What's new

Surface Book 2 - will you buy/upgrade?

BillJ

Active Member
I'm a pretty big fan of the HP Spectre x360 15. I wrote a review of it and gave it pretty high marks, and I've had occasion to use the previous model for a few months. I'm waiting to get my hands on the updated version (8th-gen Intel Core, MX150) to see how it impacts battery life.

Before the SB2 15" was announced, I was pretty set on the Spectre as my 2017 notebook purchase (will benefit this year from the tax write-off). Now, I'm torn. Some of my own considerations:

1. Display: The Spectre has true 4K UHD, making it my favorite for watching Netflix 4K video. I usually watch stuff late at night in bed after the wife is asleep, and putting the Spectre into media mode with headphones is a great experience. On the other hand, the SB2 15" has the nice 3:2 aspect ratio that's actually better for working. As an investment, that makes more sense even if it won't be able to display true 4K video. Also, while the Spectre has a very nice display in terms of contrast and brightness, it's nowhere near even the SB 13. If the SB2 has an even higher contrast and brighter display, then that's a huge plus in its favor.

2. GPU: That's a huge one for me. My wife's work as a designer would benefit tremendously from the GTX 1060 in the SB2 15". So it would be a machine that we both could make use of. The MX150, by my own testing, slots in almost exactly between the 940MX in the previous Spectre (and oldest SB) and the GTX 1050. Obviously, a GTX 1060 is significantly more powerful, and while that doesn't matter for what I do, it matters a lot for my wife.

3. Battery life: The Spectre gets decent battery life, but at 79 watt-hours with that 4K display, it's not great. The SB2 15" would offer significantly better battery life.

So, yes, the Spectre 16GB/512GB comes in at around $1550, and the SB2 15" 16GB/512GB is (I think) going to be around $2800, there are some really compelling reasons for me to spend the extra money (and to save a bit of it thanks to the tax write-off).

However, if my wife wouldn't benefit from the GTX 1060 in the SB2 15", though, I'd probably end up with the Spectre. It really is a very nice machine.

Note that the Lenovo Yoga 720 has the Core i7-7700HQ (still faster than the 8th-gen Core i7-8550U) and GTX 1050, and so it's another nice alternative. Only problem with that machine is the 70 watt-hour battery that would get killed if you get it with 4K -- and you'd really want to get it with 4K.
I am writing this comment on my Spectre X360 15 that I purchased earlier this year. It is a gorgeous machine, and the best laptop I have ever owned. I do love the 4K display, and I use the Pen input every single day for a variety of note taking, diagramming, and photo editing. The touch pad of the Spectre is Synaptics, and as such does not have the feel of the Precision touch pad on the SB (I tried installing the Lenovo Precision driver, and that does work after a fashion, but it was a complicated hack...)

I am very attracted to the 3:2 aspect ratio and better color accuracy, as well as better brightness on the display of the SB. However, for the price difference, no one can fault the purchase of the Spectre. If I were a gamer or video editor, the decision would go to the SB again.

It is wonderful to have so many options!
 

wynand32

Well-Known Member
I am writing this comment on my Spectre X360 15 that I purchased earlier this year. It is a gorgeous machine, and the best laptop I have ever owned. I do love the 4K display, and I use the Pen input every single day for a variety of note taking, diagramming, and photo editing. The touch pad of the Spectre is Synaptics, and as such does not have the feel of the Precision touch pad on the SB (I tried installing the Lenovo Precision driver, and that does work after a fashion, but it was a complicated hack...)

I am very attracted to the 3:2 aspect ratio and better color accuracy, as well as better brightness on the display of the SB. However, for the price difference, no one can fault the purchase of the Spectre. If I were a gamer or video editor, the decision would go to the SB again.

It is wonderful to have so many options!
I've reviewed a bunch of really nice machines this year, and you're right: it's great to have so many excellent options.

That said, one clarification: in my colorimeter testing, I didn't find the original Surface Book's color gamut support to be very wide (only 70% of AdobeRGB and 91% of sRGB). Color accuracy was good at 1.05 (1.0 or less in indistinguishable to the human eye). I'd like Microsoft to source displays with wider color gamut support for people who need to work with images, though - MacBook displays are much better in this regard (MacBook Pro 13 with Touch Bar, for example, is 91% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB).

