Penny Arcade's Gabe gives his thoughts on the Surface Book

So far, we've mostly seen what tech sites have to say about the new Surface Book and how it performs, but it's always interesting to see views from outside of the tech media, the latest of which comes from one of the minds behind popular webcomic Penny Arcade. Writing under the name of his comic alter ego, Gabe, Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik shared his thoughts on the Surface Book after spending some time with it:

"It really is two distinct devices. Microsoft says the Surface Pro is a tablet that can replace your laptop. The Surface Book is a tablet that is also your laptop. I think that's really the selling point here. In much the same way that a mullet encompasses the properties of both business AND party, The Surface Book is a true two in one. It's a laptop in the front and Surface pro in the back…or on the top I guess. That metaphor broke down fast. The point is that this device is really giving you the best of both worlds."

Of course, the experience wasn't without its pain points. Calling the experience "both frustrating and awesome," Gabe notes some less-than-stellar issues involving some blue screen crashes, a cracked stylus tip, and battery life concerns in tablet-only mode.

If you're still considering a Surface Book purchase, a quick read of Gabe's thoughts at Penny Arcade are definitely worth a look. Be sure to hit up the source link below to read the full post and check out an impressive piece that Gabe created on the Surface Book.

Source: Penny Arcade

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • I agree.  I got my Surface Book on the 26th and It's really replaced both my tablet and laptop needs.
  • I thought the surface pro series killed the laptop for me
  • Surface Pro's are awkward when used on a lap. So they didn't kill the 'laptop' :)
    Surface Book definitely could though!
  • In real life I rarely or haven't seen people (at home, school/college, cafe, library, work, etc) using their Laptop on them lap (on the table, sofa, bed or floor), unless watching live Press Release where most of journalists using it on them lap. BTW when it comes to the heat Surface Pro is more comfortable to be used on the lap than other laptop (espacially during summer time).
  • surface pro 1 was super awkward. surface pro 2 was eh awkward. surface pro 3 i didn't get a chance to try. surface pro 4? i find it just as good as a laptop. the only time i felt like i would have preferred an actual laptop was when i was in my vanpool using it on my laptop and one of the more 'aggressive' drivers were at the helm and i was way in the back of a 10 person van. it doesn't have the same stability as a laptop in that scenario, plus i just worried about the machine in general since it's a lot less substantial in size and thickness (in a good way for all intents and purposes except when worrying it might break in half on a sharp turn). i also have to agree about the heating factor. there is no heat when using a surface pro 4 on your lap. so i have to say, the sp4 can *really* replace your laptop... unless you use it in the back of a crazy taxi a lot or something.
  • Everyone is different. The SP2/3 killed both my desktop and laptop. It is my main computer.
  • I thought Microsoft said the Surface Book is a Laptop that can also be a Tablet??
  • Surfacebook is the laptop that can replace your tablet and the Surface Pro is the tablet that can replace your laptop ;) - The most "tablet like" use I get from my Surface Pro 3 is taking notes or sketching out ideas really. I don't use it for media consumption much on the couch. Partly it's because it's reasonably expensive. When I've used cheaper 8" tablets at home that cost a few hundred quid I don't mind as much if it gets knocked off the couch for example. I'm more careful with the Surface Pro 3 with it being the i7/8GB/512GB model it wasn't exactly cheap.
    When I had a Dell Venue 8 Pro it was perfect for use all around the house, you could just chuck it anywhere really without worrying
  • Hey! I'm not the only one who cracked their tip. I dropped my pen. Picked it up and went to write with it. Didn't work out so well. Did MS include replacement tips in the box cause I didn't see any?
  • Never said you will have replacement one in the box I think. But there were some options to buy additional pen tips and colors I believe if I am correct  
  • I dropped mine too. There are no replacement tips as far as I can tell, the way the additional pen tips work (I think) is that you just attach them to the end, which won't work with a broken base tip.
  • You can buy new tips on the microsoft store. They have like a 5 pack of different style/material/thickness nibs like you'd expect to find with a Wacom tablet.
  • U can request a replacement online. Its free.
  • If there's a MS store near you, you could also just get one... When I had a tip that just wouldn't stay in, I brought it to them and asked what I could do. They just gave me another tip ;)
  • Thanks for the tip.
  • Pen tip Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So where is the Windows Central review of the Book? Or did I miss it?
  • I've only seen the unboxing / first impressions video so far.
  • Hmmm, the opinion of a digital artist with the only skin in the game being platform agnostic, *or* the opinion of a "deluded" CEO of a company with a competing product. Whom shall I consider most?
