Surface Laptop 2 Hands-on: MacBook-Killing Keyboard, 85 Percent Faster

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Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Laptop 2, which builds on the success of the first model by offering a keyboard that puts the MacBook Pro to shame.

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Available in a cool new matte black finish and packing a powerful new quad-core, 8th-gen Intel CPU, the system will start at $999 and is available for pre-order today. You can pick one up Oct. 16.

The company says the redesigned keyboard layout offers 1.5mm of key travel, which is a lot better than Apple's laptop (less than 1mm). I tried out the layout, and it felt very cushy on my fingers compared to my typical MacBook Pro.

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Unfortunately, Microsoft did not make the leap to USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, so you'll be stuck using the company' proprietary docking connector. It's almost 2019!

  Surface Laptop 2
Price $999
Display 13.5 inches (2256 x 1504
CPU 8th Gen Intel Core i5, i7 (Quad-Core)
RAM 8GB/16GB
Graphics Intel Graphics 620
Storage 128/256/512GB or 1TB
Ports USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, Surface Connector
Colors Black, Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue
Size 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.39-0.57 inches
Weight 2.76 pounds

The 13.5-inch display packs 3.4 million pixels. In fact, Microsoft says this is the thinnest LCD in a touchscreen laptop. The company also boasts a best-in-class contrast ratio of 1,500:1. Up close, the screen looked plenty sharp, but the taller aspect ratio may be a turn-off for some; on the plus side, you'll have to scroll less when in documents or on the web.

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Microsoft is targeting 14.5 hours of battery life, which in this case means video playback. The company says that the MacBook Pro gets around 10 hours based on its own tests. 

Thanks to the new quad-core, 8th gen Intel processor, you should expect up to 85 percent faster performance than the previous Surface Laptop. We'll have to see how well it fares in our testing.

Overall, the Surface Laptop 2 is definitely a refresh, but the original Surface Laptop was one of the best ultraportables around. If the battery life lives up to the hype, it could hit the top of our laptop charts.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
8 comments
  • Robert McLaughlin Says:

    Got this a few days ago and love it. The laptop 2 is better for me because the screen stays up by itself when I am using it. The smaller Surface Pro 6 was my original choice but I am not always in a place where I can use the kickstand. The Surface Book 2 was out since it was the older processor.

  • Paul Review Says:

    On Battery Life, the Mac also get's 10 hours surfacing and creating, not just local video playback, so how much battery life will I really get using it ?

  • Maria Chudova Says:

    Turn-off? For me, this aspect ratio means an instant buy! Those who don´t like it have plenty of other laptops to choose from, but for those of us who need tall screen there was nothing decent for years, except perhaps Chrome Pixel. My old Thinkpad is barely alive, I wanted to replace it years ago... but I am unable to use any of the modern spaghetti laptop for my work. I need this one!

  • Alice Young Says:

    No USB-C? Showstopper. Maybe in the 7....

  • Justin Troldeau Says:

    If Macs were that much better for most people, Windows wouldn't be No. 1 OS by far. There is nothing you can't do on Windows, other than some very high-end video or graphics stuff that 99% of people don't do. And PCs play games so much better than Macs that Macs don't matter at all in that area. Plus, PCs are far cheaper. Using Android with PCs is far better than the iOS ecosystem (even messages.android.com is better than iMessage on the Mac, and the Pixel/Galaxy cameras are better than iPhone, and Google Photos is far better than iPhotos) -- speaking as someone who used iOS/MacOS for 10 years. The only issue with the new Surface Laptop 2 is the lack of USB C, and that's still not a showstopper.

  • Matt Yount Says:

    Sure, but it runs windows. It always seems like people come back to Macs for MacOS, its 20x better than windows.

  • John Parker Says:

    Is the video camera looking up your nose?

  • Richard Orlin Says:

    Looks good, but the downside is that it runs Windows. Every time you turn it on it spends 10 minutes "Updating Windows"

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