Microsoft Surface Book 3 – Laptop or Tablet? Why Not Both!
Its available in a smaller 13.5 size or larger 15 model, which has the option of higher end specs and is what Ive got here. Build quality feels excellent. Its got a magnesium exterior and silver finish. Lets start out by discussing the hinge and screen as this is what really makes the Surface Book unique.. Basically, you can remove the screen from the keyboard, allowing you to use it as either a traditional laptop or as a windows. Tablet.. Both halves of the surface book have their own battery, though the one for tablet operation is smaller.. The Intel CPU is behind the screen, while the Nvidia, discrete graphics, is in the keyboard half so heavy graphical tasks can only be done with the base attached.. That said, you can attach the screen in reverse and still use it like a tablet for drawing and still take advantage of the Nvidia GPU and extra battery power.. Microsoft is using a custom hinge to make this work. When you open the lid, the hinge sort of rolls back and when the device is closed, theres a gap at the back, which theyre confident wont, cause any problems over time. To remove the screen. You just press the dedicated detach button next to the delete key on the keyboard and it will tell you when its safe to remove in Windows.. Apparently, removal is 3 times faster than the older surface book 2. I havent used the older model, but I can say that it didnt feel like it took too long, but it may depend on what applications youve got open.
. If the discrete graphics are in use, it will ask you to close those apps. First, you can proceed anyway, which would automatically close the necessary apps for you rather than dynamically move. The workload over to the integrated graphics. Youve also got the option of doing the swap through software. Without the physical button., I found it difficult to remove the screen with both hands on the top half the best way was to place one hand on the base to keep it from lifting up.. Reattaching was easy enough. Its guided in with magnets. Tablet mode felt much better when compared to a 2 in 1 device youre not holding the entire weight of the machine, so even at 15. It wasnt too heavy, but that said, Id probably prefer the smaller 13 model here., Unlike a 2 in 1 youre, also not putting your hands on the keyboard to hold it, which always felt a bit weird to me.. The touch screen itself uses a 3 by 2 aspect ratio with high, but not quite 4K resolution.. I found the screen to be responsive, but it doesnt come with a pen. The surface pen is separate., The bezel looks a little thick compared to alternative laptops, but I think its a reasonable compromise to make it comfortable to hold as a tablet. Ive, measured colour gamut with the Spyder 5 and got 93 of sRGB 64 of NTSC 69 of Adobergb and 68 of DCI P3. At full brightness.
I measured the screen at 380 nits with a 12301 contrast ratio, so good brightness and contrast, but a little lower on the colour gamut than I was expecting for a premium device, not bad. Just a bit lower.. There was only very minor backlight bleed in this worst case, but this will vary between laptops and panels.. Microsoft lists the weight at 1.9kg, which is what Im getting. With the 127 watt power, brick and cables for charging. This increases to almost 2.4kg or 5.2lb. As a tablet. The screen by itself was 815g or 1.8lb.. The power brick also has a 7 watt USB Type, A charging port. Its not too big for a 15 inch device. The thickness varies as the back is thicker due to the hinge.. The hinge is rock solid, as it runs along the entire width of the machine. There was next to no flex when trying to twist the lid, which makes sense, given it acts as a standalone. Tablet. Chassis flex was also on the lower side when pushing down hard. It feels extremely sturdy and solid.. It opens up easily with one finger, despite definitely feeling more back and top heavy, which would be a result of all the extra components behind the screen to get it working as a tablet.. The screen still tilts back far enough without making it unbalanced though.. When you open the lid, the laptop automatically powers on which makes sense chances are, if youre, opening the lid you want to use it.
By default. Closing the lid will put it to sleep, and when you open the lid, it resumes from sleep extremely quickly.. If you combine this with Windows, Hello, it pretty much wakes up and logs you straight in.. There are two 1080p cameras. The one above the screen is 5MP and theres. Another on the front lid, which is 8MP.. Both the camera and sound quality are significantly better than most other laptops, and this is what the camera on the front looks. Like. The front facing speakers are towards the top of the screen on the left and right, so you can still use them in tablet. Mode.. They sounded good, definitely above average, for a laptop with some bass and were still clear at maximum volume. It wasnt super loud, but I prefer quality and the latencymon results were looking good.. The keyboard has white backlighting, which illuminates all keys and secondary key functions. However, I found the white lighting difficult to see in a well lit room when paired with the silver keys, so you might want to only use the keyboard lighting in darker environments.. It can be adjusted between three brightness levels or turned off with the F1 shortcut key. Typing on the keyboard felt excellent. Definitely one of the better ones Ive used heres how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.. I like that the function key locks on or off so you dont have to hold it down.
If you want to use the F keys up the top.. The only thing I didnt personally, like apart from the small arrow keys, was the button for detaching near the back space. I only mispressed it once which just resulted in the screen going a bit flaccid until you reattach it., The glass precision. Touchpad was amazing again one of the best Ive used.. It clicks down anywhere, but, given the size available, it probably could have been bigger.. It was extremely accurate to use, though the click is quite audible.. Fingerprints dont show up at all on the silver finish they do show up on the glossy screen, though, but thats the nature of touch screens unless youre only using a pen. On the left from the back. There are two USB 3.1 Gen2 Type: A ports and an SD card, slot. On the right, theres, a 3.5mm, audio, combo, jack right down the front, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C port. No Thunderbolt, though, and the power connector. The power adapter, can connect either way and it uses magnets. So if you accidentally trip over the cable, it easily comes out without taking the machine with it, and you can also optionally instead charge with the Type C port.. The 3.5mm jack is on the top section, so you can still use it when in tablet mode, but when, in laptop mode, its kind of awkward. The front has a groove in the middle for getting your finger in to open the lid and theres a power button.
