Microsoft Surface Book 2: What Microsoft’s Power Hybrid can do

Microsoft Surface Book 2 quick review

Ultimate power package! Surface Book 2 the best of two worlds

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 clearly sets the bar for powerful 2-in-1s. Approximately two years after the original model, Surface Book 2 is now available in a larger 15-inch format as well as the familiar size with a 13.5-inch display. The design changes little compared to the previous version, but it delivers new best values in our performance rating and countless cool features.

Design and Workmanship

Apart from its predecessor, the look of Surface Book 2 hasn’t changed much. In fact, only the interior has changed, among other things with the so-called Fulcrum hinge. The haptic impression is excellent thanks to the magnesium alloy. The stability and workmanship are also excellent, and we were unable to detect any defects in our test device.

The connection between the tablet and the keyboard is extremely tight and can be released by pressing a button. The tablet and keyboard are held together by a few magnets, so you have to use both hands to open it. With only 711 grams, the tablet is comparatively light and you are surprised when you hold it in your hand for the first time and with a 1.642 grams keyboard.

Microsoft Surface Book 2
Microsoft Surface Book 2

Equipment and Display

We would have liked a Thunderbolt 3-port much better because the Surface Book 2 offers only one SD card reader, two USB A-ports as well as a USB Type C-connector, which is not Thunderbolt-compatible. The USB 3.1 ports are specified according to generation 1 and can, therefore, transmit a maximum of 5 instead of 10 Gbit/s -generation 2.

There were no changes to the 3:2 touchscreen. The panel still comes from Panasonic and resolves with 3,000 x 2,000 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 267 dpi on the 13.5 inch diagonal – significantly higher resolution than on the “Retina” screens of Apple’s MacBooks. The picture is razor-sharp and convinces with vivid colors. Thanks to the integrated light sensor, the brightness can be adjusted automatically to the environment if desired. But in unfavorable lighting conditions, however, strong reflections occur, which noticeably impairs readability. Even the actually more than sufficient maximum brightness does not change this.

With regard to hardware and battery life

The Core i7-8650U is part of Intel’s current Kaby-Lake-Refresh series. The fact that there is nevertheless a huge performance leap compared to the previous ULV processors is due to the two additional cores. The i7-8650U is currently the fastest quad-core ULV with a base clock rate of 1.9 GHz. This sounds like little, but the maximum turbo boost is up to 4.2 GHz or 3.9 GHz. However, these values cannot be achieved with the specified TDP of 15 watts. Added to this is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with two gigabytes of memory built into the keyboard unit and optimized for mobile operation – even current games can be played thanks to Nvidia graphics.

Surface Book 2 has a total of two batteries – one in the tablet unit and an additional battery in the dock. The respective maturities vary considerably. The total capacity of the two batteries of the small Surface Book 2 is 70-watt hours. This is enough in WLAN testing for over 11 hours of operation. However, the tablet alone only lasts for more than 3 hours.


Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is a solid combination of tablet and notebook. The display, touchpad, workmanship and performance are at the highest level of excellence that should not be expected otherwise. It’s a pity that the pen is no longer included in the scope of delivery and that there is no Thunderbolt 3 connection.


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