Microsoft Surface Book

As a student studying design in IMA, the idea of drawing tablets has always been appealing. Sure, I have a ‘drawing tablet’, but it’s a traditional, cheap, drawing-pad type with no digital display. While it is handy, the slight disconnect that occurs while drawing on the pad and looking at the screen leaves the user wanting more. I dreamed of the day I could afford a professional drawing tablet, the kind where the tablet is built into the screen. I imagined it would feel more natural to see the lines show up where you touch with the pen.

On our first day, we were shown the beautiful Cintiq monitors at the back of room 422. I know I wasn’t alone in that my instant thought was, “I NEED to try that!” After trying out the screen, my next thought was, “I NEED one of these!” Unfortunately as students, none of us really have the extra 3 Grand available just to purchase a monitor, never mind the tower with all the hardware capable of running the programs we use for designing. Most of us were just concerned with getting a laptop so that we can complete all our work and coding.

There is a product, produced by Microsoft, that offers a (somewhat) more affordable compromise of the two; the Surface Book.

This product functions as both a laptop and a tablet. The keyboard and screen detach at the hinge, allowing the user to use just the tablet portion, and then reattach to use as a functional laptop. The screen can also be attached ‘backwards’, creating a clipboard style drawing surface without losing battery life by detaching the screen. The screen carries about 25% of the Surface Book’s total battery power, allowing about 3 hours of use on its own.

Image result for surface book clipboard


The keyboard contains the other 75% of the battery, as well as the graphics card and processor. This means that when in ‘laptop mode’, the Surface Book is capable of gaming and rendering. The tablet portion is still capable of completing the drawing tasks in programs like Photoshop or Gimp. The stylus for the tablet is also magnetic and attaches conveniently to the side of the screen for storage and quick access.

Some people say that the gap between the keyboard and the tablet, when closed, is unsightly. I rather like this, however, because it creates a slightly angled surface. This would act as a small easel to tilt the screen towards the user when it’s laying on a table.

While it’s not exactly cheap, the Surface Book is about $1500, half the price of the Cintiq monitor. Personally I would love something like this down the road. This model came out in 2015, and I can only imagine what improvements will be made by the time I graduate/ can afford one!

5 thoughts on “Microsoft Surface Book

  1. I agree with you there, there’s always been moments where I’ll look at a drawing tablet and think to myself “I really need one.” I can use the mouse of the computer just as I would with a pencil, but using the mouse takes a long time to actually complete a digital drawing or concept which I’d rather use to sketch out a new character on one of my sketch books. But of course I’d love to always be able to easily recreate them on the computer or by using a drawing tablet. The thought of being able to easily make another character design fast by just switching some colors and designing different clothes with the same model that’s drawn just copied and placed side by side would be awesome. Yeah the price is a real jaw dropper as well, as there isn’t really any cheap ones but the ones you are able to get, I’ve tried to work with one of the tablets that’s just a keyboard but I have to see where I’m drawing, I can’t stand having to look back and forth making sure I know where my pencil is going. A tablet like this would make a good use, and easier to haul around for sure.

  2. There has been many different inventions like this in the past, but not quite in depth. I like the idea of the keyboard and screen carrying different percentages of the battery. I also like that the tablet is capable of completing the drawing tasks. It is unfortunate that the resources in our chosen field have to be so expensive. But it kind of cool to think that we are going to be up to date on all the new programs and devices.

  3. I am thinking of buying this because I want to improve on my sketches. Back in high school, I was the only one that sketched a person while the others sketched out animals. I should wait awhile for the price to go down. I wonder what new upgrades are in for this product for 2017. Who knows if the college has these in the classroom, someday? Will we see these in Wal-Mart, best buy, or any other store in Canada? Only time will tell within the next few years.

  4. The Surface Book is definitely something we, as designers, will someday hope to add to our offices. It would certainly allow us to create designs in a more natural form. I agree with Courtney that it is a shame that the things that we need in order to develop our craft are so expensive. Oh well, I guess that gives us even more reason to become rich and successful. Great job on this blog, Alyssa.

  5. No doubt I would love to have The Surface Book, seems like a big positive to me! I’ve never owned my own digital drawing pad but I have been able to use one. And I would sometimes experience a tiny lag that managed to mess up a whole sketch or drawing I’ve been working on. And the price, of course, is out of my budget, but hopefully one day i’ll be able to purchase one for myself. Thanks for the great insight on this product!

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