Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review

When the first Surface Book acquired almost four years ago, nobody could have predicted that the sequel could produce the MacBook Pro look like a inexpensive toy. However, that's precisely what happened. And, while the Surface Book 2 is more costly than its predecessor, it sort of wants to be rather than simply being a single device that flips about, like a 2-in-1 laptop, it genuinely is two devices in one.

Though the Surface Book 2 does inherit the design of the first, it alters things just enough to please the critics. As an example, the hinge is sturdier now around. Additionally, there's the streamlined 13.5-inch design that makes its recurrence along with the 15-inch Surface Book 2 we examined .

In reality, the Surface Book 2 has improved over the first so much, that we are eager to see what Microsoft does with all the Surface Book 3.

The two Surface Book 2 models are attempting to be your main device, but would be the newest 15-inch model worth the purchase price of entry? Well, yes, but the cost will probably ship fledgling creatives running for cover.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review

Price and availability

This should not come as too much of a surprise, but the Surface Book 2 is pricey. The configuration we have examined, which can be listed to the best, comes in at a whopping $3,299 at the United States. Obviously this is the maximum conclusion that the Surface Book 2 gets, together with the entry 15-inch model coming in at $2,499 (£2,349, AU$3,649), that remains steep. The one difference between the two is that the entry Surface Book 2 includes a 256GB SSD.

In the United Kingdom, the bigger Surface Book 2 could be configured using double the storage of the 256GB model for £2,749, or using a 1TB SSD for £3,149. In Australia, the 512GB Surface Book 2 is $4,249, whereas the 1TB version sells for $4,849 including GST.

On the other hand, the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 starts at a rather low cost of $1,199 (about £850, AU$1,500) in the United States, along with other countries planning to adhere to with this pricing model. Unfortunately, you'll need to compromise storage to get this reduced cost -- you will be restricted to 128GB of storage space, accompanying the dual-core i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM.

The Surface Book 2 is unquestionably a costly device, but you ought to consider that the cost does not include the $99 (£99, AU$139) Surface Pen. And, yeah, we are going to continue calling Microsoft out with this error until it starts bundling this virtually required accessory in using the purchase price of its Surface devices .

For comparison's sake, Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro using Touch Bar starts at $2,399 (£2,349, AU$3,499) to get a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, an AMD Radeon Pro 555 graphics processor with 2GB of VRAM, 16GB of memory plus a 256GB SSD -- all powering a 2,880 x 1,800-pixel 15.4-inch display at 220 pixels per inch in addition to an OLED Touch Bar.

Should you throw another 100 dollars on top of your buy, you're going to get a more powerful processor and more powerful graphics powering a sharper display with touch control, that may work as a tablet. Not accounting for flavor, it is difficult to argue with the fact that the Surface Book 2 is the greater value . Additionally, annually, you ought to be able to locate some bargains that upward the value proposition of the Surface Book 2.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review


If it comes to the look and texture of the Surface Book 2, it is an understatement to state that Microsoft chose the Surface Book and hauled it up in every way to generate the Surface Book 2 a 15-inch device in most of its brushed aluminum decoration. While Microsoft did obviously put a great deal of work into vastly raising the Surface Book 2's electricity profile and screen technology, that can be, in many ways, a larger Surface Book.

Not that we are complaining -- Microsoft learned some lessons in the Surface Book, also morphed the Surface Book 2 to some power-packed notebook that's light and thin. What is more, when you detach it from the bottom, the Surface Book 2 is the lightest 15-inch tablet we have used -- it seems smaller than it really is.

That said, the Surface Book 2's fulcrum hinge does result in a laptop that's a bit more unwieldy to cram into a back pack than many, and it is currently more pronounced than ever before. Worse still, Microsoft did not do much design-wise together with the excess distance that 15 inches gives you.

As an example, the glass trackpad is not quite as broad or deep as, say the 15-inch MacBook Pro as it actually might have been given the quantity of space below the keyboard. The deficiency of up-firing speakers at the bottom is also a significant issue, with lots of space on all three remaining sides of the keyboard for additional audio chambers.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review

Rather, we are stuck using rather tinny, albeit front-firing, speakers onto the tablet portion of the device. The larger keyboard base must offer us larger everything, honestly, not just larger graphics. Worse yet is that the audio jack remains at the identical bizarre, upper-right-edge position it has been, dangling over our palms and deflecting us while studying.

Nonetheless, the typing experience together with the Surface Book 2 is phenomenal, in spite of dangling headphone wires, using a brightly backlit keyboard that has punchy opinions and profound traveling. We'd love to see a little more force from the keyboard's opinions, but that may only be down to personal preference.

All told, we enjoy the Surface Book 2 (15-inch) design a bit -- even its 1080p webcam and back camera ought to impress at the following meeting or on your Instagram feed. However, we can not dismiss the missed opportunities to boost the product that far further and create the experience that much larger in regards to how it feels, looks and sounds.

Display and Surface Pen

Of course, we are equally in love with the Surface Book 2 (15-inch) display because we had been using the previous two models. Text looks sharp on the screen as do photos and video, even when the 3:2 aspect ratio makes for some awfully thick black bars throughout the latter.

The display's resolution is nigh-unmatched brief of 4K laptops, and Apple's MacBook displays can not hold a candle for this pixel for pixel. Even though Apple's P3 colour gamut could tower across Microsoft's panel in the opinion of artwork and media pros, we do not see much difference between the two in relation to colour reproduction.

We are advised that Microsoft committed quite a lot of effort to improving the touch reaction in its most recent PixelSense display such as the Surface Book 2, and it shows testing. If any lag between drawing the screen together with the Surface Pen and its appearance on the screen was there earlier, it is certainly undetectable today.

In reality, should you scribble to a sticky note and run the Surface Pen off of the note window you'll see traces of ink appear whatever is there, even though it's going to almost immediately disappear. That's a unique processor which makes the ink even Windows 10 does, we are told, which ought to talk to the lack of latency from the touchscreen.

Additionally, attaching and detaching the display from the keyboard base is as quickly as you would expect from an extremely costly computing device. Whether it's going into tablet mode or into a laptop, it is less than a moment before you are successfully tapping or typing away.

At any speed, the Surface Book 2 screen goes on to show that Microsoft can craft displays worthy of contrast against the technology world's best in basically every metric.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review


To mention that the Surface Book 2 is strong is selling Microsoft's most up-to-date laptop brief. In other words, this is the most powerful 2-in-1 laptop we have ever tested, ready to go toe-to-toe with not just every hybrid laptop available on the industry but a vast selection of gaming laptops, also.

If you look over at the benchmarks, the Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics inside the laptops foundation are more than enough to handle modern AAA games in 1080p. (We saw more than playable frame rates at native resolution, also.) That's not something we typically expect with Surface devices, not as any 2-in-1 laptops.

Nor should you purchase the Surface Book 2 for gaming. Frankly, you can get the exact same experience for far less money, spending everything you stored on games or an outside GPU box and a graphics card. But, few laptops will maintain as cool as this one under stress, as a result of the Surface Book 2's divide design that retains the GPU and CPU apart.

That said, Microsoft added the Xbox Wireless radio -- that permits the Surface Book 2 to connect to Xbox One controllers natively -- consequently. That is, to get a cross section of designers or media pros and gamers that could be served well by a device that could do everything.

Now, it should go without saying that the Surface Book 2 (15-inch) handles our usual workload with aplomb, barely seeing its quad-core CPU and 16GB of RAM break a sweat. You would have to strive hard to cripple this laptop, is what we're saying.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review

Battery life

Considering that point, the fact that this laptop lasted longer in PCMark 8's battery evaluation compared to just about any 2-in-1 laptop we've tested so far is just downright remarkable. A score of 7 hours and 39 minutes in this historically penalizing evaluation is unheard of at the TechTnet offices, particularly considering the preceding model lasted for under half that long.

This amount is due to the sheer quantity of battery given into the Surface Book 2 (15-inch) by its larger size and the character of its design. Microsoft promises around 17 hours of battery life in the 15-inch Surface Book 2 over neighborhood video playback.

We are going to be putting this on the evaluation whenever you can, as we weren't able to check the Surface Book 2 battery inside this capability in the time allocated for this review. Stay tuned for an upgrade in the coming days seeing only this.

In the meantime, know that the Surface Book 2 is already shaping up to become one of the longest-lasting laptops we have ever tested.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review

General assessment

In the conclusion of the day, the 15-inch Surface Book 2 is the most flexible and strong 2-in-1 laptop we have ever used, however it is not perfect. There are several missed opportunities in Microsoft simply carrying the first Surface Book and bulking up it, at least chassis design-wise.

That said, we recognize the hard work and engineering that went into crafting this specific device. The proof is in its own nigh-unparalleled performance and durability, and of course its good looks and tactile sense when held at the hand as either a laptop or a tablet computer -- and that gorgeous display.

Of course, you are going to pay dearly for each one of the aforementioned accolades, which we would say is well worthwhile to the creative pros (or anybody who is wealthy enough) out there that could swing it. The cost is steep for the most effective 2-in-1 laptop thus far, but don't forget you are getting the cream of the crop in 2-in-1 laptop design by the people that described the category.