And volume adjustment buttons towards the left again for use in tablet mode, though you can still use them in laptop mode too.. Meanwhile, on the back, we just get a view of that big hinge. Underneath is clean too literally nothing other than some feet.. They seemed to be more of a hard rubber, meaning theyre, not very grippy, when on a flat surface., It doesnt seem to be user upgradeable. I havent found any upgrade guides or easy way of getting inside in any case.. The 15 inch Surface Book 3 is powered by a 22Wh battery in the screen section and larger 63Wh battery in the keyboard section. So 85Wh total. Windows will report the charge level of both batteries. Independently. Ive tested it with screen brightness at 50 and keyboard lighting off.. It lasted for just over 7 hours in the YouTube playback test, a respectable result. In tablet mode. It lasted for 2 hours and 47 minutes. In the same test. I was only able to test gaming in laptop mode as the Nvidia graphics is in the keyboard. Half and noted some interesting behaviour. First off the result in gaming was above average. However, the game was automatically closed. Once the battery in the keyboard section reached 8 remaining, I think the Nvidia GPU just gets disabled, and this was despite the battery in the top half still being at 45.. Its also worth noting that youre not able to detach the screen if the screens battery is at 10 or lower.
. If the screens battery runs out in tablet mode, you can still use it when docked to the base. If that battery is charged, but the battery behind the screen will not charge off of the keyboard battery, it needs to be plugged into wall power. To charge. Now lets talk about thermals.. It was cool to the touch at idle as the GPU in the keyboard section. Wouldnt be doing anything and the processor is behind the screen. When under combined CPU and GPU stress test it warms up in the middle, but it hardly felt warm still comfortable and the top panel heats up too, as the Intel CPU is behind. The screen. Lets have a listen to fan noise.. It was completely silent at idle and even when under load, the fan was still on the quieter side when compared to others. Warm air is exhausted below the screen from the GPU and out the sides of the screen for the CPU.. The internals were cool at idle and then, when under combined CPU plus GPU stress test it wasnt getting too hot.. In this heavy worst case workload, the CPU was given 18 watts for PL1. The 1660 Ti Max Q was reporting as hitting both power and thermal limits. Despite only being 61 degrees Celsius., This resulted in the processor running at 2.6GHz over all 4 cores. In this stress test, undervolting didnt work. In a GPU only load. The 1660 Ti Max Q would sit at 55 watts, which seems to be below the 60 watts specified by Nvidia.
. I didnt expect the GPU would drop about 20 watts lower with the CPU active given its in a different part of the machine with a separate cooling solution. So there must be some power limitation there. In a CPU only workload like Cinebench, though the 1065G7 is able to run up to 25 watts for PL1. In cinebench. Processor performance was on the lower side when compared to others, Ive tested. Single core performance, wasnt too bad, but multicore is limited by the power limit of the processor and look I get it. You cant exactly shove, a beefy 45 watt part in something like this. Due to limited cooling on the screen, half. Ive exported one of my laptop review. Videos with Adobe Premiere and the Surface Book 3 was on the slower side out of the options Ive recently tested. Ive also tested Adobe Premiere, but with the puget systems benchmark tool which tests more things such as live playback and again, the Surface Book 3 was closer To the bottom of the stack., It was in the same position in the Adobe Photoshop test and then down a spot when it came to Davinci Resolve., While not exactly a powerhouse due to the lower wattage processor, its definitely still capable of running these sorts of workloads. Just dont expect excellent performance., Although not a gaming laptop. It should still be possible to kick back at the end of the day and play some games with this level of hardware.
. Ive got the results of the Surface Book 3 in Battlefield 5 shown in red and its actually doing a bit better than what I was expecting. Considering the Max Q, graphics and lower wattage processor., Far Cry 5 was tested using the games benchmark tool and the Surface Book 3 was placed similarly here too, at just under 70 FPS, with ultra settings. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, its just able to manage 60 Fps at max settings so not bad results at all. All things: considered. Ive used Crystal Disk Mark to test storage and the 512gb SSD was performing fairly well.. The SD card slot was also doing well too, and the card sticks out by this much and doesnt click. In. For updated pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording in the US, were looking at 2800 USD for the configuration Ive tested here. Paying more gets you more storage space, but there are cheaper options. Too., The 13 model, with same specs, for instance, is more than 500 less.. Meanwhile, here in Australia, the configuration Ive tested is above 4400 AUD, so definitely premium pricing for a premium device, no surprise there. Overall, Microsofts, Surface Book 3 is a well built machine and is offering a unique combination of laptop and tablet with its bendy hinge.. I thought the implementation worked well, but considering the price youll mainly want to consider this machine. If you really need the tablet experience in the same device as it is possible to get a better performing laptop for less money and possibly even a dedicated tablet.
, The specs in my higher end model are definitely capable, but yeah due to the custom form factor. There are trade offs being made with regards to performance for the design.. Thermals were fine and it always ran quiet even when being stressed, but this is a result of lower power. Limits., The dual cameras put others to shame. The 32 screen looks good keyboard and touchpad were amazing. To use and battery life was up there. Too. Lack of thunderbolt in a solution like this is a bit unfortunate, especially for those that might already have a dock. Otherwise, apart from the higher price, I didnt have much to complain. About. Not having upgrade options does suck, but I can understand why it may not be possible in a custom design like this. Again its really going to come down to how much youll benefit from the option of using it as a tablet, as well as a regular Laptop.