back to article Microsoft Surface Book 2: Electric Boogaloo. Bigger, badder, better

You have £3,000 burning a hole in your pocket. You're also an engineer, developer or manipulate visual images. You also absolutely must have a touchscreen portable workstation, preferably with a display that detaches so you can go home and watch Netflix. If you're in that most slender Venn diagram intersection, then lucky, …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Eh?

    Three thousand quid for a 13" laptop!?

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      My last laptop cost me £750, and got me through my entire university degree. LAN parties included.

      (Yes, it did play Crysis, pretty well in fact, on medium settings, and I bought the laptop about when Crysis was released, so the meme is applicable)

      My (£1000) desktop PC is pretty high spec, and these days, with faster network/internet connections, I can't really think of much that can't be farmed off to a cheaper, more capable static machine, with the exception of gaming, and even then only e-sport level low latency games. My SteamLink delivers an experience that is 99% that of what I would get sat in front of the machine, over Wifi.

      As your only machine, I can see the attraction, but it still seems like a lot.

      That SSD will be a big chunk of that price though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eh?

        The current 'sweet spot price' of SSD is 250Gb or 500Gb.

        Give it 1-2 years and the 1Tb SSD will have the 'sweet spot price'.

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Zog_but_not_the_first

      Apple gets away with it...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Zog_but_not_the_first

        "Apple gets away with it..."

        Apple is a premium brand. Microsoft is a tainted brand.

        Apple's business model has always been to sell less units for higher profit margin. Microsoft's business model was the antithesis of that... until the Apple envy consumed Redmond. OEMs be damned, Microsoft was going to have its own iPad or MacBook equivalent!

        Apple does in-house R&D and design. Microsoft obtains parts from Intel/Qualcomm etc and uses focus groups to implement its UI.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Zog_but_not_the_first

          "Apple is a premium brand. Microsoft is a tainted brand."

          Microsoft don't tend to make OS releases that log you in as admin without a password!

          The Surface hardware here is better in pretty much every respect than say a Mac Book Pro. And it runs an OS that's compatible with all your business applications.

          I note that many corporates are now buying Surface instead of ipad / ipad pro.

    3. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Eh?

      "Three thousand quid for a 13" laptop!?"

      Did you see the price for that new Nvidia Titan V??? $3000 when one can buy a fine GPU for under $100.

      The thing is, some people like to pay more for luxury and I have no problem with that. People here are claiming how their ¤500 laptop is perfectly fine and I have no qualms with that either. I drive a no-thrills Toyota but some get delight in same size Mercedes with double the price. It's their money and I don't care. Drive a new car out the show room and the value drops immediately more than the price of this laptop is.

      I read the Anandtech review yesterday and their conclusion was that this laptop trounces everything else in the same class. The CPU/GPU/SSD specs are really top of the line so it is going to be expensive. It's not like they're shoveling shit here fotr silly money.

      I'm not the target for this and neither are you it seems. Some people are.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        "The thing is, some people like to pay more for luxury"

        Except its not luxury as in being a better quality product than a normal laptop (apart from maybe the OS but you can change than on a PC anyway). In fact it has less hardware functionality than many cheaper laptops. All you're paying for is the Apple logo. Thats it. Thats not luxury or quality, its just fashion. Its the male equivalent of a designer handbag.

        I actually like Apple stuff and if they sold their machines at a reasonable price I'd buy one, but 3x the price? They're having a fecking laugh.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          "I actually like Apple stuff and if they sold their machines at a reasonable price I'd buy one, but 3x the price? They're having a fecking laugh"

          Ive said the same many times, I like the hardware - but I need windows for work and Im not paying the apple tax to rip out the OS and run windows on it when I can get the same spec for half the price!

          1. joed

            Re: Eh?

            In this particular case, Apple's premium over MS offering is pretty much 0 and you get a proper laptop (add Windows license at ~100$ if needed). I know which one I'd picked. Assuming I was in rush to burn 3k.

      2. nijam

        Re: Eh?

        > some people like to pay more for luxury

        And some people like to pay more just to show that they can pay more.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Eh?

          > And some people like to pay more just to show that they can pay more

          Nothing wrong with that if it makes the buyer happy!

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: Eh?

            The packaging is something people are prepared to pay for too. You can buy a fridge for £300, or a branded one for £600 which stores about the same but has digital display and looks way nicer in your kitchen... both are equally adequate at keeping your food cold.

            You can buy a lovely desk for £1000 or get a kitchen worktop and 4 legs from Ikea for £200 (tops). Both offer the same storage area (actually the cheap one is bigger) and pure functionality.

            Computers are not immune to this.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Eh?

              I wouldn't wish Ikea furniture on my worst enemy, they're flimsy.

              And if you're living in humid or tropical regions, that inferior wood wastes away in no time.

              There are many indie furniture makers providing much better value for your money.

              1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

                Re: Eh?

                "I wouldn't wish Ikea furniture on my worst enemy, they're flimsy."

                Bollocks.

                Ikea make a range of furniture. That most people decide to buy the cheapest, and are then amazed that it isn't as good as the stuff costing more has always bemused me.

                I've got two office chairs from Ikea. One cost ~20 euros, and gets uncomfortable after about three hours of use. The other cost ~250 and I've yet to get a sore arse or back from it.

