Time has caught as much as Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2. We liked it in its first iteration—what Microsoft now calls the Surface Laptop (1st Gen), and the low-cost clamshell stays an outstanding, optimized laptop computer for college kids and staff on the go. But whereas the Surface Laptop 2 has mainly stood nonetheless, the competitors has chimed in with their very own progressive choices. As our evaluate exhibits, the 13-inch Surface Laptop 2 continues to be a strong laptop computer, however design selections made a yr in the past look a bit drained now.The Surface Laptop is almost similar to its predecessor in all three dimensions, the rated battery life, and even weight. In addition to the colour, Microsoft has moved from a Seventh-gen to an Eighth-gen Core microprocessor, and the corporate has fortunately eradicated the 4GB reminiscence choice that was obtainable within the first technology. Gone, too, is Windows 10 in S Mode, now changed with Windows 10 Home. There aren’t any low-power Qualcomm or Intel Pentium-based choices, and Microsoft hasn’t introduced an LTE choice—however these weren’t obtainable on the primary gadget, both.  Mark Hachman / IDG
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 (left) and the Microsoft Surface Laptop, now known as the Surface Laptop (1st Gen). On the surface, they’re functionally similar.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2: Basic specs and shopping for recommendationAs it’s possible you’ll recall from our hands-on with the Surface Laptop 2 after its announcement, Microsoft is promoting each the Surface Laptop 2 for Business, and the extra generic Surface Laptop 2 for customers. The Business mannequin begins at $1,199, versus $999 for customers—fairly a leap, particularly for the reason that further $200 buys you only a barely extra highly effective Core i5 processor with vPro capabilities, an improved guarantee with the flexibility to obtain a brand new gadget earlier than sending within the faulty mannequin (Advanced Exchange), and Windows 10 Pro, moderately than Home. We reviewed the patron model. Note that Microsoft varies its configurations by colour. The most cost-effective Surface Laptop 2 for customers is $999 for the platinum colour, in a Core i5/8GB RAM/128GB SSD configuration (obtainable on the Microsoft storeRemove non-product hyperlink in addition to AmazonRemove non-product hyperlink). In black, burgundy and cobalt blue, the most cost effective choice was a Core i5/8GB RAM/256GB configuration, for an MSRP of $1,299. We reviewed the black model. Other, dearer configurations are additionally obtainable; we notice the ranges under within the fundamental specs.Here’s one thing to consider, although: At press time, what Microsoft now calls the ”1st Gen” platinum Surface Laptop is promoting at a wholesome low cost for theCore i5/8GB RAM/128GB model, on AmazonRemove non-product hyperlink. The platinum Surface Laptop 2 with the identical configuration is each extra highly effective and simply $100 or so extra.While it feels just a little… Apple-y… to go ga-ga over a brand new colour, there’s no ignoring that the brand new jet black provides a notice of distinction to the graceful anodized aluminum unibody building in addition to the marginally fuzzy Alcantara cloth coating the Surface Laptop 2’s palm relaxation and inside. Yet it’s odd and considerably disappointing that Microsoft is actually charging an extra $200 for it.  Mark Hachman / IDG
Microsoft’s new black colour appears to be like undeniably suave.
Hands on with the Surface Laptop 2The Surface Laptop 2 is sturdy with out feeling particularly weighty. There’s only a little bit of back-and-forth flex within the show hinge when the Laptop 2’s base is wiggled. Inside, the Surface Laptop 2’s show reclines to an ergonomically snug 45 levels or so away from the horizontal. I by no means observed the bottom changing into particularly heat or overheated, besides throughout an intensive spherical of updates, when the underside warmed to a degree that was nonetheless snug.A sheet of Gorilla Glass 3 homes the show in a 3:2 format —once more, similar to the unique Surface Laptop. (The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 has a higher-res 2736×1824, 12.3-inch show.) Our gentle meter recorded a most luminance of 337 nits, a slight 8 p.c drop from our 1st Gen machine. (We take into account something over 260 nits of luminance to be of enough brightness.) There aren’t any further colour house choices just like the Surface Book 2 past RGB, and the show makes use of a normal dynamic vary.  Mark Hachman / IDG
The Surface Laptop 2 doesn’t seem like fanless, although it blows warmth very quietly out of those downward-facing vents.
