Microsoft debuts Surface Book 2: two sizes, twice as powerful as the new MacBook Pro

Software giant Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a second-generation Surface Book laptop as it continues to compete with Apple’s MacBook Pro notebook family.

Arriving two years following Microsoft’s original $1,499 laptop/tablet hybrid model, the new Surface Book 2 laptop is, according to Microsoft, twice as powerful as Apple’s latest MacBook Pro models while featuring up to 17 hours of battery life while watching video and “the most powerful graphics performance ever from a Surface laptop.”

“We do not recommend people use the device for 17 straight hours,” Panos Panay, Microsoft’s VP of Devices, said at a media briefing. “But if you really wanted to, that was our goal.”

The Surface Book family now comes in two sizes: a new 15-inch model or a 13.5-inch PixelSense Display one. Both machines feature 17 hours of battery life in laptop mode and up to five hours in tablet mode (video watching).

Although Microsoft points out that the new Surface provides 70 percent more battery life than the latest MacBook Pro, it should be noted that Apple’s battery stats include more mixed use while Microsoft bases its test on a video playback loop.

Other shared features include Bluetooth 4.1, two USB-A ports, one USB-C port (no Thunderbolt support, sadly), the Surface Connector, an SD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack with Dolby Atmos support for headphones, a five-megapixel camera out the front and an eight-megapixel shooter out the back, Windows Hello login support and a backlit keyboard with 1.55mm travel.

The 13.5-inch model has a resolution of 3,000-by-2,000 pixels (267 PPI) and weighs in at 3.38 pounds in laptop mode or 1.59 pounds in tablet mode. The base model comes outfitted with Intel’s seventh-generation dual-core i5-7300U chip with 8GB of RAM (upgradeable to an eighth-generation Intel quad-core i7-8650U chip with 16GB of RAM), 256GB/512GB/1TB flash storage and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of dedicated graphic memory.

The more powerful 15-inch model has a resolution of 3,240-by-2,160 pixels (260 PPI) and weighs in at 4.2 pounds in laptop mode and 1.8 pounds in tablet mode. It’s equipped with an eighth-generation quad-core Intel i7-8650U chip with 16GB of RAM, 256GB/512GB/1TB flash memory and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of graphic memory (great for gaming!).

“The 15-inch Surface Book 2 delivers almost seven million dazzling pixels—45 percent more than MacBook Pro—giving artists and professionals alike amazing pixel density on an even larger creative canvas,” says Microsoft.

A multitude of different configuration options are available as well.

The smaller Surface Book 2 starts at $1,499, the same price as its predecessor, and the larger version starts at $2,499.

Microsoft will begin to accept preorders for the new machines on November 9 from Microsoft Store and select retailers ahead of their launch a week later on November 16.

What do you think of the new Surface Book laptops?

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