                They are also the cheapest place around for getting a sealed surface for use as a countertop or desk.

                Also when people bugger up one part of a MDF construction, they seem to toss it. As long as it hasn't been rained on, I'll grab the panels and knock up some more shelves.

            2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

              Re: Eh? "Kitchen worktop and legs for £200"

              No idea where you are shopping, I built my own desk, using it now. Mainly as it had a closure to house my then laptop and fold away nicely. But with that taken off, just has screen and pc under. Cost all of around £50 for the wood and to assemble (used flat panels on 3 sides to avoid having to source larger wooden legs, or the tools to cut them).

        2. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          @nijam

          "And some people like to pay more just to show that they can pay more"

          And?

          Whats the problem, if someone has enough money to buy one of these but will only ever use it to update facebook does that cause you any problems?

          A lot of people on here seem far too caught up in what other people are doing with their money.

      3. techdead
        Facepalm

        Re: Eh?

        Target is corporate twonks who think they need one of these and lean on IT (upright as a melting Mars bar) management to supply them, support them and wonder why they need a crane to get it out of the office.....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eh?

      Microsoft is consumed with Apple envy... it has discarded its desktop roots to lust after the walled garden, cloud stuff and overpriced gizmos.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Eh? Three thousand quid for a 13" laptop!?

      But is it made by Microsoft?

      Is it called "Surface?"

      This is for people who want to make a statement about what they do, how they do it and whose hardware they trust to help them do it.

      I'll leave others to say exactly what statement those people think they are making, and what others think it says about them.

      I suspect the two are not the same.

    6. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      £3k for a 13" laptop with :

      1TB SSD

      16GB RAM

      GTX 1050 Graphics card

      TWO batteries

      8th Gen i7 CPU

      These are not cheap parts, Im sure there are alternative laptops with similar spec which cost less, but that doesn't mean that the SB2 wont fit someones needs and pocket.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eh?

        > £3k for a 13" laptop with :

        ...

        The nearest Apple would be MBPro 13" maxed out with 16GB, 1TB, 3.5GHz i7, which is £2799. So they are in the right ballpark.

        Furthermore, the Apple has dual-core rather than quad-core processor, a 2560x1600 screen, zero USB-A ports or SD-Card reader, no touchscreen or tablet mode; and a keyboard many people don't like. However it is lighter at 1.37kg versus "starting at" 1.64kg.

        And of course it runs macOS rather than Windows. Preference here is probably what sways most people one way or the other.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Eh?

          "And of course it runs macOS rather than Windows. "

          Well at least it's easy to sign in if you need admin rights...

    7. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Eh?

      "Three thousand quid for a 13" laptop!?"

      and with Win-10-nic on it, even!!!

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        My current employer, a Swiss based global corporate have a layer of management who can demand and get whatever they want. iPhone X, maxed out spec Dell XPS, MS Surface or Macbook Pro - not a single penny out of their own pocket. One gets the latest then they all want it. I'll be seeing these being readied in the office very soon after they come to market.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A fool and his money are soon parted. I suppose it would look nice with an iPhone X though.

    I would add "Church of Shiny" to the Venn diagram.

    1. NightFox

      ...or, some people do actually have requirements that a £200 Tesco's Celeron laptop can't quite meet.

      1. djstardust Silver badge

        I'm sure they do ....

        But it still doesn't justify Microsoft's "Apple" pricing on this model.

        The 256gb model at £1999 is still at least £500 more than it should be.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Apple pricing?

          Way above that for what you get - at least the Apple machines are small.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple pricing?

            Why the thumbs down?

            13" MacBook Pro of a similar spec is £2,500 (vs £3,000), 1.37 Kg vs 1.64, memory 2133 vs 1866, screen 2560x1600 v 3000x2000.

            1. MiguelC Silver badge

              Re: Apple pricing?

              But that built-to-order MacBook Pro (to include 1 Tb SSD and 16Gb RAM) has no detachable screen, no touchscreen, no discrete graphic card (no option other than the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 on the config), and is equipped with a 7th generation i7... so apples and oranges?

              1. bombastic bob Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: Apple pricing?

                "has no detachable screen, no touchscreen"

                overrated, in my opinion. Given a choice between this Surface II and the MacBook Pro, I'd rather have a Mac. (and it's BSD under the hood! that works well for me, for software development work)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Apple pricing?

              "13" MacBook Pro of a similar spec is £2,500 "

              No, it isn't

              A MacBook Pro of quite inferior spec, but as high as you can go is £2799. For that you only get a dual core 7th gen CPU, only 2560x1660 resolution, no USB-A ports or SD Card slot and no tablet mode and no touchscreen. And a vastly inferior GPU.

        2. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: I'm sure they do ....

          @DJStarDust

          "But it still doesn't justify Microsoft's "Apple" pricing on this model."

          Christ can you imagine the price of apple kit with a similar spec?

          I Say imagine because apple dont do a laptop with a similar spec at the moment, the closest you can get is the MBP 15" but you lose 750GB of the SSD and the dedicated graphics - and have the 7th gen CPU... and thats still £2k

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes but you can get similar specs for a grand. e.g. MSI GP72 7RE

        1. Anonymous Coward
          WTF?

          "Yes but you can get similar specs for a grand. e.g. MSI GP72 7RE"

          Well if you exclude the detachable screen, the much lower resolution, the lack of touch,lack of pen and dial support, being twice the thickness, yup your spot on.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Are they worth £2000?

