Microsoft Surface Book In-Depth Review – Hardware, Gaming, Video Editing
This is the new Microsoft Surface book and I think Microsoft has finally cracked the tablet notebook hybrid with this device. I really wasn’t a big fan of the surface. I liked it, but it really wasn’t something that I could see myself using this one, I think, is because it is a really innovative design that makes a laptop a laptop, but also turns it into a tablet. When you want to do that, so I can hit the little key there. It will allow me to detach the tablet portion here and I can go about my way with now. A full Windows tablet device on a fairly lightweight thirteen and a half inch display. So really nice kind of a combination here of a traditional laptop and a functional tablet, so they’ve done a nice job, putting all this stuff together now this is not cheap, mainly because they are focusing on another competitor that isn’t cheap, either the MacBook Pro. So this lines up very favorably against that computer, especially the 13 inch MacBook Pro retina. Now this one as configured is 1900. There is a slightly less expensive version, but I went with the middle of the road here because if he’s pay a little bit more you’re going to get a discrete graphics processor inside the keyboard base, so you have an NVIDIA GPU inside the base here. That will activate when the whole system is put together. Like you see it, which is a nice thing, because if you are driving more graphically intensive applications like video, editing, Photoshop and other things that use GPU power, this will give you a boost as you’ll see in a few minutes.
It’S, not a huge boost, so gamers are going to be a little bit. Actually a lot disappointed with this, primarily because this isn’t really geared towards gamers. This is a Productivity machine geared towards people like myself that typically buy mac books, so you will get better gaming performance out of here with the GPU than you would with a surface device. It just uses the Intel graphics, but this is not a game playing machine. It’S not really designed for that, so you will might be able to find better performing gaming computers for less money. So just keep that in mind as we go through the rest of the review. I’Ll show you some gaming examples in a few minutes, so you saw have the tablet attaches and when you’re in the tablet mode, you can take out a pen that they give you with the device hit, the top of the pen there it’ll load up micros. One note and you can start just writing on it as well, so it has a very good risk detection system here. So it’ll pick up what you’re writing and not anything else, a really nice pen, design really nice to work with. I could see this being really useful in Adobe, Illustrator and other applications also that support pens so it’s kind of nice. You can start working on a document on screen, perhaps with the trackpad and then convert over to the tablet mode and get much finer control.
So really nice for working with Photoshop, especially when you’re trying to cut something out of an image. It really is nice, a very nice surface area here and it’s, also not all that heavy to hold it’s a little bit on Gailey, because it is 13 and a half inches, but it’s fairly lightweight and very thin, so it’s not as thick as maybe that surface Pro 4 is so it really lends itself well for this kind of work. You can even put it down on your desk work on an image and then put it back into the base to keep going on it. You do lose that GPU, though, when you disconnect and I’ll show you some interesting things that happen when you try to disconnect while the GPU is in it and in effect, but rather a neat little concept there and you’re going to lose some battery life when you’re On display, so the display itself compared the computer for about three or four hours. The whole package together, they say, will be twelve hours of video, although in my testing just using it like, you would normally use a Productivity machine like this one. Are you looking at closer to eight or nine hours under normal kind of usage, where you’re doing some web browsing office documents, maybe a little bit of graphic design or something like that? A display on here is excellent. Three thousand by two thousand and resolution that is 267 pixels per inch, so it definitely lines up with what you might consider a Retina display very nice viewing angles here, as you can see as well so it’s nice to look at a very accurate touchscreen too.
So you have all of the things you want in a tablet as well, so you can touch the screen move through documents, like so different aspect ratio than we usually see on PCs, though it is a three by two display which is more square and the reason Is is that, when you’re working on documents like this, you want more room up and down, so you certainly want the width, but you also want the height, and this gives you a little bit more height and again. This is what Mac books typically have on them, because a lot of people who buy Mac books are doing work with documents, and that is what you can do quite well with this one. So really nice, as you can see as I’m scrolling through this, even with the i5 processors, so a very good for working on documents and doing those sorts of things that can resize images here and have everything line up very nicely too so good word, processing platform. Certainly, a good desktop publishing platform, and I really do like to display, especially the aspect ratio, is for doing work and everything else. However, that is not going to do as well for gamers, because often those games are geared towards more widescreen. Sixteen by nine displays it’s got a nice hinge design here also, so you can see how this closes up here. There is a bit of a gap, though, between the keyboard and display, but what’s nice about this, though, is it gives you a rounded surface to carry it around with so it.
