Tech Review: Is Microsoft's Surface 2 laptop worth the upgrade?

Introduced to the Gulf region last month, the new lightweight laptop comes to the market in competition with the Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre 13 and Huawei Matebook X.
Tech Review: Is Microsoft's Surface 2 laptop worth the upgrade?
The Surface 2 boasts extra speed compared to its predecessor
By Neil Halligan
Thu 11 Apr 2019 04:59 PM

The new version of the 13.5-inch laptop (Microsoft Surface) comes with the boast that it’s 85 percent faster, supported by the 8th-gen Core microprocessor and 8GB RAM that now comes as standard (1st gen came with 4GB).

The Surface 2 that we reviewed came with the Core i5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD configuration, and while it was powerful enough, the recommendation is to opt for the Core i7.

The new version is also pre-loaded with the full version of Windows 10 Home, rather than the limited, locked-down Windows 10 in S Mode in the predecessor that only allowed you to install apps from the Microsoft Store.

The Surface 2 keyboard is quieter in this version. Responsive and light to touch, the keys are design to allow for quick typing (some laptop keyboards are quite cumbersome). The springiness also makes it comfortable for long typing sessions.

The addition of Alcantara covering – almost suede-like to touch and exactly the same as the Surface Pro covers – is comfortable and smooth, but it’s hard to say how long it will stay in that pristine condition as it ages.

The trackpad is impressive too – a large area that’s smooth and responsive.

The weight of the Surface 2 is another plus; at just 2.76 lbs, it’s portable enough to comfortably carry around under the arm.

One of the best functions is how quickly the laptop wakes up from sleep mode. The facial recognition, which works from a variety of angles, allows for quick, hands-free log-in and brings you right back to where you left off.

The display – called PixelSense – is the same at its predecessor and so boasts the same touch-screen features.

On the downside, the lack of modern ports for a laptop this size is something that the next version should address. It comes with the standard USB port (3.0), headphone jack, a Mini DisplayPort and a Surface Connect port. It doesn’t, however, have the microSD slot that you get on the Surface Pro 6 or the USB-C port that many of its other rivals have.

The other slight issue was with the battery life. The product comes with a promise of 14.5 hours lifetime, and while some allowance should be given for a variety of factors, including connection to Wi-Fi and the apps in use, it was more like half that time before the battery indicator flashed up. The laptop was placed on top of a table at a conference, and in constant use, so maybe that was another factor.

Overall, the Surface 2 feels like what the original model – which was released in 2017 – should have been. Light and powerful Windows 10 on the go. It’s definitely worth considering the upgrade from its predecessor if you’re craving extra speed. Otherwise, the current model should suffice.

Price for the Surface Laptop 2 in the UAE is AED4,149.

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