It may have taken 2 years to arrive, but they finally did, the successor to the original Surface Book is here, and it’s brought a larger more powerful friend with it. That’s right, the Surface Book 2 isn’t just one form factor, but two itself, the same 13.5 inch remains, but now a larger beefier 15 inch model enters the race.
Just like the original Surface Book devices, the form factor is the same rather bulky and heavy design, with that incredibly divisive hinge which allows a more powerful detachable base to give you great performance and GPU, with the top screen workable as a somewhat Tablet, though at these sizes we find that a bit of a stretch. But yeah, same design, could be a pro or a con depending on the type of person you are.
Now, before we get started, one thing you won’t get in the box of the Surface Book 2 devices, despite been highlighted in the Hero pictures, is the Surface Pen, which is kind of annoying as Microsoft have improved the displays on the Surface Book 2 to take advantage of that improved latency shown off previously with the Surface Laptop, but alas, won’t prevent the £99 to pay for it from being a bit disappointing. And yes, for the 5% asking, no this doesn’t offer LTE option either.
Whilst we personally love the Surface Book 2 for keeping it’s design and form factor, one thing we’re very happy about is Microsoft’s choices in I/O. On the left side of the Surface Book 2 you maintain 2 regular USB-A ports and an SD Card Slot for those professionals, but also finally the addition of a USB-C port can be found on the right side of the device! Whilst this does replace the Mini DisplayPort, we think this is a much better fit for the device, especially as USB-C offers much more potential and future proofing, but without the Apple way of forcing you towards it just yet. And yes, whilst their is a 3.5mm headphone jack it remains in the stupidest place ever, though suppose with the display possible to detach they had to do something, but come on Microsoft, it could have gone down a little bit.
The USB-C port isn’t however the prefect one you’d want, so MacBook Pros get the benefit of at least including Thunderbolt 3 capable ports, which the Surface Book 2 does not, meaning basic Video Out (not 4K), and whilst it will charge the Surface Book 2, you’re really better not as it would be 1/6th the speed of the including Surface Connector … eeekk.
It’s still over-priced, but now MUCH more Powerful!
Microsoft are calling the new Surface Book 2 “a gaming powerhouse”, which whilst we still deny like the first generation model, the Surface Book 2 at least walks the walk a damn sight more than the previous model. You can now configure the new Surface Book 2 up to a 2GB GTX 1050, which isn’t bad, but the larger 15 inch Surface Book 2 can push much further up to an 6GB GDRAM GTX 1060. Whilst the NVIDIA Chips are late in their release cycle, and will likely see successors soon after the AMD competition out now, they’re still night and day compared to what the original Surface Books offered, and humiliate the current MacBook Pros which aren’t even last Gen in terms of Graphics performance (though that’s nothing new for Apple).
CPU wise, things are a mixed bag, with the 7th Gen Kaby Lake Intel Processors remaining on the lower base model, though thankfully the new 8th Gen Processors are on the rest of the units. The problem with that decision obviously is the £1,499 Surface Book 2 with the 7th Gen Processor is the only one with shared Graphics, now only one with a Dual-Core processor, and features the rather mediocre Intel HD Graphics 620, so we’d suggest avoiding that one.
If you were wondering about the full specs, the full options are below;
13.5 INCH MODEL
Base Model i5: 7th Generation (Dual-Core) Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, and integrated graphics. £1,499
Base i7 Model: 8th Generation Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 2 GB GDDR5 graphics memory. £1,999
Second i7 Model: 8th Generation Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 2 GB GDDR5 graphics memory. £2,499
High End i7 Model: 8th Generation Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 2 GB GDDR5 graphics memory. £2,999
NEW 15 INCH MODEL
Base 15 Model: 8th Generation Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 graphics memory. £2,499
Second 15 Model: 8th Generation Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 graphics memory. £2,899
High End 15 Model: 8th Generation Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 graphics memory. £3,299
So, there you go, sure it’s darn expensive, but it actually lines up pretty favourably versus Apple’s MacBook Pro, which naturally they’re aimed at, so will be interesting.
Battery life is, as always, a very beautiful claim versus actual reality, but if you’re one who believes it, Microsoft claim they all reach 17 hours of battery life, I’m one of those who’s less believing. Though to be fair, if they can reach 12 hours, that’s still fantastic battery life for what are very powerful Laptops … and, yes Microsoft, they’re Laptops.
It’s worth noting a minor difference with major consequence between the Surface Book 2 models in relation to the included Chargers, whilst they continue to feature a USB Port for convenient charging (we love this), you will receive a measly 39W unit with the base 13 inch model, rather than a 95W for the rest, which is quite a considerable difference and something to note.
So, there you go, the new Microsoft Surface Book 2 Notebooks look pretty decent to us from a far, but will the still decisive design turn you away?