Surface Book vs. Surface Book 2 (13 inch): Tech spec showdown

The new Surface Book 2 rocks the latest "Kaby Lake" i7 processors, USB-C (finally), and a badass GTX 1050 GPU, putting it on par with some of the best 13.5-inch laptops out there. Speaking of which, the Surface Book 2 comes in two flavors this time around: a 13.5-inch version and a 15-inch model with more powerful specs.

Here's a look at how much of a bump you'll get with the new 13-inch model versus the original Surface Book, which launched in 2015.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 full tech specs and FAQ

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Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch model) vs. Surface Book

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CategorySurface Book 2 (13.5 inch)Surface Book (2015)
ProcessorCore i5-7300U (3.2GHz dual-core)Core i7-8650U (4.2GHz quad-core)Core i5-6300U (3.0GHz dual-core)Core i7-6600U (3.4GHz dual-core)
Display size13.5-inch PixelSense Display13.5-inch PixelSense Display
Display resolution3000 x 2000 (267 PPI)3000 x 2000 (267 PPI)
RAM8GB or 16GB8GB or 16GB
Native GraphicsCore i5: Intel HD Graphics 620Core i7: Intel UHD Graphics 620Intel HD Graphics 520
Discrete GraphicsCore i5: NoneCore i7: NVIDIA GTX 1050 (2GB)Core i5: NoneCore i7: NVIDIA GTX 940M (1GB)
Storage256GB, 512GB, or 1TB256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
BatteryUp to 17 hoursUp to five hours in Tablet ModeUp to 12 hoursUp to three hours in Tablet Mode
WirelessMarvel Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatibleBluetooth Wireless 4.1 technologyMarvel Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatibleBluetooth Wireless 4.0 technology
PortsTwo USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)One USB Type-C with video, power in/out and USB 3.1 (Gen1) dataFull-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)Headphone jack (3.5mm)Two Surface Connect ports (one in tablet, one in base)Two full-size USB 3.0Full-size SD card readerTwo Surface Connect ports (one in tablet, one in base)Headset jack (3.5mm)Mini DisplayPort
AudioStereo Speakers with Dolby Audio PremiumWindows Sonic for HeadphonesDolby Atmos for Headphones compatibleStereo Speakers with Dolby Audio PremiumWindows Sonic for HeadphonesDolby Atmos for Headphones compatible
Dimensions312 mm x 232 mm x 15 to 23 mm (L x W x D)232.1 mm x 312.3 mm x 13.0 to 22.8 mm (L x W x D)
WeightCore i5: 1533 g (3.38 lbs)Core i7: 1642 g (3.62 lbs)i5 GPU: 3.34 lbs (1516 g)i5/i7 dGPU: 3.48 lbs (1576 g)
SensorsAmbient light sensorAccelerometerGyroscopeMagnetometerAmbient light sensorAccelerometerGyroscopeMagnetometer
Cameras5.0MP 1080p video @30 FPS (front)8.0MP 1080p video at 30 FPS with auto-focus (rear)5.0MP 1080p video at 30 FPS (front)8.0MP 1080p video at 30 FPS with auto-focus (rear)
Windows HelloIR CameraIR Camera
PriceStarts at $1,499Starts at $1,499
AvailabilityNovember 16, 2017Preorders start November 9, 2017November 2015

Surface Book comparison conclusion

As you can see, the Surface Book 2 dominates the original Surface Book across the board, with more powerful processors, a beefy 1050 GTX GPU, and even a quad-core option. Microsoft also put the Surface Book 2 through a round of refinements and tweaks. The "screen wobble" between the base and the detachable tablet screen has been reduced. The balance on the fulcrum hinge has been improved, allowing for one-handed opening. The Core i5 model without the dedicated GPU (dGPU) is completely fanless, and the dGPU model only has a fan in the base. The battery life has been significantly boosted, and there are other additions such as USB-C and improved key travel.

All of these design refinements carry across to the verifiably insane, no-compromises Surface Book 2 15-inch model as well, which sports a GTX 1060 with 6GB of VRAM and a quad-core i7 GPU atop a stunning 15-inch display.

Preorders of the Surface Book 2 are now available, starting at $1,499. For a more detailed look at the Surface Book 2 devices, hit the link below.

See at Microsoft

Surface Book 2: 13.5 and 15-inch models detailed

Updated November 9, 2017: We checked our spec list and republished this post as soon as Surface Book 2 preorders became available.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!