When comparing Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) vs Dell XPS 15, the Slant community recommends Dell XPS 15 for most people. In the question“What are the best laptops for Photoshop around $2000?” Dell XPS 15 is ranked 1st while Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose Dell XPS 15 is:
Two display choices are available for the XPS 15, an Ultra HD touchscreen or a Full HD non-touch screen. Both screens have a very wide array of colors as they cover approximately 100% of sRGB color space. The viewing angle is around 170 degrees. However, at 45 degrees, slight color change can be noticed. With around 350 nit output for brightness, it’s a viable choice for outdoor usage. All of this makes it an amazing display.
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Pro Gaming performance on-par with gaming laptops
The 15-inch version of the Surface Book 2 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. This is a powerful, VR-ready card that handles intensive gaming tasks.
As for real-world performance, Hitman (1920 x 1080, ultra) runs at 71.9 frames per second, Grand Theft Auto V runs at 45 fps.
It should also be mentioned that you need to be using the dock in order to do graphic-intensive tasks since that's where the GPU is located; using the laptop in tablet-mode will yield poor results in this regard.
Pro One of the best performances found on a 15-inch laptop
Equiped with an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 8GB (or 16GB) of RAM and an SSD that goes up to 1TB, the Surface Book 2 certainly packs a punch. It handles multitasking perfectly; you can open dozens of Chrome tags, stream video, and draw using the built-in software without experiencing any lag even once.
As far as benchmarks go, on the Geekbench 4 overall performance benchmark, the Surface Book 2 got a score of 12,505, better than the 15-inch laptop average (11,004) coming third after the Dell XPS 15 (13,911) and the MacBook Pro (15,170).
Pro The hinge is quite stable as far as 2-in-1 laptops go
The new fulcrum hinge that Microsoft used for the Surface Book 2 is much more stable than the one found on the previous Surface Book or even other 2-in-1 laptops for that matter.
Pro Great display for creative professionals
This laptop's display is bright and vivid, making it perfect for people who do a lot of drawing, design, or video editing work. The display offers an excellent coverage of 131% of the sRGB colour gamut (the average for this price range is 101%). The colour coverage and the bright display which measures an average of 417 nits really makes colours truly pop out and offers lifelike pictures.
Pro The battery easily lasts a full work day on a single charge
The Surface Book 2 lasts on average 12 hours on a single charge. This should be more than enough to get anyone to the end of their workday on a single charge.
Pro Great tying experience
Even though the keyboard is rather shallow (just 1.2mm of travel), the typing experience is excellent. Keys have a great amount of feedback when clicking and you rarely (if ever) bottom out when typing.
Pro Amazing display
Two display choices are available for the XPS 15, an Ultra HD touchscreen or a Full HD non-touch screen. Both screens have a very wide array of colors as they cover approximately 100% of sRGB color space.
The viewing angle is around 170 degrees. However, at 45 degrees, slight color change can be noticed.
With around 350 nit output for brightness, it’s a viable choice for outdoor usage. All of this makes it an amazing display.
Pro Good battery life if you pick the 1080p display
Models with the 1080p screen last about 10 hours with general usage. Naturally, if more intensive tasks are involved, the battery will be drained faster.
Pro Solid keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard and trackpad are reliable and solid all-around. The keyboard is responsive but is not super “clicky”, rather a bit soft. It has a white backlight on black keys that illuminates them at night. The touchpad is rather large while having no buttons. Despite this, the XPS 15 can reliably distinguish between the left and right clicks which are done on the trackpad itself.
Pro Optional password-free-sign-in via a fingerprint reader
For an additional $25 it’s possible to enjoy a password-free-sign-in by having a fingerprint reader. It will keep your laptop safe while still providing convenient access to it.
Pro Slick design
The whole design is quite stylish. The aluminium chassis provides a very clean look while the black carbon fiber palm rest with an almost borderless display cements it as a visually modern laptop. All of this is made with a premium build quality.
Pro Very well-rounded laptop
The cheapest configuration is a great choice for general non-intensive use - things like internet browsing, watching movies and similar tasks.
Whereas the more expensive configurations are gradually more capable of intensive tasks, like video editing or gaming. It’s not as good as a specialized computer built for a specific purpose, like a video editing laptop with an enormous RAM size or a gaming laptop with a superior graphics card, but it’s a very well-rounded, reliable laptop.
Pro Operates well on a Linux system
All essential things, like network connectivity, ports and sound, work right “out-of-the-box” with a Linux operating system. There is a compatibility issue on the new 9560 model with its graphics card but the laptop is still very usable with its integrated Intel graphics card.
Pro Can run most modern games
Being an excellent all-rounder, it can be used as a gaming laptop for games that are not exceptionally demanding, like Overwatch or Dota 2. Unless you’re using the cheapest model, you can expect a reasonable 60 frames per second for almost all modern games, provided that you’re willing to lower the game’s settings.
Con No Thunderbolt port
For a laptop aimed at creative professionals, the missing Thunderbolt 3 port is surprising considering the fact that Thunderbolt 3 is used to connect a laptop to peripherals such as external GPUs or power-dual 4K displays.
Con The pen must be bought separately
If you want to use the Surface Book for drawing then you will probably have to buy the Surface Pen which unfortunately does not come bundled with the laptop (it costs an additional $99).
Con Disappointing audio performance
The audio that comes out of the speakers is quite average. It's enough to fill a small room but that's it.
Con Battery doesn’t hold long with the Ultra HD screen
If you’re choosing the configuration with an Ultra HD screen, expect a very short battery life of around 6 hours for general usage. With more intensive tasks it's even less than that.
Con 9560 model's GPU has compatibility issues on Linux
The new 9560 model has some trouble accepting its GTX 1050 Ti video card while running a Linux operating system. Fortunately, the integrated Intel graphics card is capable enough to substitute it. The manufacturers are probably aware of the issue and will, most likely, release an update for it.
Con Palmrest collects sweat
The palm rest is made from carbon fiber which attracts fingerprints and sweat. After some time it gets kind of unpleasant to touch and needs to be cleaned.
Con Some ghosting in games
The display is not intended for gaming purposes so it can produce an effect called “ghosting”. Ghosting is when the pixels are not able to change their colors fast enough, so the color of the preceding frame can still be slightly seen on the next frame. This causes a blurring effect. Note that it only happens on high framerates coupled with fast objects.
Con Noisy fans
The laptop is very quiet during idle and light usage but when there is some workload, the fans get quite loud and distracting.
Con Awkward webcam location
The webcam is located under the screen instead of on top. It means that your face will be shown from a lower angle which can seem a bit weird. It also means that your fingers can partially obstruct the webcam while you’re typing.
Con Audible coil whine
Coil whine can be heard when it’s generally quiet and the fans are not running. Audible when the laptop is connected to the power supply. The manufacturers have acknowledged it as a problem and, if possible, will push out an update which should eliminate it. Until then, it’s still a gripe.