  • Yup.
  • If Microsoft were smart they would use his quote against Tim Cook. Under both faces have Cook's title "previous Logistic Manager" against "Digital Comic Artist". It makes me smile that Apple's moto used to be "Think Different", now they are just a high street brand using dated tech dripped in rose gold. Even if I was the biggest Apple fan in the world I would have more respect if Tim had said competition is good for our industry. The guy has zero initiative and zero respect but he sure enjoys his bonuses and stock options.
  • Cool, I would have rather seen a Surface Pro with just an attachable full laptop base and GPU extension. I know it is basically that, but they aren't interchangeable. And to me that hinge not going flat just doesn't work.
  • I honestly don't see how the hinge not going flat when closed is such a big deal. What problems does it create? Do people not like how it looks and that's all? Imagine 15 years ago when laptops were crazy thick. Lol Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • That hinge feels nice in person. Perfect size to grip with your hand when closed.
  • Allows dust and fibre to get on to the screen /keyboard when in a bag.
  • generally its due to static that causes screens to collect dust when inside a bag as you don't have a whirling tornado going on in there. i doubt there would be that much of a greater collection going on unless you're letting it sit in a bag for weeks or something...
  • A mullet? Seriously?
  • I don't think "battery concerns in tablet-only modes" are a big deal. This is not a tablet. Repeat, this is not a tablet.
  • But BSoDs are a concern.
  • It's probably the biggest reason I decided to go with SP4. I had the SB for a week, but the touchscreen was defective and kept getting stuck. When I returned it, I got SP4 instead... I just found that the battery in tablet mode drained too fast, and I wanted more use out of it. So... I guess you could say it was a big deal to me. But I do understand the reasons why they made it the way they did. Hopefully they will find a way to improve on it.
  • The Surface Book is now my main computing device. Mounted my SP3 in my car as a music player and for the quick email on the go. Windows 10 wherever I go.
  • Are you that rich mah bruh? I'm shitting bricks right now.
  • Beast. Unfortunately I think im going to return my surface book and trade it for the SP4. Currently using the SP3
  • Damn. You're treating sp3 like its just a cheap android tablet. Its a full blown PC, it deserves to be in the living room couch. At least to be shared with the family.
  • This makes me wonder if it would be possible to make external battery food the surface book clipboard? Or just how much performance it would lose if we create a maximum battery power option compared to how much battery time out would get?
  • The Surface Pro is a tablet that can double as a laptop. When folded to Draw Mode, the Surface Book can double as Tablet. However, Microsoft was careful not to call the detachable screen a tablet. It has no ports, can't be charged separately, and it's battery is designed for only light use. It is a clipboard primarily for sharing, not really for consuming. It really can't stand alone for very long and that was hardly the point. If you need that, get the Surface Pro.
  • i am sorry but you are wrong. on most of the things that you said, go double check all the facts that you gave.
  • Umm. No he isn't? Are you high? Or just argumentative?
  • Uhhh... Mark is pretty much dead on. Still wish it had more battery in tablet mode, but everything he said is very true.
  • You can charge it without the base. That point is off, but he has some valid points for sure.
  • The clipboard piece can charge separately from the keyboard they both use the same power cord
    (source: Played with it at Microsoft store)
  • I actually have the Book....and it is quite frankly, the most alluring and useful device I have ever owned. Just needs LTE and longer life in the super-light tablet part.
  • Here's my list of things I want in the next SB. 1) MicroSDXC in the Clipboard. Needed for OneDrive Sync. I don't want to keep static files on my precious NVME SSD. 2) Build into either the Clipboard or KB Dock the Wireless Xbox Adapter 3) Make a higer end KB Dock with a better dGPU with optional second HD. 4) Add 2 (or 3) USB-C 3.1 ports. Put one in the Clipboard and at least one in the KB Dock. 5) (Optional) Add a kickstand to the Clipboard if possible. or offer an accessory like the SP4 KB that can hold it upright. If Microsoft does these things, It will pretty much be perfect.
  • I always appreciate his input, I'm rather satisfied with the SP4/3 and he does the work so it is a valuable review. I do feel that Surface Book is very much Gen 1 and can definitely get better thru iteration... =D
  • I had the core i7/512/dgpu model. Used it for a week and went back to MS. Not because it wasn't awesome. It just wasn't solving a need for me that surface pro 4 doesn't solve already. Now I'll admit, if MS ships a 13.5 inch surface pro 5 or whatever, I'm buying it. And that was the thing: I didn't find surface book in any way better to surface pro 4 except on the screen. I still miss that gigantic slate of a monster on my couch web surf sessions. It may only last 3 hours but it was great. If only SP5 could do this!!!