Available in both 13-inch and 15-inch configurations, Microsoft's Surface Book 2 (starting at about $1,200) is our top choice when it comes to Windows laptops.
Who should buy the Surface Book 2
The Surface Book 2 is a device built for those who are on the go but need something that's versatile and powerful. It's also for people who prefer the laptop form-factor first and foremost, but also need to take advantage of the tablet form-factor now and then, for inking or touch-based experiences.
Is it a good time to buy the Surface Book 2?
Microsoft released the Surface Book 2 in October 2017, meaning it's only around a year old as of writing this. Microsoft doesn't usually update its Surface devices on a yearly cadence, meaning there isn't a newer version of the horizon. You should be good to buy one now.
Reasons to buy:
- Excellent build quality and features
- A true gaming PC
- All-day battery life
Reasons to not buy:
- Very expensive
- No Thunderbolt 3 or eGPU support
- Windows Mixed Reality seems like an afterthought
An excellent balance between power and versatility
The Surface Book 2 is a refinement over the original Surface Book, but with updated specifications and USB-C.
Not only is the Surface Book 2 now available in both 13-inch and 15-inch options, but it also features updates to the design and powerful internal hardware. The display can still be removed from the keyboard and touchpad, and can still be replaced backward to sit flat as a complete package. The 13.5-inch display has a 3000x2000 resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio, whereas the 15-inch model comes in with a 3240x2160 resolution.
For the best Windows 10 convertible, check out the Surface Book 2.
If you need top performance, the 15-inch model is where you want to look, offering up inside an 8th Gen, quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of DDR3-1866MHz RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD). For gaming or multimedia editing, you can also take advantage of the NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM.
Battery life here is impressive; you'll get about 10 hours from the 15-inch model and about 11 hours from the 13-inch model. An IR camera for Windows Hello logins is seated above the display, and the keyboard and touchpad are some of the best around. If you need a true desktop replacement from your Windows laptop, this is it.
Alternatives to Surface Book 2
While Microsoft makes an excellent 2-in-1 convertible device with the Surface Book 2, it isn't the only one available on the market. Many other hardware manufacturers have taken on the convertible form factor with their own unique ideas, and here are a few of our recommendations worth checking out.
Featuring an incredible 12-inch 2736x1842 3:2 display, 7th gen Intel Core M3, i5 or i7 processors, up to 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, you can't go wrong with the Surface Pro 2017 for photo editing and more. It's also a great 2-in-1 for web browsing, light video editing, and productivity work if you buy the Microsoft Surface Type cover too. What's more, prices start at about $799, which isn't terrible!
Featuring an incredible 13.3-inch 1920x1080 16:9 display, an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8500Y Processor, up to 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD, you can't go wrong with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 for photo editing and more. It's also a great 2-in-1 for web browsing, light video editing, and productivity work in a beautiful chassis, featuring an edge-to-edge display design. What's more, prices start at about $999, which isn't terrible!
Beautiful convertible that's great on battery life
If you're looking for a true convertible experience with Windows 10 on ARM, the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS is an excellent choice. Thanks to it being powered by ARM, the device can wake and sleep instantly just like an iPad and can last up to 20 days on a single charge.
Windows 10 on ARM is still in its infancy stages, meaning some apps might behave rather slow or not run at all, but for the most part, your experience should be smooth if you're just web browsing with Edge, checking email, listening to music, editing Office documents, and watching movies on Netflix on the C630.
A straightforward laptop to tablet on the cheap
If you love the design of the Surface Pro, you'll love the Surface Go from Microsoft (about $399). It has the same hinged kickstand to prop up the tablet when the keyboard and touchpad are attached, and it even includes has pen support for inking experiences.
The 10-inch touch display has is 1800x1200, and there's a front-facing webcam tucked in at the top. Inside, get an Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y, 4GB or 8GB RAM, and 128GB or 256GB storage.
We think the Surface Book 2 is the best 2-in-1 convertible laptop you can buy on the market right now. It offers a great selection of options and is super stylish too. Although it's expensive, you get what you're paying for. We also recommend the Surface Pro for its excellent portability and power, a great option if you're not a fan of the larger, heavier Surface Book 2.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Zac Bowden is a senior editor at Windows Central, which means he covers a wide array of software and hardware here at Windows Central. Joining Mobile Nations in 2016, you can usually find him playing with new Windows 10 builds or secret unreleased prototype devices. Hit him up on Twitter: @zacbowden.
Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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