I’ve been a Mac guy for 25 years. In fact, the last time I even touched a windows machine was about ten years ago… and it was running Windows XP. I’ve never had any motivation to switch over. I’ve just been happy as a clam in the Apple ecosystem.
This, however, is starting to change. About a year ago, Apple introduced the new iMac which featured non-replaceable RAM as well as a wireless mouse that was unusable as it charged. Then, they released the new iPhone without a headphone jack – claiming they did so because they had so much “courage.” Finally, just a couple of weeks ago they released the new MacBook Pro that features USB-C ports exclusively and a touch bar that failed to excite me.
What I’m getting at here is that I feel like Apple has shifted into manufacturing appliances rather than machines for people that create. And I create damnit… I create for a living. And that’s really what first turned me onto Microsoft’s new Surface Book. They took the old idea of a laptop and thought about it differently.
What else could a laptop be? How about a tablet computer? And if it’s a tablet, why don’t we give it an art pen? And if it has an art pen, why don’t we give it enough horsepower to run software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop?
The end result is a gorgeous little laptop with a removable screen that becomes a wonderfully large tablet running a full OS. It’s multiple devices in one and it’s seemingly built to create. I was in… I picked up a middle of the road variation of the Surface Book with Performance Base three days ago. I have thirty days (return policy) to figure out if this thing will work for me and after three days, these are my thoughts:
- The fit and finish is on par with my MacBook Pro(last genertation). No question. This thing is made REALLY well.
- The track pad is wonderful. I’ve always heard that Apple’s track pad was industry leading, but honestly the Surface Book features the best track pad I have ever used. I have yet, however, to use the new and huge track pad of the latest MacBook Pro.
- The keyboard is the right size, feels perfect, and sounds as it should. Again, I’d say this keyboard is on par of better than the keyboard on my MacBook.
- The idea of a hyrbid laptop/tablet absolutely sings to me… and in regular life, it works as great as it sounds. The Surface Book is just so much more than a laptop. I love the options this thing gives me.
- Having a pen as a tool was not something I thought I would use that much. However, I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. I can’t draw for shit… but using illustrator and having the ability to redraw any stroke has suddenly made me an illustrator. Here’s proof:
- The battery life is phenomenal. I always hear of people saying their laptop is good for about 8 to 10 hours or a full work day. I swear, I’ve never had a laptop that will last me longer than 4 or 5 hours. This thing sings all day long with both Photoshop and Illustrator running. It’s remarkable.
- The biggest con and probably the one that will be the biggest factor in whether or not I keep the Surface Book is the fact that I am so heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem. I’m an iPhone user. I’m an iPad user. I have multiple Mac computers. I have Apple TV. I have… hell, if Apple sold underwear I’d have it on. Using the Surface Book definitely disconnects me from that ecosystem. I don’t have access to my text messages, browser passwords, or any of those little niceties that comes with iCloud. And while there is an iCloud for Windows, it’s very limited and somewhat worthless.
- I was worried most, however, about dealing with Windows. I’ve used previous versions on Windows just fine, but I’ve always felt they lacked with attention to detail. Nothing felt “finished” or “glossy” or “smart.” When I first fired the Surface Book, it was the first time I have ever used Windows 10. My thoughts? It’s so much better than Windows XP… leaps and bounds. BUT, it’s still not as good as OS X. It’s just not… It does feel as polished to me.
- Good god, there are absolutely zero options for email clients on Windows. Outlook is probably one of the worst user interfaces I’ve EVER seen in my life.
In any case, that’s where I am now… with 27 more days to decide if I can live with the Surface Book. Updates soon.