Surface Book 2 review: Clean Looks, Clean Power, Dirty Secret

Microsoft Surface Book 2
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Great aesthetics
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Battery drain issues
  • Too big to realistically use as a tablet

Bottom Line

The Surface Book 2 is a product for a very specific kind of person. The kind of person who digs the glamor of the Surface range but needs more grunt than is offered by the other options on the table.

Would you buy this?

The Pitch

These days, looks are probably the biggest point of difference offered by each brand - and Microsoft’s Surface hardware has always been exceptional at accentuating that difference. Put more bluntly, the Surface range is really nice to look at. Sure, the performance found in the company’s flagship foray into convertibles has also been really good too. However, it’s the slick and distinctive design sensibilities that’s helped the Surface range cut through the competition.

When every portable PC vendor is packing the same Intel core processor and 16GB of RAM, looks can kill. Unfortunately, those aesthetics have usually been let down by the limits of what portable PC hardware can actually deliver. At the end of the day, tablets, laptops, and everything in-between just don’t have that little bit of extra grunt to make them appropriate for all use cases things.

It’s into that unlikely niche that Microsoft’s new Surface Book 2 fits.

Envisioned as a marriage of the clean slate-like aesthetics that have worked well for Microsoft in recent years and an abundance of high-end specs you don't usually find in a 2-in-1, it's a veritable workhorse of a machine. Put more elegantly, it’s the Surface device that does the things that you didn’t think could be done on a Surface device.

Specs

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a 2-in-1 notebook that comes with a 13.5-inch PixelSense display (267 PPI) with a 1600:1 contrast ratio. The PC is available in four variants:

  1. 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with 256GB of SSD storage and 8GB of RAM.

  2. 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage and a discrete Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card.

  3. 8th-generation Intel i7 processor with 512GB of SSD storage, 16GB of RAM and a discrete Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card.

  4. 8th-generation i7 processor with 1TB of SSD storage, 16GB of RAM and a discrete Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card.

It’s got Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth (4.2 LE) connectivity and, port-wise, packs in two USB 3.0 slots, a USB-C slot, a UHS-II SDXC card reader, a headphone jack and two Surface Connect ports (one used to charge when in tablet mode and one used otherwise). There’s also a 5.0 MP front-facing camera (1080p) and rear-facing 8.0 MP one (1080p).

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