Microsoft surprised the technology world with
the introduction of the Surface Book. It’s part of the line of the Surface technology
products, but with a twist. If the Surface Pro 4 is a tablet that can
double as a laptop, the Surface Book is a laptop that also wants to be your tablet. Can you do both in one package, and not compromise?
Well, nearly. Let’s take a look. This device is for people that need a full
power laptop, but also want to have the tablet features of Windows 10 in their hands at all
time. If you currently carry two devices, the Surface Book could get you back down to
one. In fact, during my first few days of testing,
I used it nearly exclusive as a laptop. I’m not that much of a tablet guy. I can confirm, however, that if you want to
use the device as a tablet, it does just fine in that regard. The Surface Book pen is pretty neat to boot.
Click it once, and OneDrive comes up. Click and hold, and Cortana will pop up. “Launch Chrome” “Opening Google Chrome” The Surface Book kicks off at $1499, with
a 128 gigabyte drive, 8 gigs of ram, and an Intel core i5 processor. Its price goes up from there — you can get
a model with a 512 gig drive, 16 gigs of ram, a core i7 processor, and a discrete GPU for
$2699. The Surface Book is not a starter laptop.
If you really want one, the price likely won’t matter too much. If you are worried about
the price, the Surface Book isn’t for you. Microsoft makes a far, far cheaper Surface
3 if you need a budget device. It is, of course, larger than the Surface
Pro 4. That’s something to keep in mind if you are a mobile-focused person. But if
you work at a desk, want a Windows 10 machine, and also need the occasional use of a tablet,
it could be a good fit. The Surface Book competes with Microsoft’s
Surface Pro 4, but also the new iPad Pro, Google’s Pixel C, and any other touchscreen
laptop. All of those devices are loose comparisons, of course, so don’t lose your marbles. What are its downsides? I had a few issue
with the device while testing it, including some problems with its trackpad accepting
two, and three finger input. A reboot generally helped. It can be hard to decide what quirks
the Surface Book has are due to its own hardware, or Windows 10, which still has a few bugs
bouncing around. For a first generation device, the Surface
Book is a strong entry, and one that will improve over time as Microsoft irons out Windows
10. The tablet-hybrid Surface line took a few generations to get off the ground. With
the Surface Book, Microsoft appears to have mostly avoided an extended teething period.