            1. Updraft102 Silver badge

              > Are they [the detachable screen, the much lower resolution, the lack of touch,lack of pen and dial support, being twice the thickness] worth £2000?

              Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course. I would pay more NOT to have a detachable screen, touch, pen, dial... not only do I consider that stuff worthless, it actually reduces the value of the item to me. If I want a tablet, I will get a tablet, and it will be optimized for the form factor from start to finish... I don't see any benefit in having the ability to pull my laptop's screen off and have it magically start pretending to be a tablet.

              $3000 for a disposable bit of consumer electronics with a 1 year warranty is a bit steep. The "twice as thick" thing also means that the MSI is probably not held together with glue and can actually be taken apart with a screwdriver, as quaint as that may now seem to Microsoft. I scoffed at the idea of the unrepairable Surface laptop for $1000.... for that kind of money, I expect better than an item that is specifically designed not to be repairable. The Surface laptop specifically was noted as being the most unrepairable device that iFixit.com ever encountered, garnering the first ever zero (out of ten) points for serviceability.

              The Surface Book 2 is a little better with a score of 1/10, but for that kind of cash, I expect way better than that. If they're going to promise me that one of its components won't fail before I've gotten my money's worth out of it, let them put their money where their mouth is and give me a warranty that reflects their level of confidence in their product. Unfortunately, I think they've already done that with their 1 year warranty.

              The deal sours even more for me, though. I won't tolerate Windows 10; it simply is a garbage OS, unfit for purpose and unworthy to be used for anything more serious than demonstrating to friends how badly Microsoft has lost its mind. With any PC hardware I would buy these days, its usefulness as a product is measured by how well it lends itself to being converted to a decent OS. With this being a MS product, I would not be surprised if it were crippled in such a way that running Linux or an older version of Windows would not work. Being restricted to Windows 10 reduces its value to zero; I wouldn't use it for free if that were the case.

              1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

                At Updraft102...

                "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."

                I wouldn't know, my pet Beholder keeps zapping everything with it's eye beams. Schtooopid eye lasers...

                I'll get my coat, it's the one with the copy of the Necronomicron eating it's way through the pocket.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      I would add "Church of Shiny" to the Venn diagram.

      Yes.

      That would be one of the statements I had in mind.

      1. captain veg

        Re: I would add "Church of Shiny" to the Venn diagram.

        I would add "prepared to put up with Windows 10".

        -A.

  3. LDS Silver badge

    "how many engineers and devs"

    If you believe it's only for "engineers and devs", you're holding it wrong ;-)

  4. SVV Silver badge

    The pen isn't included

    Well, what do you expect with such a bargain basement machine? If you buy one, may I suggest a trip to Poundland where you can buy perfectly good touch screen pens for a quid, neatly rounding up the total price from £2999 to £3000. The fact you have to go and do this in no way says anytrhing about the MS attitude to convenience for its' customers.

    Or maybe the beancounters decided that it would tip the balance between profit and loss, and they were scared that the billions of units that will be sold will cause a "Blue Monday" type scenario (New Order's 12" single came in a sleeve that was so expensive to make, it actually lost a small amount of money for every copy sold. It then went on to become the best selling 12" single of all time)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The pen isn't included

      The touch screen pens for a pound are passive and shit.

      MS and Apple pens are way, way better than any crap like that.

      Next you'll be recommending Poundland headphones over Sennheiser

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. djstardust Silver badge

          Re: The pen isn't included

          When I bought my Vaio U70 (which was about £800 imported) in 2006, it came with:

          Docking station

          Foldable keyboard

          3 Stylusus (Styli, whatever)

          LAN Dongle

          VGA monoitor dongle

          Backlit LED remote control and headphones

          Spare nibs for the scroll button

          But times have moved on, companies have become greedy and that maybe explains why you can't get a VAIO any more .......

          1. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: The pen isn't included

            have you every tried to upgrade Viao?If that OS was not offered on that model good luck

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: The pen isn't included

              "have you every tried to upgrade Viao"

              yes. I installed Debian Linux on 2 of them, about 10 years ago. They worked PERFECTLY for what we needed them for. We chose Vaio for several reasons, including the NVidia displays they used.

              And I'd gladly put Devuan on a Vaio. I might just do that, soon [the current OS is Vista on this one... and I've replaced the fan and it needs a new battery, but still works just fine for day-to-day stuff, even with Vista on it].

              I think Sony gave up on Vaio because of Windows "Ape" and Win-10-nic. Too bad they didn't go with LINUX pre-installed, instead...

              1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

                Re: No offence Bob

                But you can install Linux on a dead badger if you wish to.*

                It is though above many peoples ability if it is not supported "by default". I've given up trying to reconfig my old Raspi-pi to new OS releases, as while it is possible for me to recode the settings, driver hooks and config files to the *old* TFT I have plugged in that is no longer supported, it's 3 weeks I don't have, plus 4 years of knowledge/skills I also don't have! So it stays on the older OS, and boots, and runs as a "DIY" MP3 player. I'm happy :)

                *Before you downvote me for the comment, it is an actual thing: http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/articles/installing-linux-on-a-dead-badger-users-notes/

        2. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: The pen isn't included

          @Shad

          "Isn't the whole point of surface and the adverts selling it - drawing on the screen"

          Thats the surface laptop advert, afaik it does come with the pen - Ive not seen a surface book advert for ages.

