Microsoft Surface Book 3 15-inch
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The Surface Book 3 offers a few hardware upgrades, but its unique design is clearly holding it back against more powerful competitors. It’s still a compelling option for creatives, but be aware there are far faster machines for the same price.
Microsoft's detachable design is holding it back.
Devindra HardawarMay 22, 2020
- Materials feels high quality
- Excellent screen
- Better GPU than Surface Book 2
- Hardware isn’t as fast as the competition
- Detachable screen isn’t very useful
Surface Book 3
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Microsoft Surface Book 3 15-inch
- Critic Reviews (10)
- User Reviews (9)
- 78AVERAGE CRITIC SCORE10 ReviewsPC Mag80Microsoft Surface Book 3 (15-Inch) ReviewWith an advanced mechanical locking system for the keyboard base, powerful graphics processing, multiple cameras and batteries, and a brilliant near-4K display, the Surface Book 3 is an innovative, excellent detachable laptop.Laptop Magazine80Microsoft Surface Book 3 (15-inch) reviewMicrosoft's Surface Book 3 isn't much of an upgrade but it remains the best solution for those who need a tablet and laptop in one device.AnandTech80A Refreshing Dip Into Ice LakeSurface Book is never going to be the sales leader in the Surface lineup, mostly due to the price, but there is no denying that it is still one of the best notebooks on the market.CNET80Likable but not lovableThe multitalented Surface Book needs to change more to keep up with the competition.PC World80The 'ultimate laptop' needs new ideasMicrosoft's Surface Book 3 upgrades the CPU and GPU options, while leaving the rest of this convertible 2-in-1 largely unchanged. In a rapidly changing and improving landscape, that stability's a bit of a liability.TechRadar80Microsoft's flagship is lost in timeThe Surface Book 3 is an extremely premium piece of kit, with one of the best displays and keyboards we've used in a laptop to date. However, the high price tag and weak processor hold it back from true greatness.Windows Central80More of the same - and that's (mostly) a good thingSurface Book 3 (15-inch) doesn't change much from the previous version ... except all the internal hardware. That results in a very powerful 2-in-1 15-inch convertible that still has few peers. Luckily, Surface Book 3 is an excellent laptop, even if the design and some features feel a bit dated.The Verge70More Power, More ProblemsYou’ll get more for your money elsewhere, unless you really want a detachable display. The Surface Book 3 is still the only solid choice for that.CNBC80Microsoft's Surface Book 3 delivers high speed in a dated designDon’t get me wrong. The Surface Book 3 isn’t a bad PC. If you need a new PC, you could do worse. It’s just iterative, and no longer feels fresh. It’s not a major leap forward for Microsoft’s most powerful PC. When Microsoft redesigns the Surface Book and makes this otherwise very good laptop look modern again, then it’ll be easier to justify the splurge.Digital Trends70Graphics unleashedThe Surface Book 3 is not for everyone, but it's a one-of-a-kind laptop that's a joy to use.
