Surface Book 2 vs. Surface Pro: Which one should you buy?

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Here’s how the Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro measure against each other, and we help you to decide which is the one you want to buy.

Although every Surface has been designed for a specific audience, choosing the right device for you can still be a bit tricky.

If you’re planning to get a new Surface, and you’re trying to decide between the Surface Book 2 or Surface Pro (2017), then you’ve arrived at the right place.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the most important aspects (e.g., design, battery life, graphics, pricing) of each device to help you make the final decision of which one to get.

Design

While both devices share some design similarities, they’re different machines belonging to separate categories. The nature of the Surface Book 2 being a convertible laptop makes it a device significantly thicker than the Surface Pro. The 15-inch and 13-inch are 15-23mm thick while the 12.5-inch Surface Pro is only 8.5mm thick.

Also, the Surface Book 2 can be as heavy as 4.2 pounds if you get the 15-inch model, and as light as 3.62 pounds if you go with the 13-inch. When only using the clipboard part as a tablet, the device can be as light as 1.59 pounds (13-inch), which is lighter than the 1.69 pounds for the Surface Pro without a keyboard (1.73 pounds with the Type Cover).

In other words, if you pick the Surface Pro, you’ll probably never feel that you’re carrying a computer in your backpack, but a Surface Book 2 can make a statement.

Obviously, you’re getting more viewing real estate with the laptop, but interesting enough, the 13-inch Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro have the same 267 pixels-per-inch (PPI) density. On the other hand, the 15-inch model has a slightly lower pixel density at 260 PPI, but you’re getting a 3240 x 2160 screen resolution. However, either device you choose will deliver excellent colors, exceptional brightness, and contrast, but the Surface Book 2 offers more size choices.

With the Surface Pro, you also get a multi-position kickstand that goes down up to 165 degrees. The Surface Book 2 doesn’t include a kickstand, but you get a keyboard base with a much steady dynamic fulcrum hinge design that helps with stability and “lapability.”

Hardware

Hardware specifications is another aspect to consider, even though, both devices received an upgrade in 2017, the Surface Book 2 is a workhorse that will outperform the Surface Pro — and almost any similar laptop in the market today.

Both Surface devices come with a wide range of configurations, but the most significant difference will be in the processor. The Surface Book 2 packs Intel’s latest eighth-generation processor, while the Surface Pro (2017) features Intel’s seventh-generation processors.

Of course, you can get an entry-level Surface Book 2 with a seventh-generation chip, but it’s probably not a device you want to get. If you can’t afford a more powerful configuration, you’ll probably be better off spending the extra money to get a Surface Pro with a Core i7 processor.

If you’re looking for a completely silent device, you should also consider the Surface Pro, which in some configurations comes with a fanless design, something that isn’t available with the Surface Book 2.

Aside from the processor, both devices offer configurations up to 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of internal storage.

Also, the Surface Book 2 comes with a much-improved full-size keyboard, while with the Surface Pro, you’ll need to purchase the Type Cover separately.

If port availability is important to you, this time around, the Surface Book 2 includes a USB Type-C, two USB Type-A, and full-size SDXC card reader. The Surface Pro only comes with a single USB Type-A, mini DisplayPort, and microSDXC card reader.

Battery life

Longer battery life is perhaps the single most requested feature when it comes to mobile devices, and neither device will disappoint in this department. However, due to the fact the Surface Book 2 packs a larger battery, it’s a more suitable choice when it comes to battery life.

Microsoft claims up to 17 hours of battery life on a single charge for both models of the convertible laptop, against the 13.5 hours with the Surface Pro. (Of course, in real life situations, these measurements will vary depending on many factors.)

Graphics

On graphics, the Surface Book 2 outperforms the Surface Pro hands down. You don’t get one, but two graphics processors, including a robust NVIDIA GTX 1050 on the 13-inch model, and an NVIDIA GTX 1060 on the 15-inch model.

If you pick a Surface Pro, you’re still getting a very decent graphics experience with the Intel HD Graphics 620 or Iris Plus Graphics 640, but they’re nowhere near as good as the discrete graphics found in the Surface Book 2.

If you’re looking for a device that can handle graphics-intensive applications and gaming, your decision is clear ― go with the Surface Book 2.

