Microsoft Unveils Powerful Surface Book 2, Precision Mouse, Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Highlights

Surface Book 2 Hands On Video, Precision Mouse, And Fall Creators Update

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Microsoft just announced a few brand new products: a pair of powerful new Surface Book 2 devices featuring 8th Gen Intel Core Processors and NVIDIA graphics, and a Surface Precision Mouse designed to be the perfect companion to the devices.

The new Surface Book 2 borrows virtually all of the physical design cues of the original, but this latest iteration features more powerful hardware, better battery life, enhanced display technology, and a myriad of other refinements that improve upon the first Surface Book. We have a quick hands-on video to share if you’d like a visual tour before we dig in – as you’ll see, from the outside, the Surface Book 2 (especially the 13.5” model featured in the video) has a similar appearance to the original...

Unlike the original, however, the Surface Book 2 will be offered in two sizes – 13.5” and 15”. Save for the entry-level 13.5” model which is built around a 7th Generation Intel Core processor, all Surface Book 2s feature 8th Generation Intel Core processors, in either dual- or true quad-core configurations. We’ve got the full specifications available for your right here if you’d like a detailed breakdown of every model.

Surface Book 2 13.5" (Right) and 15" (Left)

The Surface Book 2 is refined in a number of ways versus the original. The Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge on the Surface Book 2 is sturdier and more durable. The backlit-keyboards have less flex and offer a full 1.55mm of key travel. The glass touch-pads are more accurate and responsive to gestures too, and feature a more fingerprint-resistant coating. The touch experience has been optimized for minimal lag and improved responsiveness as well. And the PixelSense displays in the Surface Book 2 are simply stunning. Microsoft is claiming they’re the thinnest LCDs produced to date, which maximizes brightness and minimizes any parralaxing when inking on screen and makes it “feel” like you’re actually writing on the glass.

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Surface Book 2 16" With Surface Dial And Precision Mouse

The screen resolution on the 13.5” Surface Book 2 is 3000x2000 (267ppi). The 15” model has a resolution of 3240x2160 (260ppi). In the brief time we spent with both machines, our impressions of the displays were extremely good. Touch input is smooth and as responsive as we’ve seen, and color vibrance, uniformity, and clarity is top-notch.

Other amenities of the Surface Book 2 include USB Type-C and USB Type-A ports, full-size SD card readers, and support for the Surface Dial, Surface Dock, and Surface Pen. The 15” model even has built-in support for Xbox Wireless controllers.

As for portability, the Surface Book 2 remains markedly thin and light, despite packing some relatively powerful hardware. The 13.5" tablet section is only 1.59lbs, and when attached to a base, the system weighs only 3.38 - 3.62lbs depending on whether or not the base features a discrete GPU. The 15" Surface Book 2 tablet section is only 1.8lbs and the entire system with performance base is only 4.2lbs in total.

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The Left And Right Sides Of The Surface Book 2

There will be a wide array of hardware configurations available for the Surface Book 2 when it arrives. The 13.5” model specifically will be available in the following configurations:
  • Intel Core i7-8650U w/ 4.2GHz Max Turbo, 16GB RAM and 1TB PCIe SSD
  • Intel Core i7-8650U w/ 4.2GHz Max Turbo, 16GB RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Intel Core i7-8650U w/ 4.2GHz Max Turbo, 8GB RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD
  • Intel Core i5-7300U w/ 3.2GHz Max Turbo, 8GB RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD
Note that the Core i5 model is based on Intel’s 7th Gen Core processors family – all of the higher-end models are 8th Generation offerings. In addition, the Core i5-powered model features a standard base without discrete NVIDIA graphics, which solely leverages the processor’s Intel HD 620 graphics engine. The higher-end models include a performance base with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti-class graphics and 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory, to complement the on-processor graphics.

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A Look Inside The Passively Cooled 13.5" Surface Book 2

The 15” Surface Book 2 will be available in these configurations:
  • Intel Core i7-8650U w/ 4.2GHz Max Turbo, 16GB RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD
  • Intel Core i7-8650U w/ 4.2GHz Max Turbo, 16GB RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Intel Core i7-8650U w/ 4.2GHz Max Turbo, 16GB RAM and 1TB PCIe SSD
The base for the 15” Surface Book 2 also features a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 graphics memory, which is a significant upgrade and makes the 15” Surface Book 2 VR-ready and a formidable gamer at 1080p. All Surface Book 2 systems feature speedy NVMe-based solid state storage as well.

