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A Wake-Up Call for Microsoft – Surface Book 3

This is Harold.- Hello, – Harold has a hard time making decisions. – I wasn’t sure, so I bought everything for – That’s why Harold got the Surface Book 3. – It’s a laptop, it’s a tablet and it’s as powerful as a desktop. – Well, yes, but actually, no.

The Surface Book has been promising to be the do-everything device since 2015. But the core of the design hasn’t been updated since, well, 2015 and I’m just not sure if it still holds up five years later. What do you think you are Microsoft, Intel? And who do you think you are, Ting? Oh, yeah, our sponsor, why pay for things you don’t need or even use? Ting wants to help you save money by getting you to pay for the mobile data that you use and only that. Check it out at the link below to learn more. (upbeat music) In 2015 I call this the first truly premium Windows machine, and it does have a lot still going for it. The feel of the device is exceptional, and despite it’s all-metal, not to mention rigid chassis, it somehow feels soft to the touch. The problem is that the bezels, trackpad size, and the overall design haven’t aged well compared to the MacBook Pro16 or the new Dell XPS 15. Of course, that ignores the Surface Book 3s classic party trick that never gets old. In theory, this is it, the best of both worlds. You need to quickly go and take some notes, grab the tablet, and the pen which is just so delightfully magnetically attached to the side and you’re good to go. Need more power? Well, additional battery capacity, bring it up to nearly 12 and a half hours in our tests and a dedicated graphics card are stored in the base along with what we described as fairly decent IO The dual USB Taipei’s are welcome, although we do wish they would have done something about the incredibly poorly positioned headphone jack.

One notable IO improvement though is that the surface dock accessory now supports dual 4k 60 Hz displays if you don’t mind shelling out for that. Back to the tablet releasing, though, honestly, on the previous models, I didn’t find it very useful because I’m an impatient kind of person. For the tablet mode to be useful for me, the detach needs to be quicker than just unplugging the power mouse and display that I have connected to the Surface Book at my desk, and this is finally the case. On the 13 and a half-inch model, the tablet releases twice as fast, and on the 15 inches, it releases three times faster. Maybe more importantly, though, it does so consistently. Previously, you’d have to close down any apps that were using the dedicated GPU, whereas now apps are automatically switched over to the integrated GPU without you having to think about it, for the most part, it’s pretty slick. To put the SurfaceBook 3 versatility to the test though, we came up with an idea. Alex, our laptop reviews editor, recently had an unfortunate failure in his desktop and it’s broken right now. So why don’t you try replacing it with this for a bit? For the first part of his job, writing the surface Book 3 is exceptional. Both Microsoft’s Book and laptop products are equipped with the killer one-two to punch productivity combo of an incredible keyboard, and a three by two display that backs in 2015, Microsoftworked the competition with. Since then, though, Dell and HP have improved their keyboards and Apple has, well, they’ve improved their keyboard. So the Surface Book is now an A-plus keyboard in a crowded field of or A-plus keyboards instead of a clear winner. As for the display, the 3240 by 2160 resolution monitor is essentially a 4K display with the sides chopped off, and I gotta say, it still looks sharp, and because it’s a laptop and a tiny screen, I didn’t miss the extra pixels at all. Now you are giving up the vivid colors and the perfect blacks of the OLED display options on some of its competitors, but you are gaining what is still the best touch and pen input available on Windows. Like you can probably barely see it, but there’s just a tiny bit of spring in the pen tip that gives it a close to penning on paper feel, instead of a pen on glass, like what you get from HP or Dell’s pens. Another area that Microsoft has lost ground compared to the competition is the trackpad.