Pricing

The amount of money you’ll be investing is another factor that will play a role in your final decision. Both devices offer different configurations and price points, but Surface Pro may be your choice if you’re looking for value.

A Surface Pro (2017) entry-level model with a Core m3 and 4GB of memory starts at $799 without a Type Cover or Surface Pen, compared to the $1,499 for the base model 13-inch Surface Book 2 with a Core i5, 8GB of memory, and without discrete graphics. (Whenever possible, you should always avoid the entry-level models.)

You can always max out the Surface Book 2 15-inch model specs to an Intel eighth-generation Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 1TB of storage, and discrete NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics for $2,999.

If you choose the Surface Pro, you can get up to an Intel seventh-generation Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, and 1TB of storage for $2,699.

Surface Book 2 vs. Surface Pro specs

In the table below, you can compare the Surface Pro and Surface Book 2 tech specs side-by-side, which can help you to make a better decision.

Category Surface Book 2 Surface Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Pro
Display 13.5-inch PixelSense display
15-inch PixelSense dispaly
12.3-inch PixelSense Display
Display resolution 13″: 3000 x 2000 at 267 PPI
15″: 3240 x 2160 at 260 PPI
2736 x 1824 267ppi
Processor 7th-Gen Intel Core i5
8th-Gen Intel Core i7
7th-Gen Intel Core m3, i5 or i7
Storage 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD
Memory 8GB or 16GB RAM 4GB, 8GB or 16GB RAM
Native graphics 13″: Intel HD Graphics 620, UHD Graphics 620
15″: UHD Graphics 620
m3 Intel HD graphics 615, i5 Intel HD graphics 620, i7 Intel Iris graphics 640
Discrete graphics 13″: i5: None, i7: NVIDIA GTX 1050 (2GB)
15″: NVIDIA GTX 1060 (6GB)
None
Rear camera 8MP 8MP
Front camera 5MP
Windows Hello
5MP
Windows Hello
Audio Stereo Speakers w/ Dolby Audio Premium
Windows Sonic for Headphones
Dolby Atmos for Headphones compatible
Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Xbox Wireless 13″: None
15″: Yes, built-in
None
Ports 2 USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
1 USB Type-C w/ video, power in/out and 1 USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
2 Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in keyboard base)
Full-size USB 3.0
microSD card reader
Headset jack
Mini DisplayPort
Type Cover port
Surface Connect
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1 Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1
Battery life Up to 17 hours Up to 13.5 hours
Pen Surface Pen Surface Pen
Dimensions 13″:312 mm x 232 mm x 15-23 mm (L x W x D)
12.3 in x 9.14 in x 0.59 to 0.90 in
15″: 343 mm x 251 mm x 15-23 mm (L x W x D)
13.5 in x 9.87 in x 0.57 to 0.90 in
292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm (L x W x D)
11.50 in x 7.9 in x 0.33 in
Weight 13″: i5: 1,533 g (3.38 lbs)
i7: 1,642 g (3.62 lbs)
Tablet: 719 g (1.59 lbs)
15″: 1,905 g (4.20 lbs)
Tablet: 817 g (1.80 lbs)
1.69 lbs to 1.73 lbs (768 g to 784 g)

Should you buy a Surface Pro or a Surface Book 2?

These are entirely different devices, as such, we can only compare them up to a certain point. Although both form factors share many similarities, they’ve been designed to address the needs of different audiences.

The Surface you want will ultimately depend on the type of works you’ll be doing. If you’re planning to work with graphics intensive apps and play games, there is no doubt that the Surface Book 2 with the discrete graphics processor is the smart choice. It’s also your option if you’re looking for a device that provides longer battery life and best performance.

If you’re looking for a device that is lightweight, easy to carry around, and you’ll only be doing everyday tasks like web browsing, video streaming, and document editing, then you’ll appreciate what the Surface Pro has to offer.

Also, the Surface Pro has an LTE option that is expected to be available this year, in the case you’re looking for a device with on-the-go connectivity. Surface Book 2 doesn’t include an LTE option.

The Surface Book 2 is available now with a starting price of $1,499, and the Surface Pro (2017) starts at $799, or $1,058.98 with the Surface Pen and Type Cover.

See Surface Book 2 at Microsoft See Surface Pro at Microsoft

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