Surface Book 2 Discussion Thread (13.5" and 15" models)

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by JoeS, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Congrats! Good to hear that charging is fast. That said, I don't think many people here expected the battery to drain updating the OS while connected to the dock. It's just that running GPU/CPU intensive tasks (as in 'maxed out') where using the dock will lead to even faster battery drain than using the provided underpowered charger. Not a huge issue for many, definitely a bummer for some.
     
  2. jnjroach

    jnjroach Technology Strategist Super Moderator

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    I get that, but the dock works well for most applications, I was putting quite a bit of load on the device.

    BTW - Performance is great but this thing is huge - using the clipboard is light weight but a bit unwieldy to use in your hands. This will take some adjustments.
     
  3. alextrela182

    alextrela182 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5", i7, GTX 1050) Convertible Review
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Micro...-i7-GTX-1050-Convertible-Review.263954.0.html


    Pro


    +
    high-quality housing
    +
    very good screen without PWM
    +
    high performance, despite passive cooling
    +
    very long battery life
    +
    comfortable input devices
    +
    decent cameras
    +
    often silent in everyday life


    Contra
    -
    very loud GPU fan (depending on power setting)
    -
    Power supply is not always sufficient
    -
    no Thunderbolt 3
    -
    Surface Pen is no longer included
    -
    significant power reduction (especially CPU) in battery mode
    -
    Hinge teeters on touch inputs
    -
    no LTE
    -
    virtually no upgrade options
    -
    long loading time (especially tablet)
    -
    expensive, especially the surcharges for more storage



    Verdict

    In review: Microsoft Surface Book 2. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.


    Microsoft promises a lot for the new Surface Book 2. The 13.5-inch convertible is a really good device in some respects, but we are sometimes wondering why the manufacturer ignores known issues or waives modern standards, respectively.

    Let's begin with the good things. Microsoft says the new device is twice as powerful as before. This is true as long as you focus on the CPU performance. The new ULV quad-core from Intel is much faster compared to the previous dual-core models. We can only praise Microsoft for the performance utilization, which is very decent, despite the passive cooling. Some laptops with actively cooled CPUs perform worse. However, not much changed for the graphics card. Yes, the GTX 1050 performs well, but it is not much faster than the previous GTX 965M. The new Surface Book 2 also lasts longer on battery, still uses an excellent display, and has a nice chassis with comfortable input devices.

    The Surface Book 2 13.5" is once again almost unrivaled thanks to the good performance. However, there are some compromises (no Thunderbolt 3!), which are hard to swallow for the high price.

    The biggest problem is revealed when you stress the dedicated GeForce GPU, because the fan is really loud. We showed how you can easily bypass this issue with the new performance settings of Windows without sacrificing much performance.

    A bigger issue, which seems to be acceptable for Microsoft, is the power delivery. The power adapter is not always sufficient during gaming, so the batteries are slightly discharged and charged again. This cannot be good for the battery health. It might be related to a limitation of the Surface Connector since the power adapter of our test model should be sufficient. This brings us to the next problem, the ports. Microsoft probably sticks to the Surface Connector to ensure compatibility with the old Surface Dock. This is unfortunately a big limitation. A modern Thunderbolt 3 port would be more practical and future-proof. An additional USB Type-C port at the tablet would have been nice as well.

    The battery situation is not perfect, either. There is a connector for the power adapter at the tablet, but it still takes almost 2.5 hours to charge the small battery. This can probably be fixed via software update. An "empty" tablet can unfortunately not be charged by the battery in the keyboard unit, either.

    You can easily avoid the loud fan in this case and the power delivery should not be a big deal in practice as long as you avoid the Best Performance setting. The missing Thunderbolt 3 support is a bigger issue for more than 2200 Euros ($1999) though. The Surface Pen is not included anymore, either, and has to be purchased separately. The 13.5-inch convertible is still almost unrivaled on the market thanks to the high performance and leaves a positive overall impression.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  4. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    For those who are not familiar, these reviews are incredibly in-depth, with whole pages dedicated to for example fan noise and its frequency distribution. They also measured tablet battery life in a few scenarios, getting 4h of video at 150nits, and 2.5h of 'web browsing' at 150nits.

