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 620
Core i7: Intel UHD Graphics 620
Intel HD Graphics 520
Discrete GraphicsCore i5: None
Core i7: NVIDIA GTX 1050 (2GB)
Core i5: None
Core i7: NVIDIA GTX 940M (1GB)
Storage256GB, 512GB, or 1TB256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
BatteryUp to 17 hours
Up to five hours in Tablet Mode
Up to 12 hours
Up to three hours in Tablet Mode
WirelessMarvel Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatible
Bluetooth Wireless 4.1 technology
Marvel Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatible
Bluetooth 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) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (one in tablet, one in base)
Two full-size USB 3.0
Full-size SD card reader
Two Surface Connect ports (one in tablet, one in base)
Headset jack (3.5mm)
Mini DisplayPort
AudioStereo Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Windows Sonic for Headphones
Dolby Atmos for Headphones compatible
Stereo Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Windows Sonic for Headphones
Dolby 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 sensor
Ambient light sensor
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, 2017
Preorders start November 9, 2017
November 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 (opens in new tab)

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 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Why did they go 7th gen i5 and 8th gen i7? Why not bring both up to 8th gen? 
  • Supply is the only thing i can think of.  Out of curiosity I went to Newegg and did a filter on laptops with i5's.  There was no option to filter on gen 8 i5's.
  • If thats the case then they should have delayed the release of the i5 until they could get the gen 8.  Just imagine selling this in 2018 for $1500 and it has a last gen cpu.
  • the 8th gen i5 is the same thing has the 7th gen i5... very minimal performance or power boost
  • Jez? gaming? Can the maxed out 15" finally handle any game out there without having to reduce game settings?
  • A 6GB GTX 1060 can play most games with ultra settings, or very close to them, at 1080p resolution and achieve 60+ FPS.
  • Cool, so this is essentially a gaming ultra book
  • I'm not a hardcore gamer but I can play games with good performance on my GTX 1060 equipped laptop.  And my laptop is almost twice as thick as the Surface Book 2.  Very impressive.
  • Microsoft needs some serious experienced engineers in the Bluetooth field (both hardware and software)
  • Why go with Bluetooth 4.1 and not 5.0? There are so many benefits they're missing out on.
  • No HDMI port so no Mixed Reality support? This is why I want mixed reality over USB-C instead of the USB-A+HDMI requirement. Going to be a tough decision between spending an extra $500 for the i7 13.3 model or going with one of HP/Asus/Lenovo ultrabooks...
  • I think they addressed that in another article, but it should support mixed reality. I think you just need an USB-C to HDMI adapter
  • Awesome, but I have 2 problems: they didn't add a kickstand to the screen and the Surface line is not available in Mexico :'(
    I would love to buy this or the Surface Pro.
  • Same here in Brasil.
  • The previous Surface book you can mount the screen backwards on the keyboard to give it a kickstand feature. Without the keyboard the battery life is pretty poor in general. (~2-3 hours) so you'd want the keyboard on in pretty much any scenario you'd be using it with a kickstand. Not a "solution" to no kick stand, but it makes sense.
  • looks like they no longer sell it with the surface pen?  you have to buy extra??
  • I was waiting for the Surface Book to get slimmer before I wanted to buy one (specifically the display). Did that happen with the Surface Book 2? Visually it looks the same and it's hard to get out of the dimension spec because they don't differentiate between base and display
  • This is probably not going to happen any time soon... since you know it's a tablet and all that.
  • My kingdom for the base as a separate add-on purchase. My CPU/RAM/SSD are all fine for what I do, but I'd do terrible things for that 1050 upgrade.