I'm an avid Surface Book user. It's my main laptop that I take everywhere with me. It's been my main laptop since it came to the UK in early 2016, and I've been using it every since. I absolutely love my Surface Book, more so than any other laptop I've ever used. Yesterday, however, my new Surface Laptop arrived.
Here are my first impressions.
I've been pretty open about my thoughts on the Surface Book. But I don't love everything about it. I dislike the hinge when closed because it makes the laptop feel thicker than it actually is. I also dislike how heavy it is compared to other Ultrabooks, and above all, I dislike how top-heavy the Surface Book is. Apart from those three things, the Surface Book is basically perfect.
I've been using the Surface Laptop for about a day at this point, and it looks like Microsoft has fixed those three issues I had with the Surface Book. It's not top heavy, which is great for "lapability." It doesn't have that silly hinge design, meaning it's super thin when closed, and it's also not as heavy as the Surface Book, which is another bonus, especially considering I travel everywhere with my laptop.
So, from the get-go, Microsoft appears to have fixed the problems I had with the Surface Book. Literally all of them. I'm not an avid pen user, and I almost never detach the screen on my Surface Book, so the Surface Laptop missing this capability is a non-issue for me. I will admit, however, I prefer the cold aluminum base on the Surface Book compared to the Surface Laptop's new Alcantara base.
I don't dislike the Alcantara. In fact, I think it looks incredible. I just don't particularly like how it feels. I much prefer the premium metal over fabric. I've only had the Laptop for a day, so I can't really comment on whether the Alcantara stains. So far it's held up tremendously well, but I'm not exactly messy when around my laptop.
Of course, the Surface Laptop also comes bundled with Windows 10 S, which I haven't hung around with for too long yet. I could get by with Windows 10 S, but I'd much rather have the freedom to install programs from outside the Store if I ever need to. The upgrade to Windows 10 Pro is free until the end of the year, so I took advantage of that straight away.
My Surface Laptop is the Intel Core i5 with 8GB Ram and 256GB Storage. My Surface Book is also the Intel Core i5 with 8GB RAM, but the Book only came with 128GB storage at that spec configuration. The Laptop is rocking an Intel chip Kaby Lake over Skylake, and it is incredibly fast waking up from sleep and logging in with Windows Hello. In fact, it's much faster than my Surface Book.
The Kaby Lake chips also improve sleep, so when listening to music I can close the lid, have the Laptop go into "sleep" mode, but continue to play music. This is similar to how tablets or phones work. I'm not sure how useful this will be on a laptop, but it's good to have nonetheless.
The Surface Laptop has a slightly lower-resolution screen compared to the Surface Book — 2256 x 1504 versus 3000 x 2000 on the Book. Side by side, I can notice a slight difference. However, when using the Laptop on its own, it's almost like there's no difference. The screen is crisp and clear, and bright too. I much prefer the screen on the Surface Laptop, because it looks crisp and clear while also benefitting from longer battery thanks to the lower-resolution.
Both Surface Book and Surface Laptop speakers are tremendous, with the Surface Laptop coming out on top with louder and "bass-ier" sounding speakers. On the Laptop, the speakers are hidden under the keyboard, which I don't particularly mind apart from one small thing: When listening to music loud, it vibrates the keyboard, which makes your fingers feel all funny.
Microsoft's Surface Laptop may be my new go-to laptop. I'm going to continue using it over the next few days and weeks to really get a feel for it before I make any final decisions. Moving away from my Surface Book will be a big deal because I really love it.
That said, the Laptop fixes all the complaints I had about the Surface Book, and that is a very good start.