Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) Review
Microsoft Surface Book 2
- Hinge is stronger than before
- Long battery life
- Massively powerful
- Lightweight yet large tablet
- Excellent cooling
- Xbox Wireless support
- Expensive if you need more storage
- Doesn’t come with Surface Pen
- No Thunderbolt 3
- Small trackpad
- Display still wobbles when you touch it
Microsoft Surface Book 2 Review – The most powerful Surface ever.
Experience up to 4 times more power than before and up to 17 hours of battery life with Microsoft Surface Book 2. Blazing graphics now come in two sizes: a new 15” or a 13.5” PixelSense™ Display. Run professional-grade software all day with the latest quad-core powered Intel® Core™ processors and the best graphics performance yet with the latest NVIDIA® GeForce® GPUs.
The new Surface Book 2 is a versatile laptop, powerful tablet, and portable studio in one. Get more done with four modes of use.
Laptop Mode: A sleek, portable powerhouse with up to 17 hours of battery life. Work with professional-grade software on the full keyboard, trackpad, and touchscreen.
Tablet Mode: Detach the stunning PixelSense™ Display to transform Surface Book 2 into a thin, powerful, and lightweight Intel® Core™ i5/i7 tablet you can take anywhere.
Studio Mode: Fold Surface Book 2 into Studio Mode to draw and sketch comfortably and naturally. Add Surface Dial and Pen for an immersive creative experience.
View Mode: Detach the screen with the push of a button, turn it around, and reattach to share content and presentations. Perfect for watching your favorite shows.
|Disclaimer||If you see any error or incomplete data, please Contact Us.|
|Dimensions||13.5” x 9.87” x 0.568-0.90” (343 mm x 251 mm x 15 mm-23 mm)|
|Weight||Intel® Core™ i7: Starting at 4.20 lbs (1,905 g) including keyboard|
|Display||15” PixelSense™ Display|
|3240 x 2160|
|3:2 aspect ratio, 10 point multi-touch, and ink, Contrast ratio: 1600:1|
|CPU||8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8650U quad-core processor, 4.2GHz Max Turbo|
|GPU||NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 graphics memory|
|Memory||Solid state drive (SSD) options: 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB PCIe SSD|
16GB RAM 1866Mhz LPDDR3
|Primary Camera||8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD video|
|Secondary Camera||5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video|
|Loudspeaker||Front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby® Audio™ Premium|
|Ports||2 x full-size USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB-C, |
2 x Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in base),
full-size SD™ card reader.
|WLAN||Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatible|
Xbox Wireless built-in
|Sensors||Ambient light sensor|
|Battery||Up to 17 hours of video playback|
The 15-inch Surface Book 2 starts at $2,499 with a 256GB SSD, 16GB of RAM and NVIDIA GTX 1060. You can go all the way up to a 1TB SSD for $3,299. In comparison, Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro goes for $2,399, but its Radeon Pro graphics aren’t as powerful as NVIDIA’s.
If you’re looking at the smaller Surface Book 2, we’d recommend jumping to the $1,999 Core i7 model with NVIDIA graphics. It’s $500 more than the entry-level version, but the added cost is worth it for power users. If you have lighter computer needs, the Surface Laptop and Pro might be better options, instead of the cheapest Surface Book 2. And if that’s too expensive for you, Dell’s XPS 15 costs just $1,299 with GTX 1050 graphics.
The Surface Book 2 is exactly what we’ve wanted from a high-end Microsoft laptop. It’s powerful, sturdy and its unique hinge doesn’t come with any compromises. While there are cheaper Windows laptops out there with similar specs, the Surface Book 2 stands apart by bringing together some of the best hardware around with the flexibility of a convertible notebook. It’s the closest a PC maker has come to taking on the MacBook Pro, both in style and substance.
The Surface Book 2 proudly continues Microsoft’s tradition of speedy, powerful computers that take all of the focus off the machine and put it on what you’re working on. It’s expensive, but for the cost, you’ll get an incredible, vibrant 3:2 display; long battery life; a modern design with a detachable tablet; and, finally, USB Type-C. Perhaps more important, there’s no other detachable 2-in-1 that has enough graphics might for artists to draw with a pen on the same machine they use to edit 4K videos.
The biggest downside is the cost. The 15-inch model’s entry price is $2,499, and that’s for limited storage. If you’re looking for something cheaper, consider the Dell XPS 15, which has a jaw-dropping display, solid battery life and great performance. You can get a similar configuration for $2,000 (less if you don’t want the touch screen), but you’d lose the tablet, get a last-gen CPU and have to downgrade to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU.
You could also check out the Lenovo Yoga 720. An identical configuration costs just $1,549, includes a sharp 4K display and has long battery life, but it has a 7th Gen CPU and a GTX 1050. Instead of getting the detachable tablet, you have to fold the display backward.
That leaves the 15-inch Microsoft Surface Book 2 as a singular vision from Microsoft. It’s pricey, but it’s still the purest way to use Windows 10, from work to inking. Pair that with a solid suite of ports and one of the best styli on the market, and there’s a reason that it’s the most versatile large-screen 2-in-1 you can get.
If you’re looking for this high level of application and 3D performance, and also feel like you’d actually use the detachable screen and a Microsoft Pen, then this might be just what you’re looking for. However, that may be a somewhat smaller selected segment of premium laptop-shopping community. If you like the size, shape and power of the Surface Book 2, but don’t need a screen that pops off, then look at something like the Dell XPS 15. Or, if you feel like skipping the touchscreen altogether, then Apple would probably like you to give the 15-inch MacBook Pro a test drive.
