Microsoft is a bit of an enigma in the PC space. There is little doubt that they offer some stunning hardware, but after being the first PC maker to jump on Intel’s Skylake platform, and then being burned by the power management issues that chipset had, they’ve been more cautious with their offerings ever since. Thanks to their somewhat unusual launch windows, that can mean that they use older hardware for longer. Such was the case with the Surface Book 2 when it launched in 2017. The Core i7 model shipped with the 8th generation Intel Core, meaning Kaby Lake Refresh, which means quad-core over the dual-core in Kaby Lake. But the Core i5 model shipped with a dual-core Kaby Lake i5-7300U processor, meaning it had a sizeable performance delta to the top tier model – far greater than we typically see in a Core i5 to Core i7 comparison.

Microsoft Surface Book 2
  13.5 No GPU 13.5 GPU 15
CPU Intel Core i5-7300U
Dual-Core w/Hyperthreading
2.6-3.5 GHz 3MB Cache 15W TDP

Intel Core i5-8350U
Quad-Core w/Hyperthreading
1.7-3.6 GHz 6MB Cache 15W TDP
Intel Core i7-8650U
Quad-Core w/Hyperthreading
1.9-4.2 GHz 8MB Cache 15W TDP
GPU Intel HD 620 Intel HD 620 + NVIDIA GTX 1050 2GB Intel HD 620 + NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB
Storage 128, 256 GB NVMe 256GB, 512 GB, 1TB
Display 13.5" PixelSense
3000x2000 3:2 sRGB
Touch and Pen enabled
15" PixelSense
3240x2160 3:2 sRGB
Touch and Pen enabled
Networking 802.11ac 2x2:2 866Mbps max
Bluetooth 4.1
Audio Stereo Speakers (front facing)
Dolby Audio Premium
Battery 23 Wh (Tablet) plus 46 Wh (Base) 23 Wh (Tablet) plus 52 Wh (Base) 23 Wh (Tablet) plus 63 Wh (Base)
Xbox Wireless No Yes
Right Side Surface Connect
USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1 with USB Power Delivery
Headset Jack
Left Side 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
SD Card Reader
Dimensions 312 x 232 x 13-23mm
12.3 x 9.14 x 0.51-0.90 inches
343 x 251 x 15-23 mm
13.5 x 9.87 x 0.57-0.90 inches
Weight 1.53 kg
3.38 lbs
1.64 kg
3.62 lbs
1.90 kg
4.2 lbs
Cameras 8.0 MP Rear-facing camera with autofocus
5.0 MP front-facing camera with 1080p video
Windows Hello IR camera
Pricing $1149-$1499 $1999-$2999 $2499-$3200

Without any fanfare at all, Microsoft has started offering a quad-core Intel Core i5-8350U in the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 option, taking the pricing bracket that the dual-core i5-7300U used to fill. For the moment, the dual-core is still available, and gets a discount of $200 to $1299. In addition, the dual-core model can also be had with a 128 GB SSD, cutting the price again to $1149. That’s a significant price drop compared to the original $1499 retail price.

The Surface Book 2 is one of the best laptops on the market, offering a combination of utility and performance that is not really matched by any other device. The quad-core i5 update is a welcome addition, but of course the real question is why didn’t it just ship with it to start with.

The updated Surface Book 2 is available on the Microsoft Store.

Source: Windows Central

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  • BigDragon - Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - link

    I have to wonder if Microsoft has sorted out the overheating problems in the latest Surface Book. I used to have one of the first gen Surface Books for use through work, but the thing would get too hot and throttle constantly. Good device for sketching on or doing some basic 3D work, but not really up to the heavier stuff (VMs, sculpting). I hope the Surface Book 3 gets a little thicker to allow for more ventilation.
  • Smell This - Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - link

    At least, someone gets this. It's a classic bait-and-switch. Caveat emptor, in deed.

    The $1,300 7300U 2.6-3.5 GHz dual-core is going EOL, to be replaced with the i5-8350U 1.7-3.6 GHz quad. As a sweetener, MS is "discounting" the EOL product to $1,150, if equipped with a 128GB SSD.

    So. The 'new' Surface 2 with 128GB is (drum roll) ... $1,500 -- before, of course, the $100 pen ($89.99 special pricing for eligible students, parents, teachers, and military!). No worries. The pen, "that best expresses your style," comes in Black, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue and new Limited Edition Aqua, PLUS (another drum roll, please) . . . Platinum! Need a new dock with that?

    Turn around once and you're past $2,000 --- blink, and, 'BOOM!' -- $3k+. At least, you get a tax deduction, huh?

    Back to my point. The best-binned, cut-down mobile GTX 1050 2GB w/CPU is going to hit 50w. The GTX 1060 6GB? 65w. Throttle, much?

    MS is pushing disingenuous. Gosh. Sheldon never mentioned this; or, the big football-playing doughnut shop owners. No one is disputing the capabilities of the SB2 --- just their "spin and marketing"

    Hat's off to Brett for threading the needle on this one. Nice work.
  • sarvendravasha - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    Good to see that is making me some reliable for the ongoing home buyers programs.
  • Spanky2k - Monday, June 28, 2021 - link

    And now, two years later, we find out why. This change was almost certainly done so that Surface Book 2 models would have a valid TPM and so would be Windows 11 compatible. The only Surface Book 2 models that are *not* compatible with Windows 11 are ones with the old i5-7300U processor. Seeing as they were still more than a year away from releasing the Surface Book 3 at the time of this change and they generally carry on selling previous generation Surface Books for several months after a new model is released, they likely didn't want a situation where users couldn't install Windows 11 on a Microsoft branded machine a little over a year old.

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