        3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: The pen isn't included

          @Shadmeister

          Are Microsoft trying to become Apple

          Perhaps Gates will do a Jobs and come back and take the helm?

      2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: The pen isn't included

        I've got a passive pen for my lenovo and it works just fine (£20 to replace it admittedly), but then the screen is a wacom digitizer screen.. so there's that I suppose (x200t for the curios, best £40 I ever spent... £2000 when it was new, such is the way with these things. And no, it wasn't stolen, just very well travelled and an obvious corp. end of lifer)

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Sleep, battery life

    Have they managed to sort that one out yet? They've only had four iterations to do so, but maybe this time they'll be lucky.

    No, I'm not going to take a 3000 quid gamble on that.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Sleep, battery life

      You're holding it wrong... no, wait...

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Sleep, battery life

      @Dan55

      The surface book 2 has had four iterations?

      Ill repeat that, the SURFACE BOOK TWO has had four iterations?

      I think that you are confusing products and thinking of the surface 4 pro which is a different product altogether - as noted in the article.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Sleep, battery life

        So you're saying you're sure they've used completely different designers, engineers, components, factories...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sleep, battery life

      Err,....

      ... this is the Surface Book 2, therefore the 2nd iteration....

      Oh and there are 2 batteries in this, one in the tablet bit, and one in the base unit, and it has achieved a 17hrs use time.

      (Note they use the 'industry standard' benchmark of watching videos to measure battery life)

  6. Tim 11

    1TB flash

    "The three-grand asking price of this particular Book 2 is because it carries a 1TB flash SSD"

    No it's not. I have 1TB flash SSD on my dell latitude. It cost about 200 quid from what I remember, and I got to keep the HDD I took out of it

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: 1TB flash

      Not sure where you got that price from. A bog standard SATA 1TB will cost you about 250 from Big River, an NVMe one (which I think is in surface) will cost at least £300.

      Yes its robbery - just not quite the robbery you are describing.

      There were some good black friday deals on surfaces took them from "worse than apple gouging" to "adequate gouging for the shiny" imo

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1TB flash

        The 1TB beasties in this would cost you or I about £1,000. So that is a third of the price already.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: 1TB flash

          What SSD is it using that costs 1000 quid at the retail level? I have looked to try to see what model of SSD it uses, but all I've been able to learn is the size options.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 1TB flash

            "What SSD is it using that costs 1000 quid at the retail level?"

            Anandtech review had Samsung OEM PM961 which costs about $300.

  7. davenewman

    Couldn't Adam and Eve it

    Since the Eve equivalent is half the price.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Couldn't Adam and Eve it

      no it's not.

  8. Uberseehandel

    Certainly not a narrow Venn slice

    In the real world there are lots more engineers, designers, CFD practitioners, to say nothing of the software and project management folk required to turn visionary ideas into reality. It is just that those engaged in a service based economy don't realise that over 50% of the factories in the developed world are automated, or in the process of becoming automated. People have to design robots, and materials handling systems. Something as "simple" as autonomous vehicles requires huge amounts of development work.

    Most of the time these projects are multinational, people travel with their workstations, it is normal to pay £4 - 5,000 for a portable workstation.

    There are a lot more people who need this level of capability than this particular writer realised. But I always wondered why a journalist needs anything more than a stout pair of shoes, a spiral notebook, pencil and penknife.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Certainly not a narrow Venn slice

      @ Uberseehandel

      Forget the notebook and pencil. The modern journalist just phones the story back to a robot at base. The robot has a limited understanding of natural language, English, German, or any other; so any shortcoming of language in the journalist is masked.

      Robots' English makes lots of mistakes with homophones, probably because the meaning escapes them.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Certainly not a narrow Venn slice

        "Robots' English makes lots of mistakes with homophones"

        I'm thinking of a bad joke right now, one shockingly similar to that 'chorus line musical number' from Blazing Saddles...

        /me grabs coat, runs

  9. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Trollface

    The price adequately reflects

    Your position on the corporate ladder and your obvious value to the company.

    Unlike the lusers who can't get the purchase order signed off.

    .

    .

    .

    Disclosure: it did once take me 3 tries to get an equivalent spec (for the day) laptop signed off so I could take an NT4 server running an Exchange Server out to site with me for diagnostic purposes. The main sticking point seemed to be that it was a higher specification than the one the signer had.

    1. A K Stiles
      Meh

      Re: The price adequately reflects

      It always amused / frustrated me in a previous job that developers had to beg and plead for a laptop capable of running an IDE and a browser simultaneously, whilst networks / operators had the absolute newest top spec machines, which were replaced at least annually, in order to run a terminal session to the server.

      The responsibility for purchasing machines lay within the networks group...

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: The price adequately reflects

      @trump slurp.

      I once had to write some new business logic for a purchase order system that would push approvals of apple hardware through to board level.

      This was around about the time that the iPhone 4 came out and management had started ordering them, I pointed out the absurdity that ordering an iPhone 4 would require sign off from the board of a multi billion £ company when you could still order a samsung costing considerably more with nothing more than line manager approval... but it had been decreed that the plebs should not be allowed to gaze upon the jesus phones.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real alternatives?

