Last week I got my early (or late) Christmas gift to myself. The Microsoft Surface Book 2 15-inch version was finally shipping to Switzerland. The 13-inch version of the Surface Book 2 was already available last year. I am a long-time Surface user since I got my first Surface and my first Surface Pro back in 2012. As you might remember, I got a new Surface Pro 2017 as a new company device back in July 2017. I picked the Surface Pro as a replacement for my Surface Book, which I used quite a while, and I am very happy with it. It is a light and mobile device, perfect when you are traveling. I think the new Surface Pro with LTE would even be better if you are on the road.
However, one thing I always knew was that I am more productive with a larger screen. Even the 13” Surface Book, made a huge difference against the 12” Surface Pro. The thing is simple, and it is mobility versus screen real estate. I am often working on the go, which means I like mobility. On the other hand, I am also working a couple of hours on the device with no extra screens. Having some extra space on the mobile device makes me more productive.
When Microsoft announced the new Surface Book 2 13-inch and 15-inch, I knew I want a 15” version. It would give me more screen real estate, more productivity, paired with the Surface quality and design. The combination of a 15” screen in a 3:2 aspect ratio, together with a touch screen and pen support, will provide you with the best possible work setup.
The Surface Book 2 also comes with some performance improvements. With the higher-end models, you get a new 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U quad-core processor, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, which will provide you with the necessary performance. For me, these performance improvements are a nice addition, but not the reason I would upgrade. If you are a creator, designer, editor, you might highly benefit from the additional graphics performance. However, Microsoft also updated the disk to a faster NVMe SSD, and this you can see and feel in your day-to-day tasks.
Surface Book 2 – First Impressions
I haven’t used the Surface Book 2 long enough for a full review, but I want to share my first impressions.
- Hardware and build quality are amazing as for all the Surface devices, no surprises here.
- Performance improvements from the 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U quad-core processor and the NVMe SSD are great. They are helping a lot if you are running Docker containers and Hyper-V on your machine. I can also imagine if you are doing graphic intensive work, you also benefit massively from the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060.
- The fantastic 15” PixelSense display with the 3:2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 3240 x 2160 is just stunning and makes a difference if you need screen real estate. The quality of the display is also fantastic, and you can switch between “Enhanced Mode” and sRGB. And as always, I am thrilled with the Surface Pen support.
- Yes, you can still detach the screen from the keyboard to use it as a giant 15” tablet.
- Microsoft now includes 2 x USB type-A (version 3.1 Gen 1), 1 x USB type-C (version 3.1 Gen 1 with USB Power Delivery revision 3.0), 3.5mm headphone jack, 2 x Surface Connect ports, Full-size SDXC card reader. The only thing missing is the Thunderbolt port, but to be honest, I never missed it before, but of course, it would be nice to have it.
- Of course, the Surface Book 2 15” version is huge if you compare it to the Surface Pro or the Surface Laptop. With 1.9kg also heavier, but with the performance improvements, battery life, and the larger screen, what else can you expect? However, if you undock the screen from the keyboard, the tablet part is still very light.
- It also provides you with the necessary modern Wi-Fi standards a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth Wireless 4.1 technology, and built-in Xbox Wireless for the 15-inch version.
- Since I am using it only for a couple of days, I cannot talk about battery life. Microsoft claims up to 17 hours of video playback. To be honest, the first Surface Book was already very good in terms of battery life. I think, with the Surface Book 2, I will make it through a day.
- Of course, it also ships with a Windows Hello face authentication camera. A 5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video and an 8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD video.
Overall my first impression of the Surface Book 2 is fantastic. The Surface Book 2 is the laptop I was waiting for, for a long time. I think this is the best notebook I have ever owned. Are you owning one, or thinking about buying one for yourself? Let me know in the comments.