If you want an elegant PC that fits in everywhere you go, then the Microsoft Book 2 with it’s 15.6 display might be the best choice for you.
Microsoft did a very great job with the Surface Book 2. Released to the general public as a true Personal Computer that can fit alright wherever you take it to. Being one of the top premium laptop makers in the world, the Microsoft Surface PCs have become a real trends seriously competing with the likes of Apple’s Mac Book. And with the not so good Mac Book Pro we had this year, the Surface Book 2 might be a real replacement for those seeking a really powerful working PC that can also be fashionable at the same time.
While it’s quite agreeable that the new Surface Book 2 15-inch is just a larger variant of the Surface Book 2 13-inch, there are still some visible increase in the power of and durability of this computer.
While being labeled as a “Powerhouse” by it’s maker, Microsoft, anyone who have seen and used this laptop can agree to the claims that it’s the best laptop in 2018. While working with the PC over a week long, I deduced that it’s the best laptop ever made this year 2018.
Apart from the external attraction you get when you encounter this nice piece of tech, there are some other parts of it that also makes it interesting. For example, the implementation of fingerprint scanner. Though this isn’t a new trend as far as Window PCs are concerned, even with some cheaper Chinese PCs like the Thinker AllDoCube, the fact that Microsoft also implement this feature makes a whole lot of sense.
DESIGN OF THE SURFACE BOOK 2 15-INCH
As far as the physical point of view is concerned, the Surface Book 2 15-inch is really a winner here. It’s aluminum body which covers up the entire device makes it firm and precise while being held or glanced at. One thing I find fascinating is the edges of the device’s base and the screen lid. The edges are what what i admire so much in Apple’s Mac Book Pro unlike HP or Dell that usually maintain this irregular body design of their laptops.
I was really amazed by the fact that Microsoft did put in all the effort to create a really beautiful device that’s worthy of our praises. All these improves the Surface Book 2’s power profile while it’s screen technology is way better than many others in the league.
While one can still argue that the display is afterall just a larger variant of the rest of the Surface Book (the earlier version), The fact that this is a big upgrade from the older Surface Book i7 loaded with a serious batter capability makes the Surface Book 2 15-inch a big deal.
Another point is that despite it’s huge screen, the device is way lighter than you’d expect and detaching it from it’s base (Because it can be detached) makes it way lighter than many tablets in the whole wide world.
While there is nothing perfect as far as technology is concerned, the Surface Book 2 has it’s own flaws. For example, the fact that Microsoft made the trackpad with glass is an amazing luxury but being so small isn’t entirely amazing. Mac Book Pro is way too large in it’s own respects though.
While the speakers aren’t amazing as we’d expect from a premium laptop. The HP Spectre for example does way better in this case while the Lenovo Yoga and Dell XPS too are all great. Now instead of maybe placing in some really better quality speakers that fires out loud with Hi-Fi qualities, what I got was a mere tiny speaker like a smartphone considering the size of the device. Worse yet is that the audio jack is still in the same weird, upper-right-edge position it’s always been, dangling over my hands whenever I’m trying to type something.
While the Keyboard itself is great and considering it’s bright backlits. this shows that even when you’re in a not so brightened environment, You can still put your computer into work without losing your mind.
My overall take on the design of the device is excellent but that shouldn’t mean that I should miss out on some crucial features like the 1080p webcam and rear camera which is also impressive allowing better video calls or maybe Snapchat but the video quality when used for Skype video call was excellent considering it’s 5MP producing a 1080p video capability. Also the Surface team worked with their Microsoft cohorts on the Skype team to make sure viewing angles, width, and color were optimized for the video phone service.
SCREEN AND DISPLAY OF THE SURFACE BOOK 2 15-INCH
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 with it’s nice 15.6 inch display comes powered by a 3240 x 2160 PixelSense LCD touch display with a 1600:1 contrast and 3:2 aspect ratio making the display a real magic of brightness and nice resolutions.
While a calibration showed that there is a 98% sRGB and a 75% Adobe RGB coverage which is a real high quality despite being a little behind the Surface Book 13-inch model at 90% and 80% respectively. There is an even distribution of the backlight and there a bright and quality contrast as far as the display is concerned. The bezels too are thinner than those on the 13-inch variant.
The display brightness is also cool because it’s not outstanding so it might be a little bit not glossy when used outdoor though no one would sit under the sun with the sun directly pointed at the screen. So you should be fine even using it outside the restaurant.
The Surface Book 2 also come with an ambient light sensor which adjusts the screen to the environment which works well and evidently uses direct current to reduce some subtle screen flickering that cheaper displays exhibit.
There is some minor light bleed found in all LCD type displays, but it is only noticeable during initial boot when the display brightness is maxed on a gray background and not during usage. But one big turn off is the exclusion of the Surface Pen which you’ll need to purchase for an extra fee of $99 unless you have an older Surface Pen which worked fine with the new model. The Surface Book 2 supports 4,096 levels of pressure and tilt support, and offers a mere 21-millisecond latency thanks to Microsoft’s custom PixelSense Accelerator chip — though that’s only with the new Surface Pen.
