The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is here, and Microsoft's flagship detachable 2-in-1 laptop is back with more power than ever before, including 10th-generation Intel processors and Nvidia discrete graphics.
With its detachable design giving you both a capable laptop and a sleek tablet to grab and use on the go, improvements like more potent processing and powerful graphics open up gaming and multimedia capabilities on the versatile system. Available in both 13- and 15-inch sizes, the Surface Book 3 is poised to be the most capable member of the Surface family of laptops and tablets.
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Microsoft Surface Book 3 specs: 13 inch vs 15 inch
|Surface Book 3 (13.5-inch)||Surface Book 3 (15-inch)|
|Starting Price||$1,599 (integrated graphics) / $1,999 (discrete GPU)||From $2,299|
|Screen||13.5-inch, 3000 x 2000||15-inch, 3240 x 2160|
|CPU||Core i5-1035G7, Core i7-1065G7||Core i7-1065G7|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Plus, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti|
|RAM||8GB, 16GB, 32GB||16GB, 32GB|
|SSD||256GB, 512GB, 1TB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Xbox Wireless|
|Estimated battery life||15.5 hours with keyboard attached||17.5 hours with keyboard attached|
|Ports||2 USB Type-A, 1 USB Type-C, SD Card, 3.5mm audio||2 USB Type-A, 1 USB Type-C, SD Card, 3.5mm audio|
|Cameras||5MP front-facing; 8MP rear-facing||5MP front-facing; 8MP rear-facing|
|Audio||Dual far-field mics, Front-facing stereo speakers w/ Dolby Atmos||Dual far-field mics, Front-facing stereo speakers w/ Dolby Atmos|
|Dimensions||12.3 x 9.14 x 0.9 inches||13.5 x 9.87 x 0.9 inches|
|Total weight||3.38 pounds; 3.62 pounds with GPU||4.2 pounds|
|Tablet weight||1.59 pounds (both models)||1.8 pounds|
Microsoft Surface Book 3 release date
The Surface Book 3 has a $1,599 starting price and will be available to buy starting May 21. You can pre-order the Surface Book 3 starting today (May 6) on Microsoft.com.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 price
The 13.5-inch Surface Book 3 starts at $1,599 for a configuration with a 10th generation Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics. Stepping up to the $1,999 model gets you a faster Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics.
If you want more RAM and storage, the $2,499 configuration of the Surface Book 3 (13.5-inch) comes with 32GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, while the $2,799 model offers a 1TB SSD.
The 15-inch Surface Book 3 has a starting price of $2,299, which comes with a 10th gen Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti graphics. The $2,799 Surface Book 3 doubles the storage to 32GB and the SSD to 512GB, while the $2,999 and $3399 models have the same amount of RAM but offer 1TB and 2TB of storage, respectively.
Microsoft is also offering other configurations of the Surface Book 3 for commercial use, including a 15-inch model with pro-grade Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 graphics. That model starts at $3,499.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 specs
The biggest changes to the Surface Book 3 are internal, with the jump to Intel's 10th-Generation Ice Lake processors. The smaller 13.5-inch model will offer both Core i5 and Core i7 configurations, with a quad-core Intel Core i5-1035G7 processor in the base model and a more powerful Intel i7-1065G7 option available. The base model is offered with integrated graphics only, while the Core i7 model is also outfitted with Nvidia mobile graphics.
That same Core i7 processor is offered in the 15-inch Surface Book 3, which is offered with discrete graphics on all configurations.
The resulting improvements should be dramatic, with Intel claiming that the Surface Book 3 will offer 50% more power than the previous Surface Book 2 from 2017.
Microsoft says that the Surface Book 3 will offer up to 32GB of RAM and "the fastest SSD we have ever shipped." The 13.5-inch Surface Book 3 comes with 256GB of storage to start but is available with up to 1TB, while the 15-inch Surface Book 3 has 256GB and goes up to 2TB.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 graphics
The new Surface Book 3 models will also get a step up in graphics capability. The base model still relies on integrated graphics, but gets an upgrade from standard Intel UHD Graphics processing to Intel Iris Plus graphics. The move to Iris Plus graphics promises faster performance and even some modest gaming capability without having to spring for the more expensive GPU-equipped models.