Where the Surface displays really shine (no pun intended) is in brightness and contrast (350+ nits, >1100:1 contrast), and gamma is usually spot-on at 2.2. If you work with black text on white backgrounds, there are fewer displays that are better than Surface displays -- and the 3:2 aspect ratio makes things even better for writers.

For comparison, the Spectre x360 15 display was 74% AdobeRGB and 95% sRGB in my testing. Color accuracy wasn't as good at 1.95. And brightness and contrast were significantly lower at 315 nits and 720:1. Gamma was perfect at 2.2. All of that plus 16:9 4K UHD makes it great for video, which I think is what HP was aiming for.

No real point here, because both displays are excellent. It's really just a matter of which is more excellent, and that really comes down to how someone is going to use the machines. It's also what makes me so torn between the Spectre x360 15 (especially the updated version) and the Surface Book 2.
 

BearFlag

Member
However, if my wife wouldn't benefit from the GTX 1060 in the SB2 15", though, I'd probably end up with the Spectre. It really is a very nice machine.

Note that the Lenovo Yoga 720 has the Core i7-7700HQ (still faster than the 8th-gen Core i7-8550U) and GTX 1050, and so it's another nice alternative. Only problem with that machine is the 70 watt-hour battery that would get killed if you get it with 4K -- and you'd really want to get it with 4K.
I went ahead and ordered the new Spectre X360 15". It was on sale for $1399 (4K display, 16 GB ram, 512 GB SSD, 8th gen i7 quad core processor) when I bought it.

With regards to the Yoga 720, MobileTechReview did a comparison video between the Yoga 720 and the early 2017 Spectre X360 and not only said that the battery life was worse on the Yoga as you pointed out, but also said that the typing experience was a bit worse, which is big for me.

The SB2 is a better machine (GPU, screen, etc.) than the Spectre X360 and I'm going to miss the 3:2 aspect ratio a lot, but I just can't justify paying $1000 more for the SB2. If you don't mind the price, then I would say get the SB2.
 

wynand32

Well-Known Member
I went ahead and ordered the new Spectre X360 15". It was on sale for $1399 (4K display, 16 GB ram, 512 GB SSD, 8th gen i7 quad core processor) when I bought it.

With regards to the Yoga 720, MobileTechReview did a comparison video between the Yoga 720 and the early 2017 Spectre X360 and not only said that the battery life was worse on the Yoga as you pointed out, but also said that the typing experience was a bit worse, which is big for me.

The SB2 is a better machine (GPU, screen, etc.) than the Spectre X360 and I'm going to miss the 3:2 aspect ratio a lot, but I just can't justify paying $1000 more for the SB2. If you don't mind the price, then I would say get the SB2.
That's a great price for the Spectre x360 15 for sure. And, it's definitely a great machine. I also reviewed the Yoga 720, and I agree with MobileTechReview -- I prefer the keyboard on the Spectre over the Yoga's (that wasn't reflected in my review because I do try to be objective and keyboards are really subjective experiences). The only thing the Yoga 720 really has on the Spectre is the Microsoft Precision touchpad -- the Spectre's Synaptic drivers aren't my favorite.

If anyone's interested, I'll post my reviews below. I haven't had a chance to refresh the Spectre review with the new 8th-gen Core CPU or the MX150, but hopefully, I'll be able to get one soon to look at. And if I do decide not to shell out the extra money for the SB2 (the 15-inch is $1500, or more than twice, as expensive, ouch!), then the Spectre will most likely be the machine I pick up.

Large and in charge, HP’s 15-inch Spectre x360 makes no compromises
Lenovo’s Yoga 720 15 is a 2-in-1 that’s secretly a budget gaming laptop
 
Anybody know if they put in a full version of windows HELLO (RealSense 3D)? One that can be used for 3D scanning? I have no idea why MS didn't include that ability. They made that feature, and they leave it off their own laptops.
 

