OS Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro (‘for Business’ model) | CPU Intel Core i5-1035G7 (13.5-inch only), Core i7-1065G7 | GPU Intel Iris Plus Graphics (Core i5, 13.5-inch), 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (Core i7, 13.5-inch), 6GB Nvidia GeForce 1660 Ti (Core i7, 15-inch), 6GB Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 (Core i7, 15-inch, ‘for Business’ model) | RAM 8GB (13.5-inch only), 16GB, 32GB | Storage 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB (15-inch only) | Screen 13.5-inch 3:2 PixelSense (3000 x 2000, 267ppi) touch screen, 15-inch 3:2 PixelSense (3240 x 2160, 260ppi) touch screen | Wireless Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Xbox Wireless (15-inch only) | Ports & slots 2x USB 3.1, USB-C (with Power Delivery), 2x Surface Connect ports (keyboard base, tablet), SD card reader | Camera 5MP (front, with IR for face authentication), 8MP rear | Audio dual far-field Studio mics, stereo speakers, 3.5mm audio-out jack | Battery 13.5-inch: 69Wh (Core i5), 75.3Wh (Core i7) / 15-inch: 90Wh / up to 15.5h (13.5-inch) or 17.5h (15-inch) when connected to keyboard base | Dimensions 13-inch: 312mm x 232mm x 13-23 mm (15-23mm for Core i7) / 15-inch: 343mm x 251mm x 15-23mm | Weight 13.5-inch: 1.53kg (Core i5), 1.64kg (Core i7) / 15-inch: 1.9kg (including keyboard) • 13.5-inch: 719g / 15-inch: 817g (tablet only) | Price 13.5-inch: from $1,599.99 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) / 15-inch: from $2,149.99 (Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
Microsoft’s 2015 13.5-inch Surface Book was the original ‘laptop-first’ detachable: at first glance, it looked like a regular laptop, but the screen could detach and function independently as a tablet, or be turned around and reattached, offering the ‘tent’ and ‘presentation’ modes characteristic of 360-degree rotating convertibles. In 2017 the Surface Book 2 added a 15-inch version, an arrangement that persists with the Surface Book 3, which launched in May 2020.
Prices for the Surface Book 3 start at $1,599.99 for a 13.5-inch standard model with a 10th-generation Core i5-1035G7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD; the business model costs $100 more. At the other end of the scale, a 15-inch business model with a Core i7-1065G7 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and discrete Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 graphics with 6GB of dedicated video memory will set you back a hefty $3,699.99.
Read review: Microsoft Surface Book 3 (15-inch)
There are batteries in both sections of the Surface Book 3 (tablet and keyboard), but Microsoft only quotes battery life in laptop mode: 15.5 hours’ ‘typical device usage’ for the 13.5-inch model and 17.5h for the 15-inch model. ZDNet’s review of the 15-inch Surface Book 3 reported achieving a full day’s work on battery power with “over a third of the battery left for the commute home, should commuting ever return after 2020”.
The latest refresh of the Surface range, in September 2021, saw Microsoft moving away from the detachable laptop form factor with the introduction of the 14.4-inch Surface Laptop Studio, which has a slide-forward screen supporting laptop, ‘stage’ and ‘studio’ (tablet) modes. If handheld tablet-mode operation is important to your workflow, note that the 13.5in. Surface Book 3 weighs 719g without the keyboard, while the 15in. model weighs 817g. The non-detachable 14.4in. Surface Laptop Studio, by contrast, weighs 1.74kg (Core i5) to 1.82kg (Core i7).
- Good battery life
- Solid specification
- 3:2 display
- Complex hinge mechanism