Category Archives: Surface Book

Surface Book Performance Base

Through a surprising set of circumstances I ended up replacing my Surface Book (512 GB / Intel Core i7 / – 16 DB / dGPU) with a new Surface Book with Performance Base (same specifications for the rest).

I thought there was something funny about the screen on my 16 month old Surface Book.  I noticed a yellow tinge about 1/2” in from the edge, all the way around. It was most noticeable against a white background.

Fortunately, I had everything backed up when I took it in to the Microsoft Store.  I talked to the support person about the discolouration. He looked at it, brought someone else over to look at it, the he held up the clipboard (screen only part)  at eye-level, parallel to the floor. 

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— stock picture of the clipboard–

We could all see that it was bulging in the middle.  Okay, so the diagnosis was instant. The battery was failing.

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They decided to swap out the unit for a new one on the spot. The better news for me, they only had a Surface Book with Performance Base.  I paid the difference and walked away with a new machine. Of course, I had to install all my desktop applications again but 24 hours later, I’m pretty much functional.

I’m interested to see how much I’ll notice the difference with the Performance Base.

See: A Guided Tour of the Surface Book with Performance Base

May Updates for Surface Book

May 2016 updates

The following updates will be listed when you check for updates in Windows or view your Windows update history after installing the updates:

  • Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) AVStream Camera 2500
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) Control Logic
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) CSI2 Host Controller
  • Intel driver update for Intel(R) Imaging Signal Processor 2500
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Microsoft Camera Front
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Microsoft Camera Rear
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Microsoft IR Camera Front

When Surface updates are provided via the Windows Update service, they are delivered in stages to Surface customers. As a result, not every Surface will receive the update at the same time, but the update will be delivered to all devices. If you have not received the update then please manually check Windows Update later.

  • Surface Camera drivers set (v30.10586.7035.1976, driver date 4/21/2016) improves Windows Hello stability.
  • Intel(R) AVStream Camera 2500 driver update (v30.10586.7035.1976)
  • Intel(R) Control Logic driver update (v30.10586.7035.1976)
  • Intel(R) CSI2 Host Controller driver update (v30.10586.7035.1976)
  • Intel(R) Imaging Signal Processor 2500 driver update (v30.10586.7035.1976)
  • Microsoft Camera Front driver update (v30.10586.7035.1976)
  • Microsoft Camera Rear driver update (v30.10586.7035.1976)
  • Microsoft IR Camera Front driver update (v30.10586.7035.1976)

For other models see: Install Surface and Windows Updates

April Updates for Surface Book

April 2016 updates

The following updates will be listed when you check for updates in Windows or view your Windows update history after installing the updates:

  • Microsoft driver update for Surface System Aggregator Firmware
  • Microsoft driver update for Surface UEFI
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
  • Intel(R) Corporation driver update for Intel(R) Display Audio
  • NVIDIA driver update for NVIDIA GeForce GPU
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) AVStream Camera 2500
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) Control Logic
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) CSI2 Host Controller
  • Intel driver update for Intel(R) Imaging Signal Processor 2500
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Microsoft Camera Front
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Microsoft Camera Rear
  • Intel Corporation driver update for Microsoft IR Camera Front
  • Microsoft driver update for Surface Camera Windows Hello
  • Microsoft driver update for Surface Dock Integration
  • Microsoft driver update for Surface Dock Firmware Update

Note

When Surface updates are provided via the Windows Update service, they are delivered in stages to Surface customers. As a result, not every Surface will receive the update at the same time, but the update will be delivered to all devices. If you have not received the update then please manually check Windows Update later.

Surface Book and a 4K monitor

With 4K TVs coming down in price I was curious to see if I could use a 4K TV as a monitor with my Surface Book.

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For this discussion I’m using the UHD-1 definition
4K is  3840 x 2160 pixels
That’s the equivalent of four 1920 x 1080 monitors.

Why would anyone want to do this? Well in my case it was because I was already running four 24” monitors with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. When I came across a great deal on a 48 inch 4K TV it held the promise to get the equivalent of my four monitors all on one screen.

I had already shopped around and tried a couple of those 21:9 monitors. These are 3440 x 1440 and there are several of these 34” monitors..  The result was less than I wanted because there wasn’t enough screen real estate to replace my four monitors. 
(3440 x 1440 vs. 3840 x 2160)

I had already tried several 4K monitors and found that the Surface Book could run with fine in Duplicate mode (3000 x 2000) on both the Surface Book and the external monitor, but in Extend Mode, I couldn’t get the external monitor to run 3840 x 2160. I have since found out that not all mini-display port to HDMI adapters are equal.

In my hunt to find just the right combination I found a retail store that was willing to let me try different 4K TVs who happened to have a mini-display port to HDMI adapter that worked.   I got a 48” curved screen TV.  Got it back to my place and it wouldn’t run at full resolution.  The difference – I wasn’t using the same mini-display port to HDMI adapter, so I went back to the store to get one of theirs.  And it all worked.

This is the TV that I got. This is information NOT a recommendation. It’s too soon for that.  
Samsung UN48JU6700 Curved 48-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Battery Indicator in the Notifications Area

This is a Windows 10 thing, not a Surface thing I know, but if you’ve got a Surface you watch the Battery Icon. It’s more fun with a Surface Book though.

This morning I glanced down at the notifications area to check on the status of the battery. The Battery icon was gone, and so too was the option to customize the hidden icons.

