Love My Surface - mostly
Bought the surface book 2 as an upgrade from a surface pro. Love the size, and the keyboard is a joy to type on. When detached was disappointed to find that the external sd card as well as the keyboard did not function. Not a deal breaker but managing extra storage had to be rethought.
Battery is impressive - although nowhere near what they claim. The power connector is simply awful and without a doubt the worst part of the surface stable.
The touch screen is simply wonderful and as I do much handwriting, equations, especially in Onenote, it is absolutely perfect for what I need and no other comp/tablet combo can compare.
It is expensive, but well worth it if handwriting is a large part of your computing needs.
Do miss the versatility of the surface pro, but love the extra battery and screen size.
Purchased in March 2019 for $2,370.01.
A random executive
The best complete travel laptop/tablet you could wish for, at a price.
I was using a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 for several years before this. While that was excellent for what it was, the Surface Book 2 was better. I got the 512GB version, which I think is worth getting. I take a lot of notes, either handwritten or typed. I travel overseas for 1-2 weeks at a time, 1-3 times per year, as well as many conferences and meetings.
I really was torn between the 13" and the 15", wondering whether the extra desktop real estate was worth it for the 15" at the expense of the weight. I travel light, going overseas and only ever taking a single bag.
Well, I got it and I have to say that the extra size is totally worth it. You get a beefy graphics card (relatively), space for spreadsheets when needed. You can game with friends when needed.
I like to take notes by hand using the stylus and OneNote when visiting customers or anyone who I meet who I feel needs to trust me. For some reason people like to see what people write down when they take notes, and they can do this the same on a SB2 as on a tablet or notepad. For when it's not required, e.g. industry meetings, internal meetings and the like, I can just tap away at a keyboard. And at home I can use the keyboard I am confortable, just using it as a desktop replacement with a 40" monitor.
I really feel like I have the perfect setup and it would be very hard to improve on it, save for graphics card upgrades eventually. I have also managed to import all my old S Note files which are available in a fashion, although harder to search through.
Anyway, if you like to travel light but are wondering about the size, go the 15", you won't regret it. It is the perfect laptop from my perspective, something like Apple would produce except in this case it's better than anything that apple produces. It can replace tablets, laptops, desktops, all in the one device. It's awesome.
DOA 10 days in with a bad hinge and corrupted software - offered a refurbished model instead.
Short Story: Harvey Norman suggested I get a repair, I go 400km to the MS store in Sydney and they send me back to Harvey Norman after offering a Refurbished model instead of a new replacement model. I now have to go back home to the original Harvey Norman store to get a replacement because the Microsoft store refuses to replace my laptop that's 10 days old with a host of software issues, even after being told over the phone by MICROSOFT themselves, to make an appointment and take it in to get it replaced. (Yes, phone support said it would likely get replaced since its a DOA)
Long Story: My first Microsoft store experience. Spoke with [name removed], and a supervisor named [name removed].
I had to make an appointment at the only Microsoft store in the country just to be told that my $4000 laptop, that's only 10 days old, has a serious hardware problem. But the only thing they can do is replace my new, out of the box computer with a refurbished model (and God knows how old, used, worn or cared for, this model is.)
These laptops can't be repaired or torn down and I was told to go back to the place I bought the laptop from and get it sorted out there. But Harvey Norman said they had to send it away to be diagnosed and repaired. No replacement for something that's exhibiting issues one week in. And whilst on the phone, it was suggested I give MS a visit. Which I decided to do.
Also, the standard 2-year warranty was activated on the 28th of December 2018. I bought the device on the 13th of April 2019. But my receipt says a 1-year warranty. Several emails to Microsoft support have (for 1 week now) gone unanswered.
The software is also out of date, and I am unable to fix the "sRGB / Enhanced" problem with the display settings. I have recovered, reimaged, reinstalled and updated the heck out of this laptop and it's still several versions out of date (I have the 1709 version and not the 1808 version) Now windows update refuses to update further.
