I’ve purchased a Microsoft Surface Book as my main computing device. The Microsoft Surface Book is described by Microsoft as “The Ultimate Laptop”. Now that I own one I have to agree.
The Microsoft Surface Book was introduced for sale beginning on October 26th. I had made an advanced order for mine on October 7th and I picked it up at the Microsoft Store in Atlanta at 10:00 AM on Monday, October 26th, the first day of availability.
The specifications for my Microsoft Surface Book are as follows:
i7 Processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, NVidia GeForce Graphics
Trust me, this is one very powerful laptop. Everything is literally instantaneous. Thanks to the PCIe NVMe solid state drive, it takes only a few seconds from the time I turn it on to the time I’m ready to work! I’m also fortunate to have an optical cable connection with Comcast and I have a download speed of over 90 Mbps. The Internet is very fast for me. I love it!
At 3000 x 2000 and 267 PPI, this is the highest resolution I’ve ever had on a screen. The 3:2 aspect ratio is the same as the aspect ratio on my cameras. Isn’t it interesting that the 3:2 aspect ration is also the perfection of the Fibonacci ratio in nature? After you use this ratio on your screen you have to wonder why all screens aren’t designed with this aspect ratio. Surface Book screens are individually calibrated to be 100% color accurate. This is the absolute best color I’ve ever seen on a screen It’s the first screen I’ve ever had that when I look at one of my camera images it looks like I’m seeing an actual photograph instead of a computer screen. You really do have to see one of your own favorite images on this screen to fully appreciate it. When going through my images it’s like I’ve never seen them before. I just sit back in utter amazement at how good this screen is. The drawback is that very few people will ever see my images as I now see them.
The track pad is everything that I’ve read about and more. On any keyboard I’ve ever had, I try the track pad for a few minutes, then go to my mouse and never want to use the track pad again. This track pad is a whole different animal. It’s made of glass and feels silky smooth, it’s huge and it’s accurate. I still have yet to connect my mouse, it’s that good. Between the touch screen, the pen and the track pad I may never use a mouse again!
So far I’ve installed Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop CC Subscription, Microsoft Office 365 Subscription, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2016. Everything runs like it should with no problems. Of course as soon as I logged in to Windows 10, all of my data was there from the cloud on Microsoft OneDrive. I love it!
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are noticeably faster. Since a NVMe PCIe SSD is used, importing and exporting images is over twice as fast as an ordinary SSD. I often export multiple images and cutting the time in half is indeed very welcome. Looking at the options menu, I see that the default is to use the Surface Book’s NVidia GeForce graphics processor. When I go back and forth from the original to the processed image in the Develop module it is instantaneous now. From some of the reviews I’ve read I thought I would only see a small incremental change. With how I work in Lightroom/Photoshop CC, the speed difference is very noticeable. I’ve found that I like to work with Lightroom/Photoshop with the screen reversed and then laid back down to cover the keyboard. This is what Microsoft calls “Creatie Canvas”. The screen is still attached to the keyboard base and has full access to the NVidia graphics processor. Since the Microsoft Book keyboard is now covered by the screen, I attach my Bluetooth Microsoft Mobile Wedge keyboard to the Microsoft Book and since I can position the Wedge keyboard anywhere I like alongside the screen, between the Microsoft Pen and Wedge Keyboard I have a very ergonometric working setup. This is the best Lightroom/Photoshop setup I’ve ever had! I like it a lot!
Facial recognition is really amazing. It was very easy to set up and now when I turn my computer on it recognizes me literally instantly. No more entering a password at startup. I like this feature a lot more than I ever thought I would.
One of the things that I was a bit worried about was the screen “wobble” that reviewers were complaining about. I’m not seeing any of that. Evidently I don’t vigorously punch, jab and poke at the screen like I see some of the reviewers doing. For the way I work the screen is quite stable and I do a lot of touching and use the pen quite a bit. I think that I’ll be putting the screen in to what they call “Creative Canvas” mode when doing a lot of pen work on a photo. That’s where you reverse the screen and lay it back over the keyboard to keep the use of the NVidia graphics processor which resides in the base under the keyboard.
It’s interesting that when I first turned my Surface Book on, I was prompted to do a system update and driver updates. I would imagine that my experience is better than what many of the pre-release reviewers were seeing.
Taking just the screen to the family room and using it as a tablet while watching TV is really nice. It is interesting to note that the screen by itself in tablet mode can be attached to the spare Surface Pro 3 charger that I keep by my family room chair. Since the screen (Microsoft calls it clip-board mode) has a small battery to keep size and weight down. Battery time in tablet mode is limited to 3 to 4 hours. With my spare charger the lack of battery time in tablet mode shouldn’t really be a problem for me where I most use it.
The pen is a significant improvement over my Surface Pro 3 pen. The sensitivity has been increased from 256 to 1024 degrees of sensitivity and battery life has been increased from a couple of months to over a year. I noticed the increased sensitivity immediately. Microsoft also has reduced the physical distance between the pen tip and the ink. One now has the feeling that he is writing directly on the tablet surface (pun intended). When in tablet mode, the pen totally replaces a mouse for me. And in tablet mode I don’t use the on-screen keyboard at all. I write with the mouse and my cursive/printing is instantly translated to text input. The pen is now very strongly magnetic and attaches quite securely to the side of the screen. This really works well for me. I like the new pen a lot.
I’m very pleased with my Microsoft Surface Book and I would buy it again in a heartbeat. I’m using my Surface Book full-time and it has completely replaced my old desktop system. I’ve been over it with a fine tooth comb and can find no physical hardware defects whatsoever. After Panos Panay’s highly entertaining dog-and-pony show at Microsoft’s October 6th Hardware event there was a lot to live up to in my mind, but my Surface Book has actually exceeded my expectations. For me Microsoft totally hit this one out of the park.