Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book

Discussion in 'Technology' started by khaid, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. I was highly anticipating this Microsoft since Intel's announcement of skylake. It's like the messiah of processors so there was a big question if MS could time the launch of new surface devices with mobile skylake processor mass production. And they did.

    Personally, I'm more interested in the surface pro 4 as the surface book is a bit too much for my tastes.

    Surface Pro 4 - more mainstream high end tablet/laptop market
    - 12.3 inches 2736×1824 resolution
    - 9hr battery
    - new bluetooth pen docks to the device via magnet now

    Surface Book - pretty much a macbook pro contender
    - 13.5 inches 3000x2000 resolution
    - 12hr battery (with keyboard docked, 3hrs without)
    - has dedicated nvidia gpu option

    MS is using a hybrid liquid/fan cooling solution for the i5/i7 surface pro's and i assume the surface book as well. The base model uses a core m3 processor so it's fanless.

    MS also released a new keyboard cover which includes a fingerprint sensor (along with larger touchpad and redesigned keys). It's backwards compatible with the surface pro 3 so you can reap the benefits even with the older sp3.

    The surface book has a fancy hinge for the attachable keyboard:

    The keyboard is pretty essential for the surface book as it functions in 3 ways. Your usb connections and sd card slot, extra battery, and dedicated gpu (if you added that option) is housed in there. The surface connector is on the tablet and keyboard dock. Connecting your charger into either one will charge both devices.

    The nvidia gpu it uses is a bit of a question as all the descriptions are just saying dedicated nvidia gpu. It's most likely a custom gpu that Microsoft and nvidia partnered up with to create for the surface book specifically. We'll have to wait for surface book benchmarks to get a real picture.

    Both sp4 and surface book will use Microsoft Hello for facial recognition with skylake's realsense camera.

    Neither device have usb-c which is funny since at the same event, MS unveiled the new lumia phones that have usb-c.
  2. The 3 hour battery life for tablet mode on the Surface Book seems self-defeating. The whole thing seems like they took an early concept and rushed it to market...the details weren't worked out.
  3. These are high-end laptops with tablet functionality in a pinch. Expecting otherwise will lead to disappointment.
  4. yeah the surface book is meant more to be a laptop with the tablet option just being extra. you lose all connectivity options by disconnecting it from the keyboard and a 13.5 inch tablet is already unwieldy.
  5. Kind of reminds me of this. Everyone is hating now, but in three years when Apple copies the Surface Book, everyone will think it's genius.

  6. I like the Surface book personally. The only problem for me is the price.

    It's actually thinner and lighter as a tablet than the SP4 by a little, so I wouldn't be so quick to call it unwieldy. You wouldn't take it anywhere without the keyboard, so I don't see the problem with having the tablet mode limited to 3hrs. Also, if you flip the screen and fold it back, it becomes a pretty good canvas on a slight angle for working on a desk for drawing while having the power and battery life of the book. No, you wouldn't ever hold it and use it like that, 1.5Kg is too heavy for a tablet.

    I'm thinking I'll get the SP4 (held out on the 3) as it looks like it has much better cooling than the SP3 so should perform a lot better. The SB does tear me though, for $100 more than SP4 i5/8GB/256GB I can get a SB with the same specs but half the HDD size. HDD size is the least important aspect for me, but I'd still prefer 256GB for flexibility and performance reasons. With the SB you do get a bigger, nicer screen, and a much nicer keyboard, but the total weight is doubled and like I said, you sacrifice HDD space while paying more money.

    I'll likley get the SP4 and see what they do with the SB. Maybe it will be a lot more compelling by the 2nd or 3rd iteration. I might also be able to tell if the price will justify it by then by seeing how much I actually do use the SP4.
  7. And Zagg and Logitech were making keyboard covers for the iPad before the original Surface was announced. I guess Microsoft stole the idea, right?


  8. I'm quick to call it unwieldy since I got experience with the sp3. a 12" tablet is already rough to use as a tablet. not sure if it went with a 4:3 aspect ratio would make a difference. it's not depth or weight being the issue.

