As it proves, the best 2-in one laptop cum tablet merely is the bigger and better Surface Pro; that is capable of allowing you to play latest PC games and remains for the hell of a long time to boot. No need to mention, this is by far the best tablet for drawing; that we have tested and reviewed so far. Let’s dig deep into the Microsoft Surface Book 2 review to know more about its specs and features.
What We Like?
- Massive long battery life
- Heavily powerful
- Lightweight but large tablet
- Great cooling
What We Don’t?
- No up-firing base speakers
- Meager trackpad
- Very pricey
- No Surface Pen added
Highlights Of Microsoft Surface Book 2 Review:
Intel Core i5 or i7
8GB or 16GB
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD
Intel HD 620 or Nvidia GTX 1050 / GTX 1060
13.5 inches, 3:2 aspect ratio, 3000 x 2000 or 15-inch, 3:2 aspect ratio, 3240 x 2160
1080p with Windows Hello, rear 1080p camera
Windows 10 Pro
claimed 17 hours for local video playback, but real-world is closer to 8 or 9 hours
The innovative Surface Book was a covenant to Microsoft’s engineering experience. It took the idea shown by the Surface Pro — a touchscreen Windows device, with digital ink support — and propelled it to the end with a more extensive 13-inch display, more powerful processor, and discrete graphics. The company was satisfied with what the innovative Book had achieved, as evidenced by its $1,500 price tag.
That pride is still evident in the Surface Book 2. Microsoft was so pleased with the Book, in fact, that it’s determined to improve as limited as possible. In a flash, the progression seems nearly precisely like the original; with one arbitrary exception. Size.
For the prime time, you can buy a Surface device with a 15-inch screen. The more significant version of the Surface Book 2 starts at an even more pricey $2,500. That profits you an Intel 8th-gen Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics. Our top-tier Microsoft Surface Book 2 review model came with a 1TB hard drive; which struck the value up to $3,300.
Apparently, there’s no granting for budget shoppers here. The hardware in this system is swift, and you’re demanded to pay up. Our Microsoft Surface Book 2 review will help you decide if this 2-in-1 is worth taking out a second mortgage.
Here is the configuration for the Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) configuration sent to us for Microsoft Surface Book 2 review.
CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM)
RAM: 16GB LPDDR3 (1866Mhz)
Screen: 15-inch, 3,240 x 2,160 (260 ppi) PixelSense display (3:2 aspect ratio; 1600:1 contrast ratio)
Storage: 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Ports: 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x Surface Connect, SD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac 2 x 2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, Xbox Wireless
Camera: Windows 8MP rear-facing autofocus camera (1080p), 5MP front-facing Hello face-authentication camera (1080p HD)
Weight: 4.2 pounds (1.9kg) with keyboard base
Size: 13.5 x 9.87 x 0.568 ~ 0.90 inches (343 x 251 x 15 ~ 23mm; W x D x H)
The Surface Book 2 looks a lot like the first, with the same magnesium alloy body and brand coiled hinge, which coils around the back of the device, enabling the laptop to be employed as a bog-standard clamshell laptop. You can, of course, separate the screen from the clavier and use the SurfaceBook 2 as a tablet, if you’re so willing.
Microsoft has also (finally!) scored a USB-C port on the right side, along with an SD card reader and two more USB3 ports. Grievously, the USB-C port doesn’t back the Thunderbolt 3 standard, which is excellent for providing power, but can’t be employed to connect an external monitor.
This is mainly a disgrace considering the USB-C port supersedes the old Surface Book’s Mini DisplayPort. If you need to connect this new Surface Book to another monitor, you’re bound to employ Microsoft’s £200 Surface Dock.
As for performance, Microsoft is claiming a 17-hour battery life with its latest SurfaceBook 2, with five times the graphics processing power of its antecedent, and twice the processing grunt of Apple’s MacBook Pro. And the touchscreen, well, the Surface Book 2 bears both the Surface Pen and Surface Dial for you creative types.
Screen performance has always been a bit hit and misses on Surface devices. Traditionally, Surface screens’ high resolutions and maximum brightnesses have made them great for regular consumers. However, poor color gamut coverage has made them less attractive to the creative professionals to whom Microsoft continually markets its Surface devices. This remains the case with the Surface Book 2.
The 13.5-inch ‘Pixel Sense’ display’s 3:2 aspect ratio is excellent for movie-binging and creative work. The 3000 x 2000 (267ppi) ensures icons and text are uniformly sharp, and the 0.0547 nits black and 101.68 nits white levels give it a super-impressive 1858:1 contrast ratio.
The 6577K color temperature is a hair’s breadth from the 6500K ideal, resulting in colors that look wonderfully accurate – being neither too cold or too warm.
Things get a little dicey when it comes to color gamut coverage, however. The 92.7% coverage of the sRGB space is excellent for day-to-day use, but the Surface Book 2’s 64.4% Adobe RGB and 66.4% DCI-P3 gamut coverage will be an issue for creatives.
The Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 gamuts are used by many creative professionals and dictate the range of colors a screen can accurately display. As a rule of thumb, any serious artist or photography display should cover 80-90% or above according to Microsoft Surface Book 2 review.
