Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming Review ~
Updated June 27, 2022
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94 Expert Rating
Table of Contents_
- Why We Like It – Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming
- Battery Life
- Build Quality
- Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming Wrap Up
Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming Laptops blasted onto the scene and easily became one of the best 2 in 1 gaming laptops. In fact, the entire surface pro series did. With battery life that shatters the competition you can work and play to your heart’s content. The capabilities of the hard drive, on the other hand, depends solely on how you’re going to be using the laptop to begin with. Speaking of competition, take a look at the contenders for the best gaming laptops.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming is a fantastic laptop that is Microsoft’s answer to the Apple’s MacBook’s. The difference is that the Surface Pro series can play games competently. The GPU should be able to handle mid-level games without problems, and the combined efforts of the CPU and RAM will keep slowdown to a minimum, if it all.
- Great Battery Life
- Fulcrum Hinge Makes a Return
- 512GB Great for Work
- Not as Many Ports as Dedicated Gaming Laptops
- Surface Pen Sold Separately
- 512GB Restrictive for Gaming
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 15 Inch Model Laptop boasts an Intel Quad Core i7 processor, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 discrete graphics card, and 16GB of RAM. The graphics card is perfectly suited for high settings, 1080P gaming performance, and you don’t have to worry about slowdowns when you play games thanks to the powerful CPU and RAM combo. But you can try the Acer Nitro Spin 5, or the Dell XPS, if you want something geared more towards work.
Related: If you like this laptop, you might be interested in our MSI GE62VR Apache Pro Gaming Laptop review.
The battery life on the Surface Book 2, like the original Surface Book and the Microsoft Surface Book Gaming, is quite impressive. At about 17 hours it blows most other notebooks, like the Razer Blade, out of the water. In fact, it may earn the distinction of having the longest battery life of all the 2 in 1 laptops. Keep in mind that the battery will drain faster if playing games or if it is in tablet mode (without the keyboard attached).
Other than the headphone jack, which is located on the right side of the display, all of the ports are located on the keyboard dock. These include two USB 3.1 ports and an SD card slot on the left, and the Surface Connect port (used for the power adapter as well as docking with the $200 Surface Dock) and a USB-C port on the right. There aren’t as many ports as a dedicated gaming laptop, but there’s still a healthy amount. Try the Asus Zenbook Gaming to see what other 2 in 1 laptops have in terms of port availability.
Related: Also check out our Lenovo Thinkpad Gaming review.
The fulcrum hinge makes it return to the Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming which leaves a gap between the screen and keyboard when the computer is closed which allows for versatility when detaching the tablet. The Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming is also compatible with the Surface Pen which would be nice if it wasn’t sold separately for $100.00.
Playing in native resolution results in gaming at 20FPS, but that’s to be expected with a non-dedicated gaming laptop. The Surface Pro series also sports a 512GB hard drive. In all honesty, this can be good or bad. If you’re more so using the laptop for work, then 512GB is fantastic. If you’re going to be using it for gaming, 512GB is a little restrictive. If it’s 50/50, you should be able to get by.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming Wrap Up
This is really a laptop for the person who wants to intersperse quick gaming sessions and high-quality video streaming in-between bouts of work. It’s a 2 in 1 laptop so it’s not going to be the best one way or the other. But if you give it a chance you’ll find that the Microsoft Surface Book 2 Gaming can perform both duties competently and without fuss.
Michael Iaboni is a Canadian Freelance Writer and Editor. He graduated from York University with a Degree in English and Creative Writing and then attended Queen’s University where he obtained a Professional Editing Standards Certificate. He is a member of Editor’s Canada and, in his spare time, enjoys reading, writing, soccer, and gaming.
Surface Book 2 – Performance, battery and conclusion Review
Surface Book 2 – Performance
The Surface Book is available in four configurations, offering for levels of performance. Below is a list of all the configurations Microsoft’s currently selling.
