While I have a MacBook Pro on order, I also have a Microsoft Surface Book as I like to keep my options open. I like tablets and I like hybrids but I really like laptops. As someone who types a lot as well as fix computers, a good keyboard is paramount for my needs. Which is where a proper laptop keyboard earns its keep.
Microsoft Surface Book design
The design of the Surface Book is pretty good. Made of magnesium, entirely flat and with minimum decoration, it’s a design I can get on board with. The keyboard is simple and responsive and the touchpad subtle and unobtrusive. The entire lower half of the device is exactly how I would have designed it myself.
The upper half is much the same. The screen is smooth, the bezel small and a subtle Microsoft logo is just enough. A small camera lens is the only other mark on an otherwise silky smooth surface.
The only design compromise is the so-called ‘dynamic fulcrum hinge’. This is how the screen separates from the base and flips over into Creative canvas mode and works well. However, it does leave a slight gap between top and bottom which takes a bit of getting used to. TechRadar have the same opinion of it as I do.
The headline here is the combination of laptop and tablet. The screen separates from the base using that hinge and turns into a tablet, complete with discrete GPU. A simple switch separates the two either on the screen or on the keyboard. Hit the key, wait a second and separate the two, it is that easy.
The Microsoft Surface Book runs either an Intel i5 or i7 processor with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM. GPU is an onboard Intel 520 chipset with Nvidia GeForce. It also has SSD in either 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB sizes. The usual Wi-Fi, USB-3, front and rear facing camera, TPM chip and more feature.
The screen is a PixelSense display that runs at 3000 x 2000 pixels at 267 ppi. Color reproduction is great, detail is very good and response it remarkable. While not designed to play games, I ran Civilization VI on the device for a few hours without any significant graphical compromises from the desktop version.
Using the Microsoft Surface Book
Once you get used to the hinge, using the Surface Book is a breeze. It is a seriously capable device with few compromises. The Clipboard (screen side) is even upgradeable so offers an element of futureproofing too!