The computing device ecosystem, the stage we are at right now, is not exactly headed in one simple direction. There is demand for ultraportable devices which are convenient to carry around. Some users prefer the hybrid model, which gives the flexibility between a laptop and a tablet. Yet more users are willing to sacrifice the slimness in the want for powerful specifications. Microsoft has now covered all the bases with its Surface lineup of computing devices. The Surface Laptop is the thin and light machine for the travelers, the Surface Pro devices are the hybrid options that let you enjoy the tablet experience and now the Surface Book 2, which is your powerful laptop that ticks off the style box too.
Microsoft is offering 7 different variants of the Surface Book 2 in India. Prices start at Rs1,37,999 and go all the way up to the price point of Rs2,95,999 for the fully loaded option. The Surface Book 2 is available in two different screen sizes—13.5-inch and 15-inch. The variant that we are testing here has the former, 13.5-inch PixelSense display. The fact that Microsoft is offering two screen sizes makes the Surface Book 2 compete better with the Apple MacBook Pro line-up. The little extra is that the display can be detached from the keyboard deck, and this becomes a rather large tablet when you want that.
The 13.5-inch PixelSense screen size is rich, crisp and isn’t very reflective either. We quite enjoyed this while working, because it is easy on the eye—and that is very helpful as you spend an entire day mulling over documents, reading and replying to mails and browsing the web.
With an all metal body, the Surface Book 2 looks premium, feels great to hold and even better while using. There are little things, perhaps unseen to the eye, that make all the difference. For instance, as your palms rest on the deck around the keyboard, you will immediately notice the slight curve around the edges. This does two things—first, it prevents the edges of the laptop from irritating you as you type, and secondly, we felt that the hand relaxes a bit more because of the curve which helps in the longer typing sessions. The keyboard itself is excellent, with great key spacing. Each key press indices a consistent response, and the keyboard itself is quite silent even if you are typing furiously on it. there is no flex on the keyboard as you press down on it, which is a testament to the great build quality.
In terms of the performance, the variant that you pick will not be significantly different from the other. Apart from an entry-level spec of the 13.5-inch which runs an Intel Core i5 processor, all other variants are available with the Intel Core i7 processor. Incidentally, Microsoft has retained a 7th generation Core i5 processor, but if you buy the Core i7 variants, you’ll be able to take advantage of the newer 8th generation series of processors. That means even better performance and lesser power consumption resulting in better battery life.
We tested the 8th generation Core i7 variant with 16GB RAM, and the performance that we experienced with Windows 10 was nothing short of flagship variety. Since this is one laptop that doesn’t preload any third-party software or irritating trial versions of games or software that you don’t need, there are no losses of resources. That means apps open and switch instantly, and the overall performance is quite snappy. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB RAM) graphics give the Surface Book some sort of gaming credentials, but you’ll need to perhaps turn down the visual quality a little bit to get smoother frames and visuals.
Battery life is quite consistent too, for a laptop this powerful. We logged anywhere between 15-16 hours of battery life. There are two batteries in the Surface Book 2—one in the screen to power it during the tablet mode and one in the base itself. The Windows power manager provides the data for both batteries.
As a combination of a very competent laptop and a sort of tablet too, it is very to come away with any sort of perception about the Surface Book 2, except be truly impressed. It is doing a fine balancing act. Windows laptops have never looked this cool while dressed for functionality, and the Surface Book 2 has made the convertibles cool again. At these prices, the Surface Book 2 is competing with the MacBook Pro 13 and the MacBook Pro 15, and that is a choice we will leave to you.