Microsoft unveils Surface Book 2, its second bite at Apple

The software giant on Tuesday announced a new 15-inch laptop geared toward creative professionals seeking a powerful device to work with images, video, music, software design and the resource-guzzling programs they use.

That's a bold claim, but one that's well backed up by numbers.

Surface Book 2 is powered by either a seventh-generation Intel Core i5 or eighth-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor.

The PC maker said that the Surface Book 2's specs make it around five times faster than its predecessor - and twice as powerful as the newest MacBook Pro (though Microsoft didn't specify which configuration it was comparing to).

Microsoft's new Surface Book 2 will come in 13.5-inch and 15-inch versions.

The laptop can be used in four different modes: standard laptop mode, tablet mode (when the keyboard is removed), studio mode (when the keyboard is folded back), and view mode (when the laptop serves as a base for the screen).

The Surface Book 2 features a display with PixelSense technology.

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Ports are nearly identical to previous Surface Books, with one exception: The mini-DisplayPort on the right side of the Performance Base (next to the SurfaceConnect charging port) has been replaced by a more useful USB-C port.

It has a backlit keyboard, works with the Surface Pen, and will be compatible with the coming Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

The Surface Book 2 starts at $1,499 for the 13-inch model with 8GB of RAM, 256GB graphics, and Intel HD Graphics, and goes all the way up to $2,999.

In terms of connectivity, the new machines have two USB-A 3.0 ports, one USB-C port, SD slot, headphone jack and the proprietary Surface connector. For superior graphics performance, Microsoft has equipped it with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 memory. It's clear that Microsoft wants to offer the best laptop there is, and it looks like the Surface Book 2 should make a lot of power users happy. Again, tied to a decision to use the first-generation Surface Book design for these products.

"Surface Book 2 is a tool for everyone who wants to achieve more".

Just like the 15-inch model, this one too offers three storage options - 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD. Apple's are slightly less expensive, with its least expensive MacBook Pro retailing for US$1299 and 15-inch models starting at US$1999 - although the prices go up when you start picking out options.

The 13-inch system is available with either a 7th generation Kaby Lake i5-7300U processor or an "8th generation" Kaby Lake-R i7-8650U processor. The Surface Book 2 15-inch model will be available to purchase on November 16 through Microsoft Stores,, and select retailers in the United States. But if you get a 13.5-inch version with a dGPU, or any 15-inch version, you get a 95W power supply.

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