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Forum member hands on reviews of the Surface Book

Guys could anyone confirm this?
I received the latest update last night, updated while powering off and switched it back on finished the updates this morning.
It seems to have had the DISLPAY driver and the random APP crashes problems fixed!! Touch wood, I didn't have a single crash today and the day is almost over :)
Again could anyone else confirm this?


Hey everybody,

So I have had my SB for 4 days now. Honestly, the best laptop I have ever used in my whole life, plus it doubles as a tablet.

It is exactly what I have been looking for, a laptop that I can use as a tablet for watching movies, reading stuff and browsing on a bed/couch etc.
What I really need to say is that many MANY! reviews out there relating to the SB are very misleading. I do not know whether they are subjective, or there are backstage funding issues but I have been reading every review since the day it was introduced to the day I actually got it. I have watched more videos and video reviews than any other product and I have spend countless hours reading through this forum's and reddit's posts.
My conclusion: they are not giving the right impression. Screen awesome, battery life can go all day long, windows 10 amazingly beautiful, sound great, cooling system awesome, typing and trackpad best I have used on a laptop plus I prefer this keyboard than my girlfriend's MacBook pro 13inch.
Only two issues so far:
1) froze once and I needed to hold down the power button for a long time to get it to restart
2) display driver crashes 1-3 times a day and I use it for the whole day from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep (but it does not affect me it just flickers once and says driver etc. that's it no big deal)
3) some apps crash randomly some times but this is purely software issue not SB

I am a postgraduate university law student that uses the laptop to do everything. I have been amazed at how good this is. Not to mention how it changed the way I work and study and take notes. The reviews are very misleading and it is a shame because this has been a great product, probably the best product I have bought in the last 5 years.
 

KA309

New Member
I’ve been following this helpful forum for the past month and wanted to contribute, especially for those considering a SB purchase.

I am not a power user, nor am I typically an early adopter of technology. I was planning to buy a SP4, but when the SB came out, it was squarely aimed at someone like me. I was attracted to a machine that was more laptop than tablet. I am a heavy Office/Outlook user, and liked the idea of traveling with one device that could be occasionally used as a tablet for browsing, Netflix, etc., or for handwriting notes now and again. So I took the leap, and bought a “lower end” SB (i5, 256 gb, no dGPU) on the first day it was available. All in all, I am pleased with the purchase, and the two firmware updates have cleared up most of the serious issues I encountered during my first couple of weeks using the SB.

Things I like best: Great screen; excellent keyboard; runs Outlook, OneNote, and the rest of Office flawlessly; good battery life when keyboard is attached; performance feels fast (at least compared to the four year-old Dell that I replaced).

Thing I like least: I have had some quirky operational issues. In particular, Chrome crashes a lot. I also had some problems with the cursor freezing, display driver crashes, and (twice) the machine booting to a blank screen. To be fair, none of these things have happened in the week since I installed the second firmware update. So fingers crossed there. When running the clipboard alone, battery life is poor. I’m getting 2.5 hours max, though I see others reporting better. I also find the trackpad only so-so. It’s better than my old Dell, but not as nice as what I experience when I use my kids’ Macbooks.

Things that have bothered others, but not me: I’ve read several posts expressing dissatisfaction with the gap caused by the hinge and with wobble when the SB is used on one’s lap. I don’t even notice the gap, and have had no problems with wobble. To me, it seems every bit as solid as my old Dell.

Misc: I still see a few software-related oddities that don’t really impact performance. I’d like the SB to automatically switch between desktop and tablet mode when I disconnect the clipboard, but that only works about half the time. (Of course, it’s easy to click the button to make this happen.) I also have noticed that every time I start the SB, the Action Center button shows it to be in airplane mode, even though it’s not.

Thanks to everyone who has posted and helped me learn to use my new device. I hope my “review” helps others.
 
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Telstar1948

Active Member
I'm with you. I have the i5/8/256/dGPU because I wanted to do some gaming but have a better experience than with my SP3. It absolutely does a better job gaming than my SP3. Again, not into heavy gaming.

I've been running FireFox and I've noticed more DD crashes with it than with Chrome. I haven't used Chrome much but I keep it around. I know it typically hogs battery; that's why I went with FireFox back when. Even using Edge I haven't had DD crashes, although admittedly I don't use Edge a lot.

Sometimes my SB will do something strange when detaching or attaching the clipboard to the keyboard, but that doesn't always happen either.

