Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) review

A bigger Surface Book – but that’s not a bad thing

surface book 2
(Image: © Future)

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To say that the Surface Book 2 is powerful would be an understatement. Simply put, this is the most powerful 2-in-1 laptop we’ve ever tested, capable of going toe-to-toe with not only every hybrid laptop on the market, but a wide range of gaming laptops as well.


Here is how the Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) fared in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Sky Diver: 19,363; Fire Strike: 9,238; Time Spy: 3,565
Cinebench CPU: 647 cb; Graphics: 94 fps
Geekbench 4 Single Core: 5,024; Multi-Core: 13,896
PCMark 8 Home: 3,072
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 7 hours and 39 minutes
Total War: Warhammer 2 (1080p, Ultra): 36 fps; (1080p, Low): 74 fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (1080p, Ultra): 32 fps; (1080p, Low): 70 fps

If you look over at the benchmarks, the Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics inside can more than tackle the newer AAA games at 1080p. (We even saw more than playable frame rates at native resolution.) That’s not something we usually expect from Surface devices, much less any 2-in-1 laptops.

Not that you should buy the Surface Book 2 for gaming. Honestly, you can get the same experience at a much cheaper price, spending what you saved on games or even an external GPU box and a graphics card. But, few laptops will stay as cool as this one under pressure, due to the Surface Book 2’s split design that operates the GPU and CPU separately.

That said, Microsoft added the Xbox Wireless radio – which lets the Surface Book 2 to connect with Xbox One controllers natively – for a reason. That is, for a cross section of designers or media pros and gamers that would be served well by a device that can do everything.

At this point, it should go without saying that the Surface Book 2 (15-inch) can tackle our normal workload with aplomb, barely seeing its quad-core CPU and 16GB of RAM break a sweat. You’d have to try really hard to cripple this laptop, is what we’re saying.

surface book 2

The Surface Book 2 lasted longer in PCMark 8’s battery test than every single 2-in-1 laptop we’ve reviewed.

Battery life

Considering that point, the fact that this laptop lasted longer in PCMark 8’s battery test than every single 2-in-1 laptop we reviewed at the time of writing is just incredible. A score of 7 hours and 39 minutes in this traditionally intensive test was unheard of in the TechRadar offices, especially since its predecessor lasted only less than half that long.

However, we should point out that since we originally reviewed the Surface Book 2, other 2-in-1 laptops have been released with longer battery lives. Having said that, the battery life of the Surface Book 2 remains very impressive.

This result is a testament to the sheer amount of battery given to the Surface Book 2 (15-inch) by its larger size and the nature of its design. Microsoft brags up to 17 hours of battery life from the 15-inch Surface Book 2 over local video playback.

surface book 2

We appreciate the hard work and engineering that went into the creation of the Surface Book 2.

Final verdict

Ultimately, the 15-inch Surface Book 2 is the most versatile and all-powerful 2-in-1 laptop we’ve ever tested. It has its share of flaws, no doubt about that. There are a few missed opportunities here, with Microsoft just taking the original Surface Book and bulking it up, at least chassis design-wise.

That said, we appreciate the hard work and engineering that went into the creation of this device. The proof is in its nigh-unmatched performance and battery life, as well as its stunning design and nice tactile feel when held in the hand as either a laptop or a tablet. And that’s without mentioning its display that’s an absolute stunner.

Expect to pay a lot for all of the aforementioned features, but there’s no doubt in our mind that it’s well worth it if you’re a creative professional (or someone who’s rich enough) who can and are willing to pay for it. The price is steep for the best 2-in-1 laptop to date, but you’re also getting the top-of-the-line in 2-in-1 laptop design by the folks that defined the category.

Images Credit: TechRadar

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.