Surface Book 2 (13-Inch) First Impressions

I have been using the brand new Surface Book 2 for the past couple of hours. I am far more impressed than unimpressed, but I haven’t spent enough time with it to see all its faults yet.

The version I am reviewing runs on an 8th-gen i7 processor, 8GB RAM, a 256 SSD, and a discreet NVIDIA GeForce GPU. It runs for $1999, but if you qualify for a discount from Microsoft, you can get $200 off. It may not be worth $1999, but it is definitely worth $1799, especially compared with the MacBook Pro with (almost) the same specs.

Here are some of my first impressions:

The Surface Book 2 is a well-built device.

  • This thing isn’t heavy, but not quite the “ultra-portable.”
  • No major light bleed when first turning on unit.
  • The hinge on the SB 2 is much stronger than the one on the first Surface Book.
  • The tablet portion is what makes the SB2 feel more heavy than competing laptops. However, when you detach the tablet, it feels surprisingly light.
  • The SB2 works well as a tablet.

The Surface Book 2 screen makes a great tablet.

  • The screen is crisp and clear. The contrast ratio isn’t quite as good as the MacBook Pro. Still, the screen easily gets a 9/10.
  • The screen has fantastic viewing angles
  • Battery life appears to be exceptional. After one hour of use, I’m at 88 percent.
  • They keyboard is a 10/10. I like the MacBook Pro’s butterfly keys, but it’s nice to have a notebook with keys that have decent travel on them.
  • So far, the trackpad is the best one I’ve used on a Windows device. It’s not MacBook Pro quality, but very close.
  • The speakers are also great — a slight improvement from the first generation book.
  • This thing is FAST! The 8th-generation quad core processor really helps move things along.
  • There is decreased bezel space on the screen, but just enough so you can grab it as a tablet and not worry about accidentally hitting something on the screen.
  • When using Photoshop or CyberLink Power Director, there is noticeable coil whine noise, but nothing out of the ordinary. It’s still annoying.
  • I wish I had the Surface Pen to test the digital inking capabilities.
I am more impressed with the Surface Book 2 than I thought I would be. The overpriced Surface Book that was released in 2015 feels like a Beta product now. That said, the Book 2 will take a big bite out of your wallet. However, it may be worth it. 

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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