Notebook Review

Microsoft Surface Book 2 - Review of a laptop transformer, which is better and more expensive

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The first Surface Book combined touchdisplay, stylus support, large 13-inch display, powerful processor and discrete graphics. For all this, you had to pay $ 1,500 (86,500 rubles). Microsoft was pleased with the success, so Microsoft Surface Book 2, the second version of the Transformer notebook, is not much different from the original, except for the sizes.

Base Surface Book 2 with Intel processorThe eighth generation Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, a 256 GB solid state drive (SSD) and an Nvidia GTX 1060 video card is available for $ 2500 ($ 144,000). For the review, I chose a configuration with a 1 TB SSD, which is even more expensive - $ 3300 (p. 190,000).

Microsoft Surface Book 2 Design

Surface Book 2 has the same large metalbody with a matte silver finish, like the previous model. Its unique feature is that the loops here do not bend, but fold. Due to this, the hinges do not close the display, but there is a gap between the keyboard and the base of the screen, which can get objects that will scratch the glass. It also significantly increases the thickness of the laptop in the closed form.

The main advantage of this mount is the screen.can be completely disconnected. This function is not a single competitor with the same large diagonal. The 15-inch Lenovo Yoga 920 and HP Specter x360 use a 360 degree rotatable hinge that does not separate from the case.

Unplugging a heavy Microsoft Surface keyboardBook 2, you turn the screen into a tablet weighing 0.77 kg, which is much more convenient to keep on weight than the 2-pound Specter x360. The screen here is securely held in place, and to disconnect you need to press the button. Unfortunately, sometimes the button does not work the first time.

But, there is no Book2 footboard for the tablet - you have to turn it in your hands to change the angle of inclination.

Connectors and ports

Microsoft Surface Book 2 has two USB 3 connectors.0 Type-A, one USB Type-C port and Surface Connect connector - any of them is suitable for charging, but the adapter that comes with it only connects to the last one.

There is also a card reader for SD-cards and a connectorfor headphones, and the second is located on the tablet part. If you put the screen on the keyboard and connect the headset, the cable will hang in the air.

Input Tools

Type Text on Surface Book 2 is just as convenientas on the previous model. Due to the removal of Numpad (digital block), it was possible to increase the area for the rest of the keyboard. Each button has a deep stroke and a nice tactile response. There are no problems with fast typing.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 keyboard has threebacklight level - from dim to too bright. The illumination under the keys is unevenly distributed, and there is a noticeable light leakage through the upper part. This does not interfere with the work, but spoils the impression of the quality of the structure.

Although the Surface Book 2 touchpad is wide compared towith the body, it seems small. The touchpad complies with the Windows Precision Touchpad standard, which means it supports all Windows 10 gestures. The built-in keys are pressed with a clear click.

The Book 2 display is also touch, the glass is as close as possible to the LCD panel. Framing is not thicker here than the MacBook Pro or Specter x360.

On the big screen is very convenient to draw with a stylus.- Microsoft Surface Book 2 acts as a miniature version of Surface Studio, combining the Surface Pen and Windows 10, it provides high quality email. The stylus is supported in almost any text input field, in all Office products, and in Windows Ink Workspace.

Stylus Surface Pen not included with SurfaceBook 2 - you have to pay $ 100 (5800 p.) For it. Microsoft boasts that digital ink support is an important part of Windows 10, but it makes you overpay for the stylus for your laptop.

Colorful 15 inch display

15-inch touch screen Microsoft SurfaceBook 2 offers a resolution of 3240 × 2160 and a 3: 2 format. This is not 4K, but the density of pixels per inch is 260 ppi - more than enough for a clear image.

The average color error is 3.96, the lowerfigure is better. For comparison, the Apple MacBook Pro color error is less than 1.0. Insufficient accuracy will be noticed only by users who work professionally with graphics. It covers 95% of the sRGB color space and 71% of AdobeRGB - on par with the Lenovo Yoga 920, but again less than the Apple MacBook Pro and HP Specter x360.

The maximum contrast ratio is 1410: 1, and the maximum brightness is 428 nits, these are excellent results. The level of black is very high, which means that even in the darkest images and videos you will see a lot of details.

In general, images on Surface Book 2 look clear and detailed. This is especially noticeable when playing content with a strong contrast, such as sunset or fireworks.

Speakers and sound

In the massive case Book 2 managed to accommodateexcellent acoustics. The loudspeaker volume of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is so high that the laptop literally trembles. So that the sound does not suffer from a distorted vibration, it is necessary to make it quieter.

CPU and benchmark performance

The latest Core i7-8650U processor providesexcellent performance and moderate power consumption. Surface Book 2 scored 4547 points in the single-core benchmark Geekbench 4 and 13,900 in the multi-core. The first result is 12% better than the previous version, and the second - 85%.

4K video encoding in the Handbrake 0.10.5 test from h.264 to h.265 took about 12 minutes. The original Surface Book took 27 minutes.

Although the laptop Lenovo Yoga 920 scored a little morepoints in all tests and coped with converting video for 1 minute and 47 seconds faster, no other competitor could significantly surpass this hybrid laptop from Microsoft.