Beyond the numbers, the PixelSense shows utilized in Microsoft’s Surface merchandise supply beautiful colour constancy they usually’re merely pleasing to make use of. Microsoft well picks default backgrounds that exhibit its shows to its finest benefit. Note, nevertheless, that whereas a better decision will be simpler on the eyes, it impacts battery life and efficiency.Microsoft’s out-of-the-box expertise feels just a little bit totally different with every new Surface, and the Surface Laptop 2 isn’t any exception. Like different Surface units, a sequence of screens marches you thru the setup course of. There was one thing new right here, although: Not solely did the Surface Laptop 2 replace itself earlier than asking for a password…it didn’t ask for a password. That’s proper—although I signed in with a Microsoft account, Microsoft knew I had two-factor authentication arrange and merely requested to authenticate the brand new Laptop 2 with my cellphone. That’s a refined but highly effective approach of welcoming you again to the Windows ecosystem. Mark Hachman / IDG
Microsoft leans closely on its OneDrive cloud storage service, and robotically backs up your Documents, Pictures, and desktop—however there’s no opt-in. If you dump just a few gigabytes of benchmarks right into a desktop folder, they’ll be robotically (and quietly) uploaded, consuming into your knowledge cap.
Unfortunately, the Microsoft ecosystem nonetheless consists of the host of crapware that accompanies most Surface units: Candy Crush Soda Saga, Hulu, Fitbit Coach,and extra. Yes, you’ll be able to uninstall it, and there’s an argument that college students may truly benefit from the diversion. But for the remainder of us, they’re pointless.A brand new coat of paint hides some getting old I/OWhile I actually love the easy minimalism of the Surface Laptop 2’s chassis—bear in mind, Microsoft designed it to pry college students away from Apple MacBook Airs—there’s no denying that it’s now a bit behind the occasions. Yes, a laptop computer is extra “lappable” than a pill just like the Surface Pro 6, however the Surface Laptop 2 nonetheless lacks the microSD slot of the Surface Pro 6 and the USB-C port of lots of its different rivals. There’s no rear-facing digital camera, both, although that’s extra forgivable. Mark Hachman / IDG
Where’s the USB-C port? Still in Microsoft’s labs, apparently. 
In the yr or 4 pupil ought to anticipate to carry onto the Surface Laptop 2, nevertheless, USB-C units will merely turn into extra prevalent. Not solely is the $80(!!) Surface to USB-C dongleRemove non-product hyperlink overpriced, customers have given it poor evaluations for charging and performance. A microSD slot may make the entry-level Platinum model (with simply 128GB of storage) way more tolerable. What was as soon as a forgivable oversight is now a blemish. Instead, there’s the same old loadout of Surface ports: USB 3.0 Type A, miniDisplayPort and the mic/headphone jack on the left, and the Surface connector on the precise. Mark Hachman / IDG
Microsoft’s underutilized Surface connector provides energy to the Surface Laptop 2, proven right here at full recline.
Microsoft’s Surface units have historically shipped with one of many higher keyboards within the business, and the Surface Laptop 2 continues that custom. It supplies barely smaller keys than the Surface Book 2, however with ample touchdown space and a delightful springiness that makes them snug to sort upon for lengthy intervals. Mark Hachman / IDG
Microsoft’s keyboard stays unchanged from the Surface Laptop (1st Gen) in addition to the Surface Pro 6. 
While Microsoft sheathes solely the within of its Laptops with its Alcantara cloth, the marginally fuzzy fabric supplies a touch of give and a bit of heat to your palms as they relaxation upon the typing floor. The cloth hasn’t turn into stained from extended contact with my palms or different liquids, both.Microsoft doesn’t appear to have altered its trackpad. It’s nonetheless the spacious, easy floor Microsoft supplies for its different Surface units, excepting the Surface Go.The Surface Laptop’s audio system, embedded beneath the keyboard, ship a shocking quantity of quantity. As with different laptops and tablets, nevertheless, the sounds these audio system produce is flat, with out an excessive amount of bass or treble. You received’t discover many choices inside the usual quantity management panel; as an alternative, Microsoft has migrated the audio controls to the separate Realtek Audio Console, which governs the Realtek audio chip inside. Here you’ll discover the flexibility to toggle the Dolby Audio enhancements on and off, which doesn’t do a terrific deal for the audio system however provides depth to music performed again by way of the headphones. Mark Hachman / IDG
While the Surface Laptop 2 doesn’t home a rear-facing digital camera, the front-facing depth digital camera permits Windows Hello facial recognition in a snap.
Personally, I’ve used the Surface Laptop as a take a look at machine for Windows 10 Insider builds, banging away on it on and off each week or so, and particularly within the month or so earlier than a brand new function launch. From a long life and usefulness standpoint, and talking particularly concerning the 1st Gen laptop computer, the Surface Laptop line comes beneficial. Keep studying for efficiency and battery benchmarks.

Shop Amazon