Surface Book 2 – Stylus and Surface Dial
The screen figures are a little disappointing, especially when you consider that the Surface Book is otherwise a superb device for creatives. More so if you invest in the arbitrary Surface Pen (£100) and Surface Dial (£90).
The latest-generation Surface Pen is a little on the pricey side, but it ticks all the right boxes for digital painters and designers. Featuring a significant 4096 pressure-sensitivity levels, outside of the Wacom MobileStudio Pro, there aren’t many tablets as accurate as the Surface Book.
This makes the Surface Book wonderfully intuitive to use when working in creative suites such as Adobe Photoshop or 3D Studio Max. The pressure sensitivity also works with standard freeware creative suites, such as Krita – although I did notice slight latency creep into the mix on some.
The Surface Dial makes things even better. It was initially launched with the Surface Studio, and in my opinion is one of the best things to happen to the Surface line. The dial acts as a customizable control when placed on the Surface Book’s screen, letting you scroll through active layers or adjust brush sizes in Photoshop, for example.
I was initially concerned that the Surface Book 2’s 13-inch display would prove too small to use the dial while painting sensibly. To my surprise, however, it worked brilliantly.
Working in Photoshop, the dial and pen combo offered one of the best creative experiences I’ve had in quite some time. The only minor issue is that the dial didn’t play nice with any of the third-party freeware applications I threw at it during Microsoft Surface Book 2 review. This might be a problem for indies and enthusiasts working in programs such as Krita and Blender.
To say that the Surface Book 2 is robust would be marketing Microsoft’s latest laptop short. Simply stated, this is the most reliable 2-in-1 laptop we’ve ever tested in Microsoft Surface Book 2 review, all set to go toe-to-toe with not just every hybrid laptop on the run but a wide variety of gaming laptops, too.
Moreover, the Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics inside the laptop’s base are more than sufficient to manage the very newest games at 1080p resolution. (We saw more than playable frame speeds in both of these benchmarked games at native resolution, too.) Those aren’t terms we usually put to the record regarding Surface devices; much less any 2-in-1 laptops.
Nor should gaming be the cause you buy a Surface Book 2. Frankly, you could get the same experience for far more budget and pay that extra cash for games or even an external GPU box plus a graphics card. Though, few laptops will keep as cold as this one under pressure, thanks primarily to its split design keeping the CPU and GPU apart.
That said, Microsoft included the Xbox Wireless radio – which allows it to communicate with Xbox One controllers natively – for a reason. That is, for a cross-section of designers or media pros and gamers that would be served well by a device that can do it all.
At this point, it should go without saying that the Surface Book 2 (15-inch) handles our normal, workload with aplomb, barely seeing its quad-core CPU and 16GB of RAM break a sweat. You’d have to try hard to cripple this laptop, is what we’re saying.
Conceding that point, the case that this laptop lasted longer in PCMark 8’s battery test than just about any 2-in-1 laptop we’ve experimented in Microsoft Surface Book 2 review to date is only absolutely impressive. A score of 7 hours and 39 minutes in this historically punishing test is unheard of in the Techreviewsonline offices,especially considering the previous model lasted for less than half that long.
This figure is the testament to the sheer amount of battery afforded to the Surface Book 2 (15-inch) by its larger size and the nature of its design. Microsoft promises up to 17 hours of battery life from the 15-inch Surface Book 2 over local video playback.
We’ll be putting this to the test as soon as possible, as we weren’t able to test the Surface Book 2 battery in this capacity in the time allotted for this review. Stay tuned for an update in the coming days regarding just this.
In the meantime, know that the Surface Book 2 is already shaping up to be one of the longest-lasting laptops we’ve ever tested according to our Microsoft Surface Book 2 review.
Surface Book 2 – Keyboard and trackpad
Even without the extra battery and GPU, the Surface Book 2’s physical keyboard is a pretty big selling point.
The inclusion of a physical hinge makes using the Surface Book as a laptop a noticeably nicer experience than with the regular Surface Pro’s Type Cover – which is tricky to use on anything but a flat, stable surface.
Despite having a battery and CPU in the tablet section, the Surface Book 2 isn’t top-heavy and so sits stable, even when the screen is tilted at an extreme angle. It can be used in three different configurations: laptop, stand and flat. The stand lets you turn the screen round to face away from the keyboard, while the tablet mode lets you set the screen flat on the dock.
The keyboard itself is also pretty impressive. The backlit chiclet unit is reasonably well spread out, offers decent travel and, while not quite as tactile as I’d like, is more than comfortable enough to work on.
The Microsoft Certified trackpad is suitably large and, outside of the MacBook, is one of the best I’ve tested. Throughout my time with the Surface Book 2, the trackpad has enacted multi-touch and basic commands with zero issue.
Our Point Of View:
All in all, the 15-inch Surface Book 2 is the most potent and versatile 2-in-1 laptop we’ve ever tested as per our Microsoft Surface Book 2 review. But it’s not a perfect device. There are a few missed possibilities in Microsoft merely taking the original Surface Book and making it bigger, at least body design-wise.
That said, we know 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 hand as either a laptop or a tablet.
Of course, you’ll spend greatly for all of the accolades above, which we’d say is entirely worth it for the inventive pros (or anyone who’s rich enough) out there that can swing it. The price is high 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.