Mi­crosoft Sur­face Book

A fan­tas­tic con­vert­ible with an in­no­va­tive de­sign, but it’s start­ing to look dated – wait for the Sur­face Book 2

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 -

SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £1,999 (£2,399 inc VAT) from mi­crosoft.com/en-gb/store

Ar­guably the most in­no­va­tive lap­top de­sign since the orig­i­nal Sur­face, Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face Book takes the 2-in-1 con­cept from the op­po­site di­rec­tion; not so much a tablet that con­verts into a lap­top as a lap­top that de­con­structs. The clever mag­netic lock­ing hinge that holds the screen and key­board mod­ules to­gether is a bril­liant piece of en­gi­neer­ing, while you have to love de­tails such as the way the key­board curves away to­wards the sides.

Dis­con­nect the screen mo­d­ule and use it as a tablet and it’s a de­light to use, helped by the 3,000 x 2,000 pixel res­o­lu­tion, the in­cred­i­ble 462cd/m² max­i­mum bright­ness level and su­perb colour ac­cu­racy, with an av­er­age Delta E of just 1.01 and 96% sRGB cov­er­age. In ad­di­tion, the au­dio ben­e­fits from a sur­pris­ingly rich tone and wide, spacey sound­stage, and you’ll strug­gle to find a bet­ter de­vice for watch­ing video. The new Sur­face Pro makes more sense if you want to use a sty­lus fre­quently, but the Sur­face Book gives you a larger and very sen­si­tive draw­ing area for il­lus­tra­tions, di­a­grams and notes.

Plug the mo­d­ule back in, and you still get a great mo­bile com­puter. The full-sized key­board has a fan­tas­tic typ­ing ac­tion and a lay­out that feels right un­der the fin­gers, and with two USB 3 ports, a mini-Dis­playPort and an SD card reader, it’s eas­ier to for­give the omis­sion of USB-C.

Mod­els run the gamut from a Sky­lake Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD to a Sky­lake Core-i7 6600U with 16GB, a 1TB SSD and a Per­for­mance Base with ad­di­tional bat­tery and a dis­crete Nvidia GPU. Our Core i7/16GB test ver­sion man­aged a cred­i­ble bench­mark score of 47 and had enough power to run Forza Motorsport 6: Apex with the de­tail lev­els dropped down to medium. Bat­tery life is also top drawer, with around nine-and-a-half hours of video play­back.

This is a se­ri­ously tempt­ing pre­mium lap­top, par­tic­u­larly with a re­cent price drop, but it’s still ex­pen­sive and ar­guably caught be­tween two stools. In many re­spects,the Sur­face Pro makes more sense as a prac­ti­cal, ul­tra-mo­bile hy­brid, while the Sur­face Lap­top beats the Sur­face Book on con­ve­nience and bang for buck. We ea­gerly await a new it­er­a­tion, but the cur­rent model has been over­taken.

ABOVE The Sur­face Book is a de­light to use as a tablet and lap­top

BE­LOW The hinge is a very im­pres­sive piece of en­gi­neer­ing

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