The Surface Book 2 will be available on November 16th, for a starting price of $1,499. Preorders open on November 9th.
The basic idea is the same as Microsoft’s original Surface Book, which was first released in 2015: The device looks like a normal laptop, but the screen detaches to become a standalone touchscreen tablet. For the first time though, you’ll now have a choice between a 13.5-inch and 15-inch display — the original Surface Book only offered the smaller screen size.
Apart from some minor cosmetic changes, the real Surface Book 2 upgrades are under the hood. Microsoft claims that all models of the Surface Book 2 will get 17 hours of battery life, with 5 hours on the unclipped tablet portion.
Aimed at Apple users
Microsoft also claims that the Surface Book 2 packs twice the power of Apple’s newest MacBook Pro, though the company is not specific about what measures this claim is based on.
The Surface Book 2 is targeted towards the same demanding customers as the MacBook Pro. It’s a premium laptop with high-end specs, aimed at power users and creative professionals who need to run demanding software like Adobe Photoshop or AutoDesk Maya.
Plus, Microsoft is touting the Surface Book 2’s gaming prowess: The company boasts that the Surface Book 2 has 5 times the graphical processing power of the original model, and that it can run gorgeous new games like “Forza Motorsport 7” in high definition at an impressive 60 frames per second.
At a starting price of $1,499, the Surface Book 2 is Microsoft’s most-expensive laptop. Earlier this year, Microsoft released the $999 Surface Laptop, a mid-range Windows 10 laptop aimed at students. Microsoft also offers the tablet/laptop hybrid Surface Pro starting at $799, and the all-in-one desktop PC Surface Studio for $2199.
The original Surface Book had a troubled launch: Early adopters found that the device was riddled with bugs, but Microsoft didn’t respond with a fix until several months later.
Ultimately, though, we at Business Insider ended up loving the Surface Book. In late 2016, we said that the refreshed Surface Book was a better buy for the average user than the MacBook Pro, owing largely to the touchscreen and the higher-end specs.
Still, it’s not immediately clear where the Surface Book 2 will fit into the larger market, as overall PC sales continue their years-long decline. Plus, even with the whole range of Surface hardware on store shelves, Microsoft still accounts for a relatively small slice of the overall PC market, well behind companies like Dell, HP, or Apple.
There is hope, however.
“Microsoft wants Surface to be the best [Windows] experience going forward, a showpiece for Microsoft services,” says Patrick Moorhead, Principal Analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “The PC market is flat to shrinking, but there is growth on the premium space, right where Microsoft is targeting Surface.”