Video Perspective: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book Preview

Subject: Mobile | October 27, 2015 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: video, surface pro 4, surface book, surface, Skylake, microsoft, Intel

In early October Microsoft took the wraps off of a pair of new 2-in-1 convertible notebooks in the form of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The Surface Pro 4 is much like the previous tablet designs from the Redmond giant and includes a kick stand and optional Type Cover to make the tablet a notebook in terms of functionality. The update kicks up the processor to Intel's 6th generation Skylake design while increasing storage performance with NVMe Samsung SSDs.

View Full Size

The Surface Book is definitely the more interesting of the two devices with a unique design that is more notebook than tablet/2-in-1. The 13.5-in 3000x2000 3:2 screen tablet is detachable from a base that includes a full keyboard and track pad, additional battery and even an optional discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU. The hinge is similar to the watch hinge that Lenovo introduced with the Yoga 3 Pro and uses something Microsoft calls "Muscle Wire" to keep the tablet and keyboard docked firmly using magnets.

View Full Size

Though I am really just getting started on the review process of these devices, I wanted to share a quick overview of both machines. Check it out in the video embedded below.

So what do you want to know about or see specifically tested on the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book? Let us know in the comments below!

October 27, 2015 | 05:52 PM - Posted by Jay SS (not verified)

In the full review for the Surface Book maybe talk a bit more about the typing experience compared to your thinkpad.

Also maybe go into a little what uses these two in general offer with their pen support. Has anything improved from last gen concerning that.

Also as a student, will I be able to use the Surface Book's rear view camera to take video of my lectures while I use the laptop for notes? or is that camera only for the tablet mode functionality? This is a possible feature as I see it no other laptop has.

Maybe include details on what we can get away with in terms of light indie gaming with the intel integrated graphics, because the upgrade to dedicated gpu is so pricey.

I'd also like to know if the nvme chip can be replaced with a third party card we can buy? or not.

October 27, 2015 | 06:12 PM - Posted by Costa Apostolou (not verified)

Great video, here are some things you could test lol.

Test gaming on both at 720p/1080p and native res for curiosity but no one needs to game at 3000x2000 on a mobile device lol. Compare to see if you get any thermal throttling which hasn't been reported yet, and tdp power throttling which is being reported. How much does the tdp power throttling effect games if at all, currently reports say not that much effect?

Do SSD tbenchmarks as they are both using m.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs on all the sizes, currently 128GB drives are only getting SEQ Reads 750mb/s Writes150mb/s write speeds and largermthe SSD,the faster they are, consumers on reddit think their SSD are broken but I have a feeling the 128gb is slower due to the smaller cache and other factors due to it being only 128gb.

What is pissing me off the most is the reports of light bleed with the Surface Pro 4, so if you could check if your Surface Pro 4/Surface Book has this issue and if we should ask for replacements if it's particularly bad light bleed.

There are reports of problems with screen flicker with the devices, people think it has to do with hyper V(disable will fix) and possibly a Microsoft Edge bug also causing flicker, if this is still an issue when you are about to make the video then bring it up if you can and possibly the temporary fix.

Many users at /s/Surface have been reporting the Surface Book has issues with the screen not being able to disconnect the screen or have the base stop responding, if this is an issue then it should possibly be mentioned if it's an issue.

Personally I'm getting the Surface Pro 4 Intel i7 6650u Intel Iris 64mb EDRAM - 16GB DDR3 RAM - 256GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD, I can't wait to see the benchmarks of the Intel Iris with 64MB EDRAM as it should act as a fast system cache that might make the Surface Pro 4 i7 Faster then the Surface Book i7 which doesn't have the Intel Iris 540. I'm going stir crazy waiting for November 20th to roll around, damn you Skylake for taking so long.

October 27, 2015 | 07:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Would love a comparison with the XPS 15. With the small bezel, the screen size can be comparable (at least the height) to Surface Book. Plus with the 4K display and Quad core (and shorter battery-life), it would be an interesting competition. Would love to know which has the better keyboard, trackpad, and screen clarity? Thanks!

October 27, 2015 | 09:35 PM - Posted by Coupe

I know you mentioned that the surface book offers a backlit keyboard compared to the surface pro. But the surface pro offers a backlit keyboard as part of the type cover.

October 28, 2015 | 01:19 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yup, you are right!

October 27, 2015 | 09:59 PM - Posted by Just My Opinion (not verified)

Great preview Ryan! The Surface Book is an interesting device, but I think the device is underpowered.

F-Stoppers did an unfair review pitting a 15" Retina Macbook Pro against the 13" Surface Book. Regardless of the compared device, the Surface Book struggled with general productive tasks such as Photoshop and Video Editing.
Ryan, how did the device perform in your general productivity tests?
How does Surface Book's storage perform?

I think the device is cool, but what kind of user is this device for?

October 28, 2015 | 12:46 AM - Posted by pollcats38

test gaming

October 28, 2015 | 01:06 AM - Posted by Mountainlifter

I would love to know the answers to these questions regarding the pen/stylus notetaking capability:

1) what is the latency between the pen movement and the ink appearing on the screen? This varies with the speed of the strokes and the software in use (One Note, Fresh Paint, Photoshop)

2) What is the parallax between the pen tip and the mouse pointer in One Note?

