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-   -   MS Surface Book - any users here on FT...? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-technology/1839694-ms-surface-book-any-users-here-ft.html)

N1120A Jun 25, 17 12:38 pm

I use the Pro 4, and had the Pro 2 before that. My wife has a Surface 3, which is basically a Pro 2. We love them. Light, ultra portable, can use during all phases of flight. If I were a gamer, I'd probably want something else, but I'm not and it works really, really well.

Gaucho100K Jul 19, 17 6:13 pm

Any updates on this...??

Thanks !!

Gaucho100K Aug 27, 17 6:57 am

Hmmm.... not too many Surface fans here on FT.....?

Kagehitokiri Aug 27, 17 10:20 am

its both a laptop and a tablet. only reason i chose it for that was because it was microsoft direct. perhaps im just lazy for not comparison shopping.

because its both, one thing ive done is detach screen, rotate orientation, then re attach. not sure how many laptops offer that by default with their built in screen.

my computers are all apple. if apple made macOS tablet, i would not have bought surface book.

will be interesting to see if they do surface book 2, or if suface laptop (not tablet) replaces it.

Gaucho100K Aug 27, 17 12:30 pm

Does anybody have the scoop on when MS plans to announce the new hardware it will be bringing out.....??

chgoeditor Sep 8, 17 4:55 pm

Bumping this to get additional feedback from those who have used the Surface Book and/or Surface Laptop for a few more months since last posting. Any changes in your opinion of them?

I'm looking for a new personal laptop, and while Mr. CE would love to get me over to a Mac, I like my Windows technology.

I'm currently using a Lenovo (personal laptop) that I hate for myriad reasons, including a buggy touchpad mouse as well as a noticeable lip where the edge of the keyboard face of the laptop meets the side of the laptop that irritates my wrist any time I'm typing for an extended period of time. I think it's my first and last Lenovo. My work laptop is a Dell, which is fine.

I was a long-time HP fan, but swore them off after a couple laptops that barely made it 18 months. I'm open to revisiting them. But I keep hearing great things about the Surface, and feel as if I need to check them out!

Gaucho100K Sep 11, 17 8:05 pm

Yes... additional feedback would be great... also on dates for upcoming releases. Thanks !!

LoveHateRelationship Sep 12, 17 10:50 am

Not a book but I have a Pro 4 and prior to that a Pro 3. I love the portability of it but I've run into a fair number of issues. My windows Hello is intermittent, phantom restarts, not sleeping properly, dead pixels, light leaking from the bezel. My wife's Pro 4 wouldn't connect to wifi hotspots properly and despite multiple visits to the Microsoft store, they just chalked it up to "This stuff happens." The kickstand is great for media consumption (something they should have put into the Book) but on the lap not so much. If they Surface Book were to get a kickstand I would consider getting it. I'm about 18 months into this Pro 4 and I'm waiting for a replacement unit to come in so I can swap it out due to the dead pixels.

All in all, it's definitely not as sturdy as a Mac nor is Microsoft as compliant in dealing with my issues as Apple. My previous laptop was a 2011 Macbook Pro and I used that for 4 years with no issue. I sold it and it was still in great working condition. Apple swapped out for a current model year when I brought it in for a speaker issue with no questions asked (this was when I bought a 2010 refurb).

On that note, there's supposed to be a new Surface announcement at the Future Decoded event at the end of October. No news on what that is yet.

http://bgr.com/2017/09/06/windows-10...-release-date/

goodeats21 Sep 13, 17 8:41 am

I have been using Surface Book for 6 months now - provided by work.

It is "OK", but nothing amazing. As mentioned up-thread, the brick is a monster.

I have also been having display issues. Does not play well at all with Remote Desktop. Items on screen become comically small - unusable. This was overcome by installing some type of secondary RD manager application.

Also have major problems trying to use at my desk with dual monitors. Screen just blinks on-and-off when 2 monitors are connected to the docking brick. IT has yet to come up with a reliable solution. Had it working for about a month, but then reverted back to the blinks. Single external monitor attached directly to Surface works OK.

Also, be aware that the power connection is REALLY close to the mini display port on the machine itself. I have had to use a razor blade to remove the plastic trim/housing on the DP cable to get it to fit.

While in theory, the detachable screen (tablet mode) is cool, I just never use it that way. I have a personal iPad that I use for entertainment, etc, but when detaching the screen from Surface, just doesn't seem as comfortable.

