Hands-On: The Surface Laptop 2 Keyboard is Still a Winner

NEW YORK -- Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is largely more of a good thing. It's a sleek notebook with clean lines, and now it comes in one more color: a gorgeous black. It will launch Oct. 16 starting at $999.

At Microsoft's announcement event, I got to go hands-on with the new laptop. The standout is the keyboard, which Surface head Panos Panay lauded as having 1.5 millimeters of travel. It felt incredibly snappy, and I can't wait to use it for a longer period in a full review.

The Surface Laptop 2 uses 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8650U processors (Core i5-8350U in the commercial market), can be equipped with up to 16GB of LDDPR3 RAM at 1866 MHz and up to 1TB of SSD storage. The 3:2 display looked great on the show floor, and I still love the 3:2 aspect ratio, which is just plain better for productivity.

The big miss is the lack of USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3. The former is found on both the Surface Book 2 and the Surface Go, and power users the faster connectivity speeds of USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt. Microsoft's proprietary Surface Connect port is still there for charging and docking. Other ports include USB 3.0 and Mini DisplayPort, as well as a headphone jack.

Interestingly, the Surface Laptop will ship with Windows 10 Home to consumers, rather than Windows 10 Pro. It doesn't come in S Mode, either. Microsoft is claiming up to 14.5 hours of video playback, but we'll see how that translates on our battery test.

While we'll wait for the full review for testing to make a final judgment, this seems like an updated version of more of the same. Aside from the glaring lack of USB Type-C, that may not be a bad thing.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.

  • g-unit1111
    I bought a 2017 model Surface a couple of months ago and I love the keyboard compared to the cardboard keyboard on the iPad Pro.I wouldn't use it for long term usage but for short term use the Surface keyboard handily beats the iPad Pro keyboard any day of the week.