Pros and cons: Our verdict on the new Surface Book

Long battery life and a healthy port selection help justify the heavy design.

Pros and cons: Our verdict on the new Surface Book

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Engadget|@engadget|December 3, 2016 4:30 PM

The 2016 Surface Book is a lot like last year's Surface Book, which we already really liked. So we recommend this one too, though the few flaws we noted last time remain as well. As ever, it's a well-built piece of kit, with a bright detachable screen whose 3:2 aspect ratio makes it comfortable to hold in tablet mode. The keyboard and trackpad are both still comfortable to use, and more than ever (ahem, Apple), we appreciate the port selection, which includes some full-sized USB ports and an SD card reader.


Microsoft Surface Book i7

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Microsoft Surface Book i7


  • Distinctive, well-constructed design

  • Impressively light as a tablet

  • Gorgeous screen
Pen input works well

  • Comfortable keyboard

  • Fast performance

  • Best-in-class battery life in laptop mode


  • Expensive
  • Even heavier than last year's model
  • "Fulcrum" hinge makes the laptop appear fatter when shut
  • Screen wobbles a bit in laptop mode
  • Slightly top heavy when you use it in your lap

Unfortunately, this year's configurations are even heavier, at 3.68 pounds, but the extra heft at least comes with longer battery life: 16 hours of video playback in laptop mode, and around four hours in tablet mode. (That last figure still ain't great, but it is nonetheless an improvement.) The screen also still wobbles in its hinge when you tap the touchscreen, and the whole thing is a little top heavy when you rest it in your lap.

Oh, and it's expensive: The newest models start at $2,399. For that money, you'll get great performance and mostly good ergonomics -- in other words, one of the best laptops on the market. Still, those insistent on a thinner, lighter design should either look elsewhere, or hold out till next year and see if Microsoft delivers something more portable.

Pros and cons: Our verdict on the new Surface Book