Today is day 11 of our 12 Days of Christmas gifts feature. Day 11, already … This time the focus is on computers.
I’ve had the opportunity to try out many PCs, laptops and tablets this year, including extended hands-on reviews that go into the double digits. It’s tough to pick out one that really stands out, but I’ll take a crack at it.
Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 was easily the most technologically advanced laptop I’ve spent time with in 2017. It was also the review unit that I was really sad about having to send back. There’s no getting around the fact that the Surface Book 2 is priced as a premium laptop, but I think it’s worth every penny.
And out would make a great Christmas gift for someone who is hoping for a stylish, powerful and versatile laptop.
The Surface Book 2 looks and feels like nothing else out there. The case is made of magnesium alloy instead of plastic. It feels solid as a rock, looks great and doesn’t attract fingerprints. It’s thin and weighs just 1.6 kg. The keyboard has a precise, responsive feel to it and it’s nicely backlit. The 13.5-inch PixelSense display has a 3000 x 2000 pixel resolution. It’s incredibly sharp and bright. On my review unit, that display was driven by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU that let me play StarCraft 2 with everything cranked up to Ultra or Extreme.
The biggest piece of custom engineering is the Dynamic Fulcrum hinge that makes it look like this laptop is folded rather than being closed, and it’s improved for the Surface Book 2. You simply won’t find another 2-in-1 with a hinge that’s as stable as this one is.
That Dynamic Fulcrum hinge is there for a reason. It holds the Surface Book 2’s Pixel Sense display in place and lets you rotate it a full 360-degrees. Better yet, push a button, the hinge releases the display which becomes a big Windows 10 tablet with five hour battery life. I used this with an optional Surface Pen to try out the latest Windows Ink features and now it’s tough to go back to a keyboard for editing documents …
Power to Spare
Despite the compact size, the Surface Book 2 is a powerhouse. My review unit had an 8th generation, quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and that Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. There was also a full complement of ports including both full-sized USB 3.1, and USB-C. Windows 10 Pro was pre-installed. And speaking of power, being away from power isn’t a problem, as the Surface Book 2 is rated to cruise for up to 17 hours on battery.
My Surface Book 2 review unit was at the upper end of the model range. However, you can get a version that steps down to a Core i5 CPU and integrated graphics that’s much more affordable. You get the same versatility, same battery life, SSD storage and the same beautiful PixelSense display. This option isn’t the best for playing video games, but you can use it for pretty much everything else.
If the Surface Book 2 doesn’t do it for you, no worries—there are hundreds of new PCs, laptops, 2-in1s and tablets to choose from at Best Buy. You’ll have no problem finding the perfect model to put under the tree this year.
Check out all 12 of our gifts suggestions