Microsoft has always positioned the Surface Pro line of products as tablets that can replace your laptop. These days people are finally starting to believe that’s true: last year’s Surface Pro 3 had powerful hardware, strong software, and a decent hinge and optional keyboard dock that truly allowed you to use the notebook like either a tablet or a notebook.

This year Microsoft improved the design, display, processor, and many other features and it seems like the refinements have paid off: the first Surface Pro 4 reviews are in, and they’re mostly positive.

surf pro 4

The company also launched its first laptop this year. The Surface Book is a premium device with an unusual hinge, a 13.5 inch touchscreen display, and support for a pen. Oh yeah, the screen is also detachable, allowing you to use the system as a tablet… although Microsoft refers to it as a “clipboard.”

The long and short of it is that the Surface Book is a laptop first and a tablet second, while the Surface Pro 4 is a tablet that can also be used as a laptop.

Reviews for the Surface Book are also positive… with one major caveat: this thing ain’t cheap. The Surface Book costs between $1499 and $3199 depending on the configuration you choose.

surf book

Here’s a roundup of recent reviews. In a nutshell, both machines have slick designs, high-quality hardware, and long battery life, and they’re clearly designed to run Windows 10. But there are some quirks: the Surface Book has a funky hinge that keeps the screen from resting flat against the keyboard when the lid is closed, which can allow dust to get in. The screen also wobbles a bit when the screen is open. The system can also be a little top-heavy, so the screen won’t open to a very wide angle.

One major improvement is the new Type Cover for the Surface Pro 4. Sadly it’s sold separately from the tablet, so you’ll have to pay an extra $130 for the keyboard cover. But it has a larger touchpad, better spacing between the keys, and pretty much everyone says it’s easier to type on than early iterations of the Surface Type Cover.

Reviewers also seem to like the feel of the new Surface Pen for note-taking, although there’s reportedly a little lag which could make artwork a bit awkward.

Want way more details? Here are some of the first in-depth reviews:

Surface Pro 4 reviews

Surface Book reviews

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16 replies on “Microsoft Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 reviews are in… and they’re mostly positive”

  1. “the screen wobbles …” as a foreigner, thanks for the term i’m searching for a while; it describles exactly what i hate about all these 2in1 devices. I fear that, like the 16/9 ratio tyranny we have to endure for almost 10 years now, we are entering an era of only 2in1 devices. Plus, the name Surface doesn’t come from the aspect of the tablet, but from the fact that you need a plane surface to put the device on… No way you can hold this device in one hand or on your laps. Unusable.

    1. I would have thought tablets are far easier to hold in one hand.

      My T100 doesn’t wobble, so it’s not all 2-in-1s. Also it works fine on my lap, as I would have thought the Surface Book does too.

  2. I visited a Microsoft store this weekend, first time ever. I had walked away from Windows about a year ago (transitioned to Linux). The transition was made permanent when Win10 came out and it turned out to be one giant malware, spyware system. Gods… the OS makes my skin crawl.

    Having said that, was impressed with the hardware. The Surface Book – very nicely done even though the screen wobbled. Not a fan of the Surface Pro Tablets – too many loose pieces, hinges, etc. Looked at a few of the other 2-n-1s, walked away impressed. Even Win10 felt like a good OS on the ‘surface’. Responsive, intuitive, good touch capabilities.

    I would probably be on a Win10 machines if I didn’t, strongly, feel Microsoft was breaking all kinds of privacy, civil rights laws.

    1. Seriously Calling Windows 10 “One Giant malware, spyware system is way over the top. unless you are totally of the grid your information is already out there! ‘Too many loose pieces”? it’s got one back stand with 2 hinges! WTF are you talking about. Never mind it’s a rhetorical question.

      1. It might be over the top, but Windows users aren’t used to their desktops being turning to data mining machines. Yes, if you’re connected to the internet, bits and pieces of your information are out there, but if you’re using a Windows 10 machine (and want to be able to purchase stuff from the Windows App Store), Microsoft has your name, address, credit card number, etc. They’re able to tie everything you do back to your full identity. It’s quite a bit more intrusive than a website getting a snippet of your activity and being able to tie to to an I.P. address. Android? Yes, yes, I’m fully aware that Android does the same thing, but just because one company has a bad practice doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to copy it.

