Microsoft Surface Book review

Category: Hardware 465 0

Highs

- Versatile form factor - Beautiful display - Solid construction - Above-average performance

Lows

- Optional GPU isn't that quick - Mediocre battery life

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, Microsoft’s first laptop — the Surface Book. It borrows heavily from the design language of the Surface Pro line, both in functionality and appearance, and promises to extend Microsoft’s reach in new and interesting directions.

With an Intel Core i5-6300U, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB PCIe SSD in the $1,500 base model, the Surface Book is equipped to compete with the best ultrabooks and convertibles, such as Vaio’s Z Flip, Dell’s XPS 13, and Lenovo’s new X1 Yoga. The Book is also the first 2-in-1 with a detachable keyboard to feature an optional, discrete GPU.

This puts Microsoft in direct competition with manufacturers that have been building computers for decades. Unlike the Surface Pro, the Surface Book isn’t designed to encourage growth for a new form factor and market, and it isn’t a device with a limited appeal. Is it time for Microsoft to push first-party hardware as the flagship Windows experience?

Key Features

  • Bundled keyboard dock and Surface Pen
  • Optional secondary NVIDIA GeForce GPU
  • Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU
  • 13.3-inch PixelSense display
  • 8GB or 16GB RAM
  • 8-megapixel rear, 5-megapixel front cameras
  • Manufacturer: Microsoft
  • Review Price: £1,300.00

The Good The Microsoft Surface Book packs high-end components, including new Intel processors and optional Nvidia graphics, into a smart, slim body. Some components and most of the battery are hidden in the base, so the tablet half is lighter. The high-res screen looks great, and the included stylus pen is excellent.

The Bad Configurations with the optional Nvidia GPU and more storage get very expensive. There are some first-generation quirks, including an awkward gap between the screen and base when closed.

The Bottom Line While it's not nearly as refined as the new fourth-gen Surface Pro, Microsoft's Surface Book is a powerful, feature-filled premium hybrid that doesn't forget it's a laptop first.

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Video

Microsoft Surface Book Long Term Review: 2.5 Months Later

Lisa Gade revisits the Microsoft Surface Book, Microsoft’s first laptop that’s also a tablet with pen. When we first reviewed the Surface Book at the end of October 2015, it had early release issues since it was the first Intel Skylake laptop to ship with Windows 10. We look at how the Core i7 with NVIDIA graphics and the Core i5 without dedicated graphics have progressed as Microsoft has released driver and firmware updates. Lisa covers battery life, display driver stability, MS Edge web browse

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