Surface Book Review: Sleek, Powerful, and Uniquely Multi-Purpose

I’ve wanted the Surface Book since I saw it debuted at //build, Microsoft’s big developer conference, last year. I was considering buying one until I saw its steep price tag – the model I was looking at came in over $4000! Well worth the price tag for those who can afford it, but as a student it was out of my budget at the time. When I started my new role as a Tech Evangelist at Microsoft, I was given this top-of-the-line model Surface Book as my work machine, and I can say with confidence that this is the best laptop I’ve ever had.

Performance: 10/10  |  Design: 9/10



The performance on this machine is great, and I have not noticed any lag. That’s probably because I’m used to my personal Surface Pro 4, with its 4GB RAM and i5 processor, so this thing feels like another league. It has a whopping 16GB RAM, i7 processor, and 500GB hard drive.

Right now I’m using this machine for my everyday work, which includes spinning up proofs-of-concept for Azure demos, building my chatbot, and experimenting with HoloLens development (still so surreal that this is my actual job!). I flip back and forth often between coding scenarios, presentations, and using the typical Office programs, and this device handles a lot of programs running in tandem.


left: Surface Book;    right: Surface Pro 4



The Surface Book is, in my opinion, the most well-designed laptop I’ve ever used. It feels almost like a prop, like it’s not a real working machine with 16GB RAM and an i7 processor. Its keyboard glides very smoothly and the screen resolution is quite crisp, and when used with the Surface pen this feels like the ultimate all-in-one machine.

The coolest thing about the Surface Book is that, like the original Surface line, the device can be used as a standalone tablet as well as a full laptop. The main difference here is that the Book is a laptop first, whereas the Surface is a tablet first. Detaching the screen feels kind of space age, like opening an airlock. To detach, you press and hold on a special key until it turns orange, then you can hear the hinges unlock, allowing you to lift the screen off effortlessly. To reattach, you simply place it back on the base like you’re docking the screen.


The one complaint I have about the design is that the screen recline is limited, but that is due to the top-heaviness and screen detachability. The device is heavier than I expected it to be, weighing about the same as my old X1 Carbon. It’s actually top-heavy, but that’s because the screen detaches from the body to be a standalone tablet, so it has to have its processors and power within the screen unit. It actually has two batteries to support this functionality – which is where you get the long-lasting battery life.

The Verdict

I absolutely love this device and recommend it for anyone, developer or otherwise, who wants a powerful and portable device. The beautiful screen and sleek design makes it great for artists, and the high powered internals make it a powerful dev machine for those of us who need a portable building station.


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2 responses to “Surface Book Review: Sleek, Powerful, and Uniquely Multi-Purpose”

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