There's a review out there that described the machine as a "beautiful psychotic girlfriend". I can totally sympathize. The feeling of the SB's hardware remains impeccable. The fit and finish is great, I enjoy typing on the keyboard more and more and the trackpad is sound. The hinge and the detachable screen are solid, I have no concerns about durability. I have to commend the speaker design, too. As a result of the 2-in-1 design, the speakers have to follow the screen unit and so they face directly to the user, hidden to the left and right of the screen. Most laptops would hide speakers on the underside of the machine which often muffles the sound.
However, the reliability of the machine leaves a lot to be desired.
Detatching the screen seems to be ok but reattaching the screen has about a 50% chance of causing the computer to lock up.
Waking from sleep, the keyboard and mouse are sometimes inoperable. I have to close the lid and reopen it before it will work again. Bear in mind, I am setup for the lid not to sleep if it is closed.
My screen will occassionally start wavering in brightness, despite me having Adaptive Brightness turned off. I have checked all my power settings to see if I missed something that might be causing it but to no avail. I know Intel has some further settings in this regard but on my install, there is no Intel control panel for me to access any other settings.
I will occassionally have the Auto-Rotate notification flash repeatedly and without stopping for no apparent reason. I have only managed to fix this by restarting the machine.
Finally, and perhaps most distressing of all: I continue to wonder if there is a problem with temperature control for the machine. In my previous Surface Book, which I exchanged for this current one, I was installing Adobe apps via Creative Cloud, syncing my Dropbox files and also playing videos off a portable external HD hooked up via USB. I couldn't complete this process because either the USB drive would stop responding and take the entire system with it, or the machine would just freeze.
I noticed that the machine was getting extremely hot during this process. Adobe installs can be quite intensive on a machine. The installer packages are downloaded in compressed form and then decompressed and installed. At the same time, Dropbox's syncing puts a lot of load on a machine's IO. Playing video is further load on top of that.
I exchanged my SB on the 18th and started with a new SB, which seemd to have an incomplete setup from the factory. It did not boot to the normal First Use screens, but prompted a username and password for "Other User" that meant I was totally locked out of the system. I had to reset and restore the machine myself. I previously mentioned my first SB would randomly freeze. This is a documented issue, acknowledged by Microsoft and apparently fixed in a patch that came out on the 18th. I did all the updates to the new machine including the latest Microsoft patches before my own personal setup. I wonder if the first machine was fine but just needed the patches. Searching for answers online, I found reports of people exchanging their machines and apparently being free of the freezing issue as a result, though I can't confirm it.
I went through the same routine of Adobe installs, Dropbox syncing and playing video. Again, the system got very hot, but thanks to the patches the machine did not freeze. It However, my Adobe installs would fail, citing corrupt data, and my video would also stop playing after a while. Windows would show "Waiting for a response" from Explorer windows and from Media Player and eventually all I could do was turn the machine off and start all over again. I eventually got through it all by doing each task individually, thus reducing CPU and IO load.
I haven't had a chance to run benchmark programs that might stress the machine in a more controlled way, I will try and get round to it next week. I wasted enough time trying to get this machine operational in the first place!
I will end this on a positive note - the power adapter is very nicely designed. It's very compact and has a built in USB port, so you can charge your phone without using up a valuable USB port on the computer. Hurray.