Microsoft’s new Surface Book 2 is a monster for creatives on-the-go with up to 17 hours battery life

Oct 18, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Microsoft’s new Surface Book 2 is a monster for creatives on-the-go with up to 17 hours battery life

Oct 18, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Ever since I first got my hands on an iPad, I haven’t touched my laptop. It’s sat in a box under the bed for about the past 6 or 7 years. I do all my serious work on desktops. I have considered picking up a tablet/laptop hybrid type deal a couple of times, though. But when hearing reports of how badly most suck for video editing work, I abandoned the idea.

Now, though, Microsoft’s newly announced Surface Book 2 looks like it might finally give me a reason to look at laptops again. Especially now it comes with an Nvidia GPU, up to 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, an 8th generation i7 quad core processor and up to 17 hours of battery life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ck5RbTQj28

The Surface Book 2 comes in two sizes. One with a 13″ screen and one with a 15″. The larger of the two boasting a higher pixel density and resolution than the 15″ MacBook Pro. Both of them offer 10 point touchscreen, and are compatible with the Surface Pen and Surface Dial.

Software Windows 10 Pro Creators Update 64-bit
Office 365 30-day trial
Dimensions
13.5” (i5) 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.51–0.90 in. (312.00 x 232.00 x 13.00–23.00 mm)
13.5” (i7) 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.59–0.90 in. (312.0 x 232.00 x 15.00–23.00 mm)
15” (i7) 13.50 x 9.87 x 0.59–0.90 in. (343.00 x 251.00 x 15.00–23.00 mm)
Weight
13.5”: Starting at 3.38 lbs (1,534 g) including keyboard
15”: Starting at 4.2 lbs (1,905 g) including keyboard
Storage Solid state drive (SSD) options: 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Display Screen: 13.5” PixelSense Display
Resolution: 3000 x 2000, (267 PPI)
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Contrast ratio: 1600:1
Touch: 10-point multi-touch G5Screen: 15” PixelSense Display
Resolution: 3240 x 2160, (260 PPI)
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Contrast ratio: 1600:1
Touch: 10-point multi-touch G5
Battery life Up to 17 hours of video playback
Keyboard layout QWERTY
Processor
8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U (quad-core) with up to 4.20 GHz Max Turbo
7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300U with up to 3.50 GHz Max Turbo
Graphics
13.5”: Intel HD Graphics 620 integrated GPU, Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU, or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU w/2GB VRAM
15”: Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB VRAM
Security
HW TPM 2.0 chip for enterprise security
Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
Memory 8GB or 16GB RAM 1866Mhz LPDDR3
Wireless
Wi-Fi: 802.11ac
Bluetooth: BT4.1 LE
Xbox Wireless built-in (15” only)
Ports
2 USB 3.0 Type A
USB Type-C
UHS-II SDXC card reader
3.5mm headphone jack
2 Surface Connect
Cameras, video, and audio
Windows Hello face authentication camera (front-facing)
5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video
8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p Full HD video
Dual microphones
Front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Exterior
Casing: Magnesium
Color: Silver
Physical buttons: Volume, Power
Sensors
Ambient light sensor
Proximity sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Magnetometer
What’s in the box
Surface Book 2
Power supply
Quick start guide
Safety and warranty documents
Warranty 1-year limited hardware warranty

And it looks just as sexy on the outside as it does inside.

Although it’s definitely a very creative-friendly piece of kit, that doesn’t seem to be the primary target market. Instead, Microsoft are appealing to a much wider audience. Business users, gamers and creatives. Personally I think it’s a bit overkill for most general business uses. Even for gaming I think I’d rather have a desktop with multiple displays and a full size keyboard. But for on-the-go photo and video editing, it looks ideal.

The Surface Book 2 boasts an amazing battery life of up to 17 hours of video playback, too. How much this will go down to with some intense editing is anybody’s guess. But it’s way beyond the “up to 10 hours” of the new MacBook Pro. They’re also extremely light, with the 15″ version weighing 4.2lbs and the 13″ version at a mere 3.38lbs.

It seems Microsoft have been working rather closely with Adobe, too, to enhance the creative experience. On the Windows blog, Microsoft say…

From the early days of Surface Pro to the launch of the original Surface Book, we’ve had incredible feedback from photographers and artists who loved the ability to shoot tethered or draw on a super portable device that could also run Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications. The power of Surface Book 2 will help artists and professionals across the creative spectrum take their work to the next level.

More power means faster renders and effects so you can make quick edits and decisions to get you to your finished work. And a deeper partnership with Adobe means even better integration between Surface Book 2 and the Adobe Creative Cloud, including new Surface Dial functionality coming to Photoshop to keep you in your flow and let you easily access and modify your most frequently used brush settings.

The 13″ Surface Book 2 starts at $1,499 with the 15″ starting at $2,499. Pre-orders open up on November 9th, and shipping starts on November 16th.

You can find out more about the Surface Book 2 on the Microsoft Website and the Windows Blog.

I’d pretty much given up on a portable editing system for now. I did consider finally just taking the plunge with a MacBook. But that AMD chipset always put me off. I was going to just build a new desktop editing system and not worry about editing on the move. Now, though, I think I’m going to have to rethink that plan.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “Microsoft’s new Surface Book 2 is a monster for creatives on-the-go with up to 17 hours battery life”

  1. Larry Avatar
    Larry

    PASS ! – I’d advise you built a Hackintosh if it’s money you’re concerned about… BTW macOS will run just fine with either the AMD or NVIDIA gpu’s internally or externally.

  2. mikerofoto Avatar
    mikerofoto

    how many reviews that the last one couldn’t be open for repairs and didn’t last more than 2 years, not sure about that line of Microsoft