The Surface Book 2 doesn’t come close to beating the MBP.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kingneptune117, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. kingneptune117 macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2014
    I made a decision today that I regret. I bought a Surface Book 2. I did this after I returned my 2017 MBP because it had that rattling noise in the panel from the “light screen” or whatever it’s called shifting around. Many reviews online were really hyping up the Surface Book 2 so I figured I would really like it.

    Well, after about 5 hours of windows updates, I was finally able to use it properly. I am really not happy.

    First of all, the most jarring difference between these two notebooks is in the quality of the trackpad. The Apple trackpad blows Microsoft’s out of the water, no questions asked. The Surface track pad is quite sluggish, smaller, and not as smooth.

    Performance is another issue. Nothing feels very responsive like it did on the MBP.

    I don’t want to write a novel but to me the MBP beat out the Surface in every aspect.

    I have decided I’m going to return my surface and wait until the 2018 MBP. If they also have the screen rattling issue I will just deal with it because there is no better option for a laptop currently on the market.
  2. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    I would say it was a lemon, I have a 1st Gen Surface Book and it's very far from your description.

    Still remains to be very fluid and responsive even with the lesser duel core i7 CPU, not a match for the quad core 15" MBP however very much an equal to 13" MBP.

  3. _Kiki_ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2017
    don't believe online reviews, mostly of them are paid by manufactures or distributors for "good review"

    how much you paid for Surface Book 2 or maybe it's a "gift" from manufacturer/distributor ?
  4. raqball, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018

    raqball macrumors 68000

    Sep 11, 2016
    I have both machines. My SB2 is the base model and my 2017 MacBook Pro is the nTB version. Trackpads are a draw and I would not say one is better than the other. Speed on my machines is about the same but the MacBook does have much faster SSD's..

    I'd say the MacBook Pro is better in some areas and the SB2 is better in others. Depends on what you use it for and what you want. The SB has the better KB and a detachable screen...

    Edit to add: You can read my thoughts on the SB2 here:
  5. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I think this is the key. If you don't want a laptop that can be a table and visa verse, then the SB is pricey and has some issues like the snake hinge that may be too much of a compromise.

    I like mine and find it is pretty nice. However, the trackpad is not as nice as the one on a MacBook Pro. The keyboard though is much better than the one on the 2016/2017 MBPs.
  6. adamh10 macrumors member


    Mar 20, 2009
    Bradford, ON, Canada
    I agree. I have a brand new, loaded SurfaceBook as well as a brand new, loaded MacBook Pro (2TB, 3.1GHz, RP560 4GB, etc.) and they just don't compare. Not only is the MacBook Pro much better in performance with it's main OS, macOS, but I also use Windows 10 on it via Bootcamp of which I've allotted 500GB for that partition. I find that Windows 10 Pro runs better on my MacBook Pro (2017) than it does on my brand new SurfaceBook!

    It's really quite something. I enjoy being able to switch between macOS and Win10 as needed, but what's most impressive to me is the fact that Win10 runs so well on my MacBook Pro - and all features, such as TouchBar, are available in Win10 after all Apple driver installations.

    So, I couldn't agree with you more. The 2017 MacBook Pro is hard to beat right now by any computer available on the market.

  7. RNGesus macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2016
    Southern California
    Glad I went with the 2017 MBP last week then. Loving it so far, though I really need to start using it for more than light use.
  8. raqball macrumors 68000

    Sep 11, 2016
    Why? Because one random person on the internet said they didn't like it?

    I have both right now and the OP either got a defective machine or...............
  9. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I've got a Surface Book 2 and a 13" touch bar MBP. I'd agree the trackpad on the MBP is better (although the pad on the Surface Book is good, it isn't a patch on the MBP one) but for me, that's where it ends and 9 times out of 10, I will choose to use the Surface Book over the MBP which largely gathers dust unless I need to do some iOS or MacOS development.

    The keyboard on the Surface Book is absolutely fantastic and it has been absolutely rock solid reliable. I also love the additional functionality offered by the ability to separate the screen and use the pen. I've also found it fast, smooth and very well made
    I did previously have a surface book 1 and that was a complete dog to the point I swore I'd never get another surface device.

    However, I needed a windows laptop for a particular project so I decided to give them a second chance, and I'm delighted I did!
  10. djnigelchung macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2015
    Silicon Valley
    I used both windows and mac OS.. so that is a debate for another day..

    However the trackpad on the MBP (even the 2015 and older) models, cannot even closely compare to anything on windows. To me it blows EVERY other trackpad out of the water. On windows, I need an external mouse, mac OS I actually prefer the trackpad,
  11. Matthew9559 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    The keyboard on the SB2 is miles better which is a pretty big deal for me personally. I had one for 4 months and the only reason I ended up getting rid of it because I didn’t care for the two in one aspect. Perfmonance was great and trackpad was darn close to MBP (but not quite there). Just not a huge fan of the form factor. Hopefully they’ll make a more premium Surface Laptop down the line.
  12. csurfr macrumors 68020

    Dec 7, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    I’ll echo this somewhat.

    I had a surface book 2, essentially the top of the line model. Other than hours of updates it wasn’t too bad until the battery in the display began to bulge and pop out of the screen. Microsoft was more than happy to replace it for me. I ended up picking up the surface laptop instead (as the book was more of an impulse buy) in Colbalt Blue. It was a fantastic machine for what I needed (light .net development). If I didn’t have a 13” MacBook Pro, and 5k iMac, probably I would have kept it longer.