Another small irritation, due to the touch screen on the Surface Book, it changes the way scroll operates on apps. Example - when I am at my desk and looking at a pdf, I cannot use the mouse scroll wheel to manipulate the document. You can change the setting inside pdf to use the scroll wheel, but then the touch screen doesn't work correctly when not at desk.
Things like that are unusually annoying.

That is my quick feedback. I don't think I would get one for personal use. In fact, if IT cannot come up with a fix for the dual monitors, I may ask to go back to a standard laptop - Lenovo.

COSPILOT Sep 18, 17 10:54 pm


Originally Posted by goodeats21 (Post 28810596)
I have been using Surface Book for 6 months now - provided by work.

It is "OK", but nothing amazing. As mentioned up-thread, the brick is a monster.

I have also been having display issues. Does not play well at all with Remote Desktop. Items on screen become comically small - unusable. This was overcome by installing some type of secondary RD manager application.

Also have major problems trying to use at my desk with dual monitors. Screen just blinks on-and-off when 2 monitors are connected to the docking brick. IT has yet to come up with a reliable solution. Had it working for about a month, but then reverted back to the blinks. Single external monitor attached directly to Surface works OK.



Also, be aware that the power connection is REALLY close to the mini display port on the machine itself. I have had to use a razor blade to remove the plastic trim/housing on the DP cable to get it to fit.

While in theory, the detachable screen (tablet mode) is cool, I just never use it that way. I have a personal iPad that I use for entertainment, etc, but when detaching the screen from Surface, just doesn't seem as comfortable.

Another small irritation, due to the touch screen on the Surface Book, it changes the way scroll operates on apps. Example - when I am at my desk and looking at a pdf, I cannot use the mouse scroll wheel to manipulate the document. You can change the setting inside pdf to use the scroll wheel, but then the touch screen doesn't work correctly when not at desk.
Things like that are unusually annoying.

That is my quick feedback. I don't think I would get one for personal use. In fact, if IT cannot come up with a fix for the dual monitors, I may ask to go back to a standard laptop - Lenovo.

Sounds like the same issues I had with my Surface Pro 2. I was hoping things had improved with this, but apparently not.

joshwex90 Sep 19, 17 5:39 am


Originally Posted by COSPILOT (Post 28832407)
Sounds like the same issues I had with my Surface Pro 2. I was hoping things had improved with this, but apparently not.

Dunno - I have the SP3 and have had no issues related to dual monitors, proximity of display port and power connection, or scroll.

COSPILOT Sep 19, 17 11:22 am


Originally Posted by joshwex90 (Post 28833210)
Dunno - I have the SP3 and have had no issues related to dual monitors, proximity of display port and power connection, or scroll.

As someone who would hook up to a client's screen multiple times a day/week, I had more problems than ever with the Surface Pro 2. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn't. Bluetooth connectivity to that goofy mouse Microsoft sells would fail sometimes, screen resolution would go wonky, etc. All of us using them switched back to Dell or HP laptops after a year of this and have never looked back. My other gripe was a single USB Port, with no dedicated LAN. More stuff to carry to make this work, and frankly made my presentation area look like a mess. Nothing like presenting to 150 people and the Surface decides to pull this crap.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the battery life, the small footprint, and everything else about it. Put simply, it was great as a glorified tablet, but failed me when it mattered most as a real computer.

And one more comment: Put a slider switch for power instead of a push button. Lost track of the amount of times it would somehow get bumped and turn itself on, becoming overly hot sitting in my computer bag on a long flight, and close to dead when I needed it most.

Gaucho100K Apr 11, 18 10:51 am

Bumping this up to see if anybody has updated info on new products launches... or has MS killed this thing and Ive missed the news...???? :eek:

ckx2 Apr 12, 18 12:22 am

https://www.techradar.com/news/mobil...rumors-1316294


Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The would-be fifth Surface Pro tablet
  • When is it out? Spring 2018 at the earliest
  • What will it cost? Likely as much as – if not more than – the current model


DYKWIA Apr 12, 18 5:57 am


Originally Posted by ckx2 (Post 29631036)

That's the Surface Pro rather than the Surface Book.

The Surface Book 2 is out now. A google search will give reviews.

Gaucho100K Apr 12, 18 6:49 am

Yes, exactly.... Im more interested in the Surface Book. I guess that the Surface Book 3 will not be coming out anytime this year, one will have to wait until 2019...??


Originally Posted by DYKWIA (Post 29631655)
That's the Surface Pro rather than the Surface Book.

The Surface Book 2 is out now. A google search will give reviews.