When the Microsoftprecision touchpad drivers were first introduced on the Surface Pro 2, they were a statement. They said hey, hello guys. How have you still not managed to figure this out? Well, whatever, we did it for you, mic drops out. It was the first time we’ve used a Windows touchpad that was comparable to the precision and feel of Apple’s offerings. Since then, Microsoft’s precision drivers have become available on so many more devices, though, that Microsoft no longer has enhanced precision going for them. And despite having ample space to grow, the Surface Book still comes with a tasty menu size trackpad, when I couldn’t get the full meal on the new XPS 15. Make sure that you’ subscribed, by the way, we’re gonna have a full review of that coming soon. While we’re on the topic of things that Microsoft made, that was awesome just for everyone else to do it better, Windows Hello facial recognition, it is awesome, I love it. And it returns to the SurfaceBook 3, right there baby. But it’s also now available on other devices, in a super slim module allowing for much smaller bezels. Where Microsoft is leading the competition though is in the inclusion of a 1080p webcam. That means that on video calls, you will look like a person instead of a smeary mess of pixels. Thank you, Microsoft now I have someone credible to point to when I yell at other laptop manufacturers about their crummy webcams. Does it look good, doesn’t it? On two specs, the 13 and a half inch and 15-inch models get up to GTX 1650 and 1660Ti options respectively. Both are Max-Q variants, but that’s still plenty of room for mid-tier gaming, as long as you turn the resolution down. The one we were curious about though, is the new surface for the business version with a Quadro RTX 3000. For professionals whose programs require the Quadro drivers, this one is a no brainer. And for those that also enjoy gaming, remember this is the sameTU106 Chip as the RTX 2070, just with reduced shaders and clocks to bring the TDP down to 80 watts. In our testing, the GPU handle our typical SolidWorksmodels well and even managed our 8000 part LegoMillennium Falcon benchmark. Huge shout out to Ryan Cole for this ridiculous model by the way.

The GPU also held up well in gaming, even if we can’t say the same about the display. This thing was optimized for picture quality and not for response time. Although as long as you’re a Cities: Skylines, or an O player, rather thana Rainbow Six Siege fanatic, you’ll be fine. Otherwise, just please buy something else. And the CPU is, well, it’s another problem. The fastest model that you can get in the Surface Book 3, is the Intel Core i7-1065G7, and that’s the same for the core processor as the Surface Laptop 3. In most of our testing, Book 3 was still very responsive. But as the competition is moving to six, and even eight-core processors, the Surface Book 3 is left in the dust, if you plan on rendering large video projects, exploiting edited pictures, running simulations, or even just being careless with your multitasking and your junk running in the background. There are just much faster machines out there, not to mention the thermals. During a blender render the temps got into the high 90s with core clocks dipping below three gigahertz. In practice, the i7-1065G7 still feels more than fast enough outside of intense all-core loads, but given that we don’t need the tablet functionality that badly, a more powerful CPU makes our job easier. Even when connected to five Gigabit Ethernet dongle and using GPU acceleration, the poor CPU of the surface Book 3 struggled to playback red footage from our server at the one-eighth resolution, that’s a deal-breaker for us, even if it has no applicability to you whatsoever. The other deal-breaker for some folks is going to be the lack of serviceability on this machine and the lack of Thunderbolt 3. I sort of imagined this large overlap between people who need a Quadroon their laptop and people who would care about things like serviceability and connectivity. But Microsoft did address, the lack of Thunderbolt 3 quite recently. It’s due to security concerns related to Thunderbolt’s direct access to memory, something that can not be patched by software in any way. And they use the same logic to explain why the Ram cant is removed and upgraded. Fair enough, I guess. So for those of you who are genuinely concerned that someone is going to open up your laptop, while it’s still powered on, use liquid nitrogen to freeze the memory, and then use a special reader to access the data. This is the laptop for you. For those of us who aren’t an unfortunate scientist in Mission Impossible, I would rather just be able to upgrade the memory on my device down the line and use Thunderbolt 3.

Which brings us to the toughest part of this review. Do I recommend the Surface Book 3? Most of this time has been spent talking about how now five years later, the competition has caught up to Book 3, and Microsoft needs to invest in a complete redesign in the coming years. But the 2020 Book 3 is still a compelling device for the right user, someone or anyone, who needs the tablet function because no one else is gonna pay that premium. The first, in our mind properly equipped config for this thing, for the 13and a half-inch model is around 2000 US dollars, and our Quadro equips 15 inch, that weighs in at around 3400. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but at the same time, what else you’re gonna get an iPad Pro with the magic keyboard? For people who need both good pen support and the muscle for real professional applications, the Surface Book 3 is just really your only option, assuming you need a bit more portability than the Acer ConceptD 7. For those that can live without the tablet functionality and want a couple more CPU cores and don’t need a Quadro GPU, hey, again, maybe wait for the full review of the XPS 15 and 17 before I’m pulling the trigger on this guy. Speaking of pulling the trigger, I’m pulling the trigger on this Segway team does mobile phone service differently. There are no contracts, no overage fees, and no carrier tricks. You just pay a fair price for the talk text