Surface Book 2

First Look: Microsoft Surface Book 2

Not much has changed from the first Surface Book with this follow-up. It still has the cool, articulated hinge; the touchscreen; the nice matte metallic exterior. Just looking at them, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference.


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Inside, the processors have been upgraded to the latest generation and the SSD (solid state drive) options have gone up a step as well (the smallest is now 256GB, while the max is 1TB). This means using the Surface Book 2 is much the same as using the previous version, which is to say excellent. They’re both great laptops.

  Surface Book Surface Book 2 (13.5”)
Dimensions 312 x 232 x 23mm 343 x 251 x 23mm
Weight 1.5kg 1.6kg
Screen 13.5”, 3000x2000 (267 PPI) 13.5”, 3000x2000 (267 PPI)
Processor 6th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 7th Gen Intel Core i5 or 8th Gen Intel Core i7
Memory 8GB or 16GB RAM 8GB or 16GB RAM
Solid state drive (SSD) 128GB, 256GB or 512GB 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
Ports Two full-size USB 3.0, SD card reader, headphone jack, Mini DisplayPort. Three full-size USB 3.1, card reader, headphone jack

Even better is the price. Starting at $2549 the Surface Book 2 is slightly cheaper than its predecessor (comparing 13.5” i7 models with the same SSD size).

By itself the Surface Book 2 is good, but it gets even better with extra bits and pieces. Given this, I want to talk about peripherals.

The Surface Pen ($60) is my favourite device for writing on a tablet. Like most of these types of pens, it has a pressure-sensitive tip, so pressing harder creates thicker lines when you’re drawing. But unlike others, it clips firmly to the side of the Surface via magnets, which makes transporting it easier (though you’ll probably still want a laptop bag for long trips).

Every Surface has a touchscreen and a trackpad, so I never used the Pen as a mouse, but it was perfect for quickly writing notes or more artistic endeavours. Clicking the pen’s button at the top automatically opens Microsoft’s OneNote program.

The latency using the Pen on the Surface 2 is very low. It’s is in the 100 millisecond range, low enough that I only noticed it with very fast movements.

However, the coolest new peripheral is the Arc Mouse ($60). It might be the most practical mouse I’ve ever used.

My issue with most laptop mouses is that they’re either annoying to carry (too big) or awkward to use (too small). The Arc Mouse can fold from a flat bar into a curved one. The curve can be adjusted slightly but it ends up the same shape as a regular mouse. The result is one of the more comfortable mouses I’ve used, but one that can fold flat so I could slip it into my pocket.

First Looks are trials of new and interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons. The Surface Book 2, Arc Mouse and Surface Pen were loaned to the writer by Microsoft.