“The Surface Book 2 is a 2-in-1, while the Surface Laptop is a regular laptop with a premium construction”
The Redmond giant ventured into the laptop space in India with the launch of the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 more than two years back. Earlier this year, the brand introduced the fifth-gen Surface Pro laptop in the country. And now expanding its portfolio further, Microsoft has launched two devices from the Surface lineup in the subcontinent – the Surface Laptop and Surface Book 2. With prices starting at Rs 86,999 and going all the way up to Rs 2,95,999 – there’s no doubt that the company’s offerings are aimed at the high-end user base. But do these laptops pack in enough to demand such premium? I spent some time with the devices to find out…
Starting with the higher-end option of the two, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 ships with a premium design thanks to its magnesium alloy chassis. In fact, I can go as far as to say that it’s one of the most robust laptops I’ve come across. There’s no flex on the screen, and the hinge seems sturdy as well, which is important considering the device has a 2-in-1 form factor. What this means is that not only you can rotate the screen by 180-degrees, but you can detach it as well to use the device as a tablet.
To enable such a design, Microsoft has employed a clever technique. The Surface Book 2 comes with two battery packs – one of which resides in the screen, and the other in the base. Similarly, the CPU and other hardware components are available in the display panel itself, with the GPU being present on the keyboard. The tablet carries an 8MP camera at the rear, and a 5MP front shooter, which is also used to authenticate the user with Windows Hello. The good thing is that the device doesn’t skimp upon any ports as it comes with two full-sized USB ports, a 3.5mm socket and an SD card reader.
Talking about the screen, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is available in two display sizes of 13.5-inches and 15-inches. Both touchscreen displays come with aspect ratios of 3:2 and bear resolutions of 3,000 x 2,000 pixels and 3,240 x 2,160 pixels, respectively. The PixelSense displays, as they’re called, offer vibrant colours and sharp text. In indoor conditions, the brightness levels also seemed impressive. The keyboard also works great. There’s enough travel between keys and they offer a tactile feedback as well, when pressed. I was able to type quite fast and accurately during my brief usage. The touchpad is quite precise too.
Hardware-wise, the Surface Book 2 is available with a choice of Intel’s 8th-gen Core i5 or i7 chipsets, paired with Intel’s graphics in the base model and NVIDIA GTX 1050 or GTX 1060 graphics in the subsequent variants. The RAM capacity varies from 8GB to 16GB, while storage is available in the form of 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD.
As compared to the Surface Book 2, the Surface Laptop comes with Surface Pro-like looks. In fact, I even mistook the latter for the brand’s new offering for the Indian market. It must be noted however, that the Laptop isn’t a 2-in-1, and hence it’s not as versatile. However, its highlight is its lightweight and slim construction. The device tips the scales at just 1.25kg and is 14.5mm thin.
Thanks to the Alcantara material, the Surface Laptop looks and feels great, and is distinct from all the other portables available in the market. The material is also resistant to accidental spills. The material provides good comfort while typing too, though it takes some time getting used to. The travel isn’t as good as its pricier sibling, and hence it’s not accurate to type on the keyboard initially. In terms of ports, the device has a USB Type-A port and a 3.5mm socket.
The Surface Laptop’s window to the world is a 13.5-inch touchscreen which has a resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 pixels with an aspect ratio of 3:2. For web conferencing and authenticating the user using Windows Hello, the device sports a 720p front-facing camera.
Under the hood, the Microsoft Surface Laptop is equipped with Intel’s 7th-gen Core i5 or i7 processors, which is clubbed with Intel HD Graphics 620 or Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640. In terms of memory, consumers can opt between 8GB or 16GB RAM, whereas SSD capacity varies from 128GB going all the way to 1TB.
While the Surface Book 2 runs Windows 10 out of the box, the Surface Laptop ships with Windows 10 S version, which is optimised to deliver apps which are optimised for touchscreens. However, fret not as you can upgrade to the full-fledged Windows 10 almost instantly.
Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is said to deliver a battery life of up to 17.5 hours, whereas the Surface Laptop claims to offer 14.5 hours of usage on a single charge. Both the devices are compatible with various Surface accessories such as Surface Pen and Surface Dial. The devices aim to deliver an impressive audio experience as well, and feature Dolby speakers.
Both the Microsoft Surface Laptop and Surface Book 2 will be available to buy online and offline across stores like Flipkart, Amazon, Croma and Vijay Sales. While the Surface Laptop is priced between Rs 86,999 and Rs 2,33,999, the Surface Book2 carries a price tag of Rs 1,37,999, which goes all the way up to 2,95,999 for the highest-end model. It’s evident that the latest offerings from the software major aren’t aimed at mainstream users, but at those who want to make a statement while getting the work done at the same time. We’ll be working on comprehensive reviews of these devices to see how well they fare in day-to-day usage, so keep an eye out for those.