3) Are there drivers and driver updates (or firmware/firmware updates) for this special G5 chip that they've introduced to take care of the pen writing inputs?

Issues carried over from SP3:

4) Does writing with the pen produce the Jitter Issue seen in the SP3?

5) Does the ink splash on the screen when the pen is only hovering?

6) How good is the palm rejection? Does the palm leave dots or strokes now and then?

EDIT: Only TESTED's and WSJ's reviews mention anything regarding pen issues. I am surprised by how little attention it gets in reviews since it is one of the most important features of the surface line. Usually, reviewers show themselves writing big blotchy words in OneNote and just say "it works great". Sigh!

EDIT2: I'm not looking at the pen/stylus from an artist's standpoint. I'm more interested in it for engineering/technical note taking and in saving paper.

October 28, 2015 | 01:43 AM - Posted by ajoy39

Do any of the Surface book models come with a quad core? The product page just says i5 or i7 option

October 28, 2015 | 10:05 AM - Posted by taisserroots

they are U variants so i7 means dual core but with Hyper-threading, again a quad-core mobile CPU in a sub 14 inch tablet does raise a lot of issues in terms of cooling

October 28, 2015 | 01:43 AM - Posted by ajoy39

Do any of the Surface book models come with a quad core? The product page just says i5 or i7 option

October 28, 2015 | 04:06 AM - Posted by Irishgamer01

A quick round of BF4? How high or low does it go.
Some video editing? How high or low can it go?
MOVIE playback/streaming how long can it go?

Don't think anyone else cares about excel or google docs as these run well enough on most laptops.

October 28, 2015 | 09:45 AM - Posted by Whatt Every (not verified)

Tear the Surface Book down with an AAA gaming run down...!!!

October 28, 2015 | 09:53 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Overpriced, even by Apple standards! And the SOC SKUs in these tablets are low powered by design. I'll stick with a regular laptop and get a separate dedicated Tablet with none this jack of all trades very expensive Surface line, especially for the highest end Surface option of $3,200. Apple's kit is overpriced for the amount of processing/GPU power, and M$ wants at that action. And even with windows 10 M$ wants some of that Apple ecosystem profits. M$ does not care about losing OS installed numbers if it can just get that same amount, or greater than Apple's OS installed base, then M$ can milk its users with an Apple style closed ecosystem of its own. Try putting together a 3 system Laptop, PC, and tablet for $3200 dollars and see what that will buy. $1200 would get a nice gaming PC, 1400 a nice gaming laptop, with $600 remaining for a Tablet, and that's what processing power a better spent $3200 would buy!

October 28, 2015 | 11:58 AM - Posted by remc86007

Your example proves the usefulness of this device. It is one system that more or less serves as a desktop machine, tablet, and a laptop. This isn't aimed at gamers, but the power of the Surface Book is more than adequate for most businesses' needs. In many professions, presentation to clients matters, and in my opinion the design of the Surface Book screams professional especially compared to most other laptops on the market that attempt to do half of what the Surface Book can.

October 28, 2015 | 03:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Really, NOT a good example of a good replacement for three different devices, M$'s surface is like a jack on all trades and expert at NONE. But M$ has the funds to pay folks like you to spin things positive for the suckers out there! How could the Surface outperform a PC gaming rig, or a regular laptop for that matter with a Ivybridge Quad core i7, and not even a gaming laptop for that matter.

There are plenty of Tablets that would fill the functionality of a windows tablet at a more reasonable price point. Try and Let 3 people use the Surface at the same time, while for $3300 the whole family can do with their own individual PC, laptop, or tablet. $3300 for a tablet with a dual core at most U series i7 is not even going to beat a regular laptop core i3 SKU from the Ivybridge generation. This is just the Intel/M$ way of pricing the product high and looking for some fools to be separated from their money, while the smart folks with $3300 to spend are going to go for the three, or more, individual devices and get a hell of a lot more for their dosh!

Really, "the Surface Book screams professional", NO! The "professional" marketing monkey that is paied to flog this overpriced kit is what your comment REAKS of being!

October 28, 2015 | 10:05 AM - Posted by Halimaw (not verified)

Please discuss the possibility of upgrading just the keyboard for the surface book? That must be a custom pcie right? When the 16nm gpus come that might be more compelling... Perhaps even 3rd party docks and keyboards configs.... Thanks

October 31, 2015 | 03:44 AM - Posted by CoverpTech (not verified)

Would love to know about using the PRO 4 on your lap. If you could have a few images or a video of sitting on a couch, feet on the table and just using it for a while. Thanks a lot, love the website.

October 31, 2015 | 08:42 PM - Posted by sensacion7

Manage to install Linux Mint 17.2 on this... That would be great

November 12, 2015 | 11:54 PM - Posted by Yogi (not verified)

Is there a difference in battery life for a Surface Pro 4 i5/16Gb/512GB compared to the i7 running the same test? What performance improvement do you get for the i7 over the i5?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.