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MS Surface Book - any users here on FT...?

MS Surface Book - any users here on FT...?

Old Apr 29, 17, 2:00 pm
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Post MS Surface Book - any users here on FT...?

Im getting ready to retire my ageing Lenovo ThinkPad W520.

Ive pretty much decided to drop Lenovo and explore other options. As much as Ive become a fan of the Iphone, I cant seem to fall in love with a MacBook.

On a recent trip to the USA, I played around with a Surface Book at a MicroSoft store and was very positively surprised. I like the tablet option and the idea of not having to learn the "new ways" of operating a Mac are drawing me closer to giving a Surface Book a shot.

It would be great to head what experiences FTers have had with Surface Books, not looking for any formal reviews, just comments and bullet points on the "big picture". Ive been reading up on the usual big website reviews so looking more for a "normal user" experience report.

Thanks very much !!!
Alex / Gaucho100K
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Old Apr 29, 17, 3:00 pm
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I have the Surface Pro, not the book, and I'm a big fan. But not sure that's what you're interested in
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Old Apr 29, 17, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
I have the Surface Pro, not the book, and I'm a big fan. But not sure that's what you're interested in
Im considering the Surface Book, not the Surface Pro - but would still be interested in hearing your thoughts & experiences with the Pro.

Thanks.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 7:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
Im considering the Surface Book, not the Surface Pro - but would still be interested in hearing your thoughts & experiences with the Pro.

Thanks.
I looked at both and decided to go with the Surface Pro 4 primarily for its lighter weight and smaller form factor. I chose a unit with an i7 processor, 16-GB RAM, & 512 GB storage adding a 64-GB Micro-SD for emergency backup while travelling when I have slow or no connectivity to OneDrive.

At home I connect the SurfacePro to a 27" 4-K monitor via the mini display-port and extend the display to the external monitor when there is a lot of information in multiple windows to display such as in stock market trading platforms. When there is heavy graphics display to the external monitor the SurfacePro runs warmer than normal but I don't notice a performance reduction.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 8:21 pm
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I have a Surface Pro 4 as well, and I really like it for work. I connect it to 2 24" monitors, external keyboard and mouse when I'm at home, and then just unplug from the dock and take it along when I travel. It's much lighter and just as robust as the Lenovo laptop that it replaced. Having it allows me to leave my iPad at home, as the Surface is just as handy on a plane when in tablet mode as the iPad.

The only downside that I've found, is that because it uses Windows 10, I had to find other ways to download Netflix and Amazon Prime videos to the tablet for watching while flying (the iOS apps provide that functionality natively in the apps, but that ability is disabled in the Win 10 apps).
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Old Apr 29, 17, 9:03 pm
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My wife owns a surface book and I just got one through work. I think they are really nice machines. If you don't mind the "gap" when closed due to the hinge, and like the size/weight I don't think you can really go wrong with it.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 10:06 pm
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Something to keep in mind too is that most of the battery is in the base of the laptop. As a result, tablet mode only lasts a few hours vs. much longer if attached to the base. This may not be important if you don't intend to use tablet mode often, however.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 12:32 am
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
Im considering the Surface Book, not the Surface Pro - but would still be interested in hearing your thoughts & experiences with the Pro.

Thanks.
They have been mostly positive. If you compare it tablet versus tablet to an iPad, it's a very different experience. With all that Windows has done to make Windows 10 the "be all," iOS (or Android) make for a more fluid tablet experience. And the battery on those is much better.

But that's where my criticism of the Surface ends. Computer versus computer, I'm extremely happy. It runs quickly, doesn't give me issues, multi-tasks really well, and is extremely intuitive and responsive. And as tablets go, it is one of the most powerful tablets around (if not the most powerful).
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Old Apr 30, 17, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
They have been mostly positive. If you compare it tablet versus tablet to an iPad, it's a very different experience. With all that Windows has done to make Windows 10 the "be all," iOS (or Android) make for a more fluid tablet experience. And the battery on those is much better.