    The touchpad, while not as nice as the solid state version on the MacBook Pro, is miles better than any other pc I’ve used in recent memory.

    The screen was pretty, battery life was pretty damn good, and the keyboard was nice as well. Overall I was happy with it, and would definitely pick up another one in the future should my use case require Windows. Did I mention that the Colbalt Blue was striking? Just a good looking machine. I hope the next version ditches Mini DisplayPort and has usb-c.

    Please don’t tell any of my Mac friends that I wrote this.

    Edit: damn, now I have a thought to ditch my 10.5 iPad Pro and put the proceeds into another one.
  13. mcpix macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2005
    I have the original surface book, a surface pro 4 and several MBPs (including 13" 2017 tbMBP). Although I think the surface book has the best track pad for a windows machine, the MBP trackpads are the best.
  14. Matthew9559 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    Hah. I have the Surface Laptop i5 8 GB 256 GB SSD model which I was gonna sell once I got the SB2 since that seemed like it was going to be the perfect device for me. I ended up returning the SB2 though as mentioned above. SL is an awesome computer and I am very happy with it to this day. The screen is gorgeous. I am also a .Net dev so that’s why I have been trying to transition from my trusty MBP’s to some Windows variations.

    I really feel like finally in the past couple years more premium Windows laptops have been coming out with finally an almost as good trackpad. My current projects are all ASP.Net Core so I can get away with VS on Mac + Docker for SQL Server but I prefer the VS IDE on Windows. Just much more feature filled.

    The colbat blue model was really pretty, I went with the plain silver but it’s impressive what Microsoft has done with the SL line imo. Can’t wait for rev 2 :)
  15. lpolarityl, Mar 9, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018

    lpolarityl macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2009
    I pre-ordered the original Surface Book with the dedicated GPU. I went through three replacements that all had issues, and I gave up. 6-7 months later I tried a Surface Book again and everything worked like it should, mostly. I ended up selling that Surface Book and built up a desktop because I needed more power. A year later I sold that desktop and needed something powerful but mobile, so I bought a Surface Book 2 a couple months after it came out (December 2017 time frame). I bought the base 15" model and ended up returning two of them due to backlight bleed, yellow tinting, and terrible/flaky WiFi performance. On the third replacement which not only had terrible WiFi issues (kept dropping connections, slow speeds, random timeouts), it again had yellow tinting on the screen. I was very frustrated to say the least. How can this $2400 laptop be so riddled with issues, on all three replacements?

    Surface Book 2's are absolutely awesome spec wise (The specs are why I bought it!) but it is the quality and lack of real refinement that will always keep them in second place next to a MacBook Pro (In my opinion).

    • The screen is fantastic... if it doesn't have backlight bleeding or yellow tinting issues.
    • The quad core cpu is really nice, when it doesn't throttle during heavy workloads (long renders and CPU heavy exports for example).
    • The GTX 1060 is really nice if gaming is your thing, but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives for gaming that have even better dGPUs.
    • The keyboard is really nice, if you don't mind terrible backlight brightness.
    • The body is really nice, if you don't mind its complete lack of grip (it slides around like it has no rubber feet...) and the fact that it doesn't fully close due to the fulcrum hinge.
    • The trackpad is probably the best one of all Windows laptops, but it still isn't as the MacBook's.
    • Decent NVME drive speeds but still not as fast as what is provided with the MacBook Pro's.

    The flaws that I can think of with the current gen MacBook Pro are:

    • The keyboard isn't robust.
    • It's expensive (this is relative of course).
    • The TouchBar is useless to some and not useful to all.
    • The TouchBar in general.
    • Lack of USB-A ports and SD-Card Reader

    If you're a professional who absolutely needs Windows, the Surface Book 2 lineup should be considered next to Dell's XPS lineup. What it came down to for me though, was the quality I was getting for the price I was paying.

    The Surface Book 2 15" certainly looked and felt like a product worth $2400+. But in using it... way too many quirks became prevalent. After I factored in the support I would be getting if issues occurred down the road... I just couldn't justify the price anymore.

    Got a open box 2017 MacBook Pro 15" and called it a day. It's been flawless since December 2017, keyboard included.
  16. kingneptune117 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2014
    One of the other things that drove me away from the Surface Book 2 is the lack of optimization in most programs. For me - the biggest difference is between Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere. If you look up render times between Final Cut Pro X on MacOS and Adobe Premiere on Windows, Final Cut Pro X blows Premiere out of the water.

    It's like some poster above said, everything on the Mac, hardware and software, is simply much more refined than on Windows. I would liken the difference to iOS vs. Android.
  17. greenmeanie, Mar 9, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2018

    greenmeanie macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2005
    They also ignore all the post about KB issues on the MBP.

  18. richinaus macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2014
    Yes and no. I agree that Mac OS together with Apple Apps [logic / Final Cut etc] is a much more refined solution, but this is simply not true for third party apps. All the apps I use that are cross platform are simply better, faster and just as stable in Windows over MacOS.

    Re the original point of the thread I looked long and hard at the Surface Book 2, but it basically came down to the point that I believe specific tools for a specific task is best, so will stick with my iMac pro, MBP and iPad set up - the SB2 is too much of a compromise to deliver all its specifications for me]. If the option of the iMac pro hadn’t turned up however, it is most likely I would have gone full windows at the start of 2018, but now will stay all Mac. For all the complaints I read on this forum, there are no better grouped solutions of desktop, laptop and tablet that work so well together than a iMac pro, MBP and IPad.

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17 March 7, 2018