Microsoft Surface Book 2 Review

January 1, 2019
By Jason Stettner

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is truly a wonderful device bringing performance and power, while keeping a sleek design. It's rather elegant with a simplistic, yet striking look that really helps make this stand out if you're adventuring around with it. That being said, it's one of the larger takes on the Surface line-up and meant more for work as opposed to being ran around with. I mention that as there is a fair bit of weighting to it at 3.62 lbs for the particular model I've been using. To help with this, you're able to simply pull out the screen and use that as a large, thin tablet.

It's quite remarkable actually, just taking the screen off and continuing with what you were doing. This is mostly for a presentation, or more casual use yet the feature is just awesome. To have this large, colorful screen for carrying moments is great. You can then slide it back into the keyboard instantly and keep on working. It's almost too easy to take apart and then put back together. The screen is fully touch compatible and very sensitive so you can use that with your keyboard if you'd like to. I mix it up between the two at times, I find touch easier for scrolling.

The Surface can also easily be adjusted for how you'd like the screen to be presented, the bendable portion offers lots of choice in that regard. Moving past that, the last outer aspect to go over is the keyboard/base area. This portion is a large, chilled section to rest your arms on for work. The keyboard is heavenly, smooth and one of the nicest I've used. You're able to swiftly, and gracefully unleash a frenzy of inputs for whatever project you're working on.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 Review Screenshot

Hardware Continued
Since this was a fresh setup, I chose to use the Windows Hello feature which basically uses the camera to know who you are. It works quite well and was a feature I thought I'd mention for those that were curious about it. Basically the same as most modern mobile devices have, saves password input. The audio is great being loud and clear. Both cameras feature 1080p capture with the front having 5.0MP and the back with 8.0MP, I would have liked better quality for the cameras.

There's one USB type-C and two USB type-A ports present. You get a classic 3.5mm headphone jack with Windows Sonic support, two Surface connector slots and a full SDXC card reader. Basically, it'll handle all of your work needs connection wise. I will mention that when it comes to streaming this is a bit odd with its 3:2 aspect ratio. You'll either have to go 1080p for widescreen or deal with a slightly less than 4k image in a square size, those options aren't great.

The Surface Book 2 runs quite quiet, I've rarely ever heard it work very hard despite running games or just having it going for an extended period of time. I find that rather impressive as my original Surface Pro gets quite loud, the technology has advanced a ton in a short period of time. The operating system was obviously Windows 10, on the latest iteration version as of late 2018/early 2019. The OS has certainly continued to mature and it runs perfectly fine with this device, as it should being one of the company's flagship devices. I tried a number of typical programs from software to games. I also watched some video content that was both stream and natively placed on the device, it looks wonderful.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 fold out
This is due to the 3000x2000 (267 PPI) resolution display. I should also mention this was the 15" version powered with an Intel i7-8650U CPU. This gave some solid performance, and graphics wise it had a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB which is basically what I have on my desktop. Definitely impressed with what this could do and how well it would run. It has a noted seventeen hours of video battery life and it does indeed just keep going, it also does so while being rather silent. When it comes to games I was impressed by the visual quality and the performance in comparison to battery usage.

It ran Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 very well. I kept the visual settings rather simple and default, as these games are optimized being first party titles. I was however very disappointed that Gears of War 4 would just not run, no matter what I did to try and fix it. At 134GB of a download and being a first party Microsoft title, this is honestly unacceptable. Minecraft ran quite well, good draw distance allowance as well. I felt these games were modern, and a good test sample for what I'd be looking for.

The Conclusion

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 brings the performance, power and sleek design one needs for this type of device. It works perfectly for whatever work related task one might have when out on the go. It does have a bit of weight to it, but this can remedied by removing the screen to use that or generally by accepting it due to the power this is packing. The screen is a good size, carrying a clear picture quality and some solid resolution. It sounds great, has many options for inputs and is a completely modern device. It works well with Windows 10 as it should and takes advantage of its core features.

The camera quality could have been better, but it's really not meant for that sort of thing so consider it a bonus. I would have liked better streaming output options for higher resolutions and I was disappointed by Gears of War 4 crashing at the splash screen. That game aside, the others ran beautifully well and were easy to get into without having to alter the visuals which is great for those that just want to play games occasionally. It has all the features that are expected for this type of device and some fancy extras. I adore the keyboard on this and the option to remove the screen was awesome. This is one elegant, majestic Surface option for those looking at this type of device.

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Surface Book 2 Review product loaned by Microsoft tested with Games, Video and Streamed Content. Games; Gears of War 4, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, Minecraft

Rating Overall: 8.4

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner