[Sidebar: one of the things I love about the back-to-back Microsoft/Apple announcements last week is that the spurred a lot of conversations about what people use, how they use it, what they want going forward, what alternatives are available, etc. This post is a perfect example. Fun tech talk!]
Boris, I have used one of the older Surface Pro 3s as a primary (only) work machine at Microsoft for some time. Intel i5/8GB model, and I have found it pretty delightful for almost all “laptop mode” work that I do. It’s extremely light and compact, yet powerful enough for the Adobe Creative suite, Visual Studio, and more. It’s no gaming rig, but it’s a workhorse. The Surface Pro 4 that you looked at is significantly better in every way: newer chipset, better digitizer, etc.
Yes, it’s technically a tablet with both touch and ink support, but I’ll caution that it’s no iPad. The app ecosystem is not there yet, and Windows’ design makes tablet usage a distant second to keyboard+pointer usage. It’s nice to have a single device to give you both options, but it’s not an ideal option as a tablet (read: I still own an iPad Pro 9.7").
Surface Book is definitely on the premium design, and premium price, end of the spectrum. But I find myself loving it. Best keyboard I have ever used… period. Incredible 3000x2000 display. All of the tablet perks of Surface Pro, and more. It is larger and heavier, but also super powerful. And the new Performance Base models purport to have 16 hours of battery and 2x the graphics performance. I know they’re up there in price, but for that segment of buyer, I do recommend them.
Zero experience in Linux laptops for me, so I’m going to watch this space for your findings there!