Hey, how’s it going? Dave2D here So this is the Surface Book 2, the 13 inch version Now, when the original Surface Book launched in 2015 I thought it was some of the coolest pieces of tech available at the time It’s just really impressive because No one else was making something quite like it.
Two years later, we’re still there No one else is making something quite like this The CPU is built into the screen It’s removable and it’s a fully functional tablet by itself And then the GPU is in the keyboard so when they connect, it becomes a full-fledged graphically powered laptop, so.
.. I mean a lot of people want something like this It’s something quite unique But it comes at a pretty steep price tag This thing, this unit here, starts at $2000 US Now, there is a cheaper version But the cheaper version does not have the dedicated graphics card in the keyboard so that makes it not as cool Or just not as unique to be honest So I’m going to focus just the experience on this one, the $2000 version Now, there’s a 15 inch version that’s significantly more expensive I may do video in the future on that but, 13-inch for this video I want to talk about the hinge first.
This is a hinge that, when it first was announced I had mixed feelings about it because I felt like there’s so many moving parts There’s places that dust can get into, there’s just a lot of things that could go wrong, I thought That’s not the case.
Two years later People still don’t have any major issues with the hinge Now the design isn’t for everyone. It can look a little bit weird But functionally and mechanically, it’s really well made. When you open it up You’ll notice that very little has changed aesthetically The screen is still the 3 by 2 aspect ratio with good color accuracy.
It’s bright It’s high-res. There’s no complaints here. There’s no pen in the box this year It’s an extra 100 bucks if you want to buy one, which I thought was a little bit weird But I guess not everyone uses a pen so it’s understandable The one I’m using is actually from the Eve and it works perfectly fine The keyboard and trackpad are nice It’s a noticeably better typing experience than the original Surface Book It’s a little bit quieter, and it just feels more responsive than the original Surface Book keyboard, not that that one was bad It was already good.
This is just a little bit better. The trackpad has also improved It’s obviously still running Windows Precision drivers The button mechanism feels a little more deliberate when you press it And it’s a little bit louder than I remember the Surface Book 1 to be but it feels awesome, so keyboard, trackpad, both excellent Performance is good.
It’s the quad core Kaby Lake-R It’s a 15 watt CPU, but it’s fast in short bursts. Multi-core performance is really strong now But the question is whether this extra speed really makes a big difference for what you do And it really depends on your workflow The truth is for the majority of people that are using a device like this it won’t make their workflow Or just work experience that much faster You need specific apps that can handle multi-core processing Some computational stuff will really benefit from it and same with video editing But at the end of the day, it is a 15 watt U processor So it’s not gonna be the fastest laptop in the world.
One thing to keep in mind, the 13 inch version does not have a fan in the tablet component. The 15 inch version of this device like the Surface Book 2, 15 inch screen does have the same processor as this, but there is a fan in there So it’s able to run at a higher clock speed for longer periods of time.
It also pulls I think 20 watts instead of the 15 watt at max There is some CPU throttling when you push it hard enough But most people won’t notice it because this is not the device that people would choose for really heavy CPU activity.
In terms of gaming performance, It’s actually pretty good. The GTX 1050 pushes out some decent performance You have to run it at a lower-than-native resolution But light-to-moderately demanding titles are very playable on this device There are reports that the 15 inch version with the GTX 1060 is actually pulling more power than the AC adapter can supply So it’s actually draining batteries while you’re using it That doesn’t happen on the 13 inch version because this is running a 1050 Slightly less power drain, so yeah.
If you want to play games on this device I mean, neither of them are a good choice But the issue doesn’t happen on the 13 inch version The speakers. Surprisingly, these have been improved this year They’re not as good as the 13 inch MacBook Pro speakers, but they sound pretty good And they’re positioned well, you get really nice stereo separation – The webcam is really good.
It’s actually one of the best webcams I’ve seen on a laptop. The mic quality sounds pretty good as well Battery life on this thing is very good I’m getting around 10 hours of use with the screen at 250 nits Now, this is with it in laptop mode.
With the screen removed and just using it as a clipboard, I’m only getting around three hours This has a 23 watt hour battery inside the screen, and I think 67 watt hour battery inside the base But overall, good battery life It’ll easily last you the full day, and for people that aren’t familiar with how the charging works You can charge the tablet by itself or you can connect the tablet to the keyboard and just charge the base and everything will charge up altogether The drive speeds are a mixed bag The read speeds are fast but the write speeds are a little bit slow The thermals are good The temperatures are comfortable both in tablet and laptop mode The fan noise under max load is a little bit loud But it’s kind of expected considering the size of the chassis, so there’s a lot of stuff I like about the Surface Book 2, but the big things are not so much the CPU and the GPU upgrades It’s the little things, like the things like the speakers, the keyboard, the trackpad Things that they didn’t have to change but they tweaked it anyways because they’re just trying to make a better product overall and I really like that That being said, there are things that I dislike about this thing And the first one, the big one, is the price.
Now the price When you first look at this thing seems very expensive It’s $2,000 for a 13-inch laptop with a U processor and a GTX 1050 If you spent that money on something like an XPS 15 You’d get something that’s more powerful, but the reason why it costs this much is because Microsoft is the only company making something like this No one else makes something like this and The reason why is because it’s super hard to engineer this hinge And it’s super hard to engineer this device to have a CPU up top and the GPU on the bottom because if it wasn’t hard, you bet that Huawei or Xiaomi would make something like this for a lot less money But they aren’t because they can’t, and that is why they can charge whatever they want to.
I don’t like the price I still feel like it’s like 10, 15 percent more than it should be Because this is such a good product if it was more appropriately priced, more reasonably priced I think a lot of people could make great use of this But we can’t because it’s just a little bit another price range for a lot of people which is unfortunate.
The other thing I don’t like about this thing, is the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port. So it has a decent port selection, two USB 3.0’s, an SD card slot and a USB-C But it doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3 and that really bugs me because, this is a device that costs as much as it does and It’s their flagship products, right? Every single other manufacturer out there who’s making flagship laptops has Thunderbolt 3 support in 2017 and it just lets you connect to faster storage, external GPUs, 4K displays or at least multiple 4K displays There’s just a lot of good features that come with Thunderbolt 3 And it seems so weird that they didn’t include it Now, the omission of Thunderbolt 3 feels almost purposeful like they did it with intent and that’s what bugs me Like, are they waiting for the Surface Book 3 to come out so they can sell that or Was it something like cost-saving measure? I have no idea, but it doesn’t make sense to me as to why they didn’t include such a ubiquitously useful port in late 2017, and I guess that leads to my last thing I don’t love about it.
The AC adapter they include is a proprietary connector, and it would have been nice if they included a USB-C adapter You can charge it through that port, you just need to supply your own adapter So overall, great device You just got to make sure that you’re using it to its full purpose because, if you’re buying this and you’re not making use of the tablet And you’re not making use of the detach ability and all that, then there are probably cheaper devices that would have been a better fit, but if you can make use of it and you can afford its relatively high price tag, you’re gonna enjoy it.
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