Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5” review
Quick verdict: If you're upgrading from an older Surface Book and you still crave that removable tablet action, then the Surface Book 3 is a decent update. In the wider ultrabook market, though, it's becoming increasingly hard to justify buying one.
- Range of configuration options
- Up to RTX 2070 GPUs available
- Great keyboard and trackpad
- Can still sometimes get stuck docked
- Better performance can be had for less money
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Microsoft's Surface Book has hit its third generation, although it has been a while since the Surface Book 2 was actually "new". That gap alone means that simple advancements in processor technologies will result in the Surface Book 3 being a better unit than its predecessor, but looking just at internal components probably isn't asking the right question of the Surface Book 3.
That question really should be what the Surface Book 3's unique selling point is best for and whether Microsoft's designed for it and priced for it accordingly.
- 13.5- or 15-inch display
- Removable tablet
- Great keyboard
- Limited ports
- Range of processor choices, but not the fastest
- GPU only available when docked
- Decent battery life when docked
- Surface Connect charger is well designed
Should you buy the Microsoft Surface Book 3?
The original Surface Book really did seem to show Microsoft doing what it always envisaged – having a range of devices that were "best of breed" while also having innovations that its partners could then build upon. Microsoft has long said it doesn't want to compete with the likes of Dell, Lenovo, Acer or Asus, but instead inspire them to make even more exciting laptops.
However, in the years since that first model hit the market, pretty much nobody has jumped on the idea of a laptop with a fully removable head. That makes the Surface Book 3 pretty unique, and if you were keen to upgrade from an older model and you liked this idea, then you're not going to be disappointed with the Surface Book 3. Not that much has changed beyond a bump in processor specifications over the years.
However, in the wider productivity space, we've seen a lot of thinner, lighter and more agile laptops, many of which don't command the asking price of the Surface Book 3. The recently reviewed Lenovo Yoga C94 springs to mind because it's of the same vintage but can be had cheaper, and it's lighter with better overall performance.
Where Microsoft once innovated, it seems to be resting on past glories rather than making the Surface Book 3 a truly innovative device, so this is one for the truly obsessed Surface fans only.