    As it looks like we've got a lot of experts in the house today who know of better alternatives, I'm going to (genuinely) ask for some suggestions as I'd prefer not to be paying £3k for one of these but can't see much that fits the bill for cheaper.

    The problem: My wife is a 3D artist who is currently at home looking after our 1-year old daughter. She needs something that can be easily moved between rooms with a lot of CPU grunt. Although a 1050 mobile chip would probably suffice for some work, for the bigger jobs a 1080 (proper desktop grade)is really needed, which I currently have in a Razer Core, which runs over USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, so the laptop needs to support that (with eGPU support, naturally). A Wacom Pro-quality touch display (like a Cintiq) built in is also needed.

    Please don't suggest some sort of remote experience to a more powerful machine as I've already exhausted that approach.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks

    1. myhandler

      Re: Real alternatives?

      CAD/CGI calls for a desktop machine, loads of RAM, high power graphics, a normal Wacom and ideally two monitors.

      If you need portable with touch screen as well this seems a bargain.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Real alternatives?

      Your specs are highly niche - especially a built-in Cintiq-like display, hard to find in more generic devices aimed at a larger user base.

      Wacom does make some specifice devices (http://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/pen-computers/wacom-mobilestudio-pro), but they may not be poweful enough.

      Dell and others have mobile workstations (i.e http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/workstations-isv-certified-dell/precision-7710/spd/precision-m7710-workstation), but they may have not Cinqit-like displays. One reason it the keyboard gets in the way when you're working directly on the display - and many prefer to work with something larger than a 17" display. Moreover big GPUs need cooling.

      There could be some companies building such machines, but you'd need to look for them.

    3. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Real alternatives?

      "Any ideas?"

      Wacom Mobilestudio Pro has partly you covered and HP Zbook X2 eclipses your wishes, although the Quadro GPU isn't nearly this powerful. The top spec Zbook is 50% more expensive than this Surface Book though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real alternatives?

        I'd go with the Z-range as well.

        I've the last gen and its a beast.

        http://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Offer.aspx?p=b-hp-mobile-workstations

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The hardware specs my be nice, but the Microsoft name just hasn't got the cool factor to be asking this sort of money. A lot of end users think that their unbranded cheap desktop PCs are already make by Microsoft because that's what comes up on the screen when they boot up.

    Perhaps Microsoft should look at creating a new brand for their luxury items separate from Microsoft completely. Just like car manufacturers do. BMW own Roles Royce, and VW owns Bugati and Bentley but they don't brand them under the parent brand as they know people wouldn't pay Bugati prices for a WV branded car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "but the Microsoft name just hasn't got the cool factor to be asking this sort of money"

      As much as I hate these sort of things, others say otherwise.

      http://www.cityam.com/272579/these-worlds-100-most-valuable-brands-2017

      1. conscience

        No doubt Microsoft is a money making machine, but regardless of any rankings list I sincerely doubt that their brand is seen as 'better' than the likes of Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Disney etc.

        It would be interesting to see how those rankings were calculated, and whether there were any corporate sponsors who funded it.

        EDIT: Didn't Microsoft do exactly that with the original XBox, and leave the Microsoft name off the console and packaging?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've never seen a Surface but I know I don't like them.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      They are actually quite nice! I was surprised.

      But not as surprised as at the insane price of one.

  13. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Gerra jaaab!!

    If Taniguchi from Tetsuo II: Body Hammer had a Saturday job designing laptops, he might design something like the Microsoft Surface Book 2.

    If he did, it's far from his best work, must be suffering from rust already.

    I'd think he could do something much scarier. Or move out of his mums (or okasa if you prefer) abandoned industrial facility to a nice thirty somethings studio flat where he could concentrate better.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To put things into perspective

    In 1979 my Apple II with the luxury of a floppy but only a B&W video card - cost the equivalent now of GBP6K.

    My Elonex IBM PC compatible in the 1980s with the massive 20MB hard drive was a similar equivalent price.

  15. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Who is this for?

    I am really surprised at a 1TB option. Storage via USB-C would seem to be the way to go for this kind of device, though I suspect that when travelling you never need that much. Much more important and more expensive is onboard RAM.

    Microsoft seems to have missed the memo on Apple's push into the highend notebook world with the I-Pad Pro, which looks like a bargain compared to this (yes, I know the specs are very different),

  16. Bob Vistakin
    Pint

    It's great that microsoft are still making hardware

    You just have to wait 6 months for the eBay firesale and the hackers to port Android over.

  17. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    Still looks like an old Macbook

    You remember the polycarbonate body ones from about 2011? Looks like those to me.

    That said, work have given up on them because 30% of them failed within the first year, so I'm probably not going to get to see one for real.

  18. CheesyTheClown

    Buy the US 15” from Amazon or similar

    $3200 gets you at GTX1060 and 15” screen. Then after shipping and VAT, it’s about 3200£.

    I’ve had my Surface Book for two years now, top model first generation and I believe it was pretty cheap. I paid about £3500 for it after overnight shipping and taxes. It has been the best laptop I’ve ever owned and I still use it 8-18 hours a day. It’s my development and gaming PC and I’ve experienced some sleep issues with it, but never had a problem otherwise.

