Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 has been well received by reviewers and critics for the most part, with the small exception of a little performance issue discovered by the Verge, and later substantiated by other reviewers who tested the performance of the Book.
The central issue is that the Surface Book 2’s gaming-optimized mode — high-performance mode — is incapable of being sustained by the device’s battery for a prolonged period of time. While this would normally be fine, the Verge’s Tom Warren noticed that the device would continue draining even while the power supply was connected. The device’s power supply could not curtail the discharge, meaning that users would eventually use enough battery to force the Surface Book into Battery Saver mode, making it unsuitable for long-term gaming.
Now Microsoft has confirmed the problem exists by design. In a statement to the Verge, a Microsoft spokesperson said the following:
“Surface Book 2 was designed to deliver unmatched power and performance for anyone who needs a powerful machine to work and create, making it a great option for STEM professionals (designers, developers, engineers) The Surface Book 2 Power Mode Slider is provided as a means to give the user control over the range of performance and battery life. In some intense, prolonged gaming scenarios with Power Mode Slider set to ‘best performance’ the battery may discharge while connected to the power supply provided in-box with Surface Book 2. However, through power management design, the battery will never drain entirely, ensuring that users are able to keep working, creating or gaming.”
Microsoft notes that users will never, however, fully run completely out of battery life this way. However, this is done with negative results to the gaming aspect of the Surface Book 2.
Warren observes that games played under more power efficient modes play at much lower framerates, and are “gruelling” to play through. As the Surface Book 2 was portrayed as a powerful gaming device — and still is — this is problematic.