    I rarely hold my sp3 as a tablet unless I'm doing a video call on Google hangouts or something.
  9. I never use the touch functionality on my X1 Carbon, especially now that I've upgraded to Windows 10. When you have an actual keyboard and a touchpad/trackpoint (especially the Thinkpad keyboard which is the best you will find on a laptop), there's just not much need for touch. I would have no use for the devices in this thread. The Surface Book does seem like an improvement though in that you can use it like a normal notebook. The regular surface always seemed horribly awkward to me. You can't really use it on your lap like a laptop, and it's too heavy and awkward to use like a tablet. You have to set it down on a desk or table to have a good experience with it, in which case it's not really all that portable.

    That price tag for the Surface Book when fully configured is nuts though, even compared to the X1C I'm using now.
  10. Fair points. I have tried out the SP3 more than a few times and I didn't think it was unwieldy, but owning one is definitely more telling and it may very well be a personal thing.

    Again, that's not what I've found, even with my friends SP2, which the 3 already improved upon by a large margin. Of course touch isn't that useful on a laptop, that's no surprise. My main reason for wanting a SP4 is the pen. Everything else comes second as I don't have anything between my desktop and phone right now anyway. I'm not a fan of laptops, too many compromises for the price and it's just too hard to find the perfect one (although that is getting better for higher end ones). The SP4 however brings something my desktop cannot do with an excellent pen as well as being highly portable. It's not about needing a portable PC for me, it's about a different kind of device. The portability is just icing on the cake.
  11. So I've owned the Surface Book for the last 2 days now. I got the core i7, 8GB ram, 256GB ssd, dgpu option. 2 days isn't really alot for some feedback but there are some notable things you guys may be interested in. I haven't done any gaming on it other than install steam and on there so far.

    Windows Hello on the intel realsense 3d camera is stupid ridiculous. My expectations were already set when I watched some videos of it in action some months ago, but experiencing it is something completely different. I had set the lockscreen security to facial recognition and it's very very very fast. I'd say only one step behind the iphone 6s fingerprint sensor. Half of the time, you dont even know what's happening and it logs you right into windows.

    For those who haven't followed the intel realsense 3D f200 camera, it's a 3D camera much like the xbox kinect camera. It uses infrared lasers for depth of field and can differentiate between 2D and 3D planes (can't fake it with a photo). You can use this camera with 3d printers. It's also an infrared camera so you can use it in the dark. So you can be laying on your bed in the dark and pull out your surface book/surface pro 4 and it'll do the facial recognition with no issues.

    Since the surface book is 13.5" and 3:2 aspect ratio, the keyboard part protrudes out longer than the keyboard on a 15" laptop. One of the reasons MS did this is so the surface book doesn't tip backwards when you tilt it back.

    With the surface pro 3, MS cleverly had the microsd slot flush into the device under the kickstand so you'd never see it. I was hoping they did something similar with the surface book but it's just a standard reader. not even a push to eject one that you insert all the way like in cameras. :(


    I haven't got the 10hr battery life that MS said this thing could get, most likely because I use chrome. The battery is split into 2. One is in the clipboard (the tablet part of the surface book) and the other is in the keyboard dock. The clipboard is barebones. None of the input ports are on it other than the surface connector, so you can charge individually if you want. The keyboard dock houses the dgpu and has sd card port, two usb3 ports, displayport connector, and surface connector. When you dock the clipboard on the keyboard dock and plug in the charger, it charges both devices.

  12. What kind of dgpu is it? Would be curious to see what information GPU-Z gives about it.
  13. anandtech did a brief first look recently.

    it's basically a geforce 940m with the 2gb ddr3 swapped in favor of 1gb gddr5. they did quick benches with dota2 reborn (source 2 engine).
  14. Looking forward to more impressions. BTW the SB and SP4 don't even use intel real sense 3D cameras as they are both too thin to fit the cameras in their current version. So it's MS's own implementation and there was a big unknown as to how well it would actually perform compared to intel real sense. Glad to hear it seems to work fast and flawlessly.

    Have you used it a lot in clipboard mode yet? How is it to hold and use? One of the big advantages of the SB is the canvas mode if you want to use it as a tablet on a desk or your lap but I'm still interested how well it works as a free tablet given the size of it.
  15. It's quite a monster. Not really my cup of tea to use it in this mode often as a tablet. But I would say it's perfect for using with the pen on a table or in canvas mode. I'm a bit biased towards the ipad air 2's weight as a tablet.

    And I didn't realize it didn't use the realsense camera! I suppose MS mastered those abilities with their experience with the kinect cameras.