which laptop should I purchase (Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, Dell XPS 13)?


Mar 15, 2013
Hi everyone,

So I was thinking of purchasing a laptop for school but I am unsure of which laptop to buy.
I was thinking something along the lines of surface book or surface pro 4.
I personally like the 2 in 1 design and was thinking of using the pen that comes with them to write all of my notes in class. I am in engineering and so I will be drawing a lot of diagrams and circuits so the pen will be used quite often.

With the student discount I can get with Microsoft I can purchase the Surface book (i5, 8 GB ram, 128 GB storage) for roughly the same price as the Surface pro 4 (i5, 8 GB ram, 256 GB storage) with keyboard. It will be around $1700 Cad (without tax).

I have read reviews of the Surface pro 4 and the main concern was the battery life. I am wondering if after all these updates to windows 10, does the Surface pro 4 still suffer from a short battery life of 4-5 hours with mixed usage compared to 9 hours given by Microsoft? Or have all the issues been fixed?

There is also the new Dell XPS 13 (i5, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage) for $1399 which is much cheaper but has no touch screen. I have also read great things about this laptop.

As you can see I am very torn between these 3 devices. I will mainly use these devices for school work, running programs such as MATLAB and watching videos here and there. Which one of the 3 devices should I get?

As a student (especially if you need to draw diagram and circuits, the Surface Pro 4 would be a better option. It also comes with OneNote which is a pretty good tool for students as you can use it to record a class lecture as well as record your notes while you are writing them during the lecture. You can playback the video either from the beginning or from a specific point in time during the lecture by doing a search for a key phrase. For example, if the class topic revolves around electromagnetism, but you want to skip to the part of the recorded lecture where the professor talks about Faraday's Law Of Induction, then you can simply search by "Faraday's Law", and you can play back the lecture from that point. If you drew a diagram during the lecture, but you are not sure what the purpose of the diagram was, then it should be possible to click on the diagram to playback the lecture from that point.

With regards to battery life... it seems to have improved, but still falls short of MS's claims. For example, I think they claimed about 8 or 9 hours of video playback, but recent views stated that video playback testing showed that the battery only lasted around 5 hours and 30 minutes or roughly a 45 minute improvement.

The Surface Book should also have OneNote, but I would check to verify. However, it is the most expensive option of the 3 and battery life is only decent at around 7 hours and 30 minutes when used as a single unit, and just under 4 hours for just the "clipboard".