Actually, you actually have a really nice grip on it when you pick it up, because it does kind of round itself into your hand. My only gripe is that the display doesn’t go back too far, so this is about where it stops is right about here. So well, this isn’t bad for sitting on a desk and looking at it. If you had a standing desk, sometimes you want a little bit more of a recline to the screen. Then you’re going to get out of here, and I also worry. If you push too far, you might create some issues too. I don’t know if it’ll break off, but it doesn’t feel doesn’t feel nice when you go back too far here so I’ll be very careful about that. It would’ve been cooler if this would go all the way flat. So you’d have a greater range of motion, but this is pretty much where it ends up. You can also take the screen off and flip it around too. So if you wanted to get the keyboard out of the way but still wanted the display propped up, you can do that. So you can basically put it into this additional mode here, where you can get access to the touch screen and have it resting against a keyboard, and you can flip it back down this way. So this is a really unique lis design, laptop and we’re. Talking a lot about its physical attributes, but that really is what sets it apart and, quite frankly, that’s a bulk of what you’re paying for, because you can, of course, get higher performing computers that cost less.
But this is where you know some of the money is going is into this unique design, a couple more things to talk about on the attributes and we’ll get into some more performance. This is where the pen goes. It’S got a magnet that will stick to the side here, as you can see, so it just kind of attaches like so so that is a very nice little feature there. Alright, the weight overall is about three point, three pounds or so so under 4 pounds pretty much in line with where the higher end MacBooks are a little bit more than perhaps in some of the ultra books. We’Ve, looked at but again you’re getting a very unique kind of design here, with some decent horsepower and a discrete GPU, which is something that a lot of the other ultra ebooks don’t have out. There are some ports, but most of them are on the keyboard. Docks. You have two USB 3.0 ports here. You also have a memory card that goes in right there. If you have one from your camera or something it sticks out a little bit. So I would not recommend this as a long term storage location, but you can certainly get your pictures downloaded. On the other side, you’ve got a headphone jack on the screen, that’s the only Jack you got on the tablet that does have bluetooth support, so you can get some devices connected wirelessly to it. This is the power adapter, and that goes in right here and it’s magnetic so, if you’re a kid or your pet or somebody walks by and snags that cable it’ll just pop right out on you, it will also plug in this way too.
But when you have it plugged in this way, it blocks the mini DisplayPort plug here for plugging in external displays. You can get adapters to go to regular, DisplayPort or HDMI, and although this looks like thunderbolt that you see on the Mac, this is actually just an external DisplayPort. The keyboard is really nice, too. They’Ve done a really nice job. With this keyboard, a really nice travel on the keys, as you can see, so you’ve got a nice depth to these keys. They feel really nice to type on just a real pleasure to type on this thing on the trackpad is by far the best trackpad. I have used on a Windows device to date. It feels exactly like my macbook trackpad or very close to it. So I don’t know if that might be bad if you don’t like the Mac trackpad, but this is a really good click pad. It is a mechanical click pass, as you know, on the Mac they’re. Now, switching to that virtual one, that kind of clicks back on you, even though it doesn’t move at all this one is mechanical. So you can’t click way up at the top here, but you can click pretty much from the middle on down and it’s very responsive and a very, very nice experience overall now before we get into our performance benchmarks, I want to show you what happens when something Is using the GPU and you want to detach the screen, you will get a warning here that says: hey resolve this before detaching you’ve got to close the application using the GPU before you’re able to do that.
So the the disconnection of the screen is not mechanical from the key here, it’s actually controlled by the operating system. It will release the latches when it declares it is safe to do so. So if I close out this application here, you’ll now see that we’re able to detach you can hear that click and we can detach it here so that click is not coming. When I push the key it’s actually coming when the operating system releases the latches on the screen here, so I figured we could start with a little bit of video editing. First I’ve got Adobe Premiere loaded up here with some 4k footage I shot in New York City last week, so you can get a feel for how it can handle that, so I did render pre render it for the format that I’m editing in this is a 4K project, both in and out so you can see here it is able to playback that 4k video, just fine, if you’re doing nothing but dropping in clips like this – should be really efficient, even with 4k video, so that’s pretty nice to see what I am gon Na do, though, is do a quick little transition here between one clip and the b roll, so you can get a better feel for how it can handle some of the more demanding effects here. So we probably see it lag a little bit on the first playthrough and then it’ll speed up for the second one, so you saw that transition take effect there.
I will go back and play it back again and we’ll see if it speeds it up this time, because it’s got it in RAM, so there you go it’s a little bit faster. So you might see some of this rendering go a little bit quicker. If you had more RAM, I have eight gigs versus sixteen which you can get at the top level. I also have the i5 processor there’s, also an i7 processor available that might do a little bit better there, but you get a feel for what you’re able to do with this thing. I might be able to apply some blur here too let’s see if we can really kill it here, so I were able to apply that effect kind of scrub through in real time and take a look at it. This I don’t expect to playback very well when we first go through it, but the same thing it’ll probably render into RAM and we’ll get better performance moving forward, but you are able to do some basic video editing as when you start working in some effects. That might tax things a little bit more intensely than basic editing is when you’ll probably have to go, do something more powerful, especially perhaps with a more powerful GPU. You are able to play games on this device, as you can see, we’re running Grand Theft, Auto 5 right now, I’m, getting 60 frames per second right now, which is pretty good.
