Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Book 2

The Surface Pro 6 is appealing, but can it beat the beefier Surface Book 2?

Surface Pro 6 Review
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Microsoft’s Surface products aren’t for everyone, but if you want a powerful 2-in-1 with great battery life, there aren’t many that can compare. When you look at the new and different entries within the Surface line though, it becomes much harder to decide which is best. To try and nail it down, we pitted the Surface Pro 6 versus the Surface Book 2 and compared them on design, performance, and portability.

For a look at some of our other favorite 2-in-1s, check out our buying guide.


microsoft surface pro 6 review 3
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Almost the entirety of Microsoft’s Surface line of products exudes a cool professionalism that is hard to find outside of Apple’s MacBook Pro line of portable computers, and the Surface Book 2 is easily the flagship device in that respect. It’s exceedingly sturdy, with a solid, magnesium frame that’s both lightweight and extremely durable. It feels solid, professional, and high-quality — although you would expect as such with its high price tag.

The Surface Pro 6 is an equally well-built device, though with its thinner keyboard it’s not as substantial or as domineering. It could be argued that its new black color scheme for this-generation of Surface Pro is a little more futuristic than the more classic silver of the Surface Book 2, but that’s largely a personal choice.

Since both devices have detachable keyboards, they are each incredibly light during tablet-mode, with the Surface Book 2 somehow coming in ever so slightly lighter at 1.6 pounds (vs. 1.75 pounds), despite its larger 13.5-inch display.

The Surface Book 2 also has slightly greater and more forward-thinking connectivity options, despite being the older of the two devices. It sports a pair of USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports (it’s confusing, we know) as well as a headphone jack, two Surface Connect ports, and a full-size SDXC card reader. The kicker though, is that it has a USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port.

While the Surface Pro 6 comes equipped with its own USB-A 3.0 port, a headphone jack, mini-DisplayPort, Surface connect port, and micro-SDXC card reader, it lacks a USB-C connection.


surface pro 6
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Despite the pricing disparity between these two devices, their hardware configurations are closer than you might think. The Surface Pro 6 starts at $900 and has 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and an eighth-generation, quad-core Core i5-8250U CPU. Upgrades include an i5-8350U, or for $1,500 you can get a Core i7-8650U CPU with 256GB of storage. For $2,300 you can net yourself 16GB of RAM and a terabyte of SSD space.

The Surface Book 2 starts at $1,200 and comes with a seventh-generation Core i5-7300U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. That’s a rather weak starting point compared to the Surface Pro 6, considering the 7300U is only a dual-core CPU. However, if you’re willing to spend $2,000, you get the same Core i7-8650U found in the Surface Pro 6, the same 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Most importantly though, you get an Nvidia GTX 1050 discrete GPU, which is leaps and founds more powerful than anything the Surface Pro has.

Spending $2,500 gets you double the RAM and storage, while the top-end $3,000 configuration nets you a terabyte of SSD space. There are also options for a 15-inch version if you need more screen-space and power, with a GTX 1060 graphics chip on board, though those configurations are more expensive again.

For general computing, the Surface Pro 6 is easily the better machine in terms of price vs. performance, but when it comes to graphical capabilities, the Surface Book 2 is miles ahead of its smaller sibling if you configure it with the dedicated graphics chip.

Feeding off of all that power, the displays in both systems are excellent, each with identical pixel densities of 267 pixels per inch. The only difference is the Surface Book 2 has a slightly higher resolution of 3,000 x 2,000, vs. 2,736 x 1,824 on the Pro 6, to account for its extra inch of screen space.


microsoft surface book 2 15 inch review 311
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Both the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 are amazingly portable 2-in-1s, especially when in tablet mode. The Surface Book 2 is the larger and heavier device with a keyboard attached, measuring 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.59-inches and weighing 3.62 pounds in the Core i7 configuration. However, when you remove

the keyboard and use it as a tablet, it weighs just 1.6 pounds.

The Surface Pro 6, on the other hand, weighs 1.7 pounds without the detachable keyboard and measures  11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33-inches.

Where the Surface Pro 6 is a little easier to handle, it can’t match the Surface Book 2’s battery life. The Pro 6 offers an impressive 14.5 hours of life, according to Microsoft, but the Surface Book 2 is rated at up to 17 hours. One important caveat, though, is battery life in tablet mode. The Surface Book 2 has two batteries — one in the keyboard, and one in the tablet. The one in the tablet is smaller, so battery life in tablet-only mode is only two to three hours.

The Book is better, but there’s a but

Surface Book 2
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Picking a winner out of these two Surface 2-in-1s is difficult, as it’s a case of each being better at certain things. The Surface Pro 6 is more affordable and offers better hardware at that lower price point. But it’s not as sturdy, nor as capable graphically, nor as long-lasting as the Surface Book 2. It’s also lacking that important USB-C port.

Even still, the Surface Pro 6 will be the better option for most people. The Surface Book 2 is the more advanced piece of hardware, but it’s also more expensive. If you want a dedicated GPU and killer battery life, it’s near-perfect. Most people don’t need that graphical might, which makes the Surface Pro 6 the better option.

Product Review

The Asus ZenBook 14 is a tiny notebook that gets lost in the crowd

The ZenBook 14 aims to be the smallest 14-inch notebook around, and it succeeds thanks to some tiny bezels. Performance and battery life are good, but the notebook lacks a standout feature other than size.

Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.

Which Macs are compatible with MacOS Mojave?

Is your computer ready for Apple's big Mojave update? Here's what you need to know about MacOS Mojave compatibility, what Macs can successful download Mojave, and the requirements you need to know about.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Change your mouse cursor in Windows with these quick tips

The standard mouse cursor is boring, so change it! With this guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows, you can choose to use one of Microsoft's pre-installed cursors or download something a bit more extravagant.

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.

MacBook Pro battery replacement: Everything you need to know

Looking for a new battery for your MacBook Pro? It's important you know what to look for, what model you have, and what options Apple gives you! We'll cover everything you need to know about Apple MacBook Pro battery replacement.

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.

Acer Swift 7 vs. Apple MacBook Air

The Acer Swift 7 accomplishes its goal of being the world's thinnest notebook, and it's well-built to boot. But is that enough to take on the Apple MacBook Air in terms of being the better to actually use?

Asus ZenBook 14 UX433 vs. Dell XPS 13

The Asus ZenBook 14 UX433 has some incredibly tiny display bezels, in an effort to jam a 14-inch notebook into a 13-inch chassis. That pits it against the Dell XPS 13, the icon of small clamshells.

Intel’s 28-core monster Xeon CPU might cost upwards of $4,000

Intel's new-generation 28-core Xeon CPU will debut with a hefty price tag. Although not quite as expensive as some of its predecessors, early pre-order pricing has it costing between $4,000 and $5,000.