It was in 2016 that I first used a Microsoft Surface Book. At that time it was amongst one of the best laptops you could buy, provided you had the moolah to get one. But that device never came to India. In 2018, things are a bit different and Microsoft sees potential for the Surface series – quite popular in other markets – to enter India, which at the end of the day is Microsoft country.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5-inch specs: 13.5-inch PixelSense (3240x2160p, ~267 PPI) display | 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor | 8GB RAM | 256GB ROM | Windows 10 Pro | USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A x 2, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C x 1, SD card reader, SurfaceConnect x 2, 3.5mm Headset jack | 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5-inch Price in India: Rs 1,85,999
Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a 13.5-inch convertible that can eject the display to make it a standalone tablet. In fact, the keyboard side as just keys and batter, with all processing kept behind the screen. The design has not changed much since the first Surface Book was launched about three years back. The highlight for me is the hinge that gives the Surface Book so much practicality and character.
While earlier the idea was for 2-in-1 devices to be able to twist and turn, the Surface Book has simplified all this by giving the hinge the ability to hold the screen facing both ways. And Microsoft has worked on the eject button which turns red and emits a sound to tell you the screen can be detached. Overall, this is a mechanism that it will hold for a while and not wear off with a few ejections.
The Surface Book has keys that offer the perfect amount of travel. For someone like me who writes more that 3,000 words a day, the keys offer just the right amount of feedback to keep me going. However, there is one weird problem. The silver body of the Surface Book and the white backlit keys on it means in certain light conditions the backlit letters on the keys are not clear and I ended up switching off the back light. Somewhere Microsoft needs to work on this, or people who need to look at the keys once in a while will have an issue. The glass trackpad, meanwhile, is very responsive.
So the Surface Book is a tablet and a notebook as you would use it. So it has a keyboard and a 13.5-inch Pixel Sense touch screen. But the USP of the Surface Book is clearly as the personal computing device that offers the maximum input options. Being a Microsoft Device with Cortana it can also work to a large extent with voice. There is also the Surface Pen that lets you scribble, draw and take notes. With the latter, Microsoft seems to have perfected the art of converting handwriting to text, even my handwriting and this is a great part of the Surface devices. Then there is also the Surface Dial, which works with a bunch of software and offers creative users the precision controls they would love. All these together takes the value of the Surface Book many notches up for power users with a creative bent of mind.
Talking of power, the Surface Book comes with Intel Core i7 yoked with 8GB of RAM and can be configured for more power. But even the version I reviewed is capable of handling 3D design and a lot of other power intensive functions. Also, with whatever I did, the device stayed cool. Remember, this is pushing all these tasks from just the tablet side and that is quite and achievement.
The Surface Book is the sort of device you can take on a business trip without a charger. That is because it has two batteries – one behind the screen and the other in the keyboard. Together it can offer you about 18 hours of juice.
The Microsoft Surface Book is ideal for those who are creative, want power in the laptop to do whatever they want to do and loves portability to take their work where they want to go. At Rs 1,85,999 the 13.5-inch Surface Book is pitted against the new MacBook Pro. The USP of the Surface Book is clearly as the personal computing device that offers the maximum input options.