Surface Book 2

The Surface Book 2 is the second generation of the Surface Book, part of the Microsoft Surface line of personal computers. It is a 2-in-1 PC which can be used like a conventional laptop, or the screen can be detached and used separately as a tablet, with touch and stylus input. In addition to the 13.5-inch screen available in the original Surface Book introduced two years before, it is also available in a 15-inch screen model. It was released in November 2017,[1] and replaced in Microsoft's product line by the Surface Book 3 in May 2020.[2]

Surface Book 2
Microsoft Surface Book logo.svg
Microsoft Surface Book 2 - Top (38828932021).jpg
DeveloperMicrosoft
Product familyMicrosoft Surface
Type2-in-1 PC
Generation2
Release dateNovember 16, 2017 (2017-11-16)
Operating systemWindows 10 Pro
CPU13.5": Intel Core i5-7300U dual-core,
Intel Core i5-8350U quad-core,
Intel Core i7-8650U quad-core
15": Intel Core i7-8650U quad-core
Memory13.5": 8 or 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM
15": 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM
StorageSSD: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
Removable storageFull-size SD card slot
(supports SDXC UHS-1 cards)
Display13.5": 13.5 in (34 cm),
3000×2000 (267 PPI) LCD
15": 15 in (38 cm),
3240×2160 (260 PPI) LCD
Graphics13.5": Intel HD Graphics 620
or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM
15": NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 RAM
SoundStereo speakers, dual microphones, headset jack
InputKeyboard, touchpad mouse, stylus pen, sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, ambient light, Surface Dial
Camera5.0 MP front, 8.0 MP rear 1080p HD video recording
Dimensions13.5":
12.3 in (31 cm) (length)
9.4 in (24 cm) (width)
0.51 to 0.90 in (1.3 to 2.3 cm) (depth)
15":
13.5 in (34 cm) (length)
9.87 in (25.1 cm) (width)
0.568 to 0.90 in (1.44 to 2.29 cm) (depth)
Mass13.5":
i5: 3.38 pounds (1,530 g)
i7: 3.62 pounds (1,640 g)
15":
4.2 pounds (1,900 g)
PredecessorSurface Book
SuccessorSurface Book 3
WebsiteSurface.com

FeaturesEdit

HardwareEdit

The Surface Book 2 features a full-body magnesium alloy construction.[3] The device comes in two distinct portions: a tablet that contains the CPU, storage, wireless connectivity and touchscreen, and a hardware keyboard base that contains a high-performance mobile GPU, supported by its own active cooling system.

The device contains two USB 3.0 Gen-1 ports, a USB-C port, 3.5 mm headphone jack, full-sized SD card slot, and two Surface Connect ports (one of which is always occupied by the keyboard base for communication between the two hardware portions, unless the tablet is detached from the base).[4] The front-facing camera contains an infrared sensor that supports login using Windows Hello.

From a hardware perspective, this device marks Microsoft's first time to provide USB-C natively in any Surface device, also supporting USB-C Power Delivery.[5] It was the only Surface computer equipped with USB-C until Microsoft's introduction of the Surface Go, in August 2018.

Surface Book 2 Configuration Options [6] [7]
Price Tier (USD) Size CPU GPU RAM Internal Storage
1,149 13.5" Intel Core i5-7300U (2.6 to 3.5 GHz) Intel HD Graphics 620 8GB 128 GB
1,299 256 GB
1,499 Intel Core i5-8350U (1.7 to 3.6 GHz)[8]
1,699 Intel Core i7-8650U (1.9 to 4.2 GHz)
1,999 Intel UHD Graphics 620 +
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
2,499 16GB 512 GB
2,999 1 TB
1,999 15" Intel Core i5-8350U (1.7 to 3.6 GHz) Intel HD Graphics 620 16 GB 256 GB
2,499 Intel Core i7-8650U (1.9 to 4.2 GHz) Intel UHD Graphics 620 +
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
2,899 512 GB
3,299 1 TB

SoftwareEdit

Surface Book 2 models ship with a pre-installed 64-bit version of Windows 10 Pro and a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365. Windows 10 comes pre-installed with Mail, Calendar, People, Xbox (app), Photos, Movies and TV, Groove, and Microsoft Edge. With Windows 10 the Tablet mode is available when the base is detached from the device. In this mode, all windows are opened full-screen and the interface becomes more touch-centric.

AccessoriesEdit

The Surface Book 2 is backward-compatible with all accessories of its direct predecessors, such as the Surface Dock, Surface Dial and Surface Pen. The device's native pen computing capabilities are based on N-trig technology Microsoft acquired in 2015, but major improvements were made to reduce input latency, add tilt support, and capture up to 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Following the device's general public launch, Microsoft has also published a series of software updates that further improved the device's palm rejection and pen computing accuracy.


