Thoughts After 1 Week with the Surface Book i7 16gb 512 SSD Model

richardn34

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Background:
A little background info so you get a better idea of why/how I came to the conclusions that I did. I'm definitely not a normal reviewer so it won't be the greatest written review of a device, but rather just my thoughts (disclaimer). I'm somewhat of a techy/nerd. I currently work as a Network Engineer mainly on Cisco & Alcatel equipment. Previously I used to work in Geek Squad and used to build my own gaming rigs but now I'm not really up to date on the latest video cards and haven't really done too much techy stuff outside of work. I'm neither a Mac or Windows guy, nor am I an IOS or Android guy but literally have ALL of the mentioned platforms and use them all quite a bit. Sometimes I wish I had a preference so I wouldn't spend so much money and what I mean by that is, I have a 2012 iMAC (27" i5 12gb 512 HDD), 2014 Macbook pro (15" i7 16gb 512 SSD), an ASUS laptop running both windows and ubuntu, an old custom PC that I swap video cards out every few years (sitting in a modified Compaq case lol) however I haven't upgraded it since 2013, an iPhone 6 AND a Galaxy Note 5 which I swap sim cards between every few months, a Galaxy Tab A w/S-pen, ASUS TF101, an iPad mini Retina, iPad Retina, a Surface Pro 4 (i5 4gb 128SSD) and my newest addition, Surface Book (i5 16gb 512SSD). I don't have a preference literally and jump between devices as the way I see it, they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. That said, I may be a little more forgiving than most as I always get excited about my devices and tend to focus more on their strengths if I like the device. On to my thoughts...

1st Surface Book:
I picked my Surface Book up last week and when I fired it up for the first time, it was pretty glitchy. The screen brightness kept changing during startup and the screen would flicker every now and then. Another odd thing is it didn't go to the normal setup process but rather showed a user account "other" and asked me for a password. I thought it was odd but after some google Fu, I was able to restart it into the setup mode. After setup, I noticed the batteries were both low, one to about 4% and the other to around 0%. Something else weird I noticed though, battery 1 was charging and battery 2 said, "plugged in, not charging." First thing I did was run all of the updates. After updating, I browsed the internet a bit and had the display driver crash error occur a few times and Battery 2 still wasn't charging even after Battery 1 was at 100%. Also, the screen brightness kept changing very randomly and this was after I disable adaptive brightness in both power management and through the regular settings.

Troubleshooting 1st Surface Book:
At this point, my mission was to get Battery 2 charging. I tried EVERYTHING. Uninstalled the drivers, reinstalled, uninstalled then rebooted, downloaded the MSI off of microsoft's website, downloaded the zip and manually installed it. Factory reset COMPLETELY. I looked up videos on other windows devices and tried all sorts of stuff to no avail. I literally spent 1 whole day troubleshooting non-stop. Eventually I decided to swap it out.

2nd Surface Book (the one I'm on now):
Then I brought home the one I'm on now and I have to say, it is a TOTALLY different experience. I experienced almost no glitches at all and everything is running smoothly. Because of this, I'm attributing my experience previously to a bad unit although my friend in Geek Squad told me they haven't had anyone really bringing them in for trouble.

Review/Thoughts:

Battery:
1st thing I did was test out the battery. Although I didn't monitor completely every minute and everything I did, I did just some rough testing and fully charged I ran only the clipboard and got about 2.5 hours out of it, browsing the internet and watching youtube videos. Then I fully charged it again and ran it down combined base and clipboard and got over 10hours watching youtube and browsing the internet. I was actually very surprised. At work, I run my macbook off and on throughout the day from 6am-3pm and usually end up at about 10% battery life consistently at 3pm. My surface book actually outdid it 2 days in a row and I was at about 20%. I haven't tested them side-by-side doing the same things and don't plan to, but from a general usage standpoint, my Surface Book seems to be outlasting my Macbook. I know other's had issue's with battery but for me, this is the best battery I've ever gotten out of a device.

I should note I did modify some of the configs. I turned CSenabled off and created a battery saver and high performance plan. I also enabled hibernate. There was an issue after doing this where when coming out of hibernation, the wifi wouldn't work and I would need to disconnect and reconnect to get it going so what I did was, I uninstalled the drivers and reinstalled, then the issue was fixed. The touchpad also stopped working after hibernation and I did the same thing with the drivers and that solved that issue as well. I changed quite a bit of power saving setting's and the battery test I did was in the power saver profile I created...

Overall usage/thoughts on the device:
I do some light gaming on steam, use a lot of photoshop and actually use the device a lot as a clipboard when I'm lying in bed and this thing runs everything smoothly without a hitch. One thing I'm surprised about is how much I like it as a tablet. I used to lie in bed with my surface pro 4 but didn't think I'd be able to since this is bigger but the fact that it's so light makes it actually easier to use IMO. The only thing I wish is the tablet battery lasted longer. If the battery is about to die I just put it on the base in reverse and lay it on my stomach which works well. I do wish it wasn't so top heavy as it is a little wobbly but I can live with it. Also, if it matters to some of you, it's such a pretty device. It's constructed very well and looks very nice but the only thing to me is the hinge is a little iffy in the way it looks lol (not too sure how I feel about that gap)... I'm able to type quickly and like the keyboard better than my 15" macbook pro however I prefer the macbooks trackpad but still, the trackpad is good on the Surface book. It would be nice if it had the same gesture capabilities as my macbook though.

All in all, this is my favorite piece of technology I've had in a while. I'm actually selling my Surface Pro 4 and have been a huge fan of the line and owned SP2, SP3 and SP4 but now I feel like the Surface Book is more suitable for my taste. Again, I just wish the clipboard battery lasted longer.
 

SlowPokeInTexas

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Good read. Interesting, I had the exact same initial setup problems as you on my wife's machine. Overall I love the machine but my wife did complain that it still crashes a bit too regularly.
 

chongsen62

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I have longer battery life on clipboard when I switch it to tablet mode.

I get roughly 3 ~ 3.5 hours on tablet mode which is good enough for my daily use.
 

JaimitoFrog

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I have longer battery life on clipboard when I switch it to tablet mode.

I get roughly 3 ~ 3.5 hours on tablet mode which is good enough for my daily use.

is it an i7 model?

I installed the Intel drivers off their website, and set the control panel on max battery on unplugged mode. This seems to get me about 3 hrs on the i7/512gb/dGPU model.
 

richardn34

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Nov 16, 2015
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I have longer battery life on clipboard when I switch it to tablet mode.

I get roughly 3 ~ 3.5 hours on tablet mode which is good enough for my daily use.

Thanks for the tip, I've been using it in desktop mode but will try using it in tablet mode to see if I'm able to squeeze more battery life that way!
 

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