Gaucho100K Apr 12, 18 6:53 am

Here is the "newest" rumour article I can find on the potential release of the Surface Book 3.

I dont know if any of the Techie experts here can rate how good a source of information the author/publisher of the below article happens to be.....? Im guessing that its just a "copy and paste" of another article from another source.... I get so many ads when I read it that maybe the source is quoted somewhere...?

https://www.christianpost.com/news/s...cessor-209069/

Gaucho100K Apr 14, 18 12:15 pm

Bump......

Gaucho100K Apr 19, 18 11:18 am

Hmmm... not too many Surface Book fans on FT it seems....?

DYKWIA Apr 19, 18 1:05 pm

Rather than bumping this thread, just read some reviews like most people do.

Gaucho100K Apr 19, 18 3:20 pm


Originally Posted by DYKWIA (Post 29660903)
Rather than bumping this thread, just read some reviews like most people do.

Thanks for your "advice". Rather than rely on expert reviews, I would rather get 1st hand feedback from "real life" users......

xaphesis Apr 28, 18 7:30 am

I just wish the screen would tilt back more. I realize that the laptop would tip over at some point , but I would prefer having a hinge that allows the screen to fold flat.

Gaucho100K Jun 12, 18 7:58 pm

another friendly bump to see if anybody has some updated info.... thanks !!

trueblu Jun 15, 18 2:35 am


Originally Posted by Gaucho100K (Post 29860071)
another friendly bump to see if anybody has some updated info.... thanks !!

Did you ever buy the Surface Book 2 (your initial question)? Or have you now deferred and waiting on the Surface Book 3?

These are pretty expensive machines, and although I've seen a few other users on the academic circuit, we are outnumbered >20:1 by Mac users...FTers are probably no different. It's possible that a dedicated Windows forum may have more experience to relate. I only ever look those up when I have issues! :)

I do love the _idea_ of the machine, but it's far from perfect. I bought mine for work, so didn't pay for it myself. I don't do Apple, and I think it's a very good PC laptop. But I wouldn't call it good value.

tb

garykung Jun 15, 18 3:02 am

I would not recommend Surface Book 2.

I would say Microsoft Surface is a solidly designed tablet/laptop. However, it is extremely overpriced. Just taking Surface Book 2 as an example, it is almost 50% than the lowest configuration of Lenovo ThinkPad T480. The problem is T480 may have better performance than the Surface Book 2 (the use of tradition Hard Drive may impact T480's performance).

I don't see why a person needs to pay that much for something similar.

Declaimer - I don't own any Surface.

Coolers Jun 15, 18 8:33 am

They are not comparable in the slightest. The SB2 has a detachable tablet and can be configured with proper discrete graphics. Any laptop that still offers a traditional HDD belongs in the trash.

lhrsfo Jun 15, 18 10:36 am

I've been delighted with my SB which I've now had for a couple of years. It's by far the best laptop I've owned and will keep it longer than any of the others. Yes, it's more expensive (I've always bought premium laptops, but this is even more premium) but it will last so much longer.

Dodge DeBoulet Jun 15, 18 1:03 pm


Originally Posted by Coolers (Post 29869947)
They are not comparable in the slightest. The SB2 has a detachable tablet and can be configured with proper discrete graphics. Any laptop that still offers a traditional HDD belongs in the trash.

Respectfully disagree on the "traditional HDD." They're very inexpensive, and allow the user to obtain the best performing processor/graphics configuration without paying inflated manufacturer pricing for a high-capacity SSD.

I couldn't get a 2TB SSD as a factory option for my Lenovo notebook, but was able to purchase the HDD version plus a 2TB 3rd party SSD at a significant savings over the largest capacity SSD-equipped model offered.

garykung Jun 15, 18 4:41 pm


Originally Posted by Coolers (Post 29869947)
They are not comparable in the slightest. The SB2 has a detachable tablet and can be configured with proper discrete graphics.

You are not correct in the slightest.

Microsoft considers SB2 as "a versatile laptop, powerful tablet, and portable studio in one." So in some degrees, SB2 is a laptop, at least to Microsoft.

Also - SB2 with i5 uses integrated graphics.


Originally Posted by Coolers (Post 29869947)
Any laptop that still offers a traditional HDD belongs in the trash.

In that case - the landfill will be filled faster than ever, as most laptops still use traditional HDD...j/k

However, joke aside, the key of SSD v. HDD is how you use it. To make this simple - SSD is simply not economical for most daily usage.


Originally Posted by lhrsfo (Post 29870398)
...but it will last so much longer.

