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Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is expensive with mediocre performance



Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a hybrid 2-in-1 laptop that can be used as a tablet or a full-blown laptop. But given the performance, is it worth the money?

  Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2

The Surface Book is essentially parallel to the MacBook Pro lineup for Microsoft. There are 1

5-inch and 13.5-inch variants, and although Microsoft has its own Surface Pro series, the specifications are not as powerful or as functional as the book.

Top of the line Surface Book 2

model under review is the top 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 with an 8th-generation i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, and it has Intel's UHD 620 GPU combined with the discreet Nvidia GTX 1050. Our configuration sells for $ 3000.

Surface Book 2 is a bit large for a 13.3 x 9.1 x 0.9 inch vs. 13 inch laptop MacBook Pro comes in at 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches. The paper may not look so drastic, but in reality there is a noticeable difference.

The 13.5-inch PixelSense screen on the Surface Book is stunning to watch, equipped with a 3000 x 2000 resolution that results in a higher screen, making it perfect for surfing the web or creating documents. While the display looks pretty by itself, it just isn't as nice as the MacBook Pro version due to the fact that it doesn't have a P3 Wide Color Gamut, so the colors aren't as vibrant and color-accurate. It is still a good display and it is one of the best displays on a portable Windows.

You can also unplug the display from the keyboard and use Surface Book 2 as a tablet – something you obviously can't do with Apple. Disconnecting it is super easy thanks to the dedicated button on the keyboard, and connecting it back to the keyboard is plug and play.

  Microsoft Surface Book 2 in tablet mode

Microsoft Surface Book 2 in tablet mode

Surface Book 2 also features 10-point multi-touch and is compatible with the Surface Pen, and the Surface Dial that Apple does not offer for any of their laptops. Unfortunately we do not have the Surface Pen or Dial to see with the Surface Book, but it is nice to have the option of using accessories to get more out of your laptop.

Surface Book 2 is similar to its predecessor, using the same gray magnesium with a reflective Windows logo stamped on the back of the device. It's a solid device, and a laptop that looks like it costs a lot of money.

The keyboard on Surface Book 2 is great, it offers a lot of key travel, and it is well placed for a 13-inch laptop. It's a nice refreshing change from Apple's butterfly keyboard that could end up breaking months after purchase.

  Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2

The battery life of Surface Book 2 is rated for 13 hours, and during the two weeks we tested the laptop, it exceeded our expectations. From browsing to 30-minute gaming sessions and watching videos, we never felt like we needed to be at a wall outlet and recharge the laptop.

Can't Have Everything

Touchpad is one of the best I've used on a Windows laptop, and as a daily MacBook Pro user, I appreciate having multiple touch gestures on the touchpad, I can use similar gestures as the MacBook Pro. Whether it's pinching to zoom or showing all my open windows at once, it's nice to have these features on a laptop.

What I am not in favor of, though, is the speakers on Surface Book 2, and offer a mediocre experience at best. It distorts at high volume and lacks bass, and it doesn't get very loud. The 12-inch MacBook sounds louder and clearer than the Surface Book 2, which is a huge disappointment for such a packed hybrid laptop.

  Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2

In terms of inputs and outputs, we have many ports on Surface Book 2 including two USB A ports, one full size SDXC card reader, one USB C 5-gigabit-per-second port and Surface Book & # 39; s charging port. The charging port is magnetic, similar to Apple's old MagSafe technology, which I really like, but it really needs another USB-C port, or better yet, a 40 gigabit-per-second Thunderbolt 3 port.

Performance applies

So when it comes to performance, the 8th generation four-core i7 processor on this top of the line Surface Book 2 works really well in everyday tasks and some random play.

In Geekbench 4, the Surface Book 2 received 5,081 in the single core, and 15,595 in the multicore, which is in line with the base model's 13-inch MacBook Pro which can be sold for only $ 1,299. Apple's top 15-inch MacBook Pro achieved 5,879 and 29,976 respectively in single and multi-core tests, which is clearly a much faster device.

  Geekbench 4 score for Microsoft Surface Book 2

Geekbench 4 score for Microsoft Surface Book 2

In the Cinebench R20 we got a CPU score of 942, which is far below the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro which let out a CPU score of 1,583 in the Cinebench R20.

  Cinebench R20 Score

Cinebench R20 Score

In terms of driving speeds, we average 2,500 MB / s for read speeds and 1,200 MB / s for write speeds, which is very fast for daily use and gaming. The base model's 13-inch MacBook Pro tops $ 495 MB / s for its write speeds and around 1,350 MB / s for read speeds, while the top of the line 15-inch MacBook Pro tops 2,600 MB / s for both read and write speeds.

Gaming is not Surface Book 2's strong suit

In Unigine Heaven we got a score of 529, an average frames per second of 21 and a maximum frames per second of 48.3. It compares to Apple's 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro. The base model 13-inch MacBook Pro got a score of 784, and an average frame rate per second of 31.1 with a maximum frame rate per second of 66.7, while the top-specific 15-inch MacBook Pro with Vega 20 graphics pulled in a maximum FPS of 147.4 and an average of 82.3 with a total score of 2072.

When it comes to games, we installed some of the games we occasionally play on PC, and that's Overwatch, Apex Legends and Black Ops 4. We were & # 39; Not very optimistic about games on the GTX 1050, and with Overwatch we could play at constant 60 fps in 1080p with settings in Medium.

With Apex Legends and Black Ops 4, we were able to get 50 to 60 fps in the lowest 1080p settings, which isn't terrible, but the game doesn't look as good on a notebook with much higher end graphics cards . Gaming is not Surface Book's strong suit, and while it may run some popular titles in low to medium settings at 1080p, serious gamers may be looking elsewhere.

  Gaming on Microsoft Surface Book 2

Gaming on Microsoft Surface Book 2

  Gaming score

Gaming score

Overall, Surface Book 2 is a solid unit for everyday tasks, and the best Windows two – the one you can buy, but the hefty price tag of $ 3,000 is a bit crucial for the performance given similar to a $ 1300 MacBook Pro. The unique design, beautiful display and 2-in-1 functionality is a refreshing change from a traditional laptop, but it's hard to recommend Surface Book 2 in 2019.

We think it's best to wait for the next generation Surface Book or get the much more affordable base model 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Rating 3.5 out of 5

How to Save on Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is currently on sale at top retailers, including Amazon, Adorama, B&H Photo and Microsoft itself.

Shoppers looking for bonus benefits can also benefit from no interest financing offers from the above dealers or even a refund of sales tax in eligible states on B&H with the Payboo card.

Those in the Mac market can also save on Apple's MacBook Pro with instant and exclusive promotional savings in AppleInsider Apple Price Guides.


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