Embracing New Technology. Reviewing my Microsoft Surface Book

I would like to preface this by saying that I am not a super "techy person". I know how to do what I need to do and then I learn as I go. 

We recently had a big electronic shake up in our house. We had some technology that was outdated or not functioning correctly, we had some needs that changed, we had some storage issues and we had some glitchy programs.

My husband and I both use our computers for work. Him for research and teaching. Me for art, design and marketing.

We decided to take a trip to Best Buy "just to look" (famous last words). We had some loose ideas and a few directions we could go, as far as what would be replaced, what could be upgraded and who would get what, between my husband and myself.

It was a successful trip and this is what we decided. My husband took my old MacBook Pro, our oldest son got my husbands older MacBook Pro and I ended up with a shiny, huge new laptop (the HP Envy) with a special graphics card and other features we thought would help with my art and design business.

I began setting it up and transferring everything over, a task I do not enjoy. It wasn't long before I started having issues. Overall the battery life was terrible and it seemed like it wouldn't hold a charge for more than a couple of hours. For me, the interface was clunky and not intuitive, my programs didn't run smoothly and it was very glitchy. Physically it was huge which I thought would be a plus for creating artwork but it was so heavy it actually hurt my legs when I would work with it on my lap and it was too big to tote around. 

I hated it.

Back it went and we widened our scope.

We didn't know anything about the Microsoft line of laptops but got a super knowledgeable salesperson. After lots and lots of questions and a little "test drive", I went home with a new Surface Book which was almost double the cost of the one I returned. Agh!

This was part of my super quick, in-store test drive.

Well, someone was watching over me on this purchase. I was officially in love.

If you are in the market for a new laptop for your creative business, I highly recommend you look into this device.

It is a combination of many things….a traditional laptop, the back removes and becomes a tablet and drawing pad, it has a touch screen and a digital "pencil".

It's light and east to transport.

It is more responsive than my Wacom Bamboo digital drawing tablet and I have more control over the pencil accessory.

The graphics card thingy (technical term) makes running Photoshop a breeze. It opens so fast!

I am able to sketch directly on the screen with almost as much precision as with an actual pencil on paper. I am sure that will just improve even more with use.

The learning time period was super quick and it felt natural right away.

The keyboard is so comfortable to use. It is very similar to the Macbook Pro but actually feels smoother and quieter.

Overall, the design of the laptop is super sexy with this cool snake like hinge.

It took me a little while to figure out that the digital pen attaches to the side with a strong magnet but it's perfect for storage.

And best of all…the battery lasts forever! Well, not literally forever but I haven't run out of battery while working unplugged, using Photoshop for hours and hours and hours. I think they claim that the battery will last from 8-12 hours. I believe it. 

So far, it's a dream.

Below are some images I created with my new technical love.

Have you used this machine?

Until next week,


all rights reserved Pam Vale 2016, www.pamvale.com


  1. You are a super Tech artist :-). I will remember. your advice , I'm so curious to try new artistic technology

    1. So funny to be described as super tech! :-) it is all new for me.

  2. Which Microsoft Pro did you purchase. There are several of them.

    1. It was sort of the mid-level one. Not the lowest but not the highest.

      Surface Book
      Processor: Intel Core i5-6300U CPU, 2.40GHz, 2.50GHz
      Installed Memory(RAM) 8.00 GB
      System Type: 64-bit Operarting System, x64 based processor

  3. Beautiful work! And you're so brave to dive into newer digital tools. You also manage to keep a very hand done feel to your art.

    1. Thanks Lisa! It's scary to change and a lot of work to learn new techy things but so far I really love it.

  4. Thanks for your input and review Pam. I cannot imagine changing from my Apples... my laptop being a macbook Air which I love... but I also use a drawing tablet, the Cintiq by Wacom... and I've been waiting to try out the iPad Pro with pencil to see how well it compares to the Wacom... I'm really glad to hear about how well the Surface worked for you. I cannot imaging fighting the new system, but my curiosity is up, and I truly appreciate your input and samples. Who knows... it's something to think about if I can't find a lap version of a drawing tablet. Thank you very much for your detailed report... Appreciate it greatly. Enjoy !!!!! Jo

    1. Thanks for taking the time to respond Jo. I'm glad you liked my post. I've been surprised by this computer. It wasn't something I expected.