Drawing on the Surface Book 2 feels amazing when switched into the “Studio Mode”. The Surface Pen sensory pressure was great and produced accuracy with every colors i picked and designed with. It was also very nice and considering the screen resolution and quality, all was just splendid making the device a good companion for artists and designers.
SURFACE BOOK 2 TRACKPAD AND KEYBOARD 101
Nothing really big was changed as for the device’s keyboard and trackpad. The key travel which was marginally reduced makes it a bit more clumsy especially for me having big hands but others might find this amazing. The distance between keys were reduced from the initial 1.6mm to 1.55 mm (see…not so obvious). keys F1 and F2 secondary functions now control display backlight (instead of FN + Backspace).
Also, typing on this device is amazing. The key response is very great as it pushes backwards and the result is almost immediate. Also, there is less noise while clicking on the keys which means if you’re a fast typist, you wouldn’t be disturbing no one with those typewriter type of noise. The keyboard still retain its three-stage backlight which works well, but you’ll have to manually enable it through the F7 key.
Coming to the trackpad, it’s well covered with glass making it very smooth. The Surface Book 2 15 inch has the same trackpad size with the 13 inch Surface Book 2 model which means there is a not so wide trackpad on a wide computer board. The Surface Book 2 15-inch, of course, uses its Precision drivers, so all Windows 10 gestures, tracking, and tapping are perfected.
Unlike the older model, the new trackpad is smooth and great for tracking. It is subtle though Microsoft tuned the Surface Book 2 to the Surface Laptop’s trackpad. Typing, tapping or scrolling all done smoothly with one or both hands. Do note that the device is powered by Intel’s Core i7 processor making it fast overall.
SURFACE BOOK 2 15-INCH PORTS
There is no Thunderbolt 3 on the Surface Book 2 despite the anticipation despite being an ultrabook, the device is a real workstation anyone can count on to produce anything qualitative. As for the number of ports that comes with the Surface Book 2, there are two USB Type-A 3.1 ports on the left side with a full SD card slot for photographers. So on the right is the proprietary Surface Connect port used for the modestly-sized 102W charger. That port also doubles as a connector for the Surface Dock port expander.
There also is no DisplayPort on the device instead, a USB Type-C 3.1 port which makes the device a really futuristic device compared to the Surface Pro laptop. The port can charge Surface Book 2 in as much as the power supply is capable of charging it up.
When splitting it between power, data, and display, such as through a port hub, users will get only two data lanes for the screen. That results in a maximum secondary display resolution of 2880 x 1800 at 60Hz allowing the most popular resolution today — QHD (2560 x 1440) — to be used.
Assuming there is a Thunderbolt 3 which is a USB Type-C superior variant, users would’ve been able to utilize an external GPU (eGPU) with the Surface Book 2 nor power multiple 4K displays at 60Hz through a single port. But the fact that Microsoft chose the USB Type-C 3.1 over the Thunderbolt 3 might be to their own reasoning but the addition would’ve been a really nice addition to compliment the power of the device in it’s entirety.
SURFACE BOOK 2 15-INCH AUDIO QUALITY
Although I’m not entirely impressed by the sound quality of the Surface Book 2, that doesn’t mean it’s not nice in it’s sound quality. The fact that the only visible part for the speaker was a tiny cut out around the display area makes the audio quality not so great.
Although it’s fine and considering the fact that the speakers are now way improved over the 2017 version, the sound that comes from the Surface Book 2 is quite loud and cool. Audio separation is excellent delivering a substantial stereo effect.The Surface Book 2 also supports Dolby Audio out the box and users can use Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos for headphones to enhance the audio further.
SURFACE BOOK 2 15-INCH BATTERY
The Surface Book 2 15-inch has one thing that makes it even more surprising to me…the battery! But before I talk about that, let’s talk about the fact that Microsoft still manage to shrink in a fan into this ultra thin laptop making it to cool down whenever it gets hot.
While it comes with a very powerful CPU to ensure speed and powerful output, gaming on the laptop is such a great thing. While I place the device on my lap and then played couple of car race (Need For Speed), it was all feeling fine and the graphics were well processed with the speed all coming on without any unusual stutter.
But while intensely gaming, then maximizing the CPU and GPU the bottom of the Surface Book 2 15 did get warm peaking at 106 degrees F (41 degrees C), but it was never hot or uncomfortable. Likewise, the back of the display where the CPU resides also got warm, but never got hot to the touch.
The fan definitely made some noise while using the CPU and the GPU st 100%. The noise though isn’t those annoying helicopter type of sound you hear from others everywhere. Surfing the web, watching YouTube videos and streaming songs on SoundCloud, all went well and the battery resisted most of the work.