Intel Core i5, 256GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM – £1499
Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, 8GB RAM – £1999
Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, 16GB RAM – £2499
Intel Core i7, 1TB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, 16GB RAM – £2999 (tested)
Microsoft is selling a larger 15-inch version with a GTX 1060 GPU in some markets. Sadly, the unit is yet to make its way to the UK.
Related: Best GPU
The tech is pretty impressive and means the Surface Book should easily match the performance of a top-end Ultrabook, as well as some cheaper gaming laptops.
The top-spec i7 version I tested offered stonkingly good performance, both docked and undocked. Docked, the Surface Book 2 easily dealt with multi-layer digital painting projects, 3D modelling and basic video editing with zero hassle. The device also remained surprisingly quiet, even when enacting these demanding processes.
Docked in laptop mode, the Surface Book 2 was able to play some big-name games, including Overwatch, DOTA 2, Player Unknown Battlegrounds and Call of Duty WW2 at over 60fps with their graphics in medium to high settings. As an added perk, the Surface Book also comes with an Xbox One receiver, which lets you pair Xbox Controllers to it without using regular, less-stable Bluetooth.
The Surface Book 2’s benchmark scores mirrored my real-world experience. All in all, unless you’re doing serious enterprise-level tasks, or ridiculously big CAD design work, the Surface Book’s hardware should suffice.
You can see how the Surface Book 2 compares to the top-specced i7 Surface Pro in the table below.
Related: Intel CPU guide
|Device||Geekbench single-core||Geekbench multi-core||3DMark Fire Strike (docked)||3DMark Fire Strike (undocked)||PCMark 8||Crystalmark read||Crystalmark write|
|Surface Book 2||4488||13724||5124||819||2878||2946MB/s||1252MB/sec|
Surface Book 2 – Battery
Microsoft quotes the Surface Book 2 as offering an impressive 16 hours of video playback from a single charge when docked. Normally, I’d take this claim with a pinch of salt. Having run Trusted Reviews’ standard video benchmark – which involves synthetically looping five minutes of video and 10 minutes of web browsing with the screen at 150 nits brightness in Powermark – the Surface Book 2 actually outdid Microsoft’s quoted life. In laptop mode, the Surface Book 2 lasted a ludicrous 16.5 hours.
Don’t expect it to last this long with real-world use, however. In general, I managed to get a full office day of use from the Surface Book 2, but demanding tasks resulted in a significantly bigger drain on the battery. 3D modelling, gaming and video editing, the Surface Book would lose as much as 15-20% of its battery per hour.
The tablet section’s undocked battery life is also a little short compared to the regular Surface Pro’s. Running only the Powermark test on the tablet, the Surface Book 2 barely managed to last 3.5 hours. This is a little on the short side, but when you consider that there will be few occasions that call for folk to carry the tablet section without the keyboard, the short battery life is hardly a deal-breaker.
Related: Best Ultrabooks
Why buy the Surface Book?
If you’re a power user for whom money is no object, you’ll struggle to do better than the Surface Book. Featuring a super-swish design, cutting-edge hardware and a pleasingly bloatware-free Windows install, it’s hard to fault the Surface Book 2 for most tasks.
My only slight issue is that, despite doing stellar work getting the Surface Dial to work on it, the Surface Book’s screen doesn’t cover a whole lot of the Adobe and DCI-P3 colour gamuts favoured by artists. As such, it will prove an expensive choice for hardcore creatives, for whom a more focused device such as the Wacom MobileStudio Pro could be a better option.
If you don’t need a convertible design or dedicated GPU, Dell’s XPS line is also an attractive alternative. Although it doesn’t offer a dedicated GPU option, the XPS 13 is significantly more customisable and has a starting price of just £1100.
The Surface Book 2 is a great convertible for power users with cash to burn.
By Alastair Stevenson
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Former Editor in Chief
Alastair is in charge of Trusted Reviews Limited’s editorial strategy and output across all its sites. He has over a decade’s experience as a journalist working in both B2C and B2B press. During this …
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«It’s strange that the developers themselves didn’t think of this before,» wrote one of the fans of the action.
