During the fall of last year I needed a new laptop and I was doing a lot of research and decided to go with the new Macbook Pro 15″. I chose it mainly for the build quality, battery life, and it’s ability to be able to run Windows if I needed it to. But as it turns out I ended up needed to be in a Windows environment more than I was expected. Running Windows 10 via Bootcamp didn’t have the battery life I needed, and running it as a virtual machine via VMWare Fusion didn’t have the smooth performance I wanted.
On to the Surface Book 2 review, so I picked this up several weeks ago and I couldn’t be more happier with my choice. The build quality is excellent and the battery life is great. Prior to my stint with the Macbook Pro I was using a Thinkpad W520. It was a large portable workstation that I used for about 7 years. Everything about the Surface Book 2 blows it away.
The 15″ screen is amazing. The 3:2 aspect ratio is great for productivity work. I work on large spreadsheets, multiple Powerpoint files, and the occasional retro gaming, just to name a few, and the SB2 screen makes the whole experience more enjoyable. The screen is bright and sharp and I can easily use it in bright environments without any problems.
The battery life on the SB2 is exceptional. It’s likely due to it running on the Intel 8th Gen U series processor that is 15 Watt TDP instead of the 7th Gen H series that is 45 Watt TDP as used in the latest Macbook Pro “15. I’ve never had a chance to run down the battery completely to get the full battery life time, but on several occasions, as a lecturer at a University, I would take the SB2 to my office hours, then to my 3 hour class. I would go 4.5 hours and end with about 54 percent battery remaining. On the Macbook Pro, I would normally end with about 42 percent. For reference, my old Thinkpad W520 would struggle to go beyond 3.5 hours even with a new replacement battery.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Thinkpad line of laptops because of their durability and unassuming designs but at the expense of a more modern and fashionable styles (which is reserved for their Yoga product lines). The SB2 is all about the industrial look. It’s slim and minimalist looking. It’s as close to the Macbook Pro in quality than any other laptop out there in the market. The SB2 hasn’t gotten hot or warm at all during the time that I’ve used it during my non-gaming use. The keyboard is great. There’s plenty of travel and it is very comfortable to use, and the glass trackpad is smooth and very responsive. I think its one of the best trackpads for a Windows system I’ve used. The trackpad does have a loud clicking mechanism, but I tend to use the double-tap to click function anyway.
Overall, the Surface Book 2 “15 is one of the best laptops out on the market. It’s a 2-in-1 device as the screen can be detached and used separately as a tablet. I don’t see myself using it as a tablet, but knowing that if one day I do need it that it’s there. The mechanism to release the screen is ingenious. All I have to do is press a button and a message pops up to say its ready to be removed. Popping the screen back into the base automatically locks the screen in place. I’ve taken the screen off a few times to show people how it works, and every time people are surprised how cool the features is. If there’s only one thing that I wish the SB2 had was a Thunderbolt port. It’s just annoying that as expensive and high-end this laptop is suppose to be that it’s missing something that is standard among mid range laptop released last year. It’s only saving grace is that it has a USB C port. I’ve used the USB C port a few times to charge and to output video to a VGA adapter (not at the same time).
Lastly, the thing that surprises me was the Surface proprietary charging port. I was annoyed that Microsoft decided to use a proprietary solution instead of the USB C/Thunderbolt. As it turns out the port uses a magnetic adapter solution, similar to the old Macbooks MagSafe chargers. There was a couple of times where I accidentally kicked the power adapter and the cable snapped off as expected. If it was charged via USB C my SB2 would have easily flown off the table. At that point I didn’t feel so bad for having that proprietary charging port. So, if you’re in the market for a high end Windows laptop that provides smooth and productive computing experience I highly recommend it given you can stomach the high price.
Excellent Battery Life
No additional Manufacturer Bloatware
Windows Hello Face Recognition is very fast
Great build quality
Doesn’t come with Surface Pen
No Thunderbolt 3 port
No Fingerprint reader