Niterider4

Active Member
My first SB was a disaster. My refurb warranty replacement was way, way better, but Word still crashes randomly when I close one of two or more open Onedrive documents.

I love the form factor and the 2-in-1 works beautifully, but the inability of Microsoft hardware to run a suite of Microsoft programs without crashing is just too frustrating. Add that to the exorbitant cost, and I will be looking elsewhere.
 
OP
F

flar

Member
Best Buy is currently discounting the existing SB models $300-$500 now on the web site (discounts last week used to max at $350). The 16/512 config I was looking at is 2299 for the SB+PB model and will be 2899(+pen) for the new SB2 model. $600(or $700 with pen) for slightly more screen and a newer CPU/GPU. Hmmm...
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Anybody know if they put in a full version of windows HELLO (RealSense 3D)? One that can be used for 3D scanning? I have no idea why MS didn't include that ability. They made that feature, and they leave it off their own laptops.
AFAIK Realsense 3D is an Intel thing and requires Realsense 3D (back) cameras which are different than the Hello technology (front) cameras. I whish they would include this but I suspect it may not work as well in the real world as the Intel marketing glossy might imply. So, yeah they developed some cameras and demo software in the lab... but if this was the killer app it sounds like, vendors would be allover it like stink on a skunk.
 

Megoapesnut

Member
I have to come clean. I am a tech junkie. I really need to seek professional counseling! I am actually a Mac guy, through and through. I have been for 30 years. I work in the graphics industry and have owned every Mac model there ever was. I thoroughly detested Windows up until 10. However, the Surface Book design really intrigued me. It intrigued me enough so that I gave Windows 10 a try. It's definitely a major improvement over any other version I ever played with and good enough that I took the plunge on the Surface Book. I REALLY love this hardware. I would pay BIG bucks to anyone who could get the Mac OS to run on this hardware. That would be the perfect machine IMO. I told myself that I really don't need to upgrade to the book 2. I have a i7 Performance base that is fine for my needs. I still do my heavy duty video editing and Photoshop on my loaded Mac Pro. However, tech junkie that I am, I will probably end up selling my current book and getting the book 2. Especially since they are offering a 15" model. I just can't help it. It's an addiction.
 
OP
F

flar

Member
One odd thing in the specs that had my hopes up - actually a difference of opinion. The "specs" page only lists a 16GB memory config for the 15", but the configurations list an 8GB low end model. I was hoping to be able to go with the minimal 15" config if it came with the i7+16GB as standard, but based on the configs I would likely upgrade to the 16/512 model.

On the other hand, my current 512 model, though less than half full, is full enough that I'd be running a 256 model at 70-80% full - so it would be better to get the 512 model anyway just to ensure that the SSD keeps a comfortable amount of free space for performance stability.
It looks like the old specs page was right and the configs listed when I wrote that were wrong as the 2 smaller configs for the 15" model are 16/256 and 16/512. This is odd as it means that the only thing you get for your extra $400 is 256GB more flash. I hope this means that they didn't skimp on the flash module as they have in the past...? Or you can spend another $400 and get 512GB more storage. This is similar to the broken way that phones used to be sold where you paid another $100 to double the storage even though each $100 was buying you more and more storage at each increment. It could also mean that the 256 has one of the older slower SSDs and the 512/1T have updated SSDs? I'm definitely waiting for more indepth reviews and/or tear downs to see what kind of SSDs are being used.
 

Niterider4

Active Member
Don't hold your breath on the reviews as far as the type of SSDs that are being deployed. When MS sent out the original SBs to reviewers, all the machines had high end Toshiba SSDs. When MS shipped actual units to consumers, they replaced the high end Toshiba SSDs with pedestrian Samsung SSDs.

Another chapter in the shameful disinformation campaign that was the release of the original Surface Book, IMHO.
 
Search tags for this page

azs

best cameras

can i upgrade surface book 3 ssd to 2 tb
can you upgrade surface book 2 memory
increase memory on surfacebook
microsoft surface book 2 memoru upgrade

news

surface book 2 before you buy it
upgrade ram surfacebook 2
upgrage to surface book 2

Members online

No members online now.
Top