All of these issues, 10 days in, and MS can't do anything for me except send me back to Harvey Norman for a repair and refuse to replace my laptop that's only 10 days old. I'm better off getting a refund and buying a new computer to have saved myself from all these issues.
The only saving grace is that the store looks nice.
Very Buggy Given How Expensive It Was
Bought this laptop to run my business and it has been surprisingly buggy and error prone given its premium price and flagship status. Turning screen on and detaching screen are constant problems. Left clicking on trackpad is unreliable. Accuracy of the pen is terrible and not professional standard for my work. Scaling issues with a second screen through the very expensive MS dock also not good enough for professional work. Text looks horrible on a second screen. Always have problems trying to print. Even have trouble logging in. Face recognition only works half the time. Laptop overheats doing simple tasks like taking notes with pen for work and don't even think about playing games, it will stutter and stall on even simple games like FIFA 18. I've tried dealing with Microsoft to fix or resolve some of these issues, but they are useless. Really really disappointed with the Surface Book 2 and think Microsoft have misled there customers about the performance of this laptop. I've had it for a year and have to use it every day for work and it's a constant reminder of how I wasted $4k on a dud laptop when a budget model would have performed better. Won't ever trust Microsoft product again. Avoid!
Purchased in August 2018 for $3,990.00.
Loved it for numerous months until the Screen Separated. The batteries behind the screen expanded and pushed the screen forward. There is not a 1/2" crack in the top of the screen and the batteries keep swelling. I consider this a fire hazard.
Purchased in March 2018.
You Have to fight Windows all the way
I thought this would be the ultimate top end machine for office and home because I'm mobile often but all it has done is remind me why I hate windows so much. Nice when out of the box but clunky for everything. ….. So I took it home and setup my preferences and app purchases and iTunes for synching my devices.
Two days later I took it to work and had it put onto the company domain.... suddenly Windows decided that it did not like this and it could not control the second domain and turned off the firewall and wiped all the apps as freshly installed including Adobe, Netflix and Stan etc..... No warning ...just gone
I have been forced to change my windows password twice and my Gmail password once during this mess
What a pain and then follow that change to all other devices....
Each time I enter the company domain I cannot print or I can print from word but not from a web site or maybe not from Adobe..... no reason just conflicts…. My IT guys are good and eventually they will get these issues sorted
Its just that Windows has a mind of its own...… and it is just a pain and it is so unpredictable
I just want it to work...… is that too hard to expect in 2018
Test before you leave the store - and then swap it out for a Mac
I was keen for a fast reliable laptop with lots of memory. After the third try I have given up on the Surface Book 2. The first had a black line down the screen, the second didn’t charge the battery and the third, well, it didn’t even turn on. When I rang Microsoft support they asked me whether I tested the computer before I left the store. Really? You have to do that for a $4k computer? Well I guess it makes sense, since they clearly do NOT test them before they leave the factory. JB HiFi were terrific - it’s not their fault Microsoft sells expensive rubbish, but gosh what a lot of wasted time and frustration.
Worst surface on any computer I’ve ever had. The surface book 2 is made from very bad material as the surface gets scratches and dents very easily. The slightest movement such as sliding back on a desk will produce scratches. I have never had this problem with another computer. It looks stylish and sleek but you will be frustrated by how quickly the metal surface starts to look completely ugly.
Good all rounder
Having come from a 2016 & 2017 HP Spectre x360 and a cheaper Lenovo Yoga 520, i've had no issues whatsoever.
My other two laptops were noisy (fans) with both laptops being fixed by their respective manufacturers many times. I bought this after my Surface Pro died and so far this guy has not given me any grief. No noise, no niggly faults just works flawlessly. The battery lasts all day for me and the base model even lets me game (Steam - EAW). I've watched TV shows on it and the picture is excellent.
It's not as nimble as an SP but given its a 13+" laptop I didn't expect to be.
Higher spec models are a bit expensive, but considering Apple, HP and Lenovo flagships are just as expensive it's all par for the course.
