This morning, Microsoft took the lid off its newest laptop hybrid, the Surface Book 2. Though Microsoft now has a full lineup of Surface products, including the Surface Pro and the Surface Laptop, the Surface Book has been a fan favorite since its launch back in November of 2015.
In 2016, Microsoft showed that it wanted to double down on the power of the Surface Book by releasing a (sloppily-named) update to i7 processors called the Surface Book With Performance Base. Microsoft has now given us a true sequel to the original Surface Book and even though it doesn’t look all that different, here are five things to know about the new laptop:
While the Surface Laptop and Surface Pro are Microsoft’s starter products, the Surface Book has always been the premium choice—that’s always been its most significant selling point. The lineup is all new, but the two primary configurations offered are the 8th gen. i5 and i7 quad-core processors.
In addition, the two configurations feature really impressive graphics with its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU that comes with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory. It’s been built to be ready to push VR graphics—in particular, the Windows Mixed Reality headsets. With all that said, if you’re looking for a professional, powerhouse laptop that can handle everything you throw at it, the Surface Book 2 aims to be just that.
It was only a matter of time before we got a 15-inch version of the Surface Book—it just makes sense for a computer that is packed with high-end specs. The 15-inch model is almost identical to the 13.5-inch model—it’s got the same processors, battery life and graphics capabilities. But there are a couple of slight differences.
First, is the weight, which might be obvious. The 15-inch model is slightly heavier than the 13.5-inch model. Secondly, the 15-inch model starts at 16GB of RAM, unlike the 13.5-inch model which starts at 8GB of RAM.
The photo you see above isn’t doctored: Microsoft actually claims that the Surface Book 2 can get up to 17 hours of video playback battery life. While you can never take a manufacturer’s battery life claims at face value, I don’t think something that ambitious has even been claimed before. The Microsoft blog even makes the stab that the Surface Book 2 gives you 70 percent more battery life than the latest MacBook Pro.
Meanwhile, when the screen is popped off in tablet mode, you’ll get something closer to five hours of battery life. We’ll have to wait to see how the actual battery life does in testing, but it’s hard to not get excited by what Microsoft is claiming here.
At first glance, you might not see much difference between the Surface Book and the Surface Book 2. However, Microsoft has made little refinements to the popular design to make it even better. The unique hinge is still there, but it’s been made even stronger and stiffer thanks to metal connectors built into the hinge.
Microsoft has tweaked things all around to trim down the overall weight of the product. Microsoft claims that the Surface Book 2 is the lightest and thinnest laptop to include an 8th gen. Intel Core i7 processor. In addition, the Surface Book 2 includes a USB-C port to futureproof all your accessories without getting rid of older ports (ala the MacBook Pro).
The Surface Book was never meant for the casual user—and that hasn’t changed this time around. The 13.5-inch i5 base configuration starts at $1,499 and in that, you’re missing out on the meaty quad-core i7 speed, as well as the NVIDIA graphics card.
Next up is the 13.5-inch i7 configuration, which starts at $1,999. Meanwhile, the 15-inch model starts at $2,499 and can be configured with up to 1TB of storage, maxing out at $3,299.
All of the models will be available for pre-order on November 9 and start shipping on November 16.