The Surface Pro and Go are primarily tablets that you can attach a yielding keyboard to, but the Surface Book is a laptop first. Microsoft’s latest Surface Book 3 gives you the convenience of a detachable tablet and the power of a full-fledged laptop. It is designed for professionals who depend on graphics-intensive apps for their routine work. With that, you can even pick either a more compact 13.5-inch model or go for the fully decked out 15-inch option.
This new Surface Book 3 has a lot going for itself. Here is everything that is there to know about the two laptops from Microsoft, including their detailed specifications, pricing details, availability, and some alternatives.
- 13.5/15-inch screens
- Intel Core processors
- Up to 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD
- Up to Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics
- Windows 10 Home
- Detachable keyboard deck
- Surface Pen support
- Up to 17.5 hours battery
Microsoft Surface Book 3: The Basics
The Surface Book is the only product in the Surface line that comes with a heavy base so that it doesn’t wobble on your lap. You can choose to detach the screen portion with the click of a button to use it as a standalone tablet. And when you need some extra battery power or discrete graphics, you can attach the keyboard deck to turn it into a real laptop.
Its hinge is designed in a specific way to allow for all that flexibility. The only downside of the third-generation Surface Book is that Microsoft hasn’t changed its design in a significant way in years. The convertible is available in two screen sizes — 13.5 and 15 inches — which also brings about several fundamental differences internally.
While both variants come powered by 10th-gen quad-core Intel Core processors, the smaller one gets both i5 and i7 options, and the 15-inch model is available only with an i7 chip. Both also go up to 32GB of RAM, but the 13.5-inch variant starts from 8GB and the 15-inch from 16GB. Similarly, the smaller option tops the storage out at 1TB, while the bigger one lets you go up to 2TB.
As for their GPUs, the base Core i5 model ships with integrated graphics, while you can pair the i7 processor on the 13.5-inch model with 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q, and the 15-inch model with a slightly better 6GB GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q. The bigger laptop also lasts about two hours longer and has Xbox Wireless built-in.
All of their variants support Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and ship preloaded with Windows 10 Home. They have a 5MP front-facing camera that supports full HD video conferencing and an 8MP rear camera. You can use the front IR sensors to enable Windows Hello. Plus, you’re getting studio-quality microphones and a pair of forward-facing stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos.
Like all other Surface products, the Book 3 also supports the Surface Pen stylus from Microsoft. It attaches to the tablet’s side for its easier access. Being a full-sized laptop, you get access to two USB-A ports along with a USB-C and two Surface Connect ports. It can also take in an SD card and lets you connect your wired headphones.
|Tablet||Microsoft Surface Book 3|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Display||13.5-inch (3000 x 2000)/15-inch (3240 x 2160), 3:2|
|Processor||10th-gen Intel Core i5 (13.5-inch only), Core i7|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Plus (with Core i5)/GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB)/GTX 1660 Ti (6GB)|
|Storage||256/512GB/1TB SSD, 2TB SSD (15-inch only)|
|Expandable||SD card reader|
|RAM||8GB (13.5-inch only), 16/32GB LPDDR4X|
|Rear Camera||8MP, 1080p|
|Front Camera||5MP, 1080p|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.1 Type-A|
|Battery||Up to 15.5 hours (13.5-inch), 17.5 hours (15-inch)|
|Security||Windows Hello facial recognition|
|Dimensions||312 x 232 x 13 – 23mm (13.5-inch), 343 x 251 x 15 – 23mm (15-inch)|
|Weight||1.534 – 1.642 kg (13.5-inch)/1.905 kg (15-inch) — with keyboard|
Pricing & Availability
Those in the US and Canada can already preorder the Surface Book 3 from Microsoft’s official channels, and they’ll start shipping from May 21. As for their pricing, the base 8GB+256GB model of the 13.5-inch Surface notebook costs $1,600 and goes all the way up to $2,700 for the Core i7 variant with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. There are a couple of more configurations in-between that are priced accordingly. The bigger 15-inch model starts from $2,300, offering 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Its highest-end configuration gets double the RAM and a 2TB SSD for $3,400.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 Alternatives
The Surface Book 3 is a super-premium machine that doesn’t really have a lot of alternatives in the tablet space. Still, you can consider looking at Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 7 (review), which works pretty well in most workplace productivity scenarios and even at your home.
That’s if you want to stick with Windows and prefer having a detachable form factor for its better flexibility. If your work is mainly browser-based, then you can look at Chrome OS tablets that have not only started coming in similar designs but also cost much less, like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.
The only other setup that can come close to the Surface Book 3 in terms of price is the new iPad Pro 2020 (review). Its 12.9-inch display has a large screen, and the new floating keyboard attachment gets the job done pretty well. Its biggest downside is its OS, which is somewhat limiting when compared to a desktop OS. Windows 10 also has a richer selection of AAA gaming titles.
On the Android side, the only tablet that can justify — though a tiny bit — being a Surface Book alternative is the Galaxy Tab S6 (review). The Samsung flagship ships with a stylus, supports external keyboards, and has the DeX mode mimicking the Windows desktop.
Microsoft Surface Book 3The refreshed Surface Book 3 is a pro-grade laptop that gets you the flexibility of a tablet while still being power-packed for anything you throw at it. It is one fantastic machine for graphics designing and even gaming. You've got two size options to pick from as per your convenience. As a tablet, you can carry around just that massive screen for doodling, taking notes, or even sketching in your graphics app — the possibilities are endless with a multifaceted OS like Windows 10.
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