When Microsoft started the first Surface Laptop back in 2017, it stunned the entire world with its first ever committed laptop. And, when it struck the market we needed to ask: why set a laptop that is right down the center, when you have crafted a reputation as a taste maker for touch-led computing?
The followup, the Surface Laptop 2, is a response to that query. While it does not iterate on considerably, the sequel is precisely what the original should have been a pure, strong, Windows 10 laptop encounter.
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However, given the slightly strange 13.5-inch display, the Surface Laptop 2 is in desperate need of modern ports. But this does not actually hold the Surface Laptop 2 back again. Regardless of the shortage of ports, the inner improvements make the Surface Laptop 2 stand alone out and is unquestionably one of the laptops worth keeping tabs on in 2019.
Price and availability
Microsoft is requesting $999 (£979, AU$1,499) for the beginning model of Surface Laptop 2, that is available today.
That includes all you see to the best, but with only 128GB of SSD space.
You can of course update the Surface Laptop 2, choose the display, to an intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.
To possess the Surface Laptop 2 as configured in our inspection, using a 256GB SSD, which will cost you $1,299 (roughly £988, AU$1,817).
The Surface Laptop 2 is all about precisely the exact same cost as its predecessor, and is in precisely the exact same degree as other major Ultrabooks, such as the Dell XPS 13.
If You'd like this level of electricity from Apple, it'll be $1,799 (£1,749, AU$2,699) for your 13-inch MacBook Pro
Design, display and screen
So little has clearly changed, honestly, regarding the initial Surface Laptop brief of a significant new colour choice. The Surface Laptop 2 comes with an all-black colour variant now that seems totally beautiful and feels excellent to boot up.
Past the new colour choice, the Surface Laptop 2 is essentially the same as its predecessor, just a lot stronger. It is just as light and thin as previously, 0.57 inches (14.48mm) and 2.76 lbs (1.25kg), respectively. The Surface Laptop 2 is just as portable as previously, which is amazing information for mobile professionals and students equally.
The display has not changed much either, but we are not complaining. It had been an impressive screen from the word go. Together with the Surface Book 2, blacks seem equally as heavy and the reds are both sharp and vibrant, with touch response is speedy. In case you've got a great deal of work to do, then you are going to fall in love with all the tall 3:2 aspect ratio, also, but you are going to encounter some wasted space in case you watch 16:9 videos.
Unfortunately, Microsoft does not contain its $99 (£99, AU$139) Surface Pen stylus to take full advantage of the signature display.
Microsoft claims to have created the Surface Laptop 2 keyboard simpler than previously, and we can confidently state that this must be one of the very silent keyboards we have ever tested. Our colleagues could not even hear our studying in an otherwise silent open-office atmosphere.
How Microsoft has achieved this while keeping remarkable force under our hands is well worth lauding. Nevertheless, the spacing of these keys can be a touch thinner because of our liking.
In terms of the touchpad, there is little to report here: it is a nice tracking device that is broad, responsive and smooth. The inputs are created that much nicer from the Alcantara material that surrounds them it's simply something more agreeable to rest your palms over aluminum.
But, maybe Microsoft has not iterated enough to the design. The next generation of the laptop remains without Thunderbolt 3 less even USB-C 3.1. You are still stuck with one USB 3.0 -- yes, perhaps not the classic USB port supports the latest USB 3.1 normal -- along with a Mini Display Port.
The Surface Laptop 2 chassis has enough empty space, that there is no explanation for it to be this mild on ports. As well as the ports which are present are not up to 2019 criteria. In contrast, the 13-inch MacBook Pro contains four Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with the Dell XPS 13 2018 includes two -- along with a microSD card reader along with also a third USB-C 3.1 port. The kicker? The two these laptops are somewhat smaller compared to the Surface Laptop 2.
When Microsoft debuted the Surface Laptop 2, it created some pretty bold claims concerning performance gains, namely that this version is 85% stronger than the original. That is a huge jump and a massive claim, a lot of that Microsoft could attribute to the debut of Intel quad-core processors on laptops this season.
But, Microsoft also says it has completely redesigned the electronic equipment, which lowers the demand for cooling fans to trigger when the machine is under load and so a decreased likelihood of throttling. So, how does this translate in our regular tests?
Regrettably, we weren't able to check the initial Surface Laptop with all our smattering of evaluations as it surfaced, as it started using Windows 10 S. Nevertheless, we can readily pit it against rivals that are similar.
Just take the XPS 13, for example: our Surface Laptop 2 version keeps pace with the Dell laptop throughout every evaluation -- as well as the Dell laptop we reviewed had a mightier Intel Core i7-8550U processor inside. Obviously, the 13-inch MacBook Pro we analyzed has a much more effective Core i7 chip inside, so it was able to easily outpace the Surface Laptop 2 at some tests.
In the end, you are taking a look at a laptop that will handle some fairly high-level computing tasks in addition to overall multitasking . You will have the ability to edit video and photos onto this laptop in a pinch in addition to sifting through meaty spreadsheets. Just do not anticipate superb gaming performance or to have the ability to get documents to and from that laptop quickly using the graphics and ports on provide, respectively.
For your Surface Laptop 2, Microsoft promises up to 14 hours and 30 minutes of video playback on a single charge -- exactly the same as previously. Obviously, our outcome in PCMark 8's battery evaluation is much lower than that, at 5 hours and 36 minutes of simulated overall usage.
This is to be expected given the differences in evaluations, but upon a much playing field, the Surface Laptop 2 actually outlasts the Dell XPS 13 by almost 15 minutes. On the other hand, the Huawei MateBook X Pro nonetheless manages to overcome them both with a period of 6 hours and 12 minutes.
The Surface Laptop 2 still manages to remain competitive with its rivals in battery lifetime, though. This laptop will easily continue through many continental flights, for instance.
Software and features
The Surface Laptop 2 does not have a lot to talk for when it comes to exceptional applications and attributes, which is both a positive and negative thing. The great? There is no bloatware with this device at all, coming straight from Microsoft.
Also excellent? The Windows Hello facial recognition, with the laptop's infrared camera beside its own webcam, is remarkably fast and precise. We have seen the laptop grab our face out of off-angle and at a few feet off.
On the other hand, the stark reality is that there is not much in the manner of special features and applications. We'd have enjoyed a fingerprint reader to get more choices regarding stable login, for instance.
Still, it's commendable of Microsoft to launch the Surface Laptop 2 with full-fat Windows 10 Home, Instead of the S Mode on the first. As soon as it's currently a simple toggle to get from S Mode into Windows 10 proper, a full desktop OS venture from the box that time is a massive improvement.
The Surface Laptop 2 is, top to bottom, a worthy sequel to the first apparatus. It improves upon which was there in a purposeful manner, with much more performance in brand new, more powerful hardware inside combined with a full version of Windows 10 from the box.
But we wish Microsoft could have gone further with this refresh rate, with much more ports (and more up-to-date ports) mainly. If that is the 1 thing holding this kind of wonderful laptop back, then that is not the worst problem to have.
For the two general customers, and possibly low-touch professionals, the Surface Laptop 2 is an excellent option. It is a laptop that is equally as strong as contemporaries with no of the extra bags in bloatware and other add-ons. While there is always space for improvement, Surface Laptop 2 feels as the pure Windows laptop encounter up to now.