Microsoft’s detachable Surface Book has always been in its class. It is a gaming laptop with graphics, but also a tablet for simple tasks. They break. And in its third iteration, the Surface Book 3 (15-inch), ($ 2,299.99 to start, as a $ 2,799.99 test) hasn’t changed much from the outside. However, the interior has been updated with Intel Core i7 Ice Lake processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q graphics.
If you are waiting for the latest specs on Surface Book 3, then this is for you. But for the price, other clamshell design laptops provide more power for the money. Whether or not Surface Book 3 is right for you depends on whether you value versatile design over computing power.
Microsoft launched the original Surface Book in 2015. Five years later, Surface Book 3 doesn’t look much different. In some ways, I just can’t complain; The Surface Book 3 is built with a magnesium gray exterior. The back of the tablet has a shiny Windows logo defining the font.
And in the third iteration, the Surface Book 3 is the only laptop in the market to function as a tablet with extra battery life and discrete graphics in a detachable keyboard (something more expensive in Porsche Design 2017 and limited-operation Book One Tried similar, although none had GPU). For those wanting the flexibility of tablet and laptop devices, the Surface Book 3 is really the only option, unlike some 2-in-1s with flat-type keyboards.
Lifting the lid reveals the tablet’s 15-inch 3240×2160 screen, with an aspect ratio of 3: 2 with Microsoft’s PixelSense touch screen technology. The screen is surrounded by a thick black frame which I hope Microsoft made it thinner to increase the screen size in a similar structure.
The display is attached to the keyboard base and is accompanied by a hinge and separated by a button on the keyboard. Microsoft accelerated the disconnect process this year, but it is still not immediate. After reconnecting, you will have to wait once or twice to use the keyboard and touchpad.
As with previous Surface Books, there were issues with disconnecting and reconnecting the screen and base, and the base had issues with the tablet identifying the GPU. Unfortunately, I was able to replicate on this model.
The Surface Book 3 design era (or at least limitations) is emerging. For example, it’s been five years, and there is an ugly moat in the middle of the fulcrum hinge when the laptop closes. But perhaps the biggest deal is that despite the excellent price tag and the Surface Book 3’s location in its range, Microsoft cannot take advantage of more powerful processors.
Because the tablet is separated from the base, the processor, RAM, and storage are all behind the screen (and why there are holes on the back edge of the tablet). It appears that this is not enough Microsoft space to accommodate Intel’s H-series processors, so the Surface Book 3 continues to use the low-power Ice Lake U-series CPU from Intel. But more traditional laptops, such as the 16-inch MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 15 9500, use H-series chips. While Microsoft describes Surface Book 3 as “the next generation of professional performance”, physical limitations mean it lacks the right parts. .
The base of magnesium is the same color as the back of the tablet. On the left side is a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port and a pair of SDXC card readers. To the right of the dock are the USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port and the Surface Connect charging and docking port. The 3.5mm headphone jack is located in the upper-right corner of the tablet, and another Surface Connect port is at the bottom. There is no Thunderbolt 3 support on this device; Microsoft previously described the Thunderbolt 3 as a security flaw, but it comforts most of its competitors, especially at this price. (The bug described by Microsoft also includes RAM freezes, which you cannot remove on this device.)
With its two-part nature, the Surface Book 3 is slightly larger than a shell laptop, albeit not incredibly. Microsoft weighs 4.2 pounds (with keyboard) and 13.5 x 9.9 x 0.9 inches. The 16-inch MacBook Pro measures 4.3 pounds and is 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches. The Dell XPS 15 measures 4.5 pounds and is 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches. As for the AMD Ryzen comparison, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 measures 3.5 pounds and 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches (although it has a smaller 14-inch screen).
Most laptops, especially for the purpose of design and in this price range, opt for Intel H-series processors, which have more CPU cores and perform better than the U-series towards ultra-portable ultra-portable devices . But the Surface Book 3 has an Intel Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake portion.
CPU gap is shown in Geekbench 5.0. The Surface Book 3 scored 3831, which is significantly lower than the 16-inch MacBook Pro (7,201, Intel Core i9-9980HK), Dell XPS 15 (6,174, Intel Core i7-10750H) and Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (7,895, AMD Raizen 4900HS).
The Surface Book 3 took 6 seconds to copy 4.97 GB of files, averaging 848.2 MB per second. While it is faster than the XPS 15, both the MacBook Pro and Zephyrus were faster.
In Handbreak’s video editing test, we use a laptop to convert 4K video to 1080p. Surface Book 3 took 21 minutes 31 seconds. The Dell XPS 15 took less than half that time, and both the MacBook and Zephyrus were faster.
To confirm the device over time, we ran the Cinebench R20 benchmark 20 times in the loop. During this test, we saw irregular results. We thought it might be a one-time problem, but in three rounds, we saw different, unexpected behavior. It appears that the normal result may fall between 1300 and 1400. Based on our observation, it appears that all 4 cores in the Intel Core i7-1065G7 have exceeded the power