- 76AVERAGE USER SCORE9 ReviewsNick40October 10, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I wish I could give the Surface Book 3 a higher rating, and if I were basing my rating only on the hardware you interact with directly, I would probably be giving it a 9/10. The keyboard is really nice to type on, the pen (if you bought it) works really well in Onenote and on Whiteboard, and it's an overall nice feeling computer, even if the hinge/ joint thing is kind of stupid (the monitor doesn't tilt back enough for some situations, i.e. writing on comfortably/ legibly). The other gripe I have with the hardware is overheating. I bought the i7 with 32 GB of RAM for school (M.S. in Robotics) but when using the Surface with a second monitor so I can watch COVID-classes and take note at the same time, I have to keep an external fan pointed at the computer to keep it cool enough. This works... most of the time. It will still overheat and shutdown/bluescreen or freeze almost daily (I am on it 6-12 hours/ day). It seems that Zoom is often the issue when it overheats, which isn't great considering the times.To take notes while watching lectures, I turn the monitor around so I can rest my hand on the screen while writing. When I do this, I use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse so I have a 'desktop' still. This means that in order to walk away from my desk with my computer, detaching the monitor is necessary. Some of my programs (I'm looking at you Matlab) need to be closed before being able to do this. Coming from having a desktop and a Surface 3, I appreciate having only one device, but I'm seriously regretting selling both to afford this Surface. I might be selling over Winter Break to either a) build a desktop and/or purchase a Surface Pro or b) buy a zenbook or the like (I'd like portable power). I don't know If I want to put up with it another semester, much less the rest of this one.Between the frustration with overheating, random shutdowns and having to physically disconnect the keyboard, I would certainly not buy the Surface Book again. I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone unless you only plan to use it as a laptop and on the occasion that you do disconnect or turn the monitor around, you ONLY plan on watching videos/reading or drawing/ using the pen. In other words, It's not the super-versatile tool that the Surface 3 (despite the lack of power) felt like. If you have a old Surface Pro and love it, stick with the Surface Pro line especially if you find yourself flipping the keyboard back and forth regularly. If you want an overpriced LAPTOP that isn't a workhorse but has a neat hat trick, go for it.Gary100October 2, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I don't know why there is so much hate about the Surface Book 3. I have a 2018 MacBook Pro, and while that's a great machine, I think the Surface Book is just as good if not better. This is coming from someone who detested Windows for years. Frankly Microsoft has gotten Windows 10 (mostly) right, and it shows on their hardware. You can call the form factor outdated, but for me it's impressive. As far as the tablet functionality is concerned, it works like a charm. And this laptop is very fast. The only thing I'm nitpicking about is the fact that it still doesn't close flush like a normal laptop, but I knew that going in. I could not be happier with my purchase.William90September 26, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!While it is expensive, it is a Intel i7, 32 GB RAM, 2 TB SSD, fitted in an iPad Pro with pen support. Slightly thicker than 1/4 inches, it is a brilliant device that can do many things other tablets can't.It is not for every scenarios. But it is a very powerful box. Moderate gaming. And casual video transcoding.The tablet has short battery life of about 2 hours. But you can charge it individually using the same AC adapter. And you can also use the Surface Dock to extend without the keyboard base. The tablet itself has everything, minus the keyboard, battery, dGPU, and the ports. If you don't care about the dGPU and mostly sit on the desk to work, you will feel very happy with just the tablet, Surface Dock, and your favorite keyboard and mouse.It is so easy to carry around. The tablet part is capable of having an hour of video conferencing anywhere in your house. After the meeting, just plug it back into the dock and get ready to work again. No device switching needed.It is not for everyone, but for those who Surface Book 3 targeted for, it is an excellent device that could do many things swiftly.Extremely powerful tablet. A capable gaming machine. And it's not a tablet for reading news or watching movies. It's a device designed for creation, not consumption.Jean-Raymond90September 18, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Great upgrade. Surface Book continues to be my laptop of choice. Beautiful build, reliable performance, excellent feel and travel on the keys when typing, great 3:2 display, powerful enough to perform demanding tasks on the go, use of pen for drawing/signing documents, excellent responsive touchscreen for interacting with content.These balance of technology and features is as close to a perfect all-around laptop for me as I could