But, Microsoft Surface Book 2 has a problem -if you load the processor and video card at a maximum, the 95-watt network adapter will not have enough power. During video conversion or heavy play, the laptop will begin to intensively consume battery power - even if the gadget is plugged in.

Fast SSD

Users willing to overpay $ 800 (46 000 r.) for SSD with a volume of 1 TB, will receive a drive with a record performance. The read speed is 2.8 GB / s - only the HP ZBook 14u G4 has more. Almost all other competitors are 2-3 times slower.

The write speed of 1.2 GB / s is not as impressive anymore, although Microsoft Surface Book 2 is significantly superior to Lenovo Yoga 920 and HP Specter x36.

Games and graphics card

The 15-inch version of Surface Book 2 is equipped with an Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card, which will be appreciated by all gamers with no exceptions.

In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, with high details and 1080p resolution, the laptop showed 40 frames per second (fps). If you put in the Ultra Tuning Civilization VI and 1080p, the frequency will be 46 fps. For comparison, the HP Specter x360 15 frame rate in the Deus Ex never exceeded 10 fps. Yoga 920 was unable to launch the first game and showed less than 10 fps in Civilization VI.

For comparison, the gaming laptop Acer Predator Helios 300 game-oriented - showed the frame rate in Deus Ex about 52 fps.

Instead of the standard driver Nvidia, Microsoftuses own program. Sometimes this causes problems. During testing, I was unable to start For Honor. Due to the unusual aspect ratio (3: 2), when trying to open a game at a resolution below 3240 × 2160, it often did not run full screen.

In Battlefield 1, performance is lowerexpected, and during the screen savers are visible. Although you can install the driver Nvidia - then in some games, the frame rate will increase significantly, and Battlefield 1 will stop hanging.

In any case, the frame rate in games at MicrosoftSurface Book 2 will be lower than on Acer Predator with the same video card. Most likely, the problem lies in the power source - its power is not enough to maintain productivity in heavy industries.

But keep in mind that the graphics processor is hereis located at the base of the laptop, so it’s not possible to play in tablet format. In general, Surface Book 2 is better suited for gaming than other hybrid laptops, but it’s far from gaming models with the GTX 1060.

Portability and Battery

15-inch model of Microsoft Surface Book 2The thickness does not differ from the 13-inch, and the difference in weight is only 0.45 kg. However, the difference between the two Specter x360 models is 0.68 kg, when the Surface Book 2 without a keyboard weighs only 0.77 kg.

The base of the updated laptop from MicrosoftA 65-watt-hour battery is integrated, and a 23-watt-hour battery is included in the screen panel. The total 90 W-hour in combination with an energy-efficient processor guarantee long-term operation without recharging.

In the test for opening web pages, Book 2lasted 15.5 hours - an absolute record. For comparison, Yoga 920 was discharged after 8 hours, and it was considered a decent result. When playing the Avengers looped trailer in Full HD format, the Surface Book 2 battery was discharged after 20 hours. Even in the most intense test Basemark, the new laptop transformer Microsoft lasted 6 hours and 40 minutes - a record. Lenovo Yoga 920 and HP Specter x360 discharged in 3.5 hours.

However, if you detach the screen from the base,battery life dramatically reduced. In the tablet mode, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 will turn off after 83 minutes in Basemark, after 4 hours when browsing web pages, and after almost 6 hours when playing locally stored video.

Considering that the 15-inch Surface Book 2 is notpositioned as a replacement for the iPad or Surface Pro, do not be surprised at the time of its work in a disassembled form. This is a hybrid laptop, which can sometimes be used as a tablet, but not vice versa.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 software

Surface Book 2 is pre-installed operatingWindows 10 system. Microsoft so often improves its latest OS that Apple and Google focused on the mobile segment simply do not have time for it.

Unnecessary software is not installed here - not counting the trial version of Microsoft Office 365.


Stylish, powerful, portable and versatileMicrosoft Surface Book 2 is definitely one of the best Transformer notebooks on the market today. It fully justifies its high price and will remain relevant for about 5 years.

Is there an alternative?

Surface Book 2 has no real competitors. The HP Specter x360 is the most obvious gadget, which also has a great system that works well. However, the screen does not detach, and its GPU is much less impressive.

Laptop Lenovo Yoga 920 is another option with a 13-inch screen against 13 and 15-inches. It is an extremely competent system and much cheaper, but the Book 2 is faster and takes longer to charge.

Those who are not important benefits of 2-in-1 mayCompare Surface Book 2 with many other options ranging from Apple MacBook Pro 15 from Touch Bar to Lenovo ThinkPad P50. Many of them will provide superior performance, but things will look different when compared to GPUs, and more conventional options that Book 2 cannot match.

Benefits of Microsoft Surface Book 2

  • Great keyboard.
  • Versatility and lightness.
  • High contrast screen.
  • Impressive performance.
  • The best autonomy and compactness.

Disadvantages of Surface Book 2

  • Inaccurate color reproduction.
  • Problems with the network adapter under load.
  • High price.

Improved laptop transformer Microsoft Surface Book 2 - video review