Microsoft Surface Book i7 with Performance Base 2016 Review


Lisa Gade reviews the latest Microsoft Surface Book model, the 2016 Performance Base with a much more powerful NVIDIA GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5 graphics processor and a higher capacity battery. This is the new top of the line option for the Surface Book, and the price starts at $2,399 for the Core i7-6600U tablet with 8 gigs of RAM, a 256 gig PCIe NVMe SSD and NVIDIA GTX 965M graphics. The models introduced in 2015 are still available, this new offering simply sits above them in price, GPU performance and battery life.

** Read our full written review here:

The clipboard (tablet) section remains the same, but unfortunately, Microsoft won’t sell you a performance base separately if you wish to upgrade your existing Book. The 3.6 lb. laptop with detachable tablet has a dual core 15 watt Intel Skylake 6th generation CPU (same as earlier Surface Books), included N-Trig pen, Marvell Avastar dual band WiFi 802.11ac with Bluetooth, a 5MP Windows Hello front camera, 8MP rear camera, two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, mini DisplayPort and an MS dock connector (again all the same as the original Book). Graphics performance doubles with the GTX 965M vs. the old 940M equivalent dGPU making video editing and light gaming more viable, and the laptop now has a total of 81 Whr battery capacity for long battery life.



  1. Can you please install a CGI+CAD workflow related software and see how they run? it'll really help many of us in the design world. For example you could install 3dsMax and Photoshop, and say AutoCAD and see how they all run when open together with complex models and large photos. If it can run those things smoothly together, with some complex 3d model in 3dsMax, then Microsoft just got itself 1000s of new costumers, if no, well, it's just a in-between thing for now.

  2. @Lisa big fan of your videos. I have a question for you, do u believe I should expect and wait for a surface book 2 to come out any time soon? I have decided to buy surface book but skeptical what if they launch the new model in 2 to 3 months.

  3. I want to buy a tablet-laptop hybrid. But I cant make up my mind between surface pro 4 (256 GB, i5, 8GB) and surface book (128 GB, i5, 8GB). Both are under $1300. I don't want to shell out a premium amount of $2000 as I won't be doing video editing or gaming on it. Mainly typing document and reading pdf and some other office work. I just feel like the 128 GB on the Book is very tight, but if I get a 256 GB pro 4, will I be sacrificing performance and laptop like productivity?

  4. For those who whine about the fact that it's overpriced; at the Surface Book is a hybrid laptop that can work as a tablet as well with a touch screen that also works with the pen, not to mention the great number of ports available on it. Now compare it to the more expensive 2016 MacBook Pro 15 inch and you will know which is best value for money.

  5. I love this machine so much except the fact that you can't open it up more than that angle. Every single time I try this machine at the microsoft store I stand at the desk and try to open it up more only realizing that that is as far as it goes. It really made my heart sank. I know that you can pull the screen off and reverse it for more angle but I won't be able to use the keyboard doing that. Sometimes when you just need to look at it standing (which surprisingly happens a lot), that is gonna make you feel uncomfortable. But overall I think Microsoft absolutely nailed everything about this 2 in 1 machine, and the pricing seems reasonable when you look around and see no other like this one.

  6. I would like to buy the surface book, however I can't decide which edition (i5 with/without D-GPU or i7)
    Can somebody tell me a bit about the differences in battery life between the three editions?
    Obviously the i5 model without the gpu wins this, but how big is the difference?

  7. I just got a maxed out surface performance base laptop and I love it! Upgraded from my 2012 MacBook Pro 13 inch. I was so disappointed with the latest apple offerings. Yes, this is 2x the amount of a new 13 inch, but it offers so many more USEFUL features ahem (no touchbar) and is a wonderful tablet as well. Who knows, maybe windows or google will win me over with a smartphone better than my iPhone soon enough. Step it up apple.

  8. Lisa,I see that your model has 312mb write speed. However I saw in another channel it was 1200mb.He was using i7,16GB,1TB model.

    Do you think the write speed of the ssd used in surface book performance base depends on the size of it?

    ssd write speed is a deciding factor for me if I want to spend big bucks 🙂

    thanks in advance

  9. Hi Lisa, Could you please do a smackdown between this and the new macbook pro 13'? I am confused about whether the battery life is really 14 hour? The tablet battery really lasts 3 hours if I really work on it? I am a software professional and would use it for programming. A comparison would be great help! Thank a lot!

  10. Hey Lisa, I wanted to know is the Surface Book i5 with the dedicated graphics is still worth it. What about the Dell XPS 13 with the Kaby Lake? I really like the dell, but I don't know if I will like or hate it because I have heard that a lot of people have been having problems with their xps 13, do you think the new ones solve the issues and is a relatively bug free laptop? Or should I go with the Surface book?

  11. I love Lisa's reviews! I have a 2012 Macbook Pro 15 but I am not sure the Surfacebook could replace it. I video edit does anyone think this would be a good alternative? The dual core vs the quad core in my 15 does concern me.

  12. Having the processor in the screen half and the GPU in the keyboard half is just such a great idea thermally. Most laptops with a 965M are much heavier 15 inch models. Even without the touchscreen or tablet parts, I hope others start doing this just for the higher allowable GPU TDP.


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