The Surface Book 2 is finally here. Unveiled on October 17, Microsoft’s latest entry in the Surface lineup came as a bit of a surprise. After nothing but silence for months, the new 2-in-1 was shown off at a press event, and we spent some quality time with it.
Externally, it’s a gorgeous machine with a slick new form factor and a display to match, but it keeps many of the same design accents that defined the original — for better or worse. The Surface Book 2 features the same polarizing hinge design as the original, but features a larger 15-inch display, a streamlined footprint, and some updated internals.
The 15-inch model features an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8650U processor, and perhaps most impressively, an Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of RAM. The 15-inch model starts at $2,500.
The 13.5-inch model also features an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8650U processor, but a smaller graphics card, the Nvidia GTX 1050 with 2GB of RAM. This version starts at $2,000, but it’s also available in a pared-down configuration without a discrete graphics card for $1,500.
Microsoft is keen to point out that the Surface Book 2 isn’t just another premium laptop. It does a lot of things that even the new Surface Laptop can’t. As a 2-in-1 with a detachable tablet, it’s certainly a lot more versatile than any other notebook in its category — Apple’s MacBook Pro is a great laptop, but you can’t pop its display off, or use it in conjunction with the iPad Pro’s Apple Pencil.
The Surface Book 2 aims to combine the best of the Surface Pro lineup and the Surface Laptop lineup. It’s the middle ground — an expensive middle ground, but it manages to offer the best of both worlds without sacrificing performance.
By burying a powerful graphics card in the keyboard portion of the Surface Book 2, you can expect a fair degree of gaming performance alongside its already impressive array of capabilities. But the real reason the new Surface Book features so much graphical horsepower is a simple one: Windows Mixed Reality.
Featured prominently in the promotional materials for the upcoming 2-in-1, Microsoft has redoubled its efforts recently to bring Windows Mixed Reality to a wider audience. The new Surface Book 2 is certainly well-equipped to make that a reality.
All three versions of the Surface Book 2 will be available for pre-order on November 9, 2017.
Updated with new information about the Surface Book 2 launch.