TLDR: The pricey Microsoft Surface Book 2 is one of a kind. This portable powerhouse has no direct competition. If you can afford it I would definitely pick one up. You won't be disappointed.

90

Overall
Score


BUILD QUALITY95

FEATURES95

SIZE & WEIGHT80

PERFORMANCE90

WHERE TO BUY

Microsoft Surface Book 2 i7 13"From $1999.99

Microsoft has updated its Surface Book line with new 4-Core CPU‘s and 10 series NVIDIA graphics. In addition to the orginal 13″ model, they now offer a larger and more powerful 15″ version as well.

On paper the Surface Book 2 is a portable monster. Very few devices attempt to offer high end performance in a portable 2-in-1, but how does it all come together? I took a look at the 13-inch i7 model.

Surface Book 2 13-inch Specifications

CPU 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U
GRAPHICS NVIDIA GTX 1050 2GB
RAM 8GB 1866Mhz LPDDR3
DISPLAY 13.5” 3000×2000
1600:1 3:2 PixelSense
STORAGE 256GB NVMe SSD
BATTERY LIFE 17 hours (video)
Material Magnesium
DIMENSIONS 12.3 x 9.14 x .59–.90 in.
WEIGHT 3.38 lbs
OS Windows 10 Pro

Build Quality & Design

surface book 2 laptop surface book 2 laptop
surface book 2 right side surface book 2 right side
surface book 2 left side surface book 2 left side
surface book 2 top panel surface book 2 top panel
surface book 2 camera surface book 2 camera
surface book 2 bottom panel surface book 2 bottom panel

Visually the Surface Book 2 looks almost identical to the original model. You will immediately be able to recognize it by it’s distinctive hinge. It features the same slim profile and silver color scheme as its predecessor. The Magnesium alloy chassis looks and feels very premium. This is easily one of the more attractive laptops on the market.

For a detachable tablet, the Surface Book 2 feels solid. the connection between the tablet portion and the base is very strong, it feels like one piece when attached.

Ports & Connectors

Microsoft has stepped up their game when it comes to ports as well. In addition to the two USB 3.0 ports and SD Card slot found on the older models. You now get a USB-C 3.0 port as well.

Unfortunately the USB-C port is not Thunderbolt compatible, so you won’t be able to run any external GPU’s with this laptop. However you can charge and connect docks or displays through the port.

The proprietary Surface Power Connector is back. The magnetic connection provides power and can also transfer data if you are willing to pay up for the Surface Dock.

Power Brick

surface book 2 power brickA 95W power brick is included with the package. It is moderately sized, and very portable. Like other Microsoft devices, the brick has a USB power on it so you can power other devices.

Keyboard & Touchpad

surface book 2 keyboard touchpadThe original Surface Book had a solid but slightly mushy feeling keyboard. Thankfully the new model has a much improved keyboard with solid and consistent key travel. I was able to type on this keyboard for long sessions, with great accuracy.

The top row features dedicated volume, brightness, and play/pause buttons. You will also find a button that controls the 3 stage back-light for night time or low light situations.

The glass track pad is also great. Providing a smooth surface for your fingers, rock solid tracking, and full multi touch gesture support there is nothing to complain about here.

System Performance

surface book 2 on desktopGeneral system performance was strong. In every day use the system is super fast. Browsing the internet, using Word and Excel was a breeze.

The device also handles power tasks like rendering and gaming very well (more on that later). The performance is even more impressive when you factor in that the CPU is completely passively cooled.

CPU Benchmarks

Cinebench CPU 671
Geekbench Single 4581
Geekbench Multi 14382
CPU-Z Single 457.7
CPU-Z Multi 2003.7
Passmark CPU 3731

GPU Benchmarks

Cinebench OpenGL 98.96
3D Mark Firestrike 5089
Passmark GPU 3588

Gaming Performance

surface book 2 gaming performanceThe big surprise when it comes to the Surface Book 2 is definitely it’s gaming performance.
You don’t expect a detachable 2-in-1 ultra-portable laptop to offer a quality gaming experience, but this device does!

I was able to hit 60fps on most triple A titles at 1080p. The GTX 1050 does a great job churning out frames. I was blown away by how smooth the performance was. It is also important to note that I did not see any Throttling from the GPU even when pushed to it’s limits. The cooling system in the base does a great job.

GPU Cooling

surface book 2 gpu fan ventWhile the CPU is in the top tablet portion, the GPU sits in the base. This works wonders as you can separate the two components and dedicate all the cooling in the base to the GPU.

Fan vents run along the top edge of the keyboard. When pushed the fans generate an even “wooshing” sound. While not quiet, it isn’t annoying. If you have the speakers up or headphones on you won’t hear it at all.

Battery Life

surface book 2 battery modesMicrosoft has created new power profiles for the Surface Book 2. The 4 profiles range from battery sipping to full performance. Each profile does actually impact performance and battery life.

My battery test were performed on the “Recommended” setting. The “Daily Use” test included web browsing, streaming YouTube video, and working in Excel.

Video 14+ Hours
Daily Use 8.5 Hours
Gaming 2.5-3 Hours
Tablet Only 3-4 Hours

Conclusion

surface book 2 13 inch screenMicrosoft has hit a home run with the new Surface Book 2. There is no other device on the market that combines this level of portability, modularity, and power. If you can stomach the price ($2499 as tested) you will not be disappointed.

If you picked one of these up or are planning on it, follow the link for some awesome surface book accessories.

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