Microsoft's Swiss army knife of a laptop is getting an upgrade. A refreshed Surface Book was unveiled this week with beefier graphics capabilities and longer battery life. This isn't quite the Surface Book 2, though, so don't expect any major new features or design changes. It will be available Nov. 10 starting at $2,399 and is up for preorder now.
Since it first launched last year, the Surface Book has been an intriguing work machine because of its versatility. The system includes a 13.5-inch touch display that pops off of the included keyboard dock when you want to use it as a stand-alone tablet. That's nice for sketching or taking notes with the included Surface Pen stylus. Meanwhile, the dock has a discrete GPU, which boosts the tablet's graphical power when it's attached. That's great for graphically intensive tasks such as 3D modeling and CAD work.
The refreshed Surface Book is even more powerful, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M GPU in the base (which Microsoft calls the Performance Base) that Microsoft claims offers double the graphics performance over last year's model. The old model had a GTX 940M GPU. In addition, the new model only runs on the latest Core i7 processors, which will give it a boost during typical multitasking.
Plus, Microsoft managed to cram a bigger battery into this iteration of the Surface Book, which the company claims will net you up to 16 hours of battery life. We believe it, too; the original actually surpassed Microsoft's claim of 12 hours of battery life on our in-house battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi), running for an epic 12.5 hours.
It's a bit less portable than before, though. It weighs in at 3.63 lbs., which is slightly heftier than the original 3.48-lb. model. That's still light enough for a daily commute, and the slight weight increase is a small price to pay for the extra power and longevity.
The updated Surface Book will be available with 256GB, 512GB and 1TB storage configurations for $2,399, $2,799 and $3,299 respectively. That's up from the original 128GB with Intel Core i5 that starts at $1,499 and is still for sale. Both come pre-loaded with Microsoft's Windows 10 Pro and a 30-day trial of Office 365.