Now I did have to turn a lot of settings down. This is not running at 3000 by 2000. We have the resolution, probably about a third of that right now, I’ll put a link below to my screenshots of my settings here, so you can see exactly what I’ve done to make this work. I actually ran the GeForce experience app, which automatically kind of tuned things best for this GPU. Now Microsoft, doesn’t actually say what GPU is in here: it’s just a very generically labeled NVIDIA GPU. Although a lot of people have been doing some testing online and it doesn’t line up with really the higher end GPUs at the moment, this is very much a custom job for Microsoft, because this is a hot swappable GPU essentially, and that is going to require some Compromises in performance it’s also only got a gigabyte of video RAM to so you’re. Not going to get a lot of the graphical detail that you might want to see on something in a gaming laptop. But if you’re a casual gamer like me and just want to load up a game every once in a while like this and play it on the road, you can do that. So that is what I did here. This is like the third time I bought Grand Theft Auto 5. I had a download a save file just because I was sick of playing through it over and over again to get out all of my different devices at the same point in the game, but I’m pretty pleased with it.
I mean it’s, certainly not looking as good as it does on my big gaming machine over there, but it’s good enough for a mobile device. But again you will see better performance on a gaming, centric laptop and one of the tests that I like to run on. These pcs is the 3d mark cloud gate test, which you see running right here, and this is a good way to measure how well a computer can process very intensive 3d applications like this and what’s interesting is on this computer. We can actually detach the screen and run it with that GPU attached and without so on our test. We found that with it attached, we got a score of 7218 without an attached. We got an overall score of 5000 451, so overall it’s a boost of about 30 that you get with the GPU attached and I would imagine you might see a better score with a faster. I 7 processor configured on this computer as well, but a very interesting kind of to see what the disparity is between the two. And there are things that sometimes the GPU will provide to you. That might really help out significantly in a specific kind of application. But it looks like overall it’s about a 30 or 40 percent boost in performance. Alright, one last thing to check out. I wanted to show you some Kodi performance. It actually runs very very nicely on here we’re gon na pull a blu ray file off a network attached storage device in my basement.
Wirelessly, so we’ll see how it handles that and, as you can see, the movie spins right up here. No framerate issues whatsoever. I’Ll skip ahead a little bit in the movie, and you can see just how fast you can move around even on wireless. It is really responding quite nicely so a very premium experience here, you’ll notice, though, that, because we have this very square display these widescreen movies, especially these two point. Three five to one aspect: ratio: films like The Empire Strikes Back here. I will play in a very narrow strip here. So it does remind me a little bit watching movies on my old laserdisc player on my square television but that’s the same kind of issue that you’ll have, of course, because this is a square display. We’Ve got a wide movie that we’re trying to look at, but the image quality on here is excellent. People been asking lately about h.265, so I did pull down this h.265 test file, so you can see how this runs. This is a 4k file seems to be running just fine at a decent framerate and no issues with decoding there beyond this green strip at the top, but I think that’s more of a Kodi issue than anything else. So I have to say that, overall, this is a fantastic laptop. You know, they’re, really aiming at building a Windows machine that matches the build quality that the Mac’s have been providing us for a while and as a Mac user.
I can tell you that this is a really outstanding machine from that standpoint, so it is very nicely designed it’s not going to deliver the kind of gaming performance that one might expect out of essentially a 2000 laptop. But a lot of that money went into industrial design here, as well as the quality of the display, so sometimes you’re paying for things beyond just performance here, and that is certainly the case with this computer. But I have to say: they’ve really nailed the whole aspect of being able to detach the display really nicely. We can’t probably do it right now, because we are embargoed with the NVIDIA GeForce chip right now running Kodi, probably, but you do have the ability to very easily get that screen off and use it as a tablet. The little stylus here works exceptionally well at that, especially for doing Photoshop and some other things as well, really nice for editing documents, as you saw decent and editing video, and you can actually play some demanding games on here. If you get the settings tweaked appropriately, I probably would have liked to have seen a little bit more of a beefier GPU on here, although I guess that would really dramatically raise the price on it. But it is very, very good for the kinds of things that they’re marketing this computer towards which are the things that MacBook Pro users typically use them for and have to say, being a MacBook Pro user of one from a couple of years ago.
This does feel very nice, even though it’s just got the i 5 on here. So of course you can upgrade. You can’t upgrade the RAM yourself. I don’t believe it looks like it’s hard to get into this thing, but you can buy it with 16 gigs in an i7 along with that GPU. The GPU is the same across the board, but you can easily get yourself into a 3000 package here. If you keep configuring it different ways, but I think what I got here is probably the best option to get if you’re in the market, for a machine like this and clearly, if you want a Windows machine that feels and looks every bit as good as a Mac this one is if this is Long’s I’ve been thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the generosity of my patreon supporters.