Stay far away
I update my work laptop every few years and when I heard of the 15inch Surface Book 2 coming out in March this year, I was excited and pre-ordered the device early. I'm a power user for work and use the device for things like 3d modelling, video rendering and coding- so I chose max specs and didn't mind forking out the nearly $4500 for the device.
I was initially happy with the purchase, but 2 months after purchase I started to notice that the keyboard would randomly detach and reattach itself to the tablet. As it was a rare occurence at the time, I chose to ignore it.
However, the problem kept getting worse until about 4 weeks ago (from this date of posting) when the random detaches were occurring pretty much every 30 seconds, which froze the device as it went into tablet mode. This made the device unusable, even for normal usage such as browsing the internet unless I completely detached the device from the keyboard, which then made the battery life crappy.
I researched the problem and discovered that Microsoft was aware of the problem from the Surface Book 1 and that it was a hardware problem, so no amount of reinstalling drivers or recovery would solve the problem.
So I called up Microsoft Support on 19 July, 2018 and after some conversation they give me two options- a standard exchange where you have to send them your device, then they send you a new device. Estimated turnaround time of 8 business days.
Or a advance exchange where they'll send you the device first, then you send them your device with an estimated turnaround time of 3 working days. The only caveat was they'd put a hold on your credit card for the RRP of the device.
As I needed the device instantly for work, I chose the advanced variation for the 3 day turnaround, providing my credit card details.
It's now been 24 days since the 19th of July. I haven't received the device. I haven't had any updates from Microsoft support unless I call them (and they keep giving me rubbish info such as the courier couldn't find my address even though I live in a metropolitan area and have had products delivered there from Microsoft before). They don't respond to emails. They won't tell me who the courier is so I can go pick it up from their depot. They still have the RRP of the device locked on my account.
As a result of this, I have had weeks of lost productivity, wasted time and unnecessary stress that you shouldn't have to have when spending $4500. I am having my departments legal team launch a complaint with the ACCC to try and recoup that $4500. I was looking at getting the Surface Laptops to replace employee devices later this year (about 200 or so devices) but that's not going to happen now. I'm even considering just splashing out the extra cash for the grossly overpriced Macbook Pro just for peace of mind.
I am disheartened with Microsoft and have been a loyal "fan boy" for years, but that's now changing.
This is certainly the most expensive, best performing & looking laptop that I have owned. It replaced a 2016 Dell XPS13 carbon fibre laptop. My ownership has not been without problems …. the first unit that I picked up from JB Hi Fi, worked fine, out of the box, until the first update. During the update the laptop locked up & couldn't be rebooted. This was promptly replaced & the second laptop worked fine for about 5 months, when the right hand speaker developed a 'rattly' distortion. On returning the unit to JB Hi Fi, it was replaced again, so I now have a brand new computer.
With respect to performance, I can't fault the Surfacebook 2. I am not a gamer, but run Adobe Photoshop CC & Microsoft Office. The Surfacebook 2 has no problem running PS with RAW files from my 20mpx Canon EOS 7d mk2, even when doing 5 image RAW file panorama or focus stacking stitches. The screen is excellent with good brightness, contrast & colour gamut. I'm a bit disappointed with the battery life when using the screen section as a tablet. It only lasts about 2 hours when just browsing the web & watching some youtube videos. Plugging the AC charger into tablet is problematic, as the magnetic cable attachment falls out a lot.
The Surfacebook 2 finish & presentation is first class & doesn't show fingerprints, except on the screen. This not too much of a problem as I use a Surface pen & the screen is easy to clean with a damp chamois. I don't like the keyboard lighting, which makes the lettering almost impossible to read (I guess that's why Apple use black keys with white lettering). Unfortunately, the Surfacebook 2's seamless look, without visible screws etc, means that it is very difficult to service. Using glue is not the best way construct a piece of electronic equipment …. It is probably why Microsoft replace Surfacebook 2s, rather than servicing them?
I really like the Surfacebook 2, but pray that I don't have any problems out of warranty.
