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I bought a Surface Book and I like it

If you read the title of this post and sang it to the tune of “I kissed a girl and I liked it,” you’re totally doing everything right in life.

Yes, I bought a Surface Book (but I hadn’t planned to)

A couple of weeks ago I was in Hawaii with one of my closest friends, Seth Stankowski. We worked for years together and have vacationed together a lot. It helps that Seth’s wife, Rachel, is also one of my wife’s very best friends in the world.

So while we were in Hawaii, Microsoft made all their announcements about upcoming products including the new Surface Pro and the Surface Book. Of course it was 5 or 6 in the morning when it happened, so I was asleep.

But later in the week, on a trip to the mall, we stopped by the Microsoft store – first Seth, and then me (upon his strong suggestion). He wanted me to check out the Surface Book.

Note: I had purchased the Surface, along with the Surface 2 and even the Surface 3. And each time, stopped using it pretty quickly because things just kept bothering me. In the case of the Surface 2 and 3 it was the keyboards (or keyboard covers).

So I really was kind of “over” the whole promise of Microsoft creating a compelling touchscreen solution that could also be used for heavy typing.

Until…the moment I touched the Surface Book.

Three things you notice when checking out the Surface Book

There is no getting around three things when you first check out a Surface Book.

First is the large screen. Wow. Seriously, it is a large and beautiful screen. And it detaches. Completely. It’s so much bigger than you expect while still being really light and easy to interact with.

When you detach the screen, you’re holding onto a great big iPad (I know, it’s horrible to use that as the comparison – but you know what I mean). It’s big, bright, and light. And it comes off and gives you a perfect touchscreen device.

Second is the amazing keyboard. I’m typing this entire post on my new Surface Book. To be clear, that’s about ten times more words typed than ever on all my other Surface Pros. Because I couldn’t stand those keyboards.

I’ll tell you another thing – this isn’t some Bluetooth keyboard. It’s a fully connected keyboard that makes it feel like I’m typing on a serious laptop (which I am).

This is the thing that normally makes me most frustrated with iPads. And it’s not the iPad’s fault per se. The keyboards are normally third party products that connect via Bluetooth and they suck.

Nothing bothers me more than having the keyboard suddenly disconnect because of some Bluetooth issue.

Well, after a full day of typing, this thing works great. (Oh, and I still have 65% of the battery left because all I’ve done is browse the web and type all afternoon.)

The third thing is the touchscreen. Now, give me a second to explain, because I know you’re thinking, “duh.” But here’s the thing. In years of working on laptops, my arms are at rest on the desk, and my fingers are on the keyboard. That’s the mode we’re all in.

So it takes you a second to realize this is a computer that let’s you interact directly with the touchscreen.

I know, this isn’t the first computer to have that. But it’s the first like this. It’s a serious laptop that has touch, while also letting me detach and re-attach the screen and use it like an iPad. It’s seriously a bit crazy.

But you feel it right away when you want to do something and you realize you can just touch the screen.

Is there a downside?

I know you’re probably thinking I’m going to say Windows 10 is the downside. But I’ve used Windows computers for years, even though the last decade has been almost all MacOS on my boxes.

I don’t have much of an issue. Of course, this is day one and who knows if there are some apps I’ve grown so accustomed to that I won’t know what to do. And my desktop is still a Mac Pro.

But no, it’s not the OS.

You might wonder if it’s the weight. But it’s not. This thing is pretty light. And even lighter if you’re just bringing the screen around to show someone else.

No. I’ll tell you what my biggest frustration was – which I solved pretty quickly.

I started by using the new browser, Edge. And that lasted all of 20 minutes when I found out that it didn’t support add-ons, which meant I couldn’t install LastPass on it.

So I installed Google Chrome, added LastPass, and I could log into sites (like this one) after that.

But I consider that a larger symptom that Microsoft is still working thru. They released a new browser that didn’t yet do what everyone already knew it needed to do. Not the way to do software, but that’s just me.

What I can tell you is that more than 800 words into this post, and after tons of other emails, I’m still in love with this keyboard. And this screen. And the battery life.

So yes, I bought a Surface Book, and I liked it.

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