want.SHANE60September 18, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Pros:Great option for a gpu and ram that allows for smooth 1080p video editingTablet is wonderful to use especially for public speaking.Great windows hello facial recognition. On my downtime I can play a casual game. I enjoy that portable versatility. Best keyboard period, 1st pick for a writer like myself.Cons:Magnetic lid gives me hesitancy to want to use this over a MacBook because it requires effort to open. Its a psychological issue.Glitch at times with screen brightness, pen registering, or Bluetooth pairing.Your surface will scratch very easily. The writing of the tablet is subpar and leagues behind a iPad pro. Graphic design with this in mind using Affinity Designer was clunky and unresponsive/laggy. That's actually unfortunately the reason I bought this laptop.Price to performance is not there. Take for instance the acer concept D that outshines in every respect or writing tablet/ipad.Battery life is not as good as they say. Not even half as good and the battery drains overnight. (This is true of every surface computer I've used).Overall: unfortunately, Microsoft released an outdated product. If they would have waiting and then included the next generation of processors (ryzen 400/Intel 11th gen), this would be viable, but as it stands, the only thing that makes this viable is the tablet functionality which is far surpassed by other devices on the market. I suggest waiting for the next iteration of this product.Full disclosure, I preordered this and hoped to return it after realizing the flaws. Unfortunately, microsofts return period was 90 days after purchase, not after receiving the product, and i was too late. The hit and miss customer service and unclear penalty for early adopters merits a sour taste in my mouth. I still appreciate th lroduct overall, its not worth the price though.Karl90September 17, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!This review is for the 13.5" model with I7 processor, 32GB ram, 512 GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card.Initially, upon first unboxing it, I was impressed with the overall design of the device. It really is a pretty piece of hardware. From the shining chamfered edges of the hinge to the nicely sized trackpad, I can see why Microsoft decided to keep the overall design the same from the previous generation. Don't mess with a good thing, you know? It really is like the Macbook Pro for non-Apple users. Turning it on and running through setup was as easy as any other Windows machine, with the additional step of setting up Windows Hello, which is a pretty cool feature for those of us who are lazy and hate punching in pin numbers or pass codes. I personally appreciate a good fingerprint reader, but WIndows Hello does seem to work quickly and well. Assuming you aren't wearing a face mask, that is. But that really isn't the fault of the device.The screen is fantastic! I've been using 16:9 screens for years and was doubtful of the supposed benefits of the 3:2 screen ratio but I was wrong. From a productivity standpoint, that extra bit of display real estate at the bottom makes a world of difference. I now hate my other laptops and their widescreen displays and am pretty sure that a 3:2 ratio will be a must-have for my next portable computer. The touchscreen is responsive and accurate. I haven't used a touchscreen in the last few years that had any sort of issue so no surprises there. Using a pen felt natural and whatever palm rejection system they have works amazingly well. In the name of full disclosure, I do not own of the new Surface Pens, I do have a first generation model as well as an aftermarket pen that is sold as a Surface Pen replacement. Both worked well, but the Microsoft pen worked better, to no ones surprise. The keyboard is probably the nicest laptop keyboard I have ever used. Just enough travel and click to let you know you're typing and the keys are spaced well. Below the keyboard, the trackpad is spacious and smooth and feels as good as a trackpad can. I am a hardcore mouse user, so I don't use the trackpad often. But when I do, it is a nice one.It has adequate ports, although I wish it had another USB-A port on the right side with the USB-C and Surface connector. I never seem to have enough USB ports though, so it could be a personal problem.Battery life is good, as long as you leave it at the default power settings. I adjusted it up to run in high power mode and that depleted the battery pretty quickly. Setting back to the recommended setting restored battery life something close to what Microsoft claims you are supposed to get. I like a bright screen, and because of that my battery suffers. Not really the devices fault that I like to be bathed in artificial light though.Now for the bad stuff...It seems the volume buttons on the top are reveresed from what I am used to. It isn't a deal breaker by any means, but when you are at work and surreptitiously trying to watch Netflix and someone walks in and you attempt to kill the volume but instead crank it up louder, it's just not a good look. I know I could use the keyboard buttons to mute or adjust volume, but if you are using it as tablet or in studio mode (again, I think that