Microsoft shook up the laptop industry in 2012 when it introduced the Surface Pro, an iPad-like tablet that runs desktop-calibur Windows and takes its commands from Microsoft's unique snap-on keyboard and Surface Pen. While the Surface Pro's computing power aimed (and still aims) somewhere between a MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, Microsoft released the more laptop-looking Surface Book in 2015 to get its hybrid PC line into the hands of more designers, architects and gamers.
The Surface Book 2, announced Tuesday, is a modest update to the original Surface Book. Here are the biggest changes.
Two screen sizes
The first Surface Book had a 13.5-inch removable touchscreen display, but the new Surface Book 2 comes in either 13.5-inch or 15-inch versions. The unique, taller display ratio and sharp pixel density remain on all the devices, however, with both new and old 13.5-inch models carrying pixel layouts of 3000 x 2000 and the 15-inch variant 3240 x 2160.
Microsoft has included the last two generations of Intel processors in the new Surface Book models, with the least expensive 13.5-inch i5 variant coming with the 7th gen Dual Core chip and all others packing the brand new 8th gen Quad-Core processors.
Microsoft says its Surface Book 2 computers have five-times the graphics power of the original Surface Book and are "twice as powerful" as today's MacBook Pros.
A firmer screen hinge
The most controversial design choice on the original Surface Book: that darn gap left by it's (sometimes) flimsy feeling screen hinge. Though the Surface Book 2 doesn't look to shrink down that gap, Microsoft said it has firmed it up. That means the Surface Book 2, unlike the original, shouldn't teeter back and forth as much when you're jabbing it with your finger or Surface Pen.
Battery, battery, battery
The battery power of the least expensive model Surface Book 2 (17 hours) exceeds that of the original baseline model (12 hours) and premium Performance Base model (16 hours) of the original Surface Book, so you will get maximum charge whether you're spending $1,499 (starting price) or well over $2,000.
The Surface Book 2 is the first Microsoft computer to come with a USB Type-C port, the plug compatible with most of today's Android phones and even the 12-inch Apple MacBook.
Windows Fall Creators Update
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 will come with Microsoft's Window 10 Pro Fall Creators Update, which includes a new Photos app, a larger compatibility with VR headsets and cursor eye-tracking for disabled users to navigate hands-free.
Of course, this update to Windows 10 is available to all compatible PCs beginning October 17.
The new Surface Book 2s will go on sale this holiday season, starting at $1,499.