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ReceptionEdit

 
Detach button on the Surface Book 2
Available ports on the two sides of the keyboard

The Surface Book 2 received broadly positive reviews, often compared favorably to Apple's MacBook Pro lineup. Most reviews applauded the Surface Book 2's keyboard for offering a class-leading 1.55 mm of key travel, significant performance improvement, well-controlled thermals, and new hinge - now redesigned and built as one singular component that increased device rigidity, improved overall docking reliability, and reduced screen wobble.

Other improvements include an improved IR camera that activates faster and supports enhanced anti-spoofing Windows Hello facial recognition, a faster solid-state drive with full drive encryption from first-boot, a built-in TPM chip, and two new cooling systems (for the CPU and GPU) that produce less high-pitched noise. The finger scoop has also been reshaped to avoid breaking the glass screen when the lid is being closed, which is a problem its predecessor suffered.

Devindra Hardawar of Engadget said of the 15-inch model, "The Surface Book 2 is exactly what we've wanted from a high-end Microsoft laptop. It's powerful, sturdy and its unique hinge doesn't come with any compromises."[9] Hardawar also directly compared the Surface Book 2 to Apple's Macbook Pro saying, "It's the closest a PC maker has come to taking on the MacBook Pro, both in style and substance."[10]

Tom Warren, of The Verge, also gave the Surface Book 2 positive notice, praising its performance, keyboard, and touchpad. He did, however, express reservations about the hardware design being largely unchanged, noting "I’d still like to see Microsoft refine the design more to address the hinge and screen wobble fully, and pack in a better power supply. It’s surprising to see the same design after two years, and I was expecting bigger refinements and changes."[11]

IssuesEdit

The Surface Book 2 faced a number of early production issues when it was first launched in November 2017, including defective operating system images, split key caps, misaligned hinges, overuse of adhesives surrounding the tablet screen, and coil whine when under load.[12] Most issues were gradually resolved as production continued.

One issue that remains unfixed, however, is battery drain during high intensity workloads. When the 15-inch Surface Book 2 is set to "Best Performance" in the Windows 10 operating system power settings, specific scenarios like extensive gaming or video transcoding could lead to high usage across both the CPU and GPU, and cause the device to draw over 105 W of power. This would unavoidably lead to battery drain until depletion.[13] This issue first appeared in review units shipped to reviewers and other outlets, all of which were accompanied with official 95-watt power supplies.[14][15]

Microsoft eventually responded to inquiries, and despite acknowledging no fault, proceeded to partially rectify it by bundling retail units with newer chargers capable of continuously providing up to 102 W of power, which was also the theoretical maximum electrical input supported by the Surface Book 2's charging port without a broader redesign. The official Surface Dock, however, remains unchanged and only provides up to 90 W.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Brown, Aaron (October 17, 2017). "Microsoft Surface Book 2: UK price, release date, specs, and features". Express.co.uk. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Panay, Panos; Seiler, Robin. "Introducing Surface Go 2, Surface Book 3, Surface Headphones 2 and Surface Earbuds". blogs.windows.com. Microsoft. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  3. ^ Crider, Michael. "Next-Gen Laptop Materials: Aluminum Alloy vs. Magnesium Alloy vs. Carbon Fiber". How-To Geek. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  4. ^ "Microsoft unveils Surface Book 2, promising double the power and speed of Apple MacBook Pro". GeekWire. October 17, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  5. ^ https://dancharblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/microsoft-surface-usb-c-port-capabilities/
  6. ^ https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/config/surface-book-2/8MCPZJJCC98C
  7. ^ https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/config/commercial-microsoft-surface-book-2/8X4HTZNFGG38
  8. ^ https://www.windowscentral.com/surface-book-2-8th-gen-intel-core-i5-processor-now-available-order
  9. ^ "Surface Book 2 review: Microsoft gets closer to the 'ultimate laptop'". Engadget. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  10. ^ "Surface Book 2 review: Microsoft gets closer to the 'ultimate laptop'". Engadget. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  11. ^ "Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: beauty and brawn, but with limits". The Verge. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "r/Surface - What are some currently existing SB2 issues?". reddit. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  13. ^ Warren, Tom (November 21, 2017). "Microsoft confirms Surface Book 2's power problem". The Verge. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  14. ^ Microsoft confirms Surface Book 2’s power problem - The Verge
  15. ^ Microsoft confirms Surface Book 2 battery drain problems while gaming | TechRadar

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Surface Book
Surface Book
2nd generation
Succeeded by
Surface Book 3