What's new

SB 2 15" Review


Active Member
So I've had my book 2 for about a week now, thought I'd leave some initial impressions and thoughts on performance and overall usability for those who may come across this website while deciding whether or not to pick up one of the new Book 2s.

Skimming over build quality, the SB2 feels as rigid as an aluminum chassis notebook, but the magnesium chassis has a hint of a plasticky feel to it [maybe it's because it doesn't get cold to the touch like aluminum does]. The keyboard is decent, with decent throw for a modern ultrabook, and just a hint of mushy [full disclosure, I prefer desktop mechanical keyboards.

CPU performance/temps: CPU gets into the mid-upper 80c range in a 71 degree ambient temp room during Intel XTU stress test, and can peak into the 90c range during single core loads such as Heroes Of The Storm or Diablo 3. The back gets just to the edge of uncomfortably warm without actually crossing over. Makes short work of productivity and casual use.

GPU performance: the 1060 can easily push most titles @ 1920 x 1080 with high to max settings. In less intensive/older games you can even run native resolution with high to max settings. YMMV. Just keep in mind that some titles may have weird aspect ratio settings due to the 3:2 aspect ratio. Windows desktop scaling is less of an issue these days, but could also theoretically cause issues with some titles. Temps are a non-issue, reaching 68-72c

Also, and this is *HUGE*: Unlike the first gen surface book, the Surface Book 2 GTX 1060 is not a custom OEM card! This means you can actually download the latest WHQL drivers straight from Nvidia and install without modding any .inf files! I tried this tonight on a whim and had no issues or errors--HUGE step forward here!

Storage: the drive speeds are decent, though I'd prefer a Samsung 950 pro or even a Toshiba R400 over the PM 961 drives... but I guess it is what it is. As far as storage constraints, obviously that's user specific. I went with the 256 gig model, because with USB Type C you can always add something like the Samsung T3 or T5 external SSD and run programs from there [it DOES work]. In addition, Base QI has released an SD adapter specific to the Surface book line:


This in tandem with a Sandisk 200GB [$70 on amazon vs $160 for a 256Gb] is perfect for data storage and overflow.

If you're interested in the screen or physical aesthetics, I'd refer you to any one of the wonderful reviews on YouTube. The machine is beautiful, the screen doubly so, but in this category a video is worth a hundred written reviews.

Battery life: BatteryBar is averaging battery life about 13.5 hours of light productivity/web surfing with the system set to balanced performance and "suggested" screen brightness, with WiFi and Bluetooth on. Not quite the 17 hours MS advertises, but still long enough to get through a day on the road. Tablet mode it estimates between 5-7 hours, though I don't use tablet mode that often.

Power draw: The big elephant in the room right now. MS has confirmed that the power brick for the 15" SB 2 is under powered. As such, the system CAN discharge the battery in cases [like gaming] where the CPU and GPU are both under load. Keeping my settings to balanced power I haven't experienced this personally, but my use case also doesn't push the system THAT hard. Along the same note, the surface dock is even worse, and after a half hour of light gaming [HoTS] the battery went from 100% to 82%. This is a big deal, because this is going to add wear to the battery, which will reduce it's capacity over time. Under light loads, it should be noted, the surface dock keeps the Book 2 topped off just fine.

Overall it's a great machine. I can't wait to see what MS does regarding the power issues, and as an early adopter I am a little bit upset that the machine was misrepresented [seriously, who expects a high end high quality machine to ship with an underpowered Power supply?] but overall I don't really regret my purchase. It's great as a laptop, and power issue aside it'll go toe to toe with most mainstream gaming laptops-- no small feat for a 20w ULV chip.

That's all I have for th e moment, if I have any more insights or discoveries I'll report back.
Seneleron- Not to make you look "hard" as once you see it, you can't un-see it, but on a black screen, there's really no light bleeding around any of the edges? If not, then that would be pretty awesome. I don't think any of my SP had no light bleed. One of the reasons I was so fore in getting OLED screens. :)


Super Moderator
Staff member
Would love to see how this handles ARK once it throttles back to stop the battery discharge.


Active Member
If I set a black wallpaper and hide the taskbar, there is just a little on the top LH side. The whole thing has a little bit of a very faint mostly uniform glow around the rest of it, and on the bottom it looks ever so faintly "wrinkled" for lack of a better term. I'd consider that just about as perfect as one can get for an IPS screen. I have an Asus 27" ROG swift 2k IPS 165Hz monitor, and that thing light bleeds almost to the center of the screen from several spots around the edge. Given the location on the SB2... there's no way to see it except under the very specific test I just put it through.

As always, YMMV.