It’s a laptop! It’s a tablet! It’s the Microsoft Surface Book 2, and I think it’s the best 2-in-1 laptop ever! Let me tell you why.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the second laptop in the Surface Book series, hence the 2. The first Surface Book was wildly successful; I still use mine today.
Many two-in-one laptops promise the moon and the stars but don’t deliver on those promises. Typically, the performance of these laptops is very lackluster. Manufacturers end up building “hybrid” laptops that run a laptop operating system with tablet components. This usually ends up being the worst of both worlds, instead of the best. This is my problem with many tablet-pcs, including the surface pro series.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 doesn’t have this issue. It is truly built to be a laptop, with an optional tablet functionality. This is the way 2-in-1 laptops should be built. Let’s take a look at the specifics.
Best 2-in-1 Laptop Versatility Features
The best 2-in-1 laptop is one which seamlessly transitions from laptop to tablet and back again. I haven’t seen another two-in-one even come close to the Microsoft Surface Book 2 in this regard.
What Microsoft does with their dynamic fulcrum hinge is pretty amazing. I don’t even want to know how much they paid to develop this thing. But, their full-length hinge allows for some great versatility features. It keeps their laptop thin and portable, while also keeping the hinge sturdy and allowing for detachment.
With the push of a button, the lock holding the screen to the keyboard disengages and the tablet portion of the laptop lifts off. You can use the tablet independent of the keyboard, or you can reattach to the keyboard backward. This allows you to close the laptop and use it in tablet mode while taking advantage of what’s hidden inside the keyboard (more on that in a moment). The Microsoft Surface Book 2 simply has the best 2-in-1 laptop versatility features I’ve ever seen.
Resolution for Dayyyz
The Surface Book 2 has the same awesome display that the first Surface Book had. Although not fully 4k, this unique 3000 x 2000 dpi resolution is extremely sharp. As an artist, this helps a lot for creating digital paintings or logos.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 has a detachable keyboard which serves two purposes. The first is, obviously, as a keyboard. The second is as a detachable storage device for an extra battery and dedicated graphics card.
What this does is allow the Microsoft Surface Book 2 to surpass anything else considered to be the best 2-in-1 laptop, performance-wise. The tablet will use the built-in battery and Intel graphics when standing alone. Then, when attached to the keyboard, it will switch to dedicated graphics and extra battery life.
Surface Pro Pen and Surface Dial
The Surface Pro Pen is really cool. The Surface Dial is even cooler.
For artists or graphics professionals, the Surface Pro Pen is a Godsend. It has 2048 points of pressure, which is as much as a Wacom tablet. While using the pen is a little clunkier than a Wacom product, it is a great option for use on the go. For a casual user, it is an optional component which allows added input versatility.
The Surface Dial blew most peoples’ minds when it was debuted with the Surface Studio. It is essentially a magnetic silver puck that you can attach to the screen of your Microsoft Surface product, adding a whole host of features.
Listening to music while you work? Use the dial to control your volume. Creating an architectural drawing? Use the dial to adjust brush size and rotate the page. The options are limited only to what you can imagine.
Laptop Performance, Tablet Mobility
Typically, 2-in-1 laptops trade in their performance for fancy features. But, the best 2-in-1 laptop has to have both. And the Microsoft Surface Book 2 does.
This laptop comes with up to an Intel i7 processor, meaning it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it, from executing complex code to music production. It also comes with up to 16gb of RAM and a 512gb SSD. Also, as noted above, the keyboard stores a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 descrete graphics card, which will allow for high-res gaming or 3D modeling.
All of these great options are packed into a 13.5” package, which fits nicely into most backpacks and sleeves.
Defeating the Purpose
Now, I’ve intentionally been reviewing the 13.5” version of this laptop. However, there is a 15” version of the Microsoft Surface Book 2. The reason I haven’t been discussing that model is because it completely defeats the purpose.
If you went into Best Buy and saw a tablet on the iPad display that was longer than your forearm, you’d probably stop to look at it. But, would you buy it? NO! You’d take a silly #selfy on it, then walk away laughing with your friends about how stupid a 15” tablet is because why would anyone ever want that?
This is my beef with the 15” version of the Microsoft Surface Book 2. Sure, a 15” laptop has its place. I’d even say I prefer a bigger screen for many occasions. But, there is just no justification for a 15” tablet. I’m not going to carry that around under my arm.
You may be thinking, “Hey, Joe, lighten up, man. Just, like, don’t use the tablet part.” Well then tell me this, Gabe. What is the point of a 2-in-1 if you never want to use the tablet part. Just buy a normal laptop if you absolutely have to have a 15 inch screen.
The only people I could see wanting a screen this big on a tablet would be artists, architects, engineers and the like. And, I can tell you confidently, the tablet component won’t be able to do what they want on its own without the discrete graphics. So, they’ll be stuck to the keyboard anyway.
Microsoft, what were you thinking?
Inconsistent Keyboard Detection
The biggest gripe you’ll hear from Surface Book owners is that the computer doesn’t always detect when the keyboard is attached. Or, it will detect that it’s been detached when it hasn’t.
This happens to me all the time, and it is mildly inconvenient. I detach the screen, reattach it, and give a little huff. Problem solved.
This is my biggest problem with the Surface Book series and tablet PCs in general. Most laptops have fans on the sides of the base as well as the bottom of the chassis, allowing for a ton of airflow to keep components cool.
Because the components of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 are built in behind the screen and not into the base this isn’t possible. The only possible way to cool the components is with fans around the sides of the tablet portion of the computer.
Whenever I start doing anything intensive, like video or photo editing, those fans get cooking. After a couple hours of hard work, the center of the tablet directly under the Microsoft logo can get hot as hell. I usually just put the laptop to sleep for twenty minutes and take a break. I haven’t ever had the laptop crash from overheating. However, it is noticeable.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is, without a doubt, the best 2-in-1 laptop there is. I don’t see how there is any argument for this. It wins in performance, design, versatility, range of use, and every other category I could think of. The benefits of this laptop are many, and the drawbacks are minimal. I have no hesitation in saying I highly recommend the Microsoft Surface Book 2 as the best 2-in-1 laptop for all my customers. I love it, and I’m sure you will too.
I’ve said in the past that my favorite thing as a salesperson is knowing I sold the customer something they’ll love. And, that’s why I love selling this laptop. It just lives up to the hype.
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