As a designer, I tried launching the Adobe Photoshop CC and this worked fine. Designed couple of things also with Paint. The overall review of the batter is nice and cool. The fan doesn’t get so hot and the device cools almost immediately after tuning off to do something else.
General Performance of the SURFACE BOOK 2 15-INCH
The Surface Book 2 has a great performance and Microsoft calling it a Powerhouse makes it true. Gaming for a long period is great and despite being a ultra thin laptop, it beat some others in it’s league like the Razer Blade 14 with it’s 45W quad-core i7 Processor and the same GTX 1060 GPU for processor tests.
|Device||CPU||Single core||Multi core|
|Surface Book 2 15||i7-8650U||5,036||14,237|
|Surface Book 2 13||i7-8650U||4,862||14,694|
|XPS 15 (9560)||i7-7700HQ||4,503||13,587|
|Razer Blade 2017||i7-7700HQ||4,277||13,597|
|Surface Laptop i7||i7-7660U||4,714||9,535|
|Surface Pro 2017||i7-7660U||4,513||9,346|
The Surface Book 2 15-Inch has a score of 4,323 that is lot better than 51% of all results. This makes the device a bit below a qualified gaming PC classification and well ahead of a standard productivity laptop in the respect.
Now let’s talk about real gaming, the Surface Book 2 is amazing with games take it. Comparing 2016’s Gears of War 4, which has multiple graphics configurations and a built-in benchmark, we can compare the Surface Book 2 15 to the newer 13-inch model with a GTX 1050 and the older Surface Book with Performance Base and its GTX 965M:
Gears of War 4 UWP
|Laptop||Resolution||Graphics presets||V-Sync||Average frame rate|
|Surface Book 2 15″||Medium||1620 x 1080||Off||96 FPS|
|Surface Book 2 13″||Medium||1620 x 1080||Off||65 FPS|
|Surface Book P. Base||Medium||1620 x 1080||Off||47 FPS|
The device effectively doubles the frame per second of the Surface Book with it’s good performance base which is a visible improvement to the overall functionalities of the device. With that much overhead, a user could enable high or ultra-graphics while still being well above 30 FPS.
In Id’s DOOM (2016) I was able to get over 30 FPS when set to High graphics and native resolution (3240 x 2160). Destiny 2 hits 60 FPS as well, though only at 1282 x 728, which is still very enjoyable. Playing an intense game like Resident Evil 7 biohazard is also a cinch for the Surface Book 2.
SURFACE BOOK 2 15-INCH SPECIFICATIONS
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8650U (4.2GHz)|
|Display size||15 inch
1600:1 contrast ratio
|Display resolution||3240 x 2160
|Native graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Discrete graphics||NVIDIA GTX 1060 (6GB)|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB, or 1TB|
|Weight||Total: 1,905g (4.20lbs)
Tablet: 817g (1.80lbs)
PRICING OF THE SURFACE BOOK 2 15-INCH
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 15-Inch is a premium PC in all respects and that comes with some pricing. The device is quite expensive or let me emphasize on that. The device will cost around $3,299 for the high-end model of the device in the US market while the entry-level model starts around $2,499 (£2,349, AU$3,649) and its only difference being a much smaller 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) inside.
The UK version which is a larger Surface Book 2 can be configured with twice the storage of the 256GB model for £2,749, or with a 1TB SSD for £3,149. Meanwhile, in Australia, the 512GB Surface Book 2 is $4,249, whereas the 1TB version sells for $4,849 including GST.
Despite the big pricetag on the device, you’ll still need to purchase your own Surface Pen which is a complimentary addon for hand writing or designing with the device.
Comparing the Surface Book 2 15-inch with the Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $2,399 (£2,349, AU$3,499) for a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, an AMD Radeon Pro 555 graphics chip with 2GB of VRAM, 16GB of memory and a 256GB SSD – all powering a 2,880 x 1,800-pixel 15.4-inch display at 220 pixels per inch as well as an OLED Touch Bar.
And all these are the price worth that comes with the device’s long list of features and performances.
SHOULD YOU BUY THE SURFACE BOOK 2?
Anyone that wants a premium device capable of handling anything thrown at it should seriously consider buying the Surface Book 2 15-inch. It’s powerful enough to be converted into whatsoever you’d like it to become. Nice camera for video communication, fan that cools down the processor, longer battery life, great display and fine audio output, all these are just few of the qualities any creative person that wants a device that can handle whatever they want should purchase.
Also do note that the Surface Book 2 15-inch doesn’t come with a Surface Pen meaning you’re going to have to buy one. But that shouldn’t be a deal breaker. If you want to a large screen to express your creativity, then this is the right device for you.
Compared to the Apple’s MacBook Pro, the Surface Book 2 15-inch is fast and beautiful. It’s also lightweight meaning it can be a great companion or travelling PC so you won’t have to worry wherever you find yourself in the globe.