Microsoft introduced its top-of-the-line Surface Book back in 2015, and it was essentially a tablet with a detachable keyboard. While the company updated the Surface Book in 2016, it was but a minor update, with an improved graphics card and a better battery. Now, with the Surface Book 2 ($1,499+), it feels like Microsoft has finally made an ultra-portable and ultra-powerful laptop that can serve as a direct competitor to Apple’s MacBook Pro.
For the first time, Microsoft is offering a 15-inch model. (There’s a 13-inch Surface Book 2, too.) Both models come with Intel eighth-gen processors: the 15-inch model comes Intel’s i7 quad-core processor, while the 13-inch can come with Core i5 or Core i7. According to Laptop Mag, Microsoft’s Corporate VP Panos Panay said the Surface Book 2 is twice as fast with much better battery life (17 hours!) than the MacBook Pro.
Unlike the MacBook Pro, the Surface Book 2 is a 2-in-1 laptop with a touchscreen that can be folded flat while connected to a keyboard and drawn on with a Surface Pen. Both Surface Book 2 models have Nvidia graphics cards (Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 on the 15-inch model; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 on the 13-inch). Other specs the company shared include a 5MP front and 8MP rear camera, multiple ports (two USB-A, one USB-C, Surface connect, SD card, 3.5mm jack) and Dolby Atmos support for headphones.
The substantially improved graphics cards and processors will make the Surface Book 2 laptops a creative force to be reckoned with. Plus, each should be able to play games and run VR and AR applications. If you’re a creative looking for a MacBook Pro alternative (the Touch Bar is overrated, anyway), Microsoft’s “most powerful Surface yet” is a worthy, though expensive, option. The 13-inch model starts at $1,499, while the 15-inch model starts at $2,499. Preorders start on November 9, while shipping starts November 16.