BEWARE - DESIGN FLAW CRACKS SCREEN
I had this laptop for less than two months before the simple act of gently shutting the lid caused the screen to crack at the point of contact of the sharp edge of the chamfer on the base.
I also have issues with the power button not working. I’ve sent it back to have the screen replaced but based on my research it doesn’t seem that Microsoft or the retailers care too much about the issues at hand.
It’s a shame because it’s a great laptop, albeit extremely expensive... just with some criminal design flaws.
Almost impossible to write with. However after three exchanges my Surface is gr8.
This is my second Surface 2 in less than 3 months. I bought a new Surface 2 from Harvey Norman in Auburn. I had to take it back because as I was writing the screen would suddenly change in size. Harvey Norman tried it and it did the same to them. They exchanged it for another new Surface 2 which does the same. Now working ok but have to use a bluetooth mouse as the touchpad has I believe a vulnerability. I informed Microsoft Security but they want far too much information to act on - up to them.
MICROSOFT has the WORST in fact NO Customer Service
BEWARE......before you by a Microsoft laptop you need to know the cost of a cracked screen....During the purchasing process of a new Surface Book I asked about screen protection as screen damage is not covered under warranty. I was told there was no screen protector available and that as it was such a superior product that it would take a decent impact to crack the screen. I was, however, strongly encouraged to spend an extra $600+ to get extra warranty cover as the battery is known to have a short life and would need replacing......Having owned a MacBook for 9 years without incident I was wasn't expecting any issues........6 days later I noticed a couple of hairline cracks in the top left corner of the screen. The computer had not been dropped or had any accidents. The screen had not been closed on a pen or any other object. I had treated it with kid gloves....I took it back to the place of purchase immediately to see what could be done. The manager agreed that there was not a single mark anywhere on the computer from an incident and he sent photos of the cracks Microsoft. 1 week later I find out that Microsoft don't replace screens.....the ONLY option available to me was to send them my brand new laptop and pay $755 and they would send me a refurbished replacement.. WTH!!! I had to spend nearly half the value of my brand new laptop for a second hand replacement because MICROSOFT DO NOT REPLACE SCREENS OR REPAIR THEIR LAPTOPS!!!! I was told that maybe my thumb had squeezed the screen too hard to cause an impact crack or maybe someone had bumped against me on the train causing a crack in the screen of a closed computer inside a computer bag inside a backpack..... NOT good enough MICROSOFT....I am sorry I didn't get another MAC!!!!! My daughter needs a new computer and she WONT be getting a Microsoft product.....What happened to CUSTOMER SERVICE.....I cant afford to fix it and I cant use it the way it is.....What a gross waste of money......
I bought the surface book 2 a month ago, and I was so in between this laptop and the surface laptop, given the laptop has a sexier look, and much slimmer and lighter. I decided to go with this laptop since its more powerful than the surface laptop.
I was so worried about buying a laptop knowing that all the processing power and the chips are located just on the screen part, and the keyboard is just a keyboard + battery!
Something to note here, is that I didnt try to do any heavy video processing stuff like games.
- Good design
- Very powerful
- Long battery life
- I thought that the screen would shake while typing on the keyboard having the laptop on my lap, but this doesnt happen at all. Its very stable.
- Very light!
- Has got USB ports
- 1 BIG plus; you can unplug the screen and plug it in facing backward, and then use an external keyboard with the laptop facing towards you. That way you just eliminate the space between you and the screen by letting the keyboard be behind the screen. As a software developer, I like using an external keyboard + mouse and this really works fine for me.
- The keyboard is really nice.
- Very easy to clean, unlike the other surface devices where they have this texture that is very hard to clean. My hands do sweat a lot, and I can see that my laptop isnt affected at all by that.
- You need two hands to open the laptop. its not as easy as any normal laptop where you use two fingers to pull the screen up. The magnet holding the screen in place is very strong. Not a big deal for me to be honest.
- The internal video card is not good, I get brightness issues when I am on battery. When you swap between a page with a white background, to another page with a black background, you will notice that the page stays very very bright for a couple of seconds to a point that you wont be able to read anything at all.
