Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: A first rate Windows experience

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I was using the i7, 16GB model, which sailed through any and all tasks and, thanks to its clever fanless design, hardly gets hot and made almost no noise. For photographers or video editors working with 4K video it is a clear challenger to Apple.

Then there’s the battery life. Microsoft now claims the laptop should last up to 17 hours. While this is under ideal conditions, it is a hefty five hours more than the 2015 Surface Book. My battery managed to last a full work day under moderate use, not quite up to the 17 hour standard but impressive under general use.

Drain under strain

However, there have been reports that when running all-out on some the most recent games the Surface Book 2 will drain its battery even if plugged in. Microsoft has confirmed these issues, although it says users can tune down the power settings to ensure it will never run out of charge when plugged. Still, not wholly positive, suggesting that for a full gaming rig you still need to take your money to a gaming laptop or specialist PC.

Other key points and specs

  • The base model comes with a 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300U and a Intel HD Graphics 620 integrated GPU, although at its £1,499 price tag this model is not worth the price.
  • The tablet top has a 5MP front camera and a rear 8MP camera, both equiped for HD video.
  • The keyboard feels silky smooth and the trackpad is wide and responsive.
  • There is no 4G connectivity on the tablet mode, unlike the new Surface Pro LTE. Microsoft’s Panay told me it was likely we would see more Surface devices featuring 4G connections in future.
  • The larger 15-inch model is not yet available to buy in the UK, but will arrive in 2018.

Verdict

There’s no doubt the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a stunning laptop to use. It’s immensely powerful, versatile and has a luxurious look and feel. I also found it surprisingly versatile a tablet, thanks to its superb touchscreen.

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