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Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 puts desktop power in a laptop body

IT’S BEEN A WHILE since Microsoft put out any serious new computing hardware: the Surface Laptop was whipped out in May, but running a stripped-down version of Windows 10, and the Surface Book hasn’t seen an update since 2015. The time is just right, then, to take advantage of Intel’s new 8th-gen processors with the Surface Book 2.

We see a lot of claims about “the power of a desktop” here at INQ, but Microsoft looks to have genuinely cracked it. The Book 2 is a detachable laptop/tablet with a 13.5in or 15in screen – it has a full-size keyboard, trackpad and stylus – but runs Windows 10 on Core i5 or i7 processors, and features discrete Nvidia graphics on the premium models. With up to 16GB of RAM, this thing can run PUBG at 60fps without breaking a sweat.

That power, as usual, comes at a cost, but that isn’t battery life: the Surface Book 2 can operate for up to 17 hours (though we’re treating that claim with roughly one fish and chip shop’s worth of salt). Instead, it’s all in the weight, with the 13.5in model coming in at 1.6kg (0.7kg tablet mode) and the 15in version at 1.9kg (0.8kg tablet mode). Make no mistake, this is not an ultraportable – Microsoft had to redesign the hinge just to support the screen.

That screen is pretty pixel-heavy (as well as actually heavy), at 267/260 ppi on the 13.5/15 in models, respectively. Both models have a 3:2 aspect ratio, with resolutions of 3000×2000 and 3240×2160 – a pretty unusual decision on Microsoft’s part. Perhaps it’s trying to compete with Apple on ‘annoying letterboxed aspect ratios’.

The 15in laptop uses Intel’s eighth-gen, quad-core Core i7 processors and 16GB of RAM, with 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD storage and GTX 1060 graphics. These specs go down to 7th-gen, dual-core Core i5 processors and 8GB of RAM on the base 13.5 in model, but it can be upgraded to match the larger laptop (with GTX 1050 graphics).

Microsoft has finally put a USB-C port on a Surface device with the second edition of the Surface Book, even if it is only one; for your other connection needs, there are two USB-A slots and an SD reader.

Microsoft will start pre-orders at $1,499 on the 9th November (which will probably be worth about £2,000 when it’s actually launched on the 16th) for the base spec 13.5 in model. If you want the 15 in, expect to pay $2,499. µ

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