The 13-inch model can also be configured with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650, which features ultra slim Max Q design and is outfitted with 4 GB of GDDR5 graphics memory. The new GPU will offer significant improvements in both gaming and multimedia creation, letting you enjoy modern games (albeit, without the ray tracing offered on more expensive and more powerful gaming rigs).
The 15-inch model is also outfitted with NVIDIA graphics, but gets a more powerful GeForce GTX 1660 Ti card with 6 GB of GDDR6 memory. Again, this opens up not only the chance to enjoy games – Microsoft claims that it will play top Xbox Game Pass for PC titles at full HD 1080p resolution and do so at a smooth 60 frames per second – but it will also make the Surface Book 3 a capable machine for editing photos and video on the go.
Finally, Microsoft also offers an Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 graphics card for the 15-inch Surface Book 3. This configuration is designed for commercial use and higher education, and are the most expensive models in the new Surface Book 3 lineup.
As with the Surface Book 2, the new Book 3 houses discrete graphics cards in the detachable keyboard, allowing for a lighter, slimmer tablet when the keyboard is disconnected, but without the same level of graphics capability.
Microsoft Surface Book 3: Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
One additional change is the addition of Wi-Fi 6, with an 802.11ax compatible wireless card. This newer Wi-Fi standard has started rolling out to many Wi-Fi 6 routers in the last year, but has only just started appearing in laptops and phones in the last few months.
The new standard offers faster throughout well beyond Gigabit speeds, and is designed for better handling of many connected devices at once. As a benefit of this improved wireless management, connected devices are expected to see better battery life with Wi-Fi 6 than with Wi-Fi 5 (better known as 802.11ac).
The Surface Book 3 will also get Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connecting to peripherals, like headsets, mice and keyboards.
Unique to the 15-inch model will be built-in Xbox Wireless, letting you use the current wireless Xbox controller on the Surface Book 3 without needing a USB adapter.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 design
While the Surface Book 3 will be getting upgraded hardware, the overall look of the Surface Book design has been consistent across the different models. Judging by the images of the Surface Book 3 we've seen, the silver color scheme and overall look of the detachable 2-in-1 look is unchanged for the new models.
The most distinctive aspect of the Surface Book – the fulcrum hinge – appears unchanged from the past two Surface Book iterations. This segmented hinge design allows the detachable design to securely connect the tablet and keyboard base, but (as with past models) prevents the laptop from closing flat like other laptops – detachable or otherwise.
The displays also seem to be the same PixelSense touch screens used on the Surface Book 2, with the 13.5-inch model sporting the same 3000 x 2000 resolution, and the 15-inch model also unchanged at 3240 x 2160 resolution.
With 10-point touch tracking, the Surface Book 3 screens can handle simultaneous touches from all fingers on both hands, enabling a wide number of gestures and multi-touch controls. These touch screens are also designed for use with both the Surface Pen and Surface Dial, two accessories that are sold separately.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 battery life
Estimated battery life on the Surface Book 3 varies between the 13- and 15-inch models, but both promise all-day battery for most uses. According to Microsoft, the 13.5-inch Book 3 will last up to 15.5 hours with the keyboard attached, while the larger 15-inch model will boast an impressive 17.5 hours of battery life.
The detachable design of the Surface Book 3 means that the tablet and keyboard each have a separate battery, making laptop-style use the longest lasting, since it engages both batteries. Tablet use will have significantly less battery capacity on both models, though Microsoft has not shared any information on what sort of battery life is expected in tablet mode.
Microsoft Surface Book 3: Outlook
The latest update to the Surface Book 3 promises more power, better graphics, faster Wi-Fi and all-day battery life, all while keeping the distinctive design and overall pricing of past Surface Book models. While we'll hold off on making any big recommendations until we've had a chance to test and review one for ourselves, it's safe to say that Microsoft is offering exactly what most people want in a new version of an old favorite: Better capability with the features you already love. This is shaping up to be Microsoft's best 2-in-1 laptop yet.