    I owned a Samsung Series 7 Slate (the machine Windows 8 was designed for), a Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3. When I switched from Apple to Microsoft, my life has only gotten better with each generation. Altogether, I’ve owned about 50 laptops over the years and other than my Wacom Cintiq Companion, I have never been so happy.

    Consider a machine which costs about $150 a month to own over a two year life span. I more than that for cigarettes or coffee. The fact is, $150 a month isn’t even a rounding error. Add to that the tax deduction associated with it which makes it closer to $135 a month.

    I know there are people out there who think I terms of what does it cost on the first day, but as a typical middle class household that takes home $10,000 a month after tax, even if we had to pay for it (as opposed to the boss), $135 of $10,000 for a tool to use for 90% or more of your work doesn’t matter at all.

    P.S. I said middle class, not middle income. Middle income is politician talk for making the less poor of the poor feel like they’re not being screwed by a classist society. Middle class means white-collar, home owners with college degrees. If you need help telling the difference, middle class teenagers own one or two pairs of Jordan’s. Middle income owns 10-30 because they lack the class to manage their money.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Buy the US 15” from Amazon or similar

      "I still use it 8-18 hours a day. It’s my development and gaming PC and I’ve experienced some sleep issues"

      Uh, perhaps those 18 hour computathons have something to do with sleep issues?

      1. CheesyTheClown

        Re: Buy the US 15” from Amazon or similar

        Well played!

        P.S. - You made my day :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Middle Income vs Middle Class

      Quote

      If you need help telling the difference, middle class teenagers own one or two pairs of Jordan’s. Middle income owns 10-30 because they lack the class to manage their money.

      My kids don't own any Jordans so I guess we are classless or useless by your measure... :) :)

      1. CheesyTheClown

        Re: Middle Income vs Middle Class

        Haha... it all depends whether you’re poking fun or intentionally taking offense to the letter as opposed to the intent of what was written.

        I sadly wish I could say that I didn’t have to sit in a room full of teenager boys comparing specifications of Jordan’s. I would gladly be classless if that is the cost. :)

        To be fair, one pair was his big birthday present and the other pair, he was allowed to spend a few hundred dollars of his confirmation money before putting the rest in savings. I don’t believe their is anything more than placebo with regards to “Tech” in sneakers. But he doesn’t ask for much, so as long as he brings good grades and doesn’t go rotten, we don’t mind spoiling him occasionally.

        Honestly, I’d buy him another pair if he brought be 10 A+ grades in Math, Science and Norwegian in a row. I figure if I buy his grades now, I won’t have to pay as much to support him later.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Middle Income vs Middle Class

          My kids and their crowd wouldn't be seen dead in Jordans, having labelled them chavwear.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Buy the US 15” from Amazon or similar

      I see what you did there, but the /s tag would have been helpful.

  19. Lusty Silver badge

    Battery

    Weird that this laptop review didn't mention the (up to) 17 hour battery life. I regularly get that sort of time out of mine despite lots of video etc. Just the screen alone will do about 7 hours. This leads to the new problem of being surprised when it needs charging :)

    I definitely like the reversed screen mode for watching movies in hotels - something real world users of these will do a LOT. It's also great for video chat, and the pen allows remote white boarding sessions that other laptops don't. I can also whiteboard in a room with only a projector/screen using this.

    It's also cool that writing on the screen is just like writing on paper, but the notes get indexed whether you ink2text it or not. £100 for the pen though feels like madness.

    I definitely don't love the weight. This is a beast of a machine for travelling and it's pretty bulky. This is a definite trade-off with the battery life and power of the thing.

    Would I have paid £3k of my money for this? Probably not, it's definitely a work machine rather than a personal machine. The Surface Laptop though, there's a pretty machine designed for home use and it's much cheaper! Comparing to my Macbook pro build quality is similar and I get the advantage of having all the keys on the keyboard.

  20. stephanh Silver badge

    it's a Microsoft product...

    ...I think I'll wait for version 3. No, make that 3.1. Or 3.11.

    (Honestly, I will also not be buying the 3, given the amount of money involved.)

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: it's a Microsoft product...

      This is version 3. Or is it 4 now?

  21. MarkElmes

    I've got the Surface Book 1 with performance base and I love it - by far the best laptop I've used. Shame I can't afford to upgrade to the new one as the bump in GPU power would be appreciated!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah thats why...

    Why Windoze10's 'creators update' kill's cheaper tablets, so you have to upgrade to an expensive microshite product? Shades of Apple sauce anyone?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Runs Windows...

    Can't recommend a purchase.

    1. LeedsMonkey

      Re: Runs Windows...

      Why? Seems a bit narrow minded. Yes Windows has it issues, but you seem to forget it's about the applications you need to support your workload not the operating system at the end of the day.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Surface...

    It'll break within months, you'll end up with a sh*tty refurb, it'll be broken on arrival, the support will be the usual outsourced rubbish, and after 7 devices you'll have to wrestle microsoft in a pool of mud to get a new one, which will arrive with similar fault developing, at which point you'll give up, put it on a shelf and never use it again.

    Been there done that. It sucks. It's really nice hardware but they don't design/build the internals well at all. Also, £3k?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

  25. W. Anderson

    Great Handware, but!

    No doubt the new Microsoft SurfaceBooks 2 is an impressive piece of hardware.