If this happens to you, you can click in the Notifications area ^ “Show Hidden Icons” and drag the Battery icon (or any of the others) back to the Notifications area.

In this video you can see me move the Battery Icon from the Notifications Area to the Hidden Icons area, them move it around in there. Then finally I move it back to the Notifications Area.

The Surface Book Has Arrived

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And how could you not make this association?
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First impression – Microsoft has hit the sweet spot! Much though I hate to admit it, I’m a little tired of being hunched over my Surface Pro 3 when I’m in desktop mode, and the Surface Book is just that little bit larger, and it makes a huge difference.

In my workflow I absolute must have the ability to use my main device as a tablet for taking notes with a pen, or sketching out ideas, and making mind maps. The Surface Pro 3 did an excellent job of that and I’ve been very happy with it for fourteen months.  But it’s always felt like a bit of a compromise when I was in desktop mode. The Type Cover was fine when I was out and about, and until I started typing on the Surface Book, I had no complaints.  But Microsoft, you did a great job on the Surface Book keyboard, and now when I switch back I realize what I was missing.

Why get a Surface Book when my Surface Pro 3 was doing a stellar job as my main machine? People have been asking me that and now that I’ve got it I can tell them:

The larger screen size DOES matter. I can tile four windows on the screen and they are all comfortably readable.  (Hint: Windows+Left, Windows+Up puts the current window in the top left corner. Open another application and use Windows+Left, Windows+Down and that application will sit in the lower left corner. Do the same on the right side and you’ve got four windows up). I wish that I had found these keyboard shortcuts sooner. Trying to do that with a touchpad is tricky. Here’s a screen shot of what I’m seeing right now.
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I think Microsoft got it right with the 80:20 idea that many people will use the Surface Book 80% of the time as a laptop and 20% of the time as a tablet.  I might be a little heavier on the tablet side of things but much of that extra time, I’ll probably flip the screen over and keep it attached to the keyboard for the prolonged battery life.

Why get the Surface Book instead of a Surface Pro 4?

The point a which you can make a direct comparison is when you configure a machine with

  • Core i5 / 8 GB RAM / 256 MB of storage

Comparing the  Surface Book to a Surface Pro 4 with a Type Cover, the difference is about $370 USD.  I’m seeing a lot of value for the difference.  You’re getting:

  • Larger screen. That is physically larger, and higher resolution.
  • More battery life. It’s so nice to glance down at the battery indicator and NOT have to think about managing your life around the battery.
  • A device that you can fully use and type on in your lap or in a car or other cramped or awkward situations.
  • The keyboard is so good that I won’t need to have a second, full-sized keyboard for prolonged work sessions at a desk (as I did with the Surface Pro).

I still like to work with two screens up for production/development, and I’m keeping the Surface Pro 3. It’s a perfect complement to the Surface Book. I’m using Mouse Without Borders to allow me to do all my typing on the Surface Book.    

I’m really liking the Surface Book so far. It’s a joy. 

Surface Pro 4 Adapter for Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

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I’m a big fan of the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station, but the Surface Pro 4 is a little thinner. You can use the Surface Pro 4 in the older style docking station but it’s not an exact fit. There’s an adapter available for free.  Get it at the Microsoft Store (call ahead to make sure that they have stock), or order it through Send my Surface in for Service

The new style Surface Dock is a completely different approach. Much more portable and it works with Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.

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Source:How to Obtain the Surface Pro 4 Adapter for Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

Surface Book

I finally got my hands on a Surface Book. It’s a work of art and it looks like the device that could actually replace everything else around here.

I was hesitant to pre-order it until I could see it first hand, experience detaching the clipboard (tablet portion), holding, standing, walking, writing and doing all the things I do with my Surface devices.  I was concerned that it might be too big, too bulky, too heavy.  It is none of these things. It may just be perfect.

If you’re like me you spend a lot of time with your devices, and the experience is at least as much visceral as it is intellectual. And that’s why didn’t pre-order a Surface Book. I needed to see, feel and use it, especially the pen in order to being to understand how it would fit into my lifestyle. After all, it’s going to a near constant companion.

And now that I’ve had some time with the demo unit (Core i7 16 gig) at a local Microsoft store, I can’t wait for my Surface Book to arrive. Yes I pre-ordered it.

I’ve had laptops and tablet PCs from 17” down to 7” and as time has gone by, I’ve struggled with the conflicting needs: power, portability, screen size, battery life. The Surface Pro 3 (Core i7 8 gigs 512). is as close to perfection as I’ve found up to this point. As a tablet it is brilliant, on a desktop and in the docking station it does most of what I need, and the only places that it felt wanting were screen size, and the laptop experience. And yes, I’ve wished for more RAM memory. I think that 16 gigs will do fine thank you.

Looking at the Surface Book, it hits all the points on my wish list with at big bright screen, and an overall form factor that will still fit into my lifestyle. It’s a little heavier than the Surface Pro 3 with keyboard, but think that I can forgive that if I really can leave the power adapter behind. 

The Surface Book does not lean back as far as the Surface Pro 3, but since you can flip the screen around the writing on a desk experience is fine.

I prefer a little angle with I’m writing or drawing on a desk and this looks like it will work just fine.

Here’s a nice video review that lets’ you see the Surface Book from all sides.
Surface Book – It really is this good.

and

Surface Book at the Microsoft Store