Skimming the Surface of Microsoft’s New Surface Products

October 28th, 2015 by Rocket IT

Microsoft’s new Surface line just launched, and we are seriously geeking out about it. Eric, our Service Manager, is just itching to get his hands on the new Surface Book, and debates on the Book vs the Pro 4 have broken out in the office more than once now. So what’s so exciting about it?

I’m going to hit the biggest one first, and just dive right on in with the new Surface Book. Microsoft has reimagined laptops with their Surface Book, claiming it’s the “ultimate laptop.” While the Surface Pros skew more towards a tablet that can act as a laptop, the Surface Book is more of a laptop that can act as a tablet.

Surface BookThe Surface Book weighs a little more than the Surface Pro 4, and has pretty similar capabilities, but there are a few big differences that make it worth the bigger price tag that comes with it. For one, the detachable keyboard comes with it, and it looks pretty cool. The keyboard features a folio-like fold that adjusts so the Book isn’t so top heavy (no one wants a laptop that keeps toppling over), so the Book is way more lap-friendly than the Pro series. Second, the Book has 13.6 hours of battery life. That’s a good five and a half hours more than the Surface Pro 4. The Surface Book also has the option to have a discrete graphics card; this makes for better gaming, video editing, and many other media-intensive tasks.

While the Surface Pro 4 comes with slightly more screen than its predecessor (12.3” from the previous 12”; Microsoft has decreased the size of the plain black bezel around the screen instead of increasing the size of the tablet itself), the Surface Book has a whopping 13.5” screen. The only complaints I’ve seen have been about the weight (surprise, I know, a bigger laptop actually weighs more than a tablet) and the gap you see close to the hinge when the Surface Book is closed.

That isn’t to say that the Surface Book completely leaves the Surface Pro 4 in the dust. If weight is a factor, the new Surface Pro 4 is even thinner than the Pro 3, and Microsoft didn’t sacrifice the portability to increase the screen size, as mentioned before.

Of course, you still have to purchase the keyboard separately, but even the Pro 4 + keyboard accoutrement price beats the Surface Book’s hefty tag. And the performance is pretty similar, as long as you don’t stress the graphics processing unit (GPU) or mind the Surface Pro 4 flopping off your lap occasionally when you try to use it like a laptop. The performance will vary, of course, as the Surface Pro 4 comes in various configurations.

With the new Surface Pro 4 comes improved accessories. The new type cover comes with a bigger trackpad and redesigned backlit keys that are more widely spaced than before. For those of you still attached to your Pro 3, the new type cover is compatible with those as well. Way more talked about than the improved keyboard, however, comes the new Surface Pro 4 Stylus. Artists and other designers rejoice, the new stylus comes with 1,024 degrees of pressure sensitivity (compare that to the 265 degrees of the previous Surface Pro stylus), so it really does mimic an actual pen or paintbrush better than arguably most stylus devices out there. The Surface Pro 4 stylus also has a number of interchangeable tips available that are customized for different tasks.

The button on the new pen can still be used to open OneNote, but now it can also open Cortana AND act as an eraser. Yes, that’s an actual digital pencil with an actual digital eraser. Some changes users might find awkward- it’s a little larger than its predecessor, and one side has a flat edge that allows it to securely connect to the edge of the Surface Pro 4 magnetically. These may take some time to get used to, but reviewers say the edge really does allow the pen to stay attached pretty well.

I’m sure only time will tell if the new Surface devices live up to all the excitement generated around them, but I have high hopes for them. If you happen to make the switch, reach out to us and let us know what you think!



MB About the Author-

 Michael Bearchell lives with his wife and three children in Gwinnett County. He is an Inside Support Technician at Rocket IT and has found out the hard way that it is  tough being a New York sports fan in the south.



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