    However, since all computer hardware is just an anvil without "good or excellent" software, the Surfacebook is at a disadvantage by running Windows 10, 11 or whatever.

    The Apple MacOS is significantly superior to Windows in Power, Reliability, and scalability, not to mention many of the latest Linux distributions that overwhelm Windows in every sphere of comparison.

    Don't forget, Linux runs NASA Mars and Moon landing equipment, as well as the organizations infrastructure, Boeing, Airbus and SpaceX technology departments, "All" fastest Supercomputers on earth, all graphical departments of major Movie studios, Asian Rail systems and just about any technology computing tasks requiring the most and best capability.

    Maybe Microsoft would be better served by running e.g Arch Linux "natively" on Surfacebook for "best Value" overall.

    1. stephanh Silver badge

      Re: Great Handware, but!

      It is nowadays perhaps not completely unthinkable anymore that Microsoft would provide some level of support for running Linux on its hardware. However, no sane vendor would claim to support Arch, which is a rolling release so a moving target. Linux- focused hardware vendors such as System76 usually support some stable target such as Ubuntu LTS.

      1. W. Anderson

        Re: Great Handware, but!

        You miss my point.

        A stable, strongly supported and advanced Linux distribution was the intent. Arch was an example.

        CentOS, openSuse and Ubuntu/Debain base are viable distributions that are infinitely more powerful, reliable, more secure, flexible and scalable than "any" iteration of Windows, including latest windows 10X, and both Free/Open Source Software.

        And before the Micro-dupes wade in about easy to use, intuitive Graphical User Interfaces, that argument against Linux has long "died, a horrible death", based on "facts and reality"

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: Great Handware, but!

          As someone who makes his living using Linux, I cannot agree with any characterisation of Linux GUI tools as being "intuitive" or "easy to use". Every damned one is different, with its own quirks, and most aren't worth the bother.

          This is in complete contrast to the way the command-line tools generally all work in the same manner. It's this consistency of the Linux command-line tools, following principles and examples inherited from Unix, that made it the premier server OS.

          ...and Microsoft does ship a "Linux" distribution for Windows 10. Or rather, Canonical and Microsoft does. You can get it here:

          https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/ubuntu/9nblggh4msv6

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great Handware, but!

      "The Apple MacOS is significantly superior to Windows in Power, Reliability, and scalability,"

      In which reality is that, because it isn't in this one?! I can for instance run Windows on say a dual CPU Xeon box. Good luck doing that with Mac OS...

      "not to mention many of the latest Linux distributions that overwhelm Windows in every sphere of comparison"

      You mean like the benchmarks against the latest Ubuntu that Windows 10 always wins for almost everything that matters?

  26. J J Carter Silver badge
    Boffin

    Veblen good!

    Once the incredibly expensive Performance Base is available I'll buy-in

  27. Kinetic

    Wort bit is the upgrade/repair-ability

    If the v2 is like the v1, you can't upgrade or fix the most basic parts, and neither can Microsoft. You send it in for "repair", you'll get a refurb back. Yay a stranger's laptop, i hope they took care of it.

    They are hideously complex things - it's a miracle they work at all.

    For £3k i expect perfection, non replaceable parts isn't it. I'll have a regular ultrabook thanks.

  28. ecofeco Silver badge

    And still way overpriced.

    See title.

  29. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    £3000 for a machine which has some issues with sleep mode?

  30. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    Microsoft FAIL

    So for 3,000 you can buy the new Surface Book, or TWO good-quality ultrabooks.

  31. Dropper

    I'll pass

    You can get a decent i7 light weight, slim laptop with 16 GB RAM and a 512 GByte SSD for less than the worst version of this "tablet". It'll even have a 360 degrees (fold behind the keyboard) HD touchscreen.

    No way I'd pay for a glorified iPad ($320) + standard i5 ($150) plus cheapo GTX 1050 ($130) for $3000-$4500. Even if it does have a $150 SSD thrown in.

    Save yourself at least two grand by buying a Dell or HP 13" touchscreen laptop with 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a 128GB iPad.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: I'll pass

      Yes, and you can get a pen and paper for a couple of quid. The spec you're citing is for a far less powerful system than the £3k Surface Book, which won't be much use if you're running software that requires a lot of computational power. Compared to giving someone a workstation, plus a laptop, that £3k doesn't look so bad.

      But yes, the 1Tb disk option is pure gouging, but with the 512G SSD, it's perfectly in line with what you'd expect to pay for one of the highest-performing laptops you can buy at the moment. The article cites similarly high-spec Windows laptops, and they're priced in the same ballpark. The latest technology always costs a lot more than the previous generation, and this laptop is no exception. At least this time, the advantage of the 8th-generation CPUs over the 7th is clear and measurable - particularly in power usage (can do the same work as the old chips, but at 60% of the power consumption).

      Just because, like me, you can't justify spending that much on a laptop, it doesn't mean that there isn't someone who does need it. In my case, I don't use a laptop as my primary computing device - I've a desktop PC that I do my own work on, and that will outdo most laptops, simply by virtue of not being constrained in terms of cooling or power consumption.

  32. Milton Silver badge

    That horse has bolted

    Notwithstanding a completely stupid Apple-level price, I guess I'm not the only one who experienced one of the early Surface3 devices and found it a ridiculously unreliable POS and now will never go near anything with the word "surface" in it.

