Friday, August 26, 2016

SurfaceBook's 1st Birthday approaching - How's it Really Been?

Hi all,

I've has lots of requests to update my judgement on the SurfaceBook. In this short update I try to go through my experiences and thoughts about the future.

In the beginning of November my 1 year guarantee will end and before that I'm luckily going to US as I have to return the device. The thing that amazed me the most is (not that surprisingly now that I think about it) actually the reason to take it back: The Hinge. Since a few months now the problem has been that when I crab the tablet part of the Book the connection between the tablet and the keyboard breaks. At home this means that for an annoyingly long 1 minute or so I lose my external monitor, LAN, keyboard and mouse. While training on Skype for Business or doing some webinars this much more dramatic as I lose the connection to my headset which then disconnects me from the call. If I'm presenting in a big conference I lose my connection to the projector so this is one of the biggest game stoppers for me.

Now a hinge can probably be repaired but now it's time to think about what I really need from the Book and why would I keep using it. This is not to include the reason of paying crazy amount of money for it of course.

What I need or don't need from the Book compared to others:

  • The Pen. This is what made me choose it over the Dell XPS 13.
  • The camera
    • I just can't live with the XPS's camera pointing at my fatter and fatter chin... That's just a looks issue but the technical is more important which is the compatibility with the Windows Hello facial recognition. Now I just realized I really need it only maybe four times a year as a fingerprint reader is more convenient for my use anyway. I now have an Intel RealSense R200 for my demos which is a lot smaller than the previous one I had which was the F200. The feature is FUN that's for sure but when thinking about my primary machine - not a game stopper anymore.
  • The Tablettability (I just came up with the term)
    • Adults honestly?? I only detach the tablet from the keyboard for the short amount of time when my plane takes off or lands. The time when you need to put your laptop away. Now with the iPhone 6s Plus I actually use that to watch videos for that short time so for the past two months I haven't detached it once except to brag to friends about the cool mechanics (that don't work anymore...). When I detach I lose all connections to projectors, all USB-devices, more than half of my battery, my external SSD and all the juice of the GPU in the keyboard base. The connection-thingy looks very neat but when I need to fold my laptop to a tent to draw for my students I need to detach and turn the tablet around which again means I lose all the connections for a while. So if you compare this to HP's devices or Lenovo's Yoga series, this is a really big disadvantage :(
So from the previous perspective I can probably live without the Book. Now what's still wrong with the Book after almost a year of ownership:

  • The USB-issue is still there :( So after every build upgrade of Windows 10 I need to install a false USB Controller and a USB Hub driver. That is to keep my external SSD's working.
  • The wireless issue is still there. SurfaceBook is still the only one of my machines that doesn't work with my wireless presenter from Logitech. That's not a game stopper as I have the Kensington BlueTooth one that works perfectly.
What do I now want:

  1. I still believe that the Book has huge potential and it is easily the coolest and best device from Microsoft that I have ever had. I can't wait to get the next one (I guesstimate it's 2017 spring) to see how it will be and will it make me a SurfaceBook lover again.
  2. I am going to buy something else.. If not before then at least after writing all down to this blog post do I realize I can make my life easier. I need a higly portable UltraBook with i7, 16GB or RAM, 8 hours of batterylife, 1TB SSD, a normal camera and at least a DisplayPort connection and a USB3 or 3.1 port. I don't need a tablet, I don't need a pen or a touch screen, I don't need a Windows Hello Camera, I don't need a USB-C only option for network/screens and I absolutely don't need a US keyboard...
  3. I think I'm going to get my hands on a Lenovo X1 Carbon and an X1 Yoga to start testing how my relationship after the honeymoon will be with either one.


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