Microsoft announces the Surface Book 2, its most powerful laptop yet

In slowing PC market, Microsoft adds another Surface model

Perhaps motivated by ridiculous rumors of the Surface lineup's imminent death, Microsoft chose to pull the trigger and introduce not one, but two massively upgraded 2-in-1 PCs.

Panos Panay, corporate vice president of Microsoft Devices says, "Surface Book 2 removes the barrier between the desktop and the laptop by giving mobile professionals the power of a desktop, the versatility of a tablet, and the freedom of a light and thin laptop in one beautifully designed device".

When Surface Laptop was announced, we thought that it would replace Surface Book. "We're building Surface for creators of all types".

Apart from some minor cosmetic changes, the real Surface Book 2 upgrades are under the hood.

Much of that is down to the hinge, which resolutely refuses to fold flat and instead gives the Surface Book 2 its unusual profile. This is being done because the screen is heavier than usual as it can be detached to use as a standalone tablet.

Now, Microsoft wants its Surface Book to be that device. It's clear that Microsoft wants to offer the best laptop there is, and it looks like the Surface Book 2 should make a lot of power users happy.

On the other side there are still two USB 3.1 Type-A ports.

Finally, the misguided headphone placement is retained in Surface Book 2, meaning that the cord will often cut in front of the screen as you're trying to work or watch videos. The 15-inch will only be available in the United States.

In a nutshell, the Surface Book 2 is one of the most powerful convertible laptops.

Intel's latest 8th-generation processors are responsible, though there's a lingering 7th-gen for the entry-level machine. The Core i7-equipped 13-inch model's GTX 1050 and 2GB of video RAM are respectable, but the 15-incher ships with a GTX 1060 and 6GB of video RAM. It's a good selection of ports overall, though with the larger 15-inch body I would've welcomed an Ethernet port or an HDMI jack. The Intel Core i5 version relies on a i5-7300U with a 3.5GHz turbo frequency and 2.6GHz base frequency, compared to 3GHz and 2.6GHz in the original.

This is coupled with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and internal storage configurations range from 256GB to 1TB SSDs. Mind you, the tablet portion can still be detached, unlike the Surface Laptop. Surface has barely made a dent in the still-shrinking PC industry, with revenue in the division down 2 percent in Microsoft's most recent fiscal year. The 15-inch touchscreen offers a resolution of 3240 x 2160 and will also support Microsoft's Mixed Reality endeavors. Of course, then it depends on which model is being tested, because both Microsoft and Apple offer several different chip options.

Meanwhile there's also a new peripheral arriving alongside them, the Surface Precision Mouse. The mouse supports Windows 10 PCs, macOS, older Windows operating systems, and Android phones. There's pairing for up to three devices - switched with a button on the base - and a scroll wheel that can flip between free-rolling and notched at the touch of a button. It runs on the new version of Windows 10 Creators update.