The new 15-inch Microsoft Surface Book 2 is big, expensive and powerful. And like many hybrid laptops, it’s a better clamshell than it is a tablet. In its favor, the battery life is killer, and the Surface Book design aesthetic translates well to this larger size. Plus, I personally love any laptop that can play games and run VR hardware, without actually looking like a “gaming” laptop.
All in all, the 15-inch Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the most powerful and versatile 2-in-1 laptop we’ve ever tested, but it’s not a perfect device. There are a few missed opportunities in Microsoft simply taking the original Surface Book and making it bigger, at least chassis design-wise.
That said, we recognize the hard work and engineering that went into crafting this device. The proof is in its nigh-unparalleled performance and longevity, not to mention its good looks and tactile feel when held in the hand as either a laptop or a tablet.
Of course, you’ll pay dearly for all of the aforementioned accolades, which we’d say is well worth it for the creative pros (or anyone who’s rich enough) out there that can swing it. The price is steep for the best 2-in-1 laptop to date, but remember you’re getting the cream of the crop in 2-in-1 laptop design by the folks that defined the category.
I’m impressed with how much Microsoft has packed into the Surface Book 2, but it’s frustrating that I can’t always use its power to the max. I recently built a dedicated gaming PC, and yet if this Surface Book 2 came with a better power supply I could easily use it as my main PC hooked up to my monitors to play the latest games or get video editing done quickly. I could never imagine doing that with the prior Surface Book (or any other portable Surface computer, for that matter), as it’s just not powerful enough.
That’s why the Surface Book 2 exists. It’s a portable desktop PC, and one that takes on and beats the MacBook Pro in many areas that matter: a higher-resolution display, a better processor, more powerful graphics card, touch / stylus support, and all in roughly the same dimensions as Apple’s competitor. The Surface Book 2 is a powerful beast of a laptop that’s a showcase for all the good advantages that Windows has over macOS, but the power supply issue holds it back. If you don’t care about touch, stylus support, or even the tablet ability, then there’s probably still something here that will appeal. I personally love using this as a miniature Xbox now, and that’s something I couldn’t do with a MacBook Pro that doesn’t support the latest PC games — just don’t expect this to be a gaming laptop.
Dell’s XPS 15 made big Windows laptops cool again last year, and the Surface Book 2 sets the benchmark for what should be inside. I’d still like to see Microsoft refine the design more to address the hinge and screen wobble fully, and pack in a better power supply. It’s surprising to see the same design after two years, and I was expecting bigger refinements and changes.
The real decision with the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is whether you need this amount of power, and if you’re willing to spend the cash. If you do, then you’re probably deciding between a MacBook Pro and a Surface Book 2. That’s a decision that’s more about platform preference than hardware, but Microsoft just made it a lot more difficult.
Other laptops and hybrids achieve some of the Microsoft Surface Book 2’s high points independently, but its successful integration of several computer archetypes into one is a feat of design. It’s not radically different from the original Surface Book or last year’s incremental upgrade, but the 15-inch size and legitimately powerful components elevate the concept. This is the most expensive version of the Surface Book 2, so it may not shine as brightly in a more modest configuration, but you can move within $100 of the MacBook Pro just by cutting the storage capacity.
Given that, unless you’re an Apple loyalist or simply need macOS software for work, it’s hard to argue against a touch-enabled, gaming-ready system with fantastic battery life that can also become a tablet at the press of a button. It’s also a better deal than the 2016 Surface Book, which was the same price as tested, and as a true luxury system, more fully realized and faster than the Surface Pro. The Dell XPS 15 is the strongest Windows-based alternative for a desktop replacement that won’t cost nearly as much, but it lacks the convertible design, many hours of battery life, and level of 3D performance. Yes, you’ll have to pay up for the Surface Book 2, but if you’re in the market for a premium laptop, it’s a unique option that executes excellently on multiple fronts, earning our Editors’ Choice.
Reports of the PC’s death have ushered in a renaissance of sorts, producing marvelous designs from Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, and others. I used the original Surface Book as a daily driver for months, if not years, and I’m an unabashed fan of that original—and now, the Microsoft Surface Book 2.
The trap that Microsoft sets, though, is not unlike Apple’s: The company tacitly encourages you to think within its ecosystem and only its ecosystem, rather than its competition. Once you begin looking elsewhere, options like the Lenovo Yoga 720 begin to look more attractive, and at possibly cheaper prices, too. Other alternatives include the Dell XPS 15, which tops the performance charts, above—save for battery life, where it finishes at the bottom. Otherwise, what’s a few thousand dollars between friends?
There’s one question we can’t answer: stability. One of the unfortunate legacies of the Surface products is a shakedown period of a few months where some early models suffered anything from “hot bag” refusals to enter a sleep state, to screen flickering. Our Surface Book 2 exhibited a strange buzzing noise (a short? a speaker flaw?) almost immediately, which persisted for about an hour or so, then vanished completely. We experienced no other glitches.
The bottom line? If you can afford a Microsoft Surface Book 2, we’d recommend it. So many of its attributes are simply fantastic, including its graphics performance and stellar battery life. If Microsoft had avoided all of the complications associated with its decision to incorporate USB-C (omitting Thunderbolt, upgrading the Dock), we’d be hard-pressed to find anything wrong with the Surface Book 2 at all. Microsoft has made its “ultimate laptop” even better, in many ways. Just not all of them.