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Surface Book 2 13.5" Tablet And Base Exposed

In addition to the more powerful hardware, Microsoft made some noteworthy improvements to the cooling on the various Surface Book 2 devices. The tablet section of the 13” Surface Book 2, which houses the CPU, memory, and storage, is actually passively-cooled and generates no noise whatsoever. The standard base has no fans either, though the performance base does have a single fan to help cool the discrete GPU.

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Surface Book 2 15" Base With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU

The 15” Surface Book 2 has a single-fan in its tablet section (which allows the CPU to maintain turbo boost clocks for longer durations), but the base with GeForce GTX 1060 graphics has dual fans. There are a multitude of pictures in the gallery below if you’d to get a better looks at the Surface Book 2’s internals, over and above what we have posted here.

Battery life is significantly improved with the Surface Book 2 as well. Microsoft is claiming up to 17 hours of battery life with the bases are attached and up to 5 hours of battery life in tablet mode. The new Surface Book 2 start at $1499 and launch on November 16 in the U.S., though pre-orders will start November 9.

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

The Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update will come pre-installed on the Surface Book 2. The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers a number of enhancements, including improved inking, some new 3D-enabled apps, and mobile device integration, among numerous other things. You’ll now be able to ink directly on PDFs, and Microsoft applies artificial intelligence to help improve your inking skills (i.e. making your drawn squares and circles look perfect). There’s even a new Find My Pen feature for when you inevitably lose your pen, that’ll tell you the last place where it was used.

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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

OneDrive Files On-Demand incorporates a new and improved version of the Placeholder feature that was introduced with Windows 8.1. Placeholder allows you to visually see all of the files that resided in the cloud, but only syncs files to your desktop as they were needed to save storage space. Microsoft, nixed this feature when Windows 10 was first introduced, much to the dismay of many users, so we’re happy to see it return.

The Fall Creators Update also includes an improved Game Mode, a new GPU resource tracker in Task Manager, more capable Windows Defender protection, and built-in eye-tracking support when used with compatible tracking hardware. The Fall Creators Update will also enable the new Windows Mixed Reality platform. Windows Mixed Reality allows users to immerse themselves in augmented reality gaming, internet browsing, and even in apps like Microsoft Office. A new Photos app and 3D Paint, which gives users the ability to incorporate and manipulate models into artwork and documents, are coming with the Fall Creators Update as well.

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GPU Performance Monitor In The New Task Manager

Microsoft enabled the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update on the Surface Book Pro (2017) we recently reviewed so we could test drive the OS. In our experience so far, the FCU is fast and responsive, and we’ve experienced no strange stability or compatibility issues. The Surface Pro with FCU boots and shuts down in seconds, and navigating through the OS feels fast and responsive.

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We ran a few benchmark modules from PCMark with our updated Surface Pro to see if there were any measurable performance gains over its stock, pre-Fall Creators Update configuration, and actually did see some minor improvements. All three of the modules we ran – Home, Work, and Storage – all showed small performance improvements.

Surface Precision Mouse

Arriving alongside the Surface Book 2 is the new Surface Precision Mouse. The Surface Precision Mouse supports both Bluetooth and USB wired connections, and is compatible with not only Windows-based systems, but Mac OS X and Android as well (via Bluetooth). We should mention that the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center Software is available only on Windows, however. This is an important distinction because the Surface Precision Mouse features three customizable thumb buttons, and has the ability to work with up to three computers at the same time, but the Mouse and Keyboard Center Software is required for those features.

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The Surface Precision Mouse’s dimensions are 122.6 mm (L) x 77.6 mm (W) x 43.3 mm (H) and it weighs in at 135 g, which is slightly smaller and lighter than most gaming mice available today. The Precision Mouse also features a switchable scroll wheel that offers either detent or smooth scrolling, at the touch of button. And battery life from is rechargeable battery is rated for up to 3 months.

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The Surface Precision Mouse felt good in the hand and offered smooth, accurate tracking on the stark white surfaces at Microsoft’s event where the device was unveiled.

We hope to spend more time with the new Surface Book 2 and Surface Precision Mouse in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to HotHardware for full reviews once hardware becomes available.

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