But that's where my criticism of the Surface ends. Computer versus computer, I'm extremely happy. It runs quickly, doesn't give me issues, multi-tasks really well, and is extremely intuitive and responsive. And as tablets go, it is one of the most powerful tablets around (if not the most powerful).
I tend to agree. It has been a great replacement for my Dell notebook.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 12:08 pm
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I've got a Surface Pro 3 and a Surface Book. Though I can't give much comparison since I don't own an Apple product of any kind (not anti apple), the Surface Book is by far the best experience I've had with any Windows/PC experience. The Pro 3 is pretty good as well; I've only one issue with it thus far which was quickly remedied with a hard reset. Battery life has been great with both, even after 2 years on the Pro 3. I rarely use my Pro 3 now that I have my Book, but the one positive I give to the Pro is the weight compared to the Book. As far as tablet mode goes, the Book is a bit uncomfortable for me due to the sheer weight of the product, so I treat it as a laptop. I'm extremely happy with my Surface Book, more so than when I got my Pro 3, and would definitely buy another one if something were to happen to my current Book.

Last edited by farmerandy; Apr 30, 17 at 12:09 pm Reason: add
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Old Apr 30, 17, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by waalien View Post
I have a Surface Pro 4 as well, and I really like it for work. [...] It's much lighter [...]
Same here. I also like that they keyboard cover is super light, though it doesn't sit well on all tray tables.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 3:34 pm
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I've had one SP2 and three SP4's fail in 6 months. Failed hard drive. Dead battery. (Neither user-replaceable.) Defective fan. Dead touchscreen. Couldn't detect keyboard. Failure in power management. Dead touchscreen. Etc. Horrible MS customer support. Wasted >150 hours of my time in total.

I found the SP to be fantastic when it worked and I used it for everything, but I can't justify the amount of my time that got sucked up dealing with all the problems.
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Old May 1, 17, 12:02 am
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I've had a Surface Book for over a year and I'm not very happy with it. I was attracted to its cool looks, but I would not buy one again.

Main criticisms:

- for the first 6 months it was extremely unreliable and buggy. that has been fixed by an endless number of firmware updates and Windows 10 updates, but I still have an occasional crash or problem sleeping or not waking up. I'm a very experienced technical user and regularly maintain my OS but still get a BSoD around once a month.

- switching from "notebook mode" to "tablet mode but with the keyboard still attached" (so taking off the screen, flipping it and re-attaching it so it faces outward and can be used as a tablet but while still having the base with its larger battery) on the fly (not at the desk) is an awkward maneuver. It requires holding the base with one hand, the screen with another hand, and pressing the Detach button with a third hand. It is way easier on a Yoga and some other formfactors where the screen flips/twists without detaching. This may or may not be an issue depending on how often you need to make the switch on the fly while not sitting at a desk... if you're mainly working at a desk it probably wont bother you.

- the Fn key toggle is really annoying. It cannot be locked either on or off, so every time you touch it, it toggles and the Fn keys behaviour toggles between normal Fn key and media controls.. If you use the Fn keys often (as I do as a heavy keyboard shortcut and excel user) you never know what you're going to get. Half the time when I press Alt+F4 to close an app I end up muting the speaker instead.

- the hardware has worn rather quickly: scratches are very apparent, the paint has worn off the edges of the base where I rest my hands, some of the markings have worn off the keycaps on letters/keys which I use frequently, and the Ctrl key developed a crack and finally split in two (fixed with some crazy glue ). I know that I'm a bit of a hard user of my notebooks, but other notebooks I've had (Lenovo, Sony, Dell, Fujitsu) took the abuse a bit better.

Last edited by lewinr; May 1, 17 at 12:10 am Reason: typos
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Old May 1, 17, 5:08 pm
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Nothing beats a fullfeatured laptop! Then one must decide between two two camps Windows and iOS if you are so lucky.

Personally for work and the fact I'm an old dog still in the windows camp.

If I was picking for performance, weight and fullfeature it would be a surface, they aren't cheap but can't beat them for performance/weight and compatibility in a Windows world. I've never been a fan of touch for productivity work, but consumption tablet/phone is the way to go.

Being Windows and made by MS.. you'd think though you can't avoid the Windows stability and firmware pushes that are sure to come, the MS built got to get some inside help for stability, LOL.
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Old May 2, 17, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
It would be great to head what experiences FTers have had with Surface Books, not looking for any formal reviews, just comments and bullet points on the "big picture". Ive been reading up on the usual big website reviews so looking more for a "normal user" experience report.
We have a lot of them at work, they're the most popular PC by far (users can usually choose their device) however I don't really see many people using them as tablets. I would also echo the earlier comment about wear and tear, some of them are looking pretty beat up.
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