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Traditionally, Microsoft has been known as a software company, but in recent years that has been changing — the company has been releasing well-reviewed and highly anticipated hardware too. That has all culminated in Microsoft’s latest lineup, which includes the new Microsoft Surface Laptop 2.
The Surface Laptop 2 already has a lot going for it. It features a super sleek design, options for powerful specs, and a great display. It’s also a little pricey, starting at $999.
Is it worth the cash?
As with any new product, the first thing you’ll notice about the new Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is its design, and it’s a beautiful piece of hardware. The outside of the laptop is sleek and stylish and comes in a few different colors — including Black, Platinum, Burgundy, and Cobalt Blue. Notably, the Black version is new — and we loved the beautiful look and feel of the Black model, complete with a glossy black logo on the lid, black keyboard keys, and so on.
The laptop itself is relatively portable, which is always helpful. It comes in at 12.13 x 8.79 x 0.57 inches, with a weight of 2.76 pounds. That’s about middle of the road for a 13-inch laptop — it’s not as light as the Surface Pro, which comes in at around 1.6 pounds, or the Samsung Notebook 9, which is 1.8 pounds. Still, we found the laptop to be easy to carry, and even forget about when it’s in a backpack.
One of the things that sets the Microsoft Surface Laptop apart from other laptops is the soft Alcantra fabric that surrounds the keyboard, and we quite like it. It makes resting your hands on the keyboard nicer and a little warmer than a metal laptop. Over time, the finish may wear a little, but if you get a darker color that wear may not show up quite as much.
Speaking of the keyboard, Microsoft claims that it’s quieter than ever on the Surface Laptop 2— something that we can definitely confirm.
Even those only a few meters away may not be able to hear typing, which is very helpful in an office environment or when you’re typing with others around. It feels pretty good too — there’s plenty of travel to make for a nice, tactile typing experience, and the spacing of the keys is pretty good too.
On the edges of the laptop, you’ll find a standard USB port, a mini DisplayPort, a headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port, which is used for charging. That’s really not as many ports as we would have liked to see. For starters, Microsoft really should have included at least one USB-C port given the fact that it’s the port of the future, and an SD card slot would have been nice too.
The display is nice too.
It comes in at 13.5 inches, with a resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 and a 3:2 aspect ratio. It’s a touch display too — so when the trackpad and keyboard aren’t enough, simply reach out and control the device with your hands. Colors on the display, we found, were vivid and deep. The computer isn’t a 2-in-1 — you can’t detach the display — but the touch support is still a nice addition. Above the display is a 720p front-facing camera, which supports Windows Hello. Windows Hello essentially allows you to unlock your computer with your face — and we found that it was fast and convenient.
Under the hood, the Surface Laptop 2 has a lot to offer.
The base model comes with an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, but it can be upgraded with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and up to a 1TB hard drive. Safe to say, the base model will be more than powerful enough for most people who might web-browse email, and watch Netflix every now and then. For those that want a little more power, however, the ranged-up options might be the way to go. It’s also worth comparing those specs to similar models. You can get a Dell XPS 13 with the exact same specs for $930, which is a little cheaper. You can also get similar specs in the new MacBook Air — but it starts at $1,199.
The battery life of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 officially comes in at 14 hours and 30 minutes of video playback, and while we didn’t quite hit that, it’s safe to say that the battery life on the laptop is really quite good. It’s a little longer than the battery on the Dell XPS 13, which is one of the laptop’s main competitors.
The Surface Laptop 2, as you would expect, features Windows 10 — but unlike the original Surface Laptop, the new device does away with Windows 10 S, which is a good thing. The lightweight version of Windows isn’t bad for some uses, but in a $1,000-plus laptop, you really should get the full version of Windows.
Ultimately, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is one of the best laptops you can buy, and should definitely be considered for those looking for a high-end laptop for work, home use, or anything else. It’s not cheap — but it is a flagship-quality product.
But are there better options? Well, that depends.
The aforementioned Dell XPS 13 is another excellent choice, and it offers a similar-sized display in a smaller package. It also offers a beautiful edge-to-edge display, and a much better selection of ports. In the end, for most users, it’s the better choice. That said, that doesn’t mean you should avoid the Surface Laptop 2 — if you like the soft-touch finish, need a slightly better keyboard, and don’t mind paying a little extra for a laptop with fewer ports, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is the way to go.
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