Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: Specifications, features, prices, etc.

Pros

Attractive and well-built hardware

Big screen

Fast performance, improved battery life

More comfortable to use in the lap

Cons

Still heavy as a stand-alone tablet

The writing experience has not improved much

Microsoft Surface Book 2- review

Despite being threatened by the tablets for a while, the laptops will not disappear in the short term and Microsoft is back with a new version of the impressive Surface Book. Here is our in-depth review of Surface Book 2.

Microsoft Surface Book 2- Price and availability

The Surface Book 2 is undoubtedly an attractive laptop, but the big question here is whether you can afford it.

With prices starting at £ 1,499, not many laptops buyers will be willing to get even the most economical model. At this level, the Surface Book 2 competes with some serious rivals, including the MacBook Pro.

That initial price is for the smaller 13.5-inch model that goes up to a whopping £ 2,999 if you want the higher specification model with a Core i7. We will explain the different configurations later.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: Specifications, features, prices, etc.

Microsoft Surface Book 2- design and construction

There is little about the design of the Surface Book 2 that is different compared to the original and we can not blame Microsoft for this.

Microsoft has once again opted for a silver case made of magnesium and, in general, the device once again looks and feels very luxurious. The quality of the construction is up to the best laptops that exist and that is what we expect at these prices.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: Specifications, features, prices, etc.

The clean lines and symmetry are shown here, as well as Microsoft’s intelligent Dynamic Fulcrum hinge. Once again, the Surface Book 2 is a 2 in 1 device, so it is a laptop and a tablet that can be used in several different modes.

An intelligent “muscle cable lock” system is still in use to connect the two sections together instead of magnets. It’s solid and there are improvements like fewer parts to make it lighter and a more perfect disconnection. The release button must be kept pressed, so do not do it accidentally.

You must release the section of the tablet if you want to use it without the keyboard or two rotate it 180 degrees for other modes of use. The hinge does not fold on the screen as in some 2in1 devices.

As with the original, the keyboard and trackpad feel very good, offering a fluid experience. We found that typing fast and responsive, apart from the arrow keys half up and down, and the touchpad works very well, but the click is quite high.

The laptop is slightly lighter than its predecessor with 1.53 kg, but that is still quite heavy if you are looking for a laptop to take with you everywhere. Part of the reason is the inclusion of two batteries, so it could be a sacrifice worthwhile if you need a laptop that lasts a long time.

See also: Asus ZenBook UX330UA review

The repairs of the design are all very small. For example, the screen still wobbles when you move the laptop or use the touch screen and the two full-size USB ports are a little close to each other, so you may not get two thick flash drives at the same time weather.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: Specifications, features, prices, etc.

Microsoft Surface Book 2- Specifications and performance

The second generation Surface Book may look pretty similar on the outside, but there are a number of different updates inside. Let’s look at what is offered this time.

screen

Microsoft has essentially remained with the same screen as the original Surface Book. It’s still 13.5 inches with an aspect ratio of 3: 2 and as mentioned above, the 15-inch model will not arrive in the UK until the beginning of next year, so for now it’s this or nothing.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: Specifications, features, prices, etc.The PixelSense screen still uses a resolution of 3000 × 2000 for a pixel density of 271ppi. Like its predecessor, the Surface Book 2 screen is impressive and everything looks good and sharp. In total, the screen produces 420cd / m2 very healthy.

The reproduction of colors also seems to be first class, so it is a great option for those who perform tasks such as photo editing. It could be said that the price means that you really need the specifications and features that are offered here to justify overcoming your rivals.

You can use up to 10 points of contact at the same time and as expected, the Surface Book 2 is compatible with Surface Pen and Surface Dial; both are sold separately this time. Microsoft told us that there were not enough customers to use it with the first generation, so we decided to make it an optional extra this time.

With Surface Book 2, the Dial accessory can now be used on the screen.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: Specifications, features, prices, etc.

Processor, memory, storage and graphics

It’s not surprising that Surface Book 2 gets some internal updates starting with the processor. It jumped from a sixth-generation Intel chip to at least a seventh-generation Core i5-7300U.

Therefore, at the lowest price you will get the previous chip, but all the higher specification configurations have Intel’s newest 8th-gen chips, also based on Kaby Lake. It is a Core i7-8650U so you jump from double to quad-core and the maximum clock speed from 3.5 GHz to 4.2 Hz.

There is another key difference if you get a Core i7 model because while the Core i5 is based on integrated Intel HD Graphics 620, the Core i7 means you get the discreet Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. That’s potentially a big difference depending on what you want to do in Surface Book 2.

It is worth noting that the discrete GPU is in the keyboard section so you do not have access to that power with the separate screen. For those who want as much graphics power as possible, it will be worth waiting for the 15-inch model that will come with an Nvidia GTX 1060 with 6GB of memory.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: Specifications, features, prices, etc.

Like the original Surface Book, there is an option of 8 or 16 GB of RAM (1866MHz LPDDR3) and you can choose between 256, 512 and 1 TB of capacity for the SSD from the beginning. Microsoft retained the 1TB model of the original in the United Kingdom for several months.

These are the four options when choosing Surface Book 2 configurations:

  • Core i5, 8GB, 256GB, Intel HD 620
  • Core i7, 8GB, 256GB, Nvidia GTX 150
  • Core i7, 16GB, 512GB, Nvidia GTX 150
  • Core i7, 16GB, 1TB, Nvidia GTX 150

Performance is exceptional, so Surface Book 2 will satisfy advanced users as advertised, and that’s just the 13-inch model. As you can see in the benchmark results below, the new model offers significant gains compared to the original, all while remaining incredibly quiet.

