The Indispensibles: Microsoft Surface Book 2

May 20, 2018
The Indispensibles

Much has been said, recorded and written about this device, but how does it “feel” like using it?

In fact, it changed my perception of what a notebook means to me.

That is a bold statement from a guy like me being a Mac fan for thirteen years, isn’t it?

Likewise to many Mac-users often the appeal of design and beauty these machines offer is a sometimes game-changing argument.

But since the Surface products appeared Microsoft managed to reshuffle the cards in the game of aesthetics, built-quality and industrial design of computers.

Beauty And Beast

So, not only no need to stick with my numerous MacBook Pro’s forever but instead a viable field to reconsider what would be my next move for a new device.

Take into account that I weight in here on the 15” version of the Surface Book 2. That’s the one I bought not only because of the sheer size of the screen real estate I so dearly need. But also because of its graphics power that easily exceeds my expectations as a casual gamer.

The Features

No, it’s not like, it has these ports and that battery life — although the battery does play a role in just a minute. 😁

What distances the Surface Book 2 from its competitors lies in four unique features I am going to lay out here.

The detachable screen - aka The Clipboard

The clipboard - as Microsoft calls it - acts as a full Windows tablet and don’t you think I cannot hear you: “We’ve seen this before, even on other Microsoft products like the Surface Pro.”

Tablet Mode

Yes, well, noticed. But have you ever hold such a light 15” tablet in your hands that is therefore not only a note-taking pleasure but a dream for media consumption on your couch?

See I knew it. Try it out at a friendly neighborhood store. And no, I haven’t believed it either at first, so be prepared for a pleasant surprise.


As I just said, if you never had that pristine machine on your lap, you wouldn’t believe, how useful it might be.

That two in one has five — not four — Microsoft “modes.” One being the Laptop Mode, no surprises here. Then the Tablet Mode, which I’ve just described; but trust me, now it’s getting interesting.

View Mode — is a godsend especially on tiny tables like in trains — and, yes I said it, in bed or on the couch. The screen sits reversed on the keyboard ready for you to stare at it in awe —without bothering with the console on your lap or the table.

View Mode

Like you I’ve always thought, how could that possibly be a big deal? But, again, don’t take my word for it, grab one of these babies for a spin and decide for yourself.

Thank you, Microsoft for confusing us mere people with your — Studio Mode. Aren’t you guys grateful I put the picture right here?

Studio Mode

Here is the thing. Please release the clipboard — that relieving sound never gets old on me — and then tear this massive thing off the keyboard to relocate it reversely. Fold it all the way down to create a physical notebook-like experience.

That mode — I must admit — was the one feature that finally tipped me over. Being a scribbler and note-taking fanatic it was just too compelling for not going all in. A lightly raised tablet-screen sitting in front of you screaming: “write on me and scribble away pal” - yummy!

Finally, there is the Tent Mode, very easy to comprehend. But is it instrumental? You bet. Turn the beast around to surprise your meeting audience with no big keyboard in the way and a pleasant viewing angle instead.

Tent Mode

Yeah, other two in one laptops can do that as well, got it. But I’m still not sold on the keyboard weirdly staring at me while bent-over.

How on earth was no one able to pull this before?

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way, real quick. In my opinion, a hinge increasing the footprint of a laptop might be the unique thing introduced for “The Book.”

Since the screen, um, the clipboard of the Surface Book 2 is a tad heavier than most laptop screens, this fix is ingenious. The screen-wobble is significantly reduced with that approach and touching and swiping on this big screen is undeniably pleasant.

While we're at it, no, I don't get it why the hinge should look weird while closed. And no, the gap doesn't collect balls of dust and dirt. What are you guys pretend to do with your expensive hardware, cleaning your apartment with it?

Just carry your blade-like laptop longer than a minute. Then compare it with the Surface Book 2 snuggling in your palm just so nicely.

That brings us to, drum-roll please, separating the CPU from the GPU. Remember physics class in school? Pieces that can get hot shouldn’t be close, correct?

So, what if the CPU is in one part of the laptop and the GPU in the other? Right, you need again preparing your scrambling eggs in a pan, where they belong and not on a laptop keyboard.

Likewise, wouldn’t it be great, a laptop would have batteries in both, the screen and the keyboard? No need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. 

You will gain a much better overall battery-life. Which, I can affirm you, the Surface Book 2 delivers with 8 hours and more being my workhorse day in and day out.

Bonus: The Keyboard

As long as I can remember my laptop keyboards always were of proper quality. Especially my MacBook from 2015 provides excellent key travel, and I enjoyed typing on it.

Well, how to put it right with the Surface Book 2 keyboard. Let’s just say I often even prefer typing a couple of words over copy and pasting.

That sounds bold, I know. But the big keys and the nice clicky feeling just makes me prefer that one over any other I ever used.


At the end of the day, I’m not only pleasantly surprised by the Surface Book 2 experience, but this beast also changed how I interact with it.

Before the switch it was always like, there, my MacBook Pro, let’s get to work. I took it on my lap or put it on the desk and started writing or browsing the web.

Now, it’s far more like picking the Surface Book 2 up and transforming it to what suits me best in any given situation. And, boy there are now more than I ever envisioned.

Why not mention a few.

Wow, this new Netflix episode just came out. So I tear the Surface Book 2 apart and create my preferred viewing experience.

Why not scribbling away while being on my couch? Grabbing the Surface Pen plus the clipboard and off I go.

Building the tent — sure, you’ll remember the Tent Mode I mentioned above? Whenever I fancy to quickly presenting something to my colleagues at the office desk, this mode happens to be ridiculously convenient.

But being able to write and scribble on a huge laptop screen just at the right angle still is one of my favorite parts of the whole experience.

So, what’s up to your mind? What are your experiences like? Do you own one or think about buying one?

I can’t wait to hear from you guys.

Be kind and stay sharp,


Jochen Burkhard

#Entrepreneur at heart. Owner Burkhard Consulting. Passionate #StartUp supporter and blogger. #Photography and #ContentStrategy aficionado.

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