Actually, that is incorrect. HDD has a better lifespan than SSD assuming proper usage and care. So the laptop with a SSD will fail first before HDD.

nkedel Jun 17, 18 11:43 pm


Originally Posted by garykung (Post 29871458)
In that case - the landfill will be filled faster than ever, as most laptops still use traditional HDD...j/k

Most people are cheap and/or don't know better.


However, joke aside, the key of SSD v. HDD is how you use it. To make this simple - SSD is simply not economical for most daily usage.
Sure they are. Most people don't need all that much storage, and 120-128GB SSDs at this point are as cheap as 500GB hard drives; 250-256GB SSDs are under $100 (and probably cheaper still at manufacturer-volume discount levels.)

SSDs are still not economical for bulk storage (hardly daily use) for average people, but prices have come down slowly. OTOH, most people don't need 2TB+ in their laptop and if you really do need that much space, it's not that bad to have an internal SSD and an external HDD (or while big laptops are anathema on FT, there are plenty of bigger laptops that will take an SSD + a 2.5" HDD)

And for the size-obsessed, SSDs enable making much, much smaller machines. For that matter, if money is no object, it enables a much much higher storage density. 1PB in 1U? Physically impossible with spinning disks. Possible, just absurdly expensive with SSDs.


Actually, that is incorrect. HDD has a better lifespan than SSD assuming proper usage and care. So the laptop with a SSD will fail first before HDD.
That totally depends on the workload and whether you're in mobile or stationary use. In practice both of them are going to outlive the useful life of a typical new machine if not abused, but for mobile use the risk of abuse though drops hugely favors SSDs which are shock insensitive. A desktop or laptop from 2009 is obsolete. A second-genertion Intel X25-M SSD from 2009 is still better than a hard drive, and I have a number of them still running that were retired from data center use in 2013 after about 4 years use (and showing 40-50% of their write lifetime left despite a truly abusive workload.) I've also got laptop hard drives that old that probably still run, but why would one bother?

Having worked on the IT side of the house as well as development, and been responsible for a (fairly small) data center with low-hundreds servers with high-hundreds each hard drives and SSDs in workloads MUCH tougher than any normal desktop user, I've never seen an SSD reach the end of its write lifetime, and I've only ever seen two drives fail in ways that would still have a live controller (one of them a 1st-generation Intel 80GB from 2008) -- most SSD failures are controllers dying. I've seen a lot more HDDs fail than SSDs, although that's in data center use running 24/7 -- where the older 5 year warranties were a pretty good guide on when to worry about the failure rate going up a lot -- but if you aren't running 24/7 the power-on hours won't be nearly as big of an issue. I just tested a laptop with 25-year old drive that turned on and booted up, which is great, but a 1993-vintage drive measured in 10s of MB (I don't remember how big it was!) is pretty much a novelty at this point.

SSDs haven't been around long enough to know whether they'll last decades-plural, but given how much storage growth has slowed down, we will probably get to find out whether they do.

garykung Jun 18, 18 1:01 am


Originally Posted by nkedel (Post 29877494)
Most people are cheap and/or don't know better.

This I agree. However, at the same time, some people buying SSDs don't know better as well.

Again - the value of SSD depends on the users.

nkedel Jun 18, 18 1:30 am


Originally Posted by garykung (Post 29877613)
This I agree. However, at the same time, some people buying SSDs don't know better as well.

Again - the value of SSD depends on the users.

Well, yeah. Some people don't care about performance at all; the cheapest tier of machines with 2GB of memory and Atom processors wouldn't exist. Although plenty of those machines are sold with 32gb of eMMC storage, which isn't what most people normally think of as SSD (and is horribly slow) but it's even cheaper than the cheapest hard dives, and drop-proof.

That said, for pretty much anyone else who doesn't have a whole ton to store, other than not having enough RAM, it's pretty literally the most noticeable thing about a system's performance. A midrange machine from 2011 or 2012 or not totally bottom-of-the-line modern machine is pretty tolerable speed-wise if it's got enough memory and even a relatively dated SSD. Disk? Not so much, and I've upgraded enough non-technical friends to know that the difference is noticeable even to relatively more tolerant non-technical people.

Gaucho100K Jun 18, 18 9:28 pm

Great info... thanks to all for your additional input !!

lhrsfo Jun 19, 18 7:20 am

The other advantage of SSDs in a laptop is that there's no need for a fan, which makes it quiet.

tmiw Jun 19, 18 8:05 am


Originally Posted by lhrsfo (Post 29882128)
The other advantage of SSDs in a laptop is that there's no need for a fan, which makes it quiet.

