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All About The Microsoft Surface Book 2

Posted by Libby Tainton on

In late October this year Microsoft released an upgrade to its innovative hybrid, the Surface Book, in the form of the i7. This new addition rounded out what was already a popular model by providing more power, a faster processor and better battery.

But it wasn't what everyone was expecting, with many eagerly awaiting not an update but a whole new model in the form of the Surface Book 2. Apparently that's still on the cards, but when and what new tricks will it have up its hybrid sleeve?

Here's what we know... 

A quick refresher

The initial Surface Book was released in 2015 and billed as the "ultimate laptop for working professionals".

What set it apart was this was a laptop with detachable tablet rather than a tablet with compatible keyboard, and a powerful, solid one at that.

It also housed 75 per cent of its battery power in the base and a further 25 per cent in the clipboard, and could be used in three configurations: laptop, tablet, and creative canvass when you detached the screen and reattached it facing the other direction. 

When

Rumor has it the Surface Book 2 will hit the market next year, probably sometime after March. According to WCC Tech that’s a little behind schedule because of some design issues. But they’re likely to be remedied soon to see the Surface Book 2 released at around the same time as the next Windows update.

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What

Faster - The race to create faster, more powerful computers continues and hybrids are not immune as they vie against laptops and PCs alike. As a premium hybrid with a not so small price tag, the Surface Book 2 will most likely include the new Kaby Lake Processor. Unveiled in August, this Intel processor started shipping to manufacturers earlier in 2016. It's said to offer better graphics support and improved performance.

Bigger - It's unclear whether the Surface Book 2 will be larger than its predecessor but the updated i7 was. In order to incorporate more battery power, it added a little weight to the base and a barely detectable fraction of an inch to its profile.

Higher res - The big ticket item the Surface Pro 2 is tipped to boast is higher screen resolution and improved graphics. The initial Surface Book came in at 3000 x 2000 or 267dpi on a 13.5 inch screen.

While the physical size will probably remain the same, the new model will likely boast 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) which allows for 4K video playback and 3D graphics.

More power - With more speed and better graphics comes the requirement for more power and Microsoft will want to up the battery life. The Surface Book was billed as having 12 hours continual use, but reviewers like Tech Radar only clocked up eight and the tablet could stand alone for only four. The i7 boasts a better battery and that trend will likely continue.

Refined design - The Surface Book came with an innovative and grandly titled "dynamic fulcrum hinge" which enabled it to act as a tablet, laptop and creative canvass while retaining a solid connection to the base when required.

But it wasn't without its drawbacks. Some reviewers found the gap this system left when closed unappealing while others noted it was just downright hard to use.

Instead of being manually triggered by a button, the system requires software, meaning the device has to be on to separate the clipboard from the base. Then the user has to press and hold a key until the clipboard releases. Some argue this needs fine tuning.

Additional port - The Kaby Lake processor supports USB type C and Thunderbolt 3 which would make welcome additions to the suite of ports already available on the Surface Book including USB 3, a mini display port and SD card slot.

Rechargeable Pen -It was great when the Surface Pen came as part of the Surface Book package but Microsoft has old patents to make it rechargeable instead of using AAA batteries, so a dock charger and recharge capability would be welcome.

Price - While the Microsoft Surface Book could easily fit in your backpack, arguably the money required to purchase it did not. The base model, which came with the lesser i5 processor, retailed for US$1499 and any specs above that made a big dent in the hip pocket. So, will Kaby Lake be obtainable for that minimum price? 

What

Microsoft definitely hit the right note with the Surface Book, and the new i7 has also offered further refinements. Now all eyes will be on the second quarter of next year to see whether they can go above and beyond in the newly emerging hybrid bracket.