After the release of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor received a lot of negative reviews on Steam due to some players experiencing performance issues. The developers apologized to the fans and said that they would try to fix the problems as soon as possible.
In the meantime, the players themselves have found several ways to get rid of stuttering and generally increase the frame rate on any PC. There’s a config file on Nexus Mods that players confirm eliminates long-running stutters. It is worth noting that this is a universal configuration for Unreal Engine 4 games, which also works in the case of Jedi: Survivor.
In order to apply these settings, you must press the key combination Win + R , enter the command %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\SwGame\Saved\Config\WindowsNoEditor, add the config.ini file to the opened folder and rename it to Engine.ini.
Redditor SpicyMemeSyndrome reported that he was able to increase the average frame rate in Jedi: Survivor from 55 fps to 105 fps in small areas and up to 80 fps in open areas. To do this, he enabled the Resizable BAR function in the settings, and also made a number of changes to the GameUserSettings.ini file and the settings in the NVIDIA control panel.
Settings in GameUserSettings.ini
- AntiAliasing = 0
- Resolution Quality = 100%
- Desired Screen Height = True
- All variables with parameter Fullscreen = 1
- All variables with height/width parameters — according to display resolution
- All other visual settings = 3 (for Epic graphics quality). On less powerful PCs, you may need to lower these settings.
The player noted that after that, in the settings of the GameUserSettings.ini file, the «Read Only» parameter should be selected so that the game does not change the settings.
Settings in the NVIDIA Control Panel
You need to go to the «Manage 3D Settings» settings, select Star Wars Jedi: Survivor there and make the following changes:
- enable anisotropic filtering;
- in the «Smoothing — mode» item, select «Override application settings»;
- in the item «Smoothing — transparency» select «8x (oversampling)»;
- enable DSR — select the option depending on the hardware.
Parameters in game settings
- Enable FSR in Quality mode;
- Disable ray tracing.
In the comments to the description of this method, many players wrote that the listed settings really helped to significantly increase the frame rate in the game.
Reviews for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor have improved from «negative» to «mixed» at the time of writing. 47% of players rated the action positively.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor creators apologize for PC technical issues
At the same time, the developers did not say anything about the consoles, although there are problems on them too.
Arts, games and hardware: A few days with the Surface Book 2
Last year I wrote about my transition from the Surface Book to the Razer Blade 14, although for the most part I was completely satisfied with the Surface Book. The reasons for the switch were many, but ultimately come down to power. The original Surface Book was a dual-core device with a relatively weak d-GPU. Blade, by comparison, makes a GTX 1060 and a quad-core processor, greatly increasing versatility and performance without sacrificing size and bulk. The Razer Blade 14 (2017) remains an incredible laptop and is definitely one of the best (if not the best) you can buy for PC gaming on the go.
However, after Microsoft unveiled the spec sheet for the latest Surface book late last year, I just couldn’t help but want to take out a small loan and return to the Surface team (hell, that’s expensive). I’ll lay out some of the reasons for this in a future article, but for now, I’ll share some of my quick impressions from a few days of working with the Surface Book 2. Be sure to check out our full official Executive review. Edited by Daniel Rubino.
What I love
There is something almost mesmerizing about the charm of the Surface Book. That weird but satisfying hinge that purrs softly when you tilt the display. This industry-leading trackpad makes cursor control more natural and intuitive than display access, which, by the way, is also possible thanks to 10-point multi-touch.
Having a device that can inspire the senses is somehow energizing.
Surface devices are always something special, carefully crafted alloys densely packed with powerful hardware and unique mechanical features that make this device truly futuristic. The inviting «click» that occurs when you detach the display complements the «click» you hear when you put the Surface Pro Keyboard back in place. There’s almost a theater to it all, which I can’t say about any other computer I’ve used. It may sound strange to praise, but as someone who works and has worked in many creative industries, owning a device that can inspire the senses is somehow energizing.
Mr Mobile agrees there is something special about the Surface Book.
