Bill Roberson / Digital TrendsMicrosoft wants Surface Book 2 to be your only PC. On its website, Book 2 is described as "a versatile laptop, powerful tablet and portable studio in one". Then users are told that it will “handle intense tasks” and will even process Windows Mixed Reality.
It is an appealing idea. I've been a three, even four PC guy for a long time. I have a desktop and a laptop for work and often both at home. That's a lot of computers, and while cloud connectivity has closed most of the gaps between them, it seems wasteful. What if a PC could do everything?
I thought the Surface Book 2 15-inch was this device. On paper, it certainly seems powerful enough. With a Core i7 quad-core processor, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics and 16 GB RAM, the Book 2 is faster than my work desktop. When I saw a chance, I eagerly cleared a place in my battle station – but that was not the intention.
The extent of the problem
The Surface Book 2 15-inch has a beautiful, pixel-rich display with an aspect ratio of 3: 2, which contains about 250 pixels per inch. It's awesome. However, my work desktop goes well with a modest 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 monitor. The Surface Book 2 doesn't seem to play well with it.
Fine text wasn't as smooth as I expected and everything on the screen looked and felt slow.
I noticed the problems almost immediately. Connecting the monitor was easy enough, but when I made it the primary display, the screen of (now secondary) Book 2 looked. Fine text wasn't as fluid as I expected, and everything on Book 2's screen looked slow and felt like it was updating more slowly than it should.
"That's a shame," I thought, and then closed Surface Book 2 because I thought the problem was solved. Boy, was I wrong? My problems were just beginning.
You were initially a minor. The icons on the desktop were a strange distance apart. A few hours later, I noticed that the title bar of several windows had shrunk. No big deal. Then my cursor disappeared as it entered certain application windows, including Word and Outlook. That was rather annoying and I restarted Book 2. That fixed the problems, but they have returned soon.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
As it turns out, my unusual behavior is the cause. Sometimes I disconnect Book 2 to use it as a laptop and then reconnect to my monitor when I come back. Crazy, right?
Microsoft even has a support page for this entitled "Windows scaling problems for devices with high DPI". On the side it says: "These symptoms also occur when the hardware configuration changes, e.g. For example, if you dock and undock a device that uses external monitors, or if you disconnect an external monitor from the device. ”The repair? Log out and log in again. This will reset the display information and improve behavior.
Let's summarize. The Surface Book 2 – and apparently all Windows devices – cannot properly process the docking / undocking from an external display. The result is a snowball of user interface rendering problems that ultimately force the user to log out. There is no solution. That's just how it is.
What are you doing, GPU?
Alright. So the symbols don't always look right. It's annoying, but does it really matter? Is it annoying to log out and back out? Maybe not, but it's not the only problem.
I have seen the Surface Book 2 crawl slowly for no apparent reason.
Surface devices are notorious for strange mistakes. You deserve a lot of criticism in the past. Consumer reports made waves last year when they revoked surface product recommendations and cited a high rate of reported problems. Earlier in 2015, Microsoft apologized for problems with the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 and said, "For those of you who haven't had the perfect experience, we're sorry for the frustration it causes."
The frustration continues. I have seen the Surface Book 2 crawl slowly for no apparent reason. During the investigation, I found that this is related to an extremely high GPU usage by the Desktop Window Manager. As with user interface scaling, this isn't a specific issue for Book 2, but that hasn't improved my experience. I quickly ran out of patience and used a test device. I don't know what I would do if I saw this achievement after spending at least $ 1,500, or $ 3,300 in the case of our test unit – but I'm sure it would include swearing.
While that's the most headache-causing problem, there is much more. Why doesn't OneDrive work when I try to browse through an Office application? Why do I hear strong coil whine when I connect Book 2 to a monitor and only then? Why did Microsoft deliver it with a Power Brick that is too small for the battery to discharge under heavy load?
I work with PCs all the time. It is my job. I can see a bug here or there, and on its own, any problem I had with the Surface Book 2 wouldn't be a deal breaker. Together, they ruined my experience and I'm returning to my multi-PC lifestyle. The Surface Book 2 is still a great 2-in-1 device and a good choice if you need a workstation laptop. However, we cannot recommend using your desktop for this.