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Hands-on Surface Book review

kensmo

New Member
I can see quite a few people prefer xps 15 as it has bigger screen, 4K resolution, quad cores, and even cheaper than surface book.

but, xps 15 is not detachable, it does not have pen, it's heavier, and most important, it is not surface :)
The XPS 15 has two different screen options. The non-touch version is 1920 x 1080 and is cheaper than the SB. The touch-enabled version at 4K resolution starts at $1,749, right in the same ballpark as a SB.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
I can see quite a few people prefer xps 15 as it has bigger screen, 4K resolution, quad cores, and even cheaper than surface book.

but, xps 15 is not detachable, it does not have pen, it's heavier, and most important, it is not surface :)
I think in that other thread the desire of larger screen than SP3 and (main home computer) + (portable computer) use cases with options of Surface Book only, or XPS 15 + SP3 is how the XPS 15 presented as a good option when paired with the Surface. Outside of that scenario and context it's a different story. As your only computer XPS 15 has tradeoffs but so does Surface Book. The combination of XPS 15 + a Surface makes for a powerful and flexible alternative.
 
OP
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nogridbag

Member
Having both XPS 15 + Surface seems odd to me. Seems like an admission that Microsoft failed. The point of the Surface is to merge the two form factors (tablet and laptop). If you're going to use two devices anyway, maybe it makes sense to have a real tablet and not a 2 in 1 to go with the XPS.

If screen size is a major issue perhaps docking with an external monitor/keyboard may be best.
 

hughlle

Super Moderator
Staff member
Having both XPS 15 + Surface seems odd to me. Seems like an admission that Microsoft failed. The point of the Surface is to merge the two form factors (tablet and laptop). If you're going to use two devices anyway, maybe it makes sense to have a real tablet and not a 2 in 1 to go with the XPS.

If screen size is a major issue perhaps docking with an external monitor/keyboard may be best.
While I agree, my position is that if you're going to ha e to ha e a tablet as well, you might as well buy a real one that does anything you need, not a toy like Apple and Samsung sell. I like the surface as a dedicated tablet because isn't built from the ground up to be used by toddlers like android and ios is.
 

BearFlag

Member
Having both XPS 15 + Surface seems odd to me. Seems like an admission that Microsoft failed. The point of the Surface is to merge the two form factors (tablet and laptop). If you're going to use two devices anyway, maybe it makes sense to have a real tablet and not a 2 in 1 to go with the XPS.

If screen size is a major issue perhaps docking with an external monitor/keyboard may be best.
In my case, I already have a SP3, so my choice is to either sell that and get a SB or keeping it and buy a XPS 15. Since I have a SP3 it would not make sense to sell it get a tablet. Also I definitely need a screen size more than 13" that is portable, hence why I would be getting either the SB or XPS15.
 

leeshor

Well-Known Member
This thread is wandering off topic. It may be time to close it if there is nothing more about the OP. Back to hands on review.
 

FBI Informant

New Member
I spent an hour at the MS store Friday and my experience was nearly identical to the OP's. I went into the store expecting to prefer and pre-order the SP4. I have become so accustomed to carrying around my SP3, which is so light and thin, that I didn't think I would want the extra weight and thickness of the SB. After handling them in person, I pre-ordered the Surface Book.

I won't repeat everything the OP said, although I agree with it all. The one additional note I would offer is that I spent time with the SP4 (without keyboard) in my left hand and SB (without keyboard) in my right hand so that I could compare the comfort of holding each. The specs show that the SB display is .1 lbs lighter than the SP4 display. However, that .1 lbs is very noticeable. The SB display feels meaningfully lighter. So, even though it is larger, it was more comfortable for me to hold in one hand (tablet style). Having a larger display that is simultaneously more comfortable to hold is a major win in my book (pun intended).

With that said, I have grown accustomed to the kickstand on my SP3. I will miss it on the SB when I'm in tablet mode. If I miss it too much, I may end up returning the SB for an SP4. But I think that is unlikely.
 

unruledboy

Active Member
I think in that other thread the desire of larger screen than SP3 and (main home computer) + (portable computer) use cases with options of Surface Book only, or XPS 15 + SP3 is how the XPS 15 presented as a good option when paired with the Surface. Outside of that scenario and context it's a different story. As your only computer XPS 15 has tradeoffs but so does Surface Book. The combination of XPS 15 + a Surface makes for a powerful and flexible alternative.

True, that will do. However, I don't need 15'' screen for my laptop, if I need a bigger screen, I simply use an external 24'' ones. so I am happy with SB's 13'' screen.
 
OP
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nogridbag

Member
@FBI Informant - Yeah I also wanted to compare them side by side to see the weight difference but the MS store employee got in the way (frustrating...!). So I was walking back and forth between the SP4 table and the SB table trying to compare them.

I think most people will prefer the SB tablet when compared side by side. But I'm a bit concerned about real-world battery life. If the 3 hours battery life is optimistic and I'm only getting 45 minutes in tablet mode because I'm visiting some news site littered with 20 ad services, I may find myself rarely using it in tablet mode. Time will tell I guess. The SP4 is certainly the safer choice. I don't think I really need the dGPU and I can spec out the SP4 with 16GB memory much cheaper.
 

BearFlag

Member
So I checked out the SB on the MS again, and I completely agree that the tablet portion seems better than the SP4 (excl battery life). Like I said my only concern is the screen wobble when typing on a lap (which I don't do much so it's not a big deal). Overall I am very impressed with the device.

I'm still torn weather to get this and sell my SP3 or get the XPS 15 and a new SP3 keyboard. I guess I still have a couple weeks to decide.
 

MattL

New Member
True, that will do. However, I don't need 15'' screen for my laptop, if I need a bigger screen, I simply use an external 24'' ones. so I am happy with SB's 13'' screen.
Agreed. I use a 15" MBP for work while at home and I have a personal 13" ultrabook (a UX32VD i bought about 3+ years ago, was one of the only 13" ultrabooks with a dedicated video card it also has an excellent 1080p screen, high res for the time for a 13" screen) for my own stuff (personal projects sometimes including Visual Studio etc, some basic lap based gaming, browsing etc). I have found a good quality 13" screen perfectly fine for most of what I do. If I genuinely want bigger then 13"-15" isn't a significant improvement (which I measure by going from my personal 13" to my work 15" sometimes multiple times in a day/night). If I want to use a bigger screen I move to my desktop (or alternatively could have a big monitor and use my laptop as a desktop for that monitor) where I have a 32" and a 23" set of monitors to truly give me the benefit of going bigger and I use a 39" 4k HDTV at work where I plug my MBP 15 into.

Though I don't have the money to buy one right now the Surface Book is pretty much the perfect upgrade product for me (how powerful or not the dedicated video card is would factor into how much of an upgrade on casual 3d gaming side, but still a significant upgrade no matter what).
 
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