Because I bought mine from Best Buy in November, I have until January 15th to return it if I want to do that. I think I'm still getting used to having a "laptop" rather than the "tablet" the SP3 was. It's taking me longer to adjust than I thought. With my SP3 I almost never detached the type cover (even on the couch), but I used it more on my desk with its dock and all the peripherals hooked up to it. I have the same set up for my SB now only with the new dock. I think I got used to just flipping the type cover closed and carrying it somewhere else. I can do that with the SB, but it's different (little larger, little heavier) because all of the SB is metal where the SP3 had the type cover that covered half of it when closed so it seemed more "soft." I know what I'm saying isn't exactly logical, but I look at the SB (like right now as I type this on the SB) and think, wow, what a neat device! Don't know why my thoughts keep going back to the Surface Pro. Of course, it I went that direction, it would probably be the i7 SP4 with Iris graphics.

I'll stay with the SB for now and see if I get used to it or not. I also want to see how much difference there is between the SB I have and the i7 SP4 while doing mid-road gaming as I do. Guess I'll have to check out more tests on the i7 SP4 for that. Hopefully there will be some direct game comparisons between the dGPU SB and the i7 SP4.

Anyway, I really like the SB, but I think I'm having trouble for some reason getting used to the different form factor from the Surface Pro line.
 
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jason10mm

New Member
I'll stay with the SB for now and see if I get used to it or not. I also want to see how much difference there is between the SB I have and the i7 SP4 while doing mid-road gaming as I do. Guess I'll have to check out more tests on the i7 SP4 for that. Hopefully there will be some direct game comparisons between the dGPU SB and the i7 SP4.
This is my question. I don't do "heavy gaming" like FPSs, but when I do game I have the power cover attached to my SP1 so that isn't really any different than the SB in terms of weight. Clipboard mode on a SB sounds like it will have a battery life similar to my SP1 as well. The SP4 form factor would suit my purposes better (lighter, better battery life as a tablet), but a significant performance advantage would future proof the SB better than the SP4.
 

MikemanSP4

Super Moderator
Staff member
I recently purchased my first Microsoft Surface Pro 4 i7, 256, 8GB - The "Out of Box" experience was not good. Sure all of the apps worked and it set up just fine, but as most owners of a recently purchased SP4 know - it was downhill from there. After the large update, which initially took 4 hours, applications started crashing left and right. I kept checking in here a the Forums and noticed a trend of frustrated SP4 owners returning thier product or in worst case scenarios, sending thier newly purchased machines off to a Microsoft store.

Initially I decided to reload Windows 10 from within the operating system - thus creating a large, useless Windows.old file. Once I attempted to take ownership of this file and delete it, Windows fought me every inch of the way until I used an old program called "Inherent File Control" - ultimately I managed to take ownership of the windows.old file and delete it.

Being a perfectionist and an IT/PC guru since the 80's - I decided to take my own advice and install Windows from scratch. So I booted to my trusty USB stick, deleted the entire drive and partitions set up by Microsoft, gaining an extra 5 Gbs in the process. Of course I lost the recovery portion, but who would want a faulty recovery file? So a clean install took all of 11 mins 48 seconds. Once reinstalled, I installed the Surface Pro drivers and my SP4 was running on all cylinders! Then came the update.

This time around the large update only took 26 minutes, and deleting the windows.old file was a breeze. I run a gaming sever and had a friend TeamView me to make some game changes etc. My friend stopped and called me in disbelief that he was using a "Tablet" - he was astonished at the speed and fluid operation of the SP4. I explained that it took a little work to get it to this point, but he was highly impressed.

The bottom line is - I would have ended up wiping and reinstalling to Windows anyway. I do this with most customers PCs that are fresh out of the box. It's a personal preference. But sadly, not everyone has a copy of Windows 10 laying around, or they may not have the know how or patience to reload a machine from scratch.... I mean with Pro as part of the machines Title, one would think an overpaid team of professionals would have taken the time to open one of these puppies up and run it for a few weeks prior to a public release to eleviate any user issues. However, Microsoft apparently has issued an apology, but they should offer €130.00 off, or throw in the Keyboard free because of the hassle. Chances are some users are having to pay a service fee for turning in their brand new machine.

