First Impressions: The Microsoft Surface Book May Not Be A MacBook Pro Replacement

Microsoft Surface Book

The Microsoft Surface Book is on display at the Microsoft Store at the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles, CA. It is displayed next to the Surface Pro 4. Although the Surface Book is a more powerful device, it doesn’t seem as exciting as the Surface Pro 4.

I am just as excited about the launch of Microsoft’s new notebooks as anybody else. Last week, I pre-ordered both the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book, knowing I would only go away with one of them on launch day. From playing with the Surface Book for about fifteen minutes today, it looks like I am going home with the Surface Pro 4.

The Surface Book operates as a tablet -- although one that is very large.

Don’t get me wrong — the Surface Book is a great device. The 13.3-inch screen looks absolutely stunning and when the screen is handled as a tablet, it’s surprisingly light (though it feels very big). If you loved the Surface Pro, but didn’t love the Type Cover and the fact that it was difficult to use on your lap, the Surface Book may be for you. If you are a designer and a 12.3-inch screen is too small for you, the Surface Book is a great machine. But if you are buying it as an alternative to the MacBook Pro, stop in your tracks right now.

The first problem you will notice with the Surface Book is that it’s wobbly. That’s not such a huge issue when using it on your desk, but it will be uncomfortable on your lap. It’s not too uncomfortable and only a minor issue, but it still registers as an annoyance.

The Surface Book looks like it tries a little too hard to be a MacBook Pro, having a similar looking keyboard and trackpad. However, although the keyboard and trackpad function well, they don’t work as fluidly as they do on the MacBook Pro. I even found it more comfortable to type using the Dell XPS 13.

Furthermore, when using the Dell XPS 13, I felt I was using an ultra-portable notebook. I don’t feel the same when using the Surface Book — the bezel space around the 13.3-inch screen is too large and the keyboard, although it’s not cramped in order to make compromises, feels too large as well.

The Microsoft Surface Book will most likely be a hit, especially around the holiday season. But if you are huge fan of the Surface Pro and are thinking about upgrading to the Surface Book instead of the Surface Pro 4, you may want to think again.

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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