Why Is Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 Easily Outselling the Surface Book?

Not to the surprise of many in the tech industry, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 is — by far — outselling the Surface Book. Tech Radar has the news.

“Some fresh statistics on Microsoft’s range of Surface devices clearly show which are the most popular of these hybrids, and the straggler of the family – that would be the shiny bells-and-whistles-laden Surface Book.”

Microsoft Surface Book
The article notes that the Surface Book only accounts for 3.6 percent of sales for Surface devices. However, the Surface Pro 4, which launched the same time the Pro 4 did, has garnered almost 41 percent of Surface sales in the same time frame. What could be the reasons for this?

Is the Surface Pro 4 actually a better device than the Surface Book? Most would agree that it isn’t. Most versions of the Surface Pro 4 are excellent MacBook Air replacements, while all versions of the more expensive Surface Book are excellent MacBook Pro replacements. The Intel Core i7 version of the Surface Pro 4, with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD drive, costs $1,649 while the Intel Core i7 version of the Surface Book with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD drive, and a discreet GPU, costs $2,699.

However, the Surface Pro 4 might be a better value. Sites such as Digital Trends gave the Pro 4 a near perfect review.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

“The Surface Pro 4 is a microcosm of the change Microsoft is trying to spur inside its own walls. Time and time again, it missed the opportunity to leap on a new trend in consumer technology. But not with Surface. This time, Microsoft is a leader. It’s setting the trend. And unlike its new competitors, it’s had a few years to work out the kinks.”

Even though the Surface Book hasn’t been as well-received as the Pro 4, there are still plenty of critics who think it’s a good device. Trusted Reviews gave the Surface Book four stars.

“The Surface Book is the best Windows 10 laptop I’ve tested. It features a wealth of top-end hardware within a slim, travel-friendly chassis, as well as a solid, well-connected keyboard dock,” says reviewer Alastair Stevenson, who also notes that the price is a tad too high. Apparently, a lot of customers agree.

What has really held the Surface Book back is that, until recently, it was full of bugs. Only recently did the firmware and software updates make the Surface Book feel like the device it was advertised as. For months, this author and others had to deal with defective display drivers, a trackpad that only worked in some spots, and hearing the sound of death when detaching the screen from the keyboard.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 had some problems too. For one thing, the Sleep mode drained the battery life, but that’s fixed now. It also had display driver problems, but those were fixed faster than they were on the Surface Book. However, the battery life on the Surface Pro 4 is lower than average, while it lasts at least an hour more on the Surface Book.

The most important reason for the Surface Pro’s lead? It’s a fourth generation product, whereas the Surface book is a first generation device. The Surface Pro 4 has been given a long time to sort its quirks out. The Surface Book may not be perfect, but you can bet that — at least by the second generation — it will be as close to perfect as a laptop/tablet hybrid can get.

[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]