That's more a function of the CPU and/or GPU in the machine. There are definitely laptops with SSDs that still have fans.

garykung Jun 19, 18 4:00 pm


Originally Posted by lhrsfo (Post 29882128)
The other advantage of SSDs in a laptop is that there's no need for a fan, which makes it quiet.

Definitely the joke for the date.

Seriously - the fan is intended to cool down the laptops by emitting hot air.

While I don't comment whether SSDs eliminate the need of a fan, a laptop without the fan may not last as long as others, as hot air can melt down solders and total the laptop.

You would better off with a laptop with a fan.

lewinr Jun 19, 18 7:36 pm

I want to repeat that I cannot recommend any of the Surface Books.

I got an original Surface Book and it was extremely unreliable. Over time the reliability of the software and firmware improved, but the hardware deteriorated much faster than my other notebooks: USB ports stopped working, keycaps broke, the unit picked up scratches much easier than my other notebooks and looks worse, the battery is practically useless now (and cannot be replaced), etc. I still have it and use it, but I cannot recommend it.

I think Microsoft just doesnt have the long experience in notebook manufacturing that the mainstream producers have, and the product suffers as a result.

For the money, you're much better off buying a high-end notebook from one of the mainstream producers who have been making notebooks for 20+ years and already have the best practices and experience to avoid surprises.

nkedel Jun 21, 18 10:06 am


Originally Posted by lhrsfo (Post 29882128)
The other advantage of SSDs in a laptop is that there's no need for a fan, which makes it quiet.


Originally Posted by tmiw (Post 29882288)
That's more a function of the CPU and/or GPU in the machine. There are definitely laptops with SSDs that still have fans.


Originally Posted by garykung (Post 29884098)
Seriously - the fan is intended to cool down the laptops by emitting hot air.

Generally, to specifically move air over the radiator of a heat sink connected to the CPU (and GPU, if any) or a pair one for each (or occasionally a pair of fans/radiators at the ends of one big heat sink). I haven't seen a laptop with a non-heat-sink connected fan since the 1990s.


While I don't comment whether SSDs eliminate the need of a fan, a laptop without the fan may not last as long as others, as hot air can melt down solders and total the laptop.
An adequately designed laptop with passive cooling should be much more reliable than a laptop with one or more fans. As a moving part (and often one binned for low cost, not reliability), fans are often the first thing to go in a laptop. Moreover the air path is usually such that dust and hair get caught between the fan and the radiator, limiting airflow, and on many laptops it's hard to clean. Modern machines have thermal shutdowns which will kick in LONG before solder melts or there's an immediate/acute electronic failure, but a laptop that overheats and shuts down is still hardly very useful.

There is a risk of long-term thermal stress to components if the machine is running near its limits, which is more likely in a machine with poorly designed or passive cooling, but I don't know that anyone's quantified it for laptops.

As for SSDs eliminating the need for a fan, the hottest laptop-style SSD I know of has a rated maximum draw of 12 watts, and while there are plenty of machines these days do put a heat spreader on the SSD to keep individual components (usually the controller) from overheating I've never seen anyone put a fan to give one airflow.

For contrast, CPUs in full power laptops have a TDP (thermal design power -- not directly comparable to rated maximum current draw but correlated as it's a measure of the output heat a system using them should be able to tolerate) of 35 or 45W (and there have been 55W) and at typical laptop gaming GPU these days pulls 55W (with serious high end ones up over 100W) and the more typical U-series low-power CPUs in most systems these days are rated for a 15W TDP. I think I've seen some passively cooled laptops with 15W CPUs, but most passively cooled systems tend to use a reduced wattage CPU (10W or smaller) -- usually the 4.5W "Core M" cpus as used in the Macbook 12" (probably the highest-profile fanless system.)

garykung Jun 21, 18 3:09 pm


Originally Posted by nkedel (Post 29890830)
An adequately designed laptop with passive cooling should be much more reliable than a laptop with one or more fans.

I beg to differ. When I concede that as a moving part, fan(s) can deteriorate over time. Still it is not sufficient to say a fanless laptop is more reliable than a "fan" laptop. An adequately equipped laptop with active cooling should be as reliable as an adequately designed with passive cooling.

As you have said - adequate is the key for everything. And my friend - sorry to say, it is not always the case.

lewinr Jun 21, 18 11:34 pm

I would bet all my money that even when both are "adequately designed", laptops with HDDs statistically fail more often than laptops with SSDs.


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