We’re big fans of Microsoft’s Surface Book, a laptop that paired serious computing power with a very useful tablet mode. Yes, it was pricey, but with its combo of features, it definitely served as a worthy competitor to the Macbook Pro. The Microsoft Surface Book 2 builds on the good parts of the original, all while squeezing in a whole lot more power than ever.
How powerful is thing? At the top end, you can get a machine with an 8th-generation Core i7, a discrete 6GB GTX 1060 GPU, and 16GB of RAM. That’s right, more than being a productivity tool, this thing now packs enough power to serve as a powerful gaming computer with the ability to plow through any AAA game without choking at any point.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 retains the same laptop and tablet hybrid design of its predecessor, allowing you to use it like a regular tablet, a tablet (just detach the monitor section from the hinge), and a drawing pad (fold it from the inside out). You can also detach the screen reattach it facing the opposite direction, for those times you want to show a co-worker what’s going on with whatever project you’re stuck on. It also works seamlessly with the Surface Dial, which you can simply place on the screen to use as a functional knob that can take the place of sliders and other virtual controls.
It now comes in two display sizes: 13.5 inches and 15 inches, so whether you like your laptops compact or endowed with a large display, there’s an available option on the table. Both display sizes have touchscreens with 10-point multi-touch, a 3:2 aspect ratio, and a 1600:1 contrast ratio. The smaller display comes with 3000 x 2000 pixels of resolution, while the larger panel gets 3240 x 2160.
Of course, a powerful gaming laptop isn’t for everyone. If you only want a productivity machine, the Microsoft Surface Book 2’s entry level unit gives you a 13.5-inch screen, an 8th-gen Core i5, 8GB of RAM, an Intel HD Graphic 620 GPU, and 256GB of SSD storage. There are other options, too, that mix different CPUs, GPUs, memory size, and storage, so you can find just the right balance for the kind of work you plan on doing with a laptop.
As with its predecessor, the laptop is designed to work with the Surface Pen, so you can sketch and write on a digital display with nearly the same mechanics as actual pen and paper. According to Microsoft, sketching on the laptop using Pen posts virtually no lag, making the experience feel very natural and intuitive. Other features include a full-sized backlit keyboard, a high-precision all-glass trackpad, a generous selection of ports (two USB 3.1, one USB-C, 3.5mm jack, two Surface Connect ports, and a full size SD card reader), two cameras (5.0 megapixels in front and 8.0 megapixels in the rear), front-facing stereo speakers, and dual mics.
Pricing for the Microsoft Surface Book 2 starts at $1,499.