Again, you really need this power to ensure that it splashes on Surface Book 2. It is a device suitable for professionals such as graphic designers, architects and others. Using something above the Core i5 model for word processing and web browsing is excessive.

If you want performance, Surface Book 2 is where to get it, but you will have to get one of the most expensive models with the Nvidia GPU. We tested the highest specification model with a Core i7 and 16 GB of RAM for both generations.

Ports and other specifications

Once again, the Surface Book 2 has two full-size USB ports (3.1), a full-size SD card reader and a headphone port. However, there are some changes, since the laptop no longer has Mini-DisplayPort but USB-C in place, along with two Surface Connect ports, one in each section of the device.
While USB-C is a good addition, despite losing DisplayPort, everything is easy. The port is not compatible with Thunderbolt and, therefore, can not run multiple screens. Surface Book 2 can only manage one unless you use Surface Dock.

There are 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, stereo speakers, dual microphones and the same front and rear cameras of 5 and 8Mp. The front can be used for the facial authentication Window Hello. Maybe it’s a shame not to see a fingerprint scanner at these prices.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: Specifications, features, prices, etc.

Battery duration

We were a little impressed by the original duration of the Surface Book battery, with a duration of 16 hours and 25 minutes in our usual video loop test. Microsoft says it has 17 hours of video playback on Surface Book 2, so we expect a similar result.

As before, there is a battery in both sections of the device, so you get five hours when you use only the tablet and another 12 of the largest on the keyboard.

In our usual video loop test at 120 cm / m2 (55 percent in this case), the Surface Book managed a respectable four hours and 51 minutes on the tablet alone. When it was plugged into the keyboard and used that second battery, it lasted 13 hours and 43 minutes.

That’s only a couple of hours less than the original, which is a shame, but that is still a figure that triumphs over rival laptops.

What you should keep in mind is a power problem with Surface Book 2. Like our colleagues in PC World They have detailed with respect to the 15-inch model, when it is at maximum performance, it can extract more energy than the charger is supplying.

This means that the battery will be discharged each time the power supply is connected while certain games are played in the “Best Performance” setting of the energy slider.

This is what Microsoft said in this regard with The Verge: “In some intense and prolonged game scenarios with Power Mode Slider set to ‘better performance’ the battery can be downloaded while connected to the power supply provided in the Surface Book 2 However, through the energy management design, the battery will never run out completely, ensuring that users can continue working, creating or playing. ”

Therefore, it is a fairly specific problem, but it should certainly be taken into account if you want to use the Surface Book 2 to play.

Microsoft Surface Book 2- Specifications

Model Surface Book 2 13 inches Surface Book 2 15 inches
Processor Core i5-7300U (3.2GHz)
Core i7-8650U (4.2GHz)
Core i7-8650U (4.2GHz)
Screen size PixelSense 13.5 “screen
Contrast ratio 1600: 1
15 “PixelSense screen
Contrast ratio 1600: 1
Screen resolution 3000 x 2000
Aspect 3: 2
267 PPI
3240 x 2160
Aspect 3: 2
260 PPI
RAM 8GB or 16GB 16 GB
Native graphics Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Discrete graphics Core i5: none
Core i7: NVIDIA GTX 1050 (2GB)
NVIDIA GTX 1060 (6GB)
Storage 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB
Battery 70WHr
Up to 17 hours
Up to 5 hours in tablet mode
80WHr
Up to 17 hours
Up to 5 hours in tablet mode
Power supply 39W (i5)
95W (i7) with type A load port (5W)
95W charging port w / Type-A (7.5W)
Wireless Wonder
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
Bluetooth 4.1
Wonder
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
Bluetooth 4.1
Xbox Wireless Do not Yes, built-in
Ports Two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
A USB type C w / video, power input / output and USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5 mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (1 on tablet, 1 on keyboard basis)
Two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
A USB type C w / video, power input / output and USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5 mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (1 on tablet, 1 on keyboard basis)
Audio Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Windows Sonic for headphones
Dolby Atmos for compatible headphones
Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Windows Sonic for headphones
Dolby Atmos for compatible headphones
Security Hardware chip TPM 2.0
Common criteria (CC) EAL4 +, FIPS 140-2 level 2
Windows Hello logon
Hardware chip TPM 2.0
Common criteria (CC) EAL4 +, FIPS 140-2 level 2
Windows Hello logon
Dimensions 312 mm x 232 mm x 15-23 mm (length x width x depth)
12.3 in x 9.14 in x 0.59 to 0.90 in
343 mm x 251 mm x 15-23 mm (length x width x depth)
13.5 in x 9.87 in x 0.57 to 0.90 in
Weight total of i5: 1.533 g (3.38 lbs)
Total of i7: 1,642 g (3.62 lbs)
Tablet: 719 g (1.59 lbs)
Total: 1.905 g (4.20 lbs)
Tablet: 817 g (1.80 lbs)
Sensors Ambient light sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Ambient light sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Cameras 5.0MP 1080p video at 30 FPS (front)
8.0MP 1080p video at 30 FPS with autofocus (rear)
5.0MP 1080p video at 30 FPS (front)
8.0MP 1080p video at 30 FPS with autofocus (rear)
Windows Hello IR camera IR camera
Price It starts at $ 1,499 It starts at $ 2,499
Availability November 16, 2017
Previous orders: November 9, 2017
November 16, 2017 (U.S.)
Previous orders: November 9, 2017

Microsoft Surface Book 2- Gallery

Should I buy the Microsoft Surface 2 book?

The Surface Book 2 is an impressive piece of Microsoft’s work once again. It is a great example of a premium laptop with a high level design, performance and features. We only have some small problems like the lack of Thunderbolt.

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It could be one of the best laptops you can buy, but not everyone should rush to buy one. The price means that it is only justifiable for those who will actually make use of its modes, features and performance.

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