the most popular OS has the most amount of bugs on their own hardware. I have never had more unreliable Windows devices...

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zhangm    1,333

Does anyone know a trustworthy source for rechargeable AAAA batteries for the pen? I'll probably bite the bullet and get alkalines unless I can find the low self-discharge type.

 

Have there been updates released for the dock? I've been pleased that the monthly firmware updates for SP4/SB have been providing visible improvements, just curious whether I could expect issues with the dock to be resolved in the future, since I'd like to get one.

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+fusi0n    2,036
12 minutes ago, zhangm said:

Does anyone know a trustworthy source for rechargeable AAAA batteries for the pen? I'll probably bite the bullet and get alkalines unless I can find the low self-discharge type.

 

Have there been updates released for the dock? I've been pleased that the monthly firmware updates for SP4/SB have been providing visible improvements, just curious whether I could expect issues with the dock to be resolved in the future, since I'd like to get one.

I order mine from CDW.. 

No updates for the dock as of yet..

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+fusi0n    2,036

I'd like to update everyone.. It seems with the latest updates, the display issues have now been fixed.. I can undock and come back and my monitors come back with a hitch!

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Jack W    419

I can't wait till I'm able to afford a Surface Book - they look great, and everyone I have spoken too says they perform amazingly. Excited. :)

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+warwagon    13,037
16 minutes ago, Jack W said:

I can't wait till I'm able to afford a Surface Book - they look great, and everyone I have spoken too says they perform amazingly. Excited. :)

I got to work on one that a customer had. It looks nice, it's fast as anything with solid state storage should be. Didn't blow my mind.

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Jack W    419
1 minute ago, warwagon said:

I got to work on one that a customer had. It looks nice, it's fast as anything with solid state storage should be. Didn't blow my mind.

Laptop-wise I've always stayed low-end, as I don't use them often enough, usually just as a back-up. So I guess for me it'd blow my mind? :p

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+warwagon    13,037
6 minutes ago, Jack W said:

Laptop-wise I've always stayed low-end, as I don't use them often enough, usually just as a back-up. So I guess for me it'd blow my mind? :p

Well, I always upgrade every laptop I get (and every PC I own for that matter), low end or (4 years old) with an SSD. So all my machines, even lower end laptops are fast.

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Jack W    419
3 minutes ago, warwagon said:

Well, I always upgrade every laptop I get (and every PC I own for that matter), low end or (4 years old) with an SSD. So all my machines, even lower end laptops are fast.

Never had an SSD, been meaning too. Just recently upgraded my PC to the GTX 960 + 16GB RAM, next I am upping the processor and motherboard, possibly the AMD FX 9590, if possible. Next I'll focus on hard-drives, looking for an SSHD for the main OS, then a pure SSD for games.

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offroadaaron    230
On 4/22/2016 at 5:00 AM, warwagon said:

Well, I always upgrade every laptop I get (and every PC I own for that matter), low end or (4 years old) with an SSD. So all my machines, even lower end laptops are fast.

I've never upgraded my PC parts, by the time one part is out of date all the rest is ready to be replaced, my machines normally last about 4-5 years.

 

On 4/22/2016 at 5:03 AM, Jack W said:

Never had an SSD, been meaning too. Just recently upgraded my PC to the GTX 960 + 16GB RAM, next I am upping the processor and motherboard, possibly the AMD FX 9590, if possible. Next I'll focus on hard-drives, looking for an SSHD for the main OS, then a pure SSD for games.

IMO I'd should get an SSD before most of the upgrades you've listed (depending on what you're doing with the system of course) it makes so much of a difference to the performance.

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Jack W    419
1 hour ago, offroadaaron said:

I've never upgraded my PC parts, by the time one part is out of date all the rest is ready to be replaced, my machines normally last about 4-5 years.

 

IMO I'd should get an SSD before most of the upgrades you've listed (depending on what you're doing with the system of course) it makes so much of a difference to the performance.

Upgraded all the parts, runs fine without the SSD so far, playing every on high, with programs running in the background. Pretty impressed.

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offroadaaron    230
1 minute ago, Jack W said:

Upgraded all the parts, runs fine without the SSD so far, playing every on high, with programs running in the background. Pretty impressed.

It won't effect playing performance, or running background programs, it'll effect the speed in which things load and things like save times and transfer times and paging times.

 

It wouldn't effect game speeds as that's CPU and GPU mainly.

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