Hardware

​Microsoft Surface Book: The smart person's guide

This guide describes the specifications and special features of the Microsoft Surface Book and explains who the device is designed for and why it matters.

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Image: Microsoft News

A modern mobile enterprise workforce is only as good as the tools it wields. When it comes to the best-of-the-best features of a notebook/tablet hybrid computer running under the Windows 10 platform, the Microsoft Surface Book is the archetype device. Microsoft designed the Surface Book as an example for customers and third-party vendors of what a hybrid computer could be, both in terms of computing power and features.

This TechRepublic smart person's guide reveals the Surface Book's technical specifications, special features, overall capabilities, price, who its designed for, and why it matters.

SEE: All of TechRepublic's smart person's guides

Executive summary

  • What is the Microsoft Surface Book? The Microsoft Surface Book is the current pinnacle of performance and mobility for Windows 10 hybrid notebook/tablets.
  • Why does the Microsoft Surface Book matter? The device establishes the gold standard for hybrid notebook/tablet devices running the Windows 10 operating system.
  • Who does the Microsoft Surface Book affect? Users requiring power, mobility, and interface versatility that goes beyond the standard keyboard and touchpad should consider the Surface Book.
  • When is the Microsoft Surface Book available? The Microsoft Surface Book is available now.
  • Where do I get the Microsoft Surface Book? The Microsoft Store is the best place to get the Surface Book configured to meet your specific needs.
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Image: Microsoft News

What is the Microsoft Surface Book?

The Microsoft Surface Book is the standard bearer for what a high-performance hybrid notebook/tablet running Windows 10 can and should be. With a 6th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU and a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU with 1GB GDDR5 memory, the Surface Book is unique in its built-in computing power for this category. And with standard RAM capacity of either 8GB or 16GB, the Surface Book can handle the computational requirements of most desktop power users.

SEE: 15 essential support sites for Windows admins (Tech Pro Research)

Microsoft has added several new configurations to the line of Surface Books available from the Microsoft Store. These new, more powerful machines feature an innovative technology called Performance Base, which promises to deliver better performance with a battery life of up to 16 hours per charge. The newest configurations ship with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GPU.

Specifications for the Microsoft Surface Book

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With its innovative hinge, the Surface Book can be used in one of three configurations: laptop, clipboard, or canvas. In the laptop configuration, the Surface Book uses the standard keyboard, touchpad, and touch screen interface. However, in the laptop mode, the Surface Book also has access to a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU and an extra set of batteries.

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Image: Microsoft News

In clipboard mode, the screen section of the Surface Book separates from the keyboard section and the device becomes a tablet, dependent on the touch screen interface. The PixelSense display also allows users to take notes with the Surface Pen and have those notes translated into useable text.

The canvas mode is made possible by the unique hinge system. Turn the screen section of the Surface Book around and then reattach it to the keyboard section and you have a drawing surface that no other notebook/tablet hybrid can deliver. Using the combination of the Surface Pen and the PixelSense display, users can draw and sketch images without having their creativity limited by a digital medium.

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Why does the Microsoft Surface Book matter?

The Microsoft Surface Book is noteworthy for two reasons. First, this device establishes a standard for all other manufacturers of notebook/tablet hybrid devices running the Windows 10 operating system. With the Surface Book, Microsoft has established the luxury high-end performance standard for the category. It is the device all other devices are measured against.

Second, the Surface Book is currently the most powerful, most feature-rich hybrid notebook/tablet on the market. If you truly need a powerful hybrid personal computer running Windows 10 that is also mobile, you have to consider the Surface Book. If money is no object, it is likely your best choice.

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Who does the Microsoft Surface Book affect?

The Microsoft Surface Book is designed for mobile users who require extensive computational power. However, with the unique hinge structure, the device also appeals to creative people looking for an interface that goes beyond the mere keyboard and touchpad. The Surface Book should appeal to users working in artistic design, architecture, and other creative endeavors.

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When is the Microsoft Surface Book available?

The Microsoft Surface Book is available now.

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Where can I get the Microsoft Surface Book?

The Microsoft Surface Book is available in many technical configurations from the Microsoft Store and several other vendors, like Amazon, Best Buy, and Newegg. The Surface Book with the most basic specifications sells for $1,499, while the device with the highest performance sells for $3,299.

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About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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