is what they call it, basically with the screen backwards laying on top of the keyboard) the only options are the buttons on top or the on screen volume controls.When I first got it, I was excited to try out and use it as a tablet, mostly because I wanted a stupidly big comic book reader. Which it does work well for. But for teh first couple weeks I had it, there was an issue with reconnecting the keyboard part to the screen. It would connect and latch in place, but would not recognize the keyboard and trackpad being connected. I tried multiple ways of fixing it, even a full wipe and OS reinstall, but nothing worked. FInally an update fixed that issue as well as a few other lesser problems I was having. Now all functions and features work as advertised, but I spent a couple frustrated weeks feeling cheated for buying a janky laptop.But, now that all those problems have been resolved, I am back on team Surface Book. It really is one of, if not the, best laptops i've ever used. The 13.5 inch screen is perfectly sized and it is powerful enough to run most of the Adobe apps (I regularly use Photoshop and Lightroom, and Illustrator on occasion) as well as 3D modeling/design apps I have to use for work. The display is great and battery life is good. Overall I am now very happy with it.Tray90September 17, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I own the Surface Book 3, which I feel is the better buy of the two size options. Personally, I love it: the solid build and the quality are better than that of my Thinkpad X1 Carbon. I've previously owned a Macbook Pro and OS differences aside, I feel that the Surface Book is what the 13 inch Macbook Pro SHOULD be. It has all the content creation capability that you maybe need on the go, with above average battery life to boot. Honestly, as far as the detachability, I don't often use it and could live without it. I have an ipad pro and it doesn't replace it for my tablet needs. But as a powerful, lightweight, non-gaming computer it's more than powerful enough for me while also being portable and light enough to carry around. The floppiness in the screen is mitigated by the limited angle the screen can fold to. But I see it as the PERFECT one device to have for anyone, if I had to choose just one device, it would have to be the surface book 3.Simon30September 17, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The way how I would pen is here is something nice yet here are the afterthoughts.Finishing: premium material and feel make it cool to touch and look at. Where is suddenly did a cliff jump is the edge below (where u use to open the laptop up)the touchpad sharp edge that felt like 2 knifeedge at the cornerMagnet lock: the magnet lock for the screen to keyboard felt stable and secure. However the impact when you close the laptop hard might be a cause of screen damage. It also felt tight that you will find difficult to open using 1 hand.Power/charging: USB C PD is supported. System can charge with either USB C PD or surface based power supply.However to get a 90watt USB C PD is challenging find and required extra investment $$$ on newest GaN usbc adaptor. Else you can stuck with overweight original charger.Connector: 1 x USB C 2 x USB A 1 x 3.5mm audio jack 1 x SD card slot 1 x surface charging port on base. 1 x surface charging port on tablet.Good to know we have more ports. Bad all on the base only. The moment u turn to tablet NONE of the USB Ports and no more SD card.No more usb c charging no usb earphone for zoom calls(3.5mm jack is so 1995) none of our phone came with 3.5 earphone.pNo more SD card to store my OneDrive No more usbc to Hdmi projection. No easy way to do whiteboarding using HDMI projection. Battery life is unbalance between tablet and base, it is 30/70 and in tablet u get only 30% of overall life. *Censored cursing*Pen: best pen ever. Best tool for whiteboard during technical presentation. Bad. In laptop model hard to draw. In reverse mode due to hinge height the surface feel backward slope. In table mode too flat and lack ergonomic. Need to add $$ to get moft kickstand to get the ergonomic.Powerful platform: highest spec Cpu and GPU let you get work done. Bad: the cooling seems to be around the hinge area. Good for table top. Not great if you having it as laptop. Unless u keen on burning off your hairy legs. Cpu and GPU tends to warm up when you put to paces.Something been bugging me, in communities there is report of Logitech G Hub unable to get installed in Surface Book 3 neither logitech support nor MS support willing to step up to address the issue. My G603 mouse now perform like a $10 mouse. *Got screwed again* mouse work perfect in 3 other systems.I also notice my razer keyboard consistently get usb disconnect from the surface and usb mouse consistent get lag or disconnected. Overall if I have a choice to get back in time. I would just buy the surface pro instead. 3 year of regrets I will have.zeddy90September 17, 2020Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!This is the perfect laptop. It's powerful as well as multifunctional. Reviews for other laptops should be compared to this: why DON'T other laptops have a detachable touch screen. Best of all worlds.
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