It’s beginning to look a lot like Surface

A

ctually I only wanted to write a short review of my latest acquisition: the Surface Headphones. Then things got a bit out of hand and I decided to include my whole Surface environment.

Overall Setup

T

he latest addition to my Surface family are the headphones. Just before that I got the Surface Precision mouse and ever since they were released, I have been using a Surface Pro (1 and 3), which are not in the picture. My go-to device at the moment is the Surface Book and – when at the office – the Surface Keyboard.

Note that I am not religiously advocating for Microsoft devices or against any others. It’s just that I am very comfortable in the whole MS ecosystem and see no reason to step out of it.

Surface Headphones

  • Unpacking experience
  • Travel case (my Surface Precision mouse also fits in there nicely)
  • Active noise cancellation works almost too well; world seems louder than before when taking the headphones off.
  • Battery life appr. 12-15 hours in calls or listening to music
  • Connected to multiple devices in parallel (for me the PC and the mobile)
  • Touch controls work flawlessly
  • Cortana tells you
    • remaining battery life and
    • what devices you are connected to, when turning on the headphones
  • Excellent call quality (both directions)
  • Have to list the price, though one does get good value for it (330 GBP, when I bought them)
  • Size; I don’t think my head is particularly large, but I have to extend the headband completely to put them on
  • Sound quality when listening to music is good, but clearly not the focus for these headphones

Surface Book

O

verall the Surface Book is gorgeous, powerful, and a joy to work with. I have been working with it for almost two years now and the initial concerns about the hinge (aka ‘dynamic fulcrum’) loosening over time or dirt getting stuck in there proved to be unwarranted.

System Details

  • CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6600U @ 2.60GHz 2.81GHz
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • SSD: 1 TB
  • 13″ screen
  • Gorgeous design
  • High quality manufacturing
  • Durable material (no signs of wear and tear after 2 years of constant use and travelling)
  • Love the display (3000×2000 pixels)
  • High versatility by turning around the display. I frequently find myself using the Surface Pen and doing sketches and/or annotations during calls with screen share.
  • Performance wise this is a power house
  • Battery life is very good and even after 2 years I get 6-8 hours of ‘office work’ (i.e. mails, internet, office apps) out of it.
  • The only thing that seems to give me grief occasionally is Windows Hello. Not sure if is a hardware or software issue, but after going into standby and opening up again, the camera seems not to be available at times.
  • And yes, it is a premium device at a premium price.

Surface Precision Mouse

  • Against initial concerns the 3 thumb buttons can easily be reached and I don’t accidentally hit the wrong one.
  • Configuration of all buttons and general mouse behavior is VERY flexible and easy via the ‘Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center’
  • Moves smoothly and precisely. In fact using it at its highest resolution setting (3200 dpi), which makes sense on high resolution displays (e.g. 4K monitors or my Surface Book), I found myself forced to reduce the pointer speed for the first time ever.
  • I have not tried using it with more than one device in parallel, but imagine it is a useful feature.
  • Personally, I find the mouse to be a bit on the light side. Really prefer heavier ones. My ideal mouse back in the day was the MS Sidewinder with all the weights loaded.

Surface Keyboard

  • Excellent haptic feedback
  • Even typing blindly – which I do – all keys can be easily reached without awkward fumbling around
  • Very easy on the eye
  • Typing sound is somewhat loud
  • I simply hate the fact that the keyboard is not background lit
  • After not using it for a few minutes, it takes a bit for the keyboard to react again. I.e. when I start typing, the characters don’t show up immediately but with a delay of half a second or so.

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