Overall - minus the HUGE problem with the software integration, Microsoft has managed to nail the hardware side of the house down. I want to say "near perfection". Since the reload I've had countless hours of error free usage. Sure the battery life bites, but what would one expect when running such a powerful processor and large screen? If I turn down the screen brightness it just takes away from the overall spectacular appearance and superior performance. I plan to buy a USB battery backup solution - but I plan to research this - perhaps if any of you have had a good experience using an exterior power supply - you could pass it along. I'm looking for a 15+ hour solution, but I realize that may be asking way too much.

With regards to the keyboard / trackpad becoming unresponsive, what I've done, and only had to do twice thus far, is use the .msi Surface driver install file and 'remove / reinstall / reboot' to remove and reinstall the SP4 drivers. Of course this is a giant pain in the a$$, but worth the effort because as of the 2nd time doing this, my keypad etc has not 'locked-up' or 'crashed' once. The pen has never has any issues, but only the "Surface" software has become inoperable - the reinstallion has taken care of this issue. This time around I saved the software as it has became hard to come by on the Microsoft Store. (go figure, what a wasteland the Store has become compared to Google Play or iTunes etc)

Thanks for reading, and if any of you need a step by step tutorial on how to install Windows from a USB - I'd be more than happy to create one for you. Thanks again for reading and Merry Christmas to those to whom it applies.
 
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GSprunk

New Member
This was a post I did on another reply. It actually is a review on my new Book so I will repost it here:

I have Surface (2) Pro 3's and (3) 2's in our company as well as normal desktops and just purchased a new Surface Book. I also have a MacBook Pro running Windows 7 in Parallels. I have to say as a user who has Adobe Creative Suite as well as AutoCAD LT and ACT and others I am on the computer constantly for work I hoped this device was the reward for suffering through the Surface Pro 2 small screen and the inability to use the Surface Pro 3 on my lap without a laptop desk, etc. I will say that I love the hardware. I am thrilled with the weight, the functionality, the screen, the keyboard, etc.

I am not happy with the following:
  • The trackpad constantly loses the pointer when I detach or wake up from sleeping with the lid closed, etc.
  • Cortana is a joke. I wanted to be able to type emails, to have it connect to my Office Exchange account and it does neither. The windows speech recognition does not work at all. Mac is much better. Office does not connect to Cortana unless you have a business 365 account I read and I have only connected it to LinkedIn. Wont even connect to my Hotmail account. Come on. Really?
  • Most of the time I have to detach and reattach the screen to get the touchpad to work.
  • I ask Cortana to take a note and get an error that says to check back for future updates.
Other than that. I downloaded the newest firmware earlier this week. Will be happy to get these bugs worked out. Cortana is really the most frustrating thing I have run into. Hope they get that to work and that I can write emails, take notes and other issues I should be able to do like I can on the Mac. This device has great promise.
Update on 11/19/15:
There have been several firmware updates and even with all of the issues this is a beautiful piece of hardware. I own a SP3 and also MacBook Pro and with the new dock hooked up to an Apple Cinema display this is my device of choice. I use it full time. I hope they keep hanging in there with this product.[/QUOTE]

Update on 12/23/15:
I am having a lot of issues when I move from home dock to work dock with the mouse and keyboard not working, having to power down the unit, waking from sleep, etc. Anyone else having these issues even after the firmware updates, the updates, etc?
 

EFMAX

New Member
My first impressions - No shocks, no surprises. I like the fact that it does not over heat like my Surface Pro 3 did and the fans is not always on.

My only grip is that I wish the Card Reader was recessed so that the whole card could have been in a different place so as it could all fit into the case so that it could be left in full time.. as it is, you have no choice but to remove it before zipping up the case.

I have also had the misfortune of breaking my memory card and I am awaiting Microsoft to get back to me to tell me how they are going to fix it as bits of it are still in the body of the Book.
 

mikecox

Member
My Surface Book shuts down for no apparent reason and it will not restart until it is good and ready. The first time it happened I thought it had just gone to sleep, but it wouldn't wake up and the power button did nothing. It remains, inert, for more than an hour sometimes but, eventually, it comes back to life. It's maddening!!!
 

sharpuser

Super Moderator
Staff member
@mikecox,

Let's try to solve the problem of your Surface Book shutting down. Maybe we can stop the madness!

Some questions:
- When it comes back up, is it booting, or merely resuming what you saw before the shut down?
- When you 'restart' or 'shut down' and reboot, does it seem to perform this normally?
- Does your Surface Book shut down when in Tablet mode, normal mode, or both?
- Is there a chance some metal shavings, debris, or pieces of a vinyl cover, etc. are fouling a connector port?
 
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