    I've added this to the list of reviews at the bottom of the first post, in case anyone here wants to quickly dig up a review.
     
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  5. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    Does the GPU influence how you can run external monitors or is that limited by the Dock? If I recall correctly you could run two 4k monitors but one had to be on 30 Hz. Can you run both at 60 Hz with the new setup?
     
  6. be77solo

    be77solo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    EDIT, posted before I finished typing that ha
    I need to revise my comment about this for the 15" SB2... it's not quite a perfect fit, and is actually a bit too short, meaning it goes a bit too far inside the slot to be easily removed... I'll be seeing if I can get it out with a paperclip or something now ha...

    It does work great on the 13" SB2. And apparently, they are releasing a slightly longer version for the 15".

    Just a heads up to those thinking of ordering! Now to see if I can fish mine out of the slot :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
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  7. jnjroach

    jnjroach Technology Strategist Super Moderator

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    I was able to run 2 60Hz 4K with the new SP4 - works fine on the SB2 as well...
     
  8. be77solo

    be77solo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Been doing direct comparisons for a few days now doing normal workflow and play usage at my desktop and around the house using the SB2 15. Alternating between the 102W Adapter that comes with the SB2 and the Surface Dock.

    Bottom line, the provided 102W adapter is fine for everything I've done, with only a couple particularly harsh benchmarks that are nowhere near normal loads along with very high settings in a couple recent games that will actually drain the batteries a bit. If they offered a higher wattage version I'd buy it, but it's nothing I'm going to worry about. I can play Forza 7 with gorgeous settings and smooth graphics for as along as adult life allows without any discharge.... good enough for a Surface and better than I ever dreamed possible way back when the SP1 came out ha.

    Unfortunately, with any sort of heavy lifting like lots of concurrent disk access/CPU/network download usage (Desktop duties), the current Surface Dock is not sufficient. Seems it's only actually providing 65W and is just not enough. It's not even gaming that's the only problem. Mine starts discharging the battery with drive indexing in the background while doing anything remotely CPU and network involved. Trying to game on 65W is simply a bad idea, as I can just about watch the battery percentage drop when the Nvidia GPU is added to the mix. Additionally, I started to get some weird screen tearing/stutters after about 20 minutes of Forza 7 while using the Surface Dock until the game was no longer playable. I can only assume the system gets confused whether it's actually plugged in or not? By comparison, it games great on battery alone with same settings. Battery life is obviously not great, but performance is smooth and is totally functional.

    Loving the SB2, definite keeper! I just can't quite achieve my goal yet of an all in one machine for everything without a good (simple) docking solution. Going to scrap the Surface Dock, and I guess use a USB-C to Monitor adapter, and a USB Hub for the rest? It's three plugs once you add in the AC Adapter. Not ideal but until MS releases a new Dock, don't see a legit option unless you only browse email and light office usage when at the desk. I'm sure there are many that will be completely fine with that, but if that's the case the SB2 with Nvidia GPU is significantly overkill of a machine and a Surface Pro would be more than sufficient to dock up and drive your desktop setup.

    This video sums up much better than I ever could ha, and I'm seeing what he reports. It focuses on gaming and the provided AC adapter, but he mentions the current Surface Dock as well as hints of a new version in development that would solve the docking problem:

     
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  9. jnjroach

    jnjroach Technology Strategist Super Moderator

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    Has anyone been able to get "tilt" to work on the SB2 with the new pen? On my SP 2017 it works well in the mobile version of OneNote using the pencil.
     
  10. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Sure. The new pen works great on the SB2 in the Ink Workspace Sketchpad app.
     
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