Why did I put up with Microsoft’s Surface Book 2? Why did anybody? That’s the query I requested myself lately as I attempted to persuade the Surface Book 2 to acknowledge my 4K monitor, but once more.
Surface Book 2 customers have suffered by means of fairly a bit. There was the GPU bug that delayed a scheduled Windows update. Thermal points. Even a power issue that was actually by no means mounted.
Most laptops survive PCWorld’s assessment course of with out exposing main points. But as I go searching on the cabinets housing our assessment models, I can see that the Surface Book 2 had a tough time of it. Here’s the 15-inch Surface Book 2 whose discrete GPU failed, probably resulting from overheating. This 13-inch mannequin’s battery was useless on arrival. A second 15-inch Surface Book 2, a few yr in the past, determined to output nothing higher than HD decision (1366×768) on an exterior show.
For its time, the Surface Book 2 completely represented the “do everything” idea that was the core mission of the Surface Book line: a laptop computer with a pill, that would ship excellent efficiency and stable battery life. What I took from it by way of productiveness and efficiency, although, it stole again in frustration simply attempting to make it work.
The face of a bigger drawback
That ought to by no means occur. Microsoft’s premium PC requested consumers to pay $1,149, minimal, for a Surface Book 2, and as much as a whopping $3,300 for a top-of-the-line mannequin. At these costs, anybody who bought a Surface Book 2 ought to have had near a flawless expertise.
Microsoft didn’t ship. Almost instantly, reviewers discovered that the Surface Book 2 drew too much power for its AC adapter below load, akin to in the course of a sport or a 3D CAD app that tapped the discrete GPU. In that state of affairs, the Surface Book 2 started pulling energy from the battery, even whereas plugged in. A CPU subject slowed it to a crawl, and issues with the discrete GPU ultimately held up the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. Users additionally complained that the Surface Book 2 had an overheating issue, the place it will proceed to function whereas closed, and temperatures would climb to alarming ranges (particularly should you put the closed laptop computer right into a bag).
That wasn’t all. USB-C hubs weren’t almost as prevalent a number of years in the past as they’re at present, so Microsoft saved delivery the unique Surface Dock, which it had launched with the unique Surface Book in 2015. (The first Surface Book lacked a USB-C port, whereas the Surface Book 2 included one.)
Diplomatically, I’d name the Dock “flaky.” The first Microsoft Store review for the Surface Dock described it as “junk.” Users puzzled why the Surface Book 2 connected to the Dock couldn’t support a pair of 4K monitors at 60Hz, when the 2017 mannequin of the Surface Pro might. But the mixture of the Surface Book 2 and first-gen Dock nonetheless failed on even an easier degree. Today, after updating its firmware (and sure, the Dock comprises firmware) our Surface Book 2 failed to acknowledge my 4K show whereas related to the Dock. The Surface Pro 7 did. So did the Surface Book 3. (The Surface Book 2’s USB-C port lets you hook up with a single 4K show, however solely at 30Hz, a refresh charge that fatigues the eyes.)
To be truthful, Microsoft in all probability didn’t anticipate in 2015, when it unveiled the original Surface Dock, that customers can be asking it to assist a pair of exterior 4K/60 screens in 2020. Because Microsoft by no means up to date the Dock till 2020, nonetheless, this limitation grew to become extra evident because the years glided by.
Equally irritating was Microsoft’s failure to make amends. Surface Book 2 house owners can now purchase an upgraded 127W Surface power supply that may resolve the Book 2’s energy issues—for one more $125. It additionally seems the Surface Book 2 won’t ever be capable to output to a pair of 4K screens at 60Hz. The $260 Surface Dock 2 ‘s product page confirms that the Surface Book 2 will solely be capable to output at 4K/30Hz. (At least the Surface Dock 2 provides 199W of energy, so that you received’t have to purchase the upgraded energy provide, too.)
Just a short while in the past, Microsoft started delivery the Surface Book 3, an up to date model of the Book 2 with Intel’s 10th-gen processors inside. Though the design of the Surface Book 3 stays just about unchanged from that of its predecessors, the Surface Dock 2 product web page at the very least makes clear that the Surface Book 3 can energy a pair of 4K screens at 60Hz. More importantly, the Surface Book 3 simply appears to work.
Look, bugs occur. Consumers will grumble about them. When an organization acknowledges after which fixes an issue, it’s an indication prospects are being listened to and appreciated. If I have been Microsoft, I’d consider a way of constructing it as much as customers who caught with the Surface Book 2 by means of thick and skinny.
begin can be to supply Surface Book 2 house owners an upgraded 127W energy provide—if not totally free, then ideally at a hefty low cost. A alternative between a reduced energy provide and a reduced Dock 2 can be even higher.
The Surface Book 2’s miscues tarnished the Surface model, however not irrevocably. Microsoft’s Surface Laptops are sound. The Surface Pro 7 continues to be the perfect Windows pill in the marketplace. Microsoft cannot resolve the Surface Book 2’s issues by delivery the Surface Book 3 and turning the web page. It doesn’t repair what the Surface Book 2 broke: the belief of its prospects. But it could nonetheless earn a shot at redemption.