    Sure, I could technically afford one and I am thinking of a new portable ... But even half that money buys more power, function, expandability, reliability, a bigger screen - so why piss my cash up a wall? So that colleagues will say "Ooh"?

  33. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Reliability/repairability

    These are my concerns with hardware from Microsoft. And this is based on my experience with several generations of Surface tablets in our organization.

  34. N2 Silver badge

    £3000 for a what?

    I tried but you can't do that for a MacBook Pro, even adding all the extras could I get to £2799 for a 13" inch MacBook with retina screen etc and

    3.5GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz

    16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory

    1TB SSD storage

    They are 'aving a larf.

  35. leftside

    You want the best laptop in the world - then you'll have to pay for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >You want the best laptop in the world - then you'll have to pay for it.

      Indeed, the new ZBook 17's are expensive - danger for power users is the manglement read the MS marketing and expect gratitude when they save a couple of grand palming you off with a topline Surface Book 2 instead of a mobile workstation.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You want the best laptop in the world - then you'll have to pay for it."

      £2999 to be precise.

  36. MonkeyCee Silver badge

    GFX fail

    I am the only one who considers a GTX 1050 2Gb to be a pretty low end graphics card? I mean, for a corporate box email and word bpx, sure. But not even 4gb?

    You can pick up a gaming laptop with a 1060 6gb for ~1500 or a 1070 8gb for ~1800. They have 256gb SSDs and 1Tb spinning rust, and one gen previous processors.

    I'm curious about it's build quality too, since about 80% of the surfaces in my university crowd didn't survive past six months*. Macbooks, ultrabooks, gaming laptops and chromebooks seem to be what prospers.

    Then again, I hate carrying around an expensive machine. I'll leave my 200 super basic laptop on the table in the library when I go to the crapper, and I'll let my 3 year old watch stuff on it without panicking when he pokes sticky fingers at it.

    * as surfaces. Some are doing fine as desktop machines, but that sort of defeats the purpose

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: GFX fail

      "I am the only one who considers a GTX 1050 2Gb to be a pretty low end graphics card? I mean, for a corporate box email and word bpx, sure. But not even 4gb?"

      I'm curious how anyone would consider 1050 a "pretty low end graphics card". Anything Intel is low-end and even they're perfectly sufficient for corporate stuff. This Nvidia is perfectly fine for casual gaming - and this is not a gaming laptop anyway.

      "You can pick up a gaming laptop with a 1060 6gb for ~1500 or a 1070 8gb for ~1800. They have 256gb SSDs and 1Tb spinning rust, and one gen previous processors."

      Apple and oranges, mate. How much do those gaming "laptops" weight? Can you actually use them in your lap? How long do the batteries last? How hefty is the power brick? How silent are they when idle or under full load?

      Do people in your Uni actually lug gaming laptops to classes? How do they manage a day of lectures with those power sucking beasts.

      "I'm curious about it's build quality too, since about 80% of the surfaces in my university crowd didn't survive past six months*"

      Sounds like you are pulling that statistic straight out of your ass.

  37. tojb
    Coffee/keyboard

    glut of these on the second-hand market

    Usually around Oct-Nov I see a lot of MS surfaces posted for sale on the campus noticeboards. Students get given one by an indulgent uncle and then find that when their prof says "type sudo apt-get install gcc" that they have nowhere to type it. Earlier versions were bootlocked, making it difficult to overwrite the OS.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: glut of these on the second-hand market

      First, I don't know where this "fact" came from, but no: no Surface model has ever been boot-locked, except the ARM-based Surface RT. You don't have to take my word for this: just type "install linux on Surface Pro" into your favourite search engine and see the numerous guides on doing just that.

      Second, 'sudo apt-get install gcc' will work on a Windows laptop once you install the Windows Subsystem For Linux. I've had some pretty dumb students back when I was a lecturer, but I imagine even they'd be able to open up the app Store icon and type "Ubuntu" into the search-box, install the software and then click the "bash shell" icon on their desktop afterwards.

      ...and the example is contrived anyway: I've never seen computing students running anything other than Mac or Windows as an OS on their personal laptops. For almost all programming coursework, the BSD tools on a Mac suffice; WSL on Windows goes a step further by giving you the exact same tools as a "real" Linux system, but for compilers building the type of projects that will be done in an undergraduate course, this distinction doesn't really matter.

      If you want a plausible reason for Surfaces being abandoned, it'll be the keyboards. The folding keyboards are okay, but for heavy-duty typing, there's no substitute for a real keyboard.

  38. Androgynous Cow Herd

    "if you largely work within a single application that Dial supports."

    Hopefully they will support a second application soon...

  39. James Anderson

    Unimaginative boring commodity PC labelers

    The whole point of the surface line is to get the traditional PC manufacturers to put some innovation and pizzaz into thier product lines.

    With the possible exception of Lenovo, the major manufacturers (re labelers ?) have been pushing boring shoddily made laptops whose design has barely changed over the last ten years.

    MS had to do something to claw back some market and mind share from Apple.

    Linux has the same problem beautiful software but a poor choice of substandard hardware to run it on.

  40. SniperPenguin

    Soon to be seen

    At legal firms across the land, and on the desks of directors everywhere.....

    You now have an alternative to a high-end MacBook Pro. Scoff all you want, this market exists.

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