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Microsoft isn’t done with refreshing the Surface Line this year. After launching a new Surface Pro (2017) and its first traditional clamshell, the firm has turned its sights to the Surface Book, and is now releasing a new Surface Book 2 for users who want a clamshell form-factor, but need the sheer power and versatility of the Surface Book.
This new Surface Book — the Surface Book 2 — comes in two sizes: a standard 13-inch variant favored by manufacturers of ultrabooks, and a 15-inch variant. Both variants look strikingly similar to the Surface Book in design (the teardrop gap remains for one), but that’s ok. Microsoft doesn’t tend to drastically change the design of their PCs once they reach a design that “nails it” so to speak. The more mainstream Surface Pro line has kept the same basic design since inception, with a few changes to screen size/ratio and bezel reduction. There’ll be a few slight refinements of course to the design, but this upgrade to the Surface line is all about power.
Checkout our hands-on here.
You’ll be getting the 8th generation Intel processor, as opposed to the older Skylake processors which used to power the Surface Book. Microsoft says it is three times more powerful than the original Surface Book, which was a powerful beast in its own right, claiming that the Surface Book 2 is the first product to include this much power in a mobile form-factor. The 13-inch variant of the device can push out 2.2 TFLOPS of power, with the bigger 15-inch variant being able to push out 4.3 TFLOPS of power.
There’s also a big focus on gaming on the new Surface Book 2 — Microsoft’s packed the GTX 1060 on the device, which makes it Windows Mixed Reality compatible and will allow you to play decent quality games on the device. For example, the device will be able to run Gears of War 4 at 1080 in 60 FPS. Microsoft is also launching a new Surface Mouse similar to the Logitech MX Master, which will give you a much better experience while playing games.
Redmond wasn’t shy about comparing this device to the MacBook Pro — Apple is still the behemoth to beat in terms of perception in the personal computing spaces. The Surface Book 2 is going to be twice as powerful as the MacBook Pro while pushing 35% more pixels and 70% more battery life. The comparison is justified in this case, I think.
For the Surface Pen fans: Microsoft has updated the Surface Book 2 to support the new Surface Pen, which comes with tilt support and 4096 pressure points. It’s also one of the fastest pen ever with almost zero latency.
The Surface Book 2 will be, like its predecessor, a critical success if Microsoft’s track record with these things is anything to go by. However, the firm has yet to turn the device into as commercial a success as its Surface Pro hybrids. If Microsoft intends to make the Surface Book (relatively) mainstream, it’ll have to cross that bridge sooner rather than later. A smooth bug-free launch will also be essential in refuting the controversy around the Surface line and its reliability, or lack thereof.
The Surface Book 2 will launch on November 16, it’ll start at a pulse-pounding $1499 for the 13” version and a heart-stopping $2499 for the base 15” variant. Pre-orders start on the 9th of November.