        Actually the privacy concerns don’t bother me as much as they did. Microsoft issued a statement saying that all the privacy collectors can be turned off. Maybe they’re telling the truth, maybe they’re lying. I’m sure if they’re lying, someone will eventually figure it out and it’ll blow up in their face. The forced updates is the deal breaker for me. I’ve been using Microsoft products since DOS. I’ve used automatic updates with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, and I’ve been burned far too many times to know better. I know 98% of updates are fine, but those 2% can be a nightmare to fix. I had to do a full factory restore because Windows Update overwrote my up-to-date graphics card driver with some old junky one. No amount of system restores, driver uninstall-installs could get my monitor back to the right resolution. (that’s just one example from several that I’ve had over the years.) You can turn off driver updates, you say? You can check a box, but many people have reported that Windows Update keeps overwriting your drivers regardless.

        I don’t think Windows 10 is a terrible product. I’ve used it in stores. It fixed a lot of the keyboard/mouse usability issues introduced in Windows 8, but 8.1 had already improved that a lot. It still hasn’t fixed the settings littered in multiple places. The option to switch between a Start menu and Start screen is kind of cool. Overall, it’s OK. It’s just not for me, and I think anyone who has come home to a partially functional computer because of a bad update is also going to balk at the idea of not being able to turn off auto updates. All your users aren’t inept at using a PC, Microsoft. Give us back the option to choose our own updates. Bury it in that convoluted mess of settings. Throw up some imminent doom warnings when the user tries to turn off auto updates. Then I might consider your new OS.

        1. Again, I take the arguments with a grain of salt. I have never had a problem with what you folks refer to. Nor do I know anyone that has ever had such a problem. I think it’s disingenuous to harp on the issue as we have now been in the PC age for several decades.
          Your information is out there, has been out there and there is nothing you or anyone can do from keeping it out there! When one sits down and thinks about how many times you have bought something over the internet, or how many companies you have given your information over too, from medical to insurance companies, DMV, loan companies, job applications court records, arrest record and more, it’s mind boggling to now post arguments about how MS is a criminal organization collecting your data and storing it!
          Heck not to long ago we found out that if you worked for the government the Chinese’s have your data! If you shopped at (place name of your favorite shopping place here) they have sold your information or had your information hacked from their system! Russia has your personal info! If you invest, the information is already sold of stolen! I mean it goes on and on! So I don’t buy it, and would advice folks that if they are worried then refrain from using any computer system or buying on line, because if your system does not store it, then the company you bought from does! That’s my point!! Like it or not I figure I am 99.99% on point! That’s all I got to say!

        2. It’s why I am waiting a respectable amount of time before updating! I know, though I have never experienced it myself, that t he probability of a clean no problem install is still sometime to go! I have a 1Tb hdd waiting to use as a clean system install and will remove my current drive before hand. I also am storing what I need on a external hdd just in case also!

      2. I am utterly and totally disgusted with what the OS has become. It’s criminal – pure and simple. I’m not being hyperbolic here, in case that went over your head. What I can’t understand is how someone can defend *any* OS that had been weaponized against the end-user.

        Have you been a victim so long in your life, you can no longer tell the difference between empowerment and oppression? The god d*mn thing is in your home and business data-warehousing all the bits of your life and sharing it with countless 3rd-parties.

        I read the other day how Skype (another Microsh*T product) warehouses every call and video over it’s service. So man the f*ck up and stop playing the role of an abused woman defending her abuser. You sound like a child.

        1. “I read the other day how Skype (another Microsh*T product) warehouses every call and video over it’s service. So man the f*ck up and stop playing the role of an abused woman defending her abuser. You sound like a child.”

          Lol, take a chill pill and stay off the internet. By the way, I believe SKIPE was not always owned by MS. I never used it and probably never will, problem solved for me! Not on FB, nor any chat site. So you man the f*ck up and stop playing the role of an abused woman attacking every man she comes into contact with! You sound like a conspiracy theorist! Did you find out who shot Kennedy already?

  3. I have the SP3 and plan to keep it. However, I will be upgrading the keyboard and pen to the SP4 versions.

      1. I just sold my RT1/no keyboard on ebay, and turned around and bought an RT2/with the backlit keyboard for the same money I sold my RT1…lol Bonus it still has warranty until next April! Not a bad deal at all, both are pristine so I can probably turn around next year and either get my money back or make a little more and use it as down payment on something else.
        I’m still on the sidelines with going beyond that because my employer just got us Think Pad bundles. Covers, keyboards, cases I mean everything! waiting to upgrade now to WIN10, so no hurry to upgrade.

    1. That was smart, although I came close to the same conclusion but being 4th gen intel versus 6th made me took money out from my wallet.

  4. I was really excited for the surface book, with the GPU in an entirely different section to the CPU and with its own batteries there’d be loads of space for something crazy like a 980M. Then they announced it’s a 940M. Disappointing to say the least given Dell can fit a 960M in a similar size without the advantage of a funky internal layout.

  5. “the Surface Pro 4 is a table”
    No, no.. the Surface Table was a different thing….

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