- If you are planning to use it as a tablet, dont expect the software to be super light and easy as an ipad or a samsung tablet. It's still windows at the end of the day.
- I had a macbook pro before, and I loved its touch pad. The clicking sound of the touch pad isn't appealing, and you can only do that at the bottom of the touch pad, and not at the top. unlike the macbook's where you can click literally everywhere on the touch pad.
Recent updates seem to have rectified the issue. It's now working normally. However, every time they fix something, something else goes wrong, as I can't access the windows store anymore!! I'm inclined to believe everything is software related at this point, so I'm bumping it back to 4 stars hardware-wise. However, I rate Windows 10 poorly. I'm just so sick of updates that solve one issue while creating another. I know OS ecosystems are very complex these days, but c'mon Microsoft, you have 30 years experience.
Reducing to two stars. Now suffering with the same g'damn issue I had with surface pro 4, which was the screen failing to turn on upon wake up.
This review pertains to the surface book 2 13in (i7, 8gb, 256gb model with dGPU).
Having owned the surface pro 4, I don't know why I purchased the surface book 2, as my experience with the surface 4 was so so. It had multiple issues, from the screen failing to turn on to popping speakers. In fact, I vowed never to buy Microsoft again, until I went and bought the surface book 2 of course. It was powerful, and in my opinion, a lot more sleek and sexier than other ultrabooks out there. Note: don't take the silver for granted. It's SO much easier to keep clean. Black laptops become very grubby very quickly, yet my surface book looks as pristine as the day I bought it, which I think is a big plus (no fingerprints! - unless you touch the screen).
As for performance, this thing can run. Apps open almost instantly and booting up is very snappy. And although it fails to work every now and then, Windows Hello unlocks the computer in one second nearly every time. I haven't tried any AAA game titles, but it plays age of empires 2 HD like a dream. I wish I could delve further into the gaming side of things, but I'm not a heavy gamer and when I do play games, I'm not playing the newest titles. However, I'm sure it would be great at 1080p in most cases (heat/fans would be an issue, however, and I would consider the 15in model better for a gamer).
Also worth mentioning: the tablet portion is very light. It's quite large, but since the dGPU and larger battery are in the base, the tablet is very comfortable to hold, which honestly surprised me.
- stunning design (minimalist, eye-catching and premium)
- powerful (snappy, quick booting and app launching)
- the fans only power on when you're pushing it hard, so it remains totally silent most of the time
- stunning display (practically OLED without the eventual burn in)
- the screen ratio (this is perhaps my favourite aspect.. Having the taller display is a dream when it comes to web browsing and word processing)
- great battery life (won't last the 17 claimed hours unless depriving yourself. More like 10hr with general use)
- the keyboard (honestly, this is the best keyboard I've ever used on a laptop, very tactile and is backlit)
- good speakers, not Apple quality, but better than most
- can scratch
- the hinge leaves a wedge-shaped gap when closed
- screen wobbles when touching it in laptop mode
- can't open one handed, almost have to prise it sometimes due to the magnets holding it shut
- Windows 10 is very annoying and buggy, I can't figure out how to turn adaptive brightness off
- very expensive
- surprisingly heavy when power-base is attached, which basically rids it of 'ultrabook' status IMO, however I manage fine with the weight (it's not gaming laptop heavy, that's for sure)
- no thunderbolt 3!!! (absolute deal breaker for some and extremely stupid IMO)
Overall, I'm far more pleased with the Surface Book 2 than I was with the surface pro 4. I find it a lot more refined and capable. However, the price and lack of thunderbolt 3 instantly strips this computer of a 5 star rating. However, what you have left is an absolute delight to use. There are cheaper options out there such as the Dell xps, but the beautiful, sublimely engineered design of the surface book won me over. Yes, I basically bought the Surface Book 2 over the Dell xps because it's more pretty and easier to clean.. BUT Microsoft support is top notch. I found them very, very helpful in regard to my dud surface 4, which is why I ultimately gave them a second chance.
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