Microsoft has talked before about how industrial design should take a backseat and let the OS and its content sing, but I’ve always found that Surface devices do everything but that. This is a device that will help you get noticed in a meeting or conference that friends and family will ask for. Its 4K capable display is amazing and I much prefer the 3:2 aspect ratio for content creation over 16:9 solutions, which sacrifice the vertical screen.
The keyboard is pleasant to type on, with bright backlit keys for long evening sessions. Windows Hello is as fast as ever, signing in with an almost instantaneous face scan when you sit down at your desk.
The Surface Book 2 is hard to beat as a basic laptop — at least when you ignore the price. As a basic workhorse, there are much cheaper options if you don’t plan on detaching your tablet, gaming on the go, or doing any kind of digital art. But that’s the whole point of Surface Book 2; he must be a jack of all trades. And there you will find compromises.
There are trade-offs (and problems)
While the startup problems that plagued the original Surface Book were nowhere as severe, it looks like the Surface Book 2 has a few teething issues of its own. I’ve already experienced a BSOD or two when I tried to push it too hard (tasks my Razer Blade wouldn’t have a problem with), and sometimes the detach feature wouldn’t work until I rebooted my computer.
By comparison, the Blade will sound like a jet engine when running games or WMR, while the Book 2 will not.
The Surface Book 2 also suffers from battery drain when doing more intensive tasks like playing games or using Windows Mixed Reality (which Microsoft will sell you an overpriced adapter for, by the way). Even when plugged in, the battery can drain in certain situations, but luckily it should never drain it completely. Of course, battery life is incredibly long when you’re not pushing the Book to its limits.
This thing is pretty damn powerful, as you’d expect, given its innards. But it’s not as powerful as the Razer Blade 14, and it uses a different class of in-display processors. This results in poor multitasking performance and overall OS smoothness. Book 2 will also go for throttling and manage the CPU to manage heat dissipation and battery drain. This may annoy some, but the result is an incredibly quiet and cool device. By comparison, the Blade will sound like a jet engine when running games or WMR, while the Book 2 — no.
Stellaris looks amazing in Surface Book 2.
I haven’t pushed Book 2 to the limit for gaming, but it smashes World of Warcraft, runs at 4K horizontal axis at over 100fps, and is pretty quiet . I ran WoW at 1080p 40 FPS on my Razer Blade to limit fan noise. World of Warcraft is the oldest game at the moment, and certainly not the most intense. I expect the Blade to surpass Book 2 at a higher level, and I’ll do some more actual testing as I spend more time with it.
Another benefit of the Book 2’s CPU squeeze to the display is, of course, the detachable screen, which can be set flat for use with digital ink. This is one of the main reasons why I decided to return to the Surface, but so far the experience has been a little mixed.
Kraken works in Sketchable.
For some reason, Surface Pen lag feels much higher than on my Surface Pro 3, and I’m not entirely sure why. The pen strokes the trail far behind my cursor, which is not for me is a big problem, student/amateur level writing, but I can see why a professional might be annoyed by this given how expensive the Book is. I will look for fixes and detail my findings in the next issue.
Also, tablet mode is still pretty rough on Windows 10. The first time I opened it, all my live tiles were erased, making the full-screen start menu completely useless.
Other than installing the flat part of the tablet for handwriting, I don’t see myself ever detaching a 15″ tablet to use it as a giant iPad. Like the «clipboard» as Microsoft called it, the Surface Book 2’s screen was bulky and heavy at 13 inches, let alone 15 inches. And the tablet mode experience is still far from what Windows 8 has.0003
Everything is going well
So far I am more than happy with my purchase and I am happy to be back on the train on the surface. I lost touch and gained much more than I expected, and the CPU and GPU upgrades in this iteration made the transition from the Razer Blade 14 smooth and easy.
I still work with digital art, gaming, and Windows Mixed Reality, but the Surface Book 2 is as good as the basic laptop experience — and at that price point, you’d be damned hopeful.