Reviewing the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is like putting on a pair of comfortable old slippers – that aaahhh feeling of familiarity and comfort as you slip into them.
You see, I own a Microsoft Surface Book 1. It has long been my faithful companion and will continue to be so for many years to come. It was so far ahead of the pack when released in October 2015, especially the i7 model with NVIDIA graphics, that it is still very useful today.
I nearly bought the Surface Book 2 late last year as it had at long last included a USB-C port. Alas, only a 3.1, Gen 1 port with power and data, not Thunderbolt 3.
Ultimately, I bought an HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2 with USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 instead as GadgetGuy’s production PC. Damn Microsoft – if only you had Thunderbolt 3!
The differences are subtle between Book 1 and Book 2
- There is now a highly desirable 15” version – great for artists and designers. As a journalist I am happy with 13.5” when travelling and my HP Z34C, 21:9 monitor when I need some serious screen real estate.
- Size is the almost the same although the i5 version has put on 200g and the i7 is 30g lighter!
- The real charges – Microsoft claims 1000+ – are under the Surface.
- These now sport the 7th generation i5-7300U, and the i7 gets the 8th generation i7-8650U.
- GPU Is integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics (i5/i7) as well as NVIDIA GTX 1050 2GB (13.5” i7) or 1060 6GB (15” i7), graphics bases (detachable keyboard).
- Screens are still 3:2 and 3000×2000 pixels – the best screen on any laptop. Book 2 uses a new type of screen that brings the glass, sensing elements, and graphical elements closer together to increase accuracy.
- The optional pen has 4096 levels of pressure (same as the Surface Pro 2017).
- The Surface Dial still works garnering more support as an alternative input device.
- Batteries remain similar but the 7th and 8th generation Intel Core processors are more power efficient giving slightly longer life.
Review – Microsoft Surface Book 2, 13.5”, Core i7, 16GB/1TB, NVIDIA 1050/2GB, Model 1832/1835, RRP $4,449
Australian website here.
I could be cheeky and copy the Microsoft Surface Book 1 review. But times have changed and so has the computing landscape. So, this is a fresh review against GadgetGuy test paradigms.
What is it?
A high-end, i5/i7, 13.5 or 15” touchscreen, detachable keyboard notebook. It acts like a 360° hinge notebook or a standalone tablet.
It is unique – there is no other device where the screen detaches, with an NVIDIA GTX keyboard base, dual batteries and a 3:2 ratio screen.
And because it is unique Microsoft can charge whatever it likes. Frankly, I think it is good value for what you get.
Who uses it?
Obviously, those who can afford it! But more than that it is ideally suited to
- Creative types who can use a pen/dial and develop artwork, design, fashion, cartoons etc
- Engineering/draftsmen who can use the pen/dial as a portable digitiser replacement
- With Mixed Reality Ultra support more will be seen in the field for training and use by mechanics to visualise repairs
- It has one of the best, if not the best, keyboard experiences that make it ideal for journalists to travel with. I also have a Surface Pro 2017, and while it is best for travel due to its size I take the Surface Book for the keyboard
- An enormous number end up on CEO desks if only as a status symbol
- And being cheeky it has attracted many MacBook Pro users that want touch screen – come on Apple!
In the box
The nice solid box is rather bereft of goodies. You get the tablet section, the appropriate base and a Surface Ribbon charger.
The i7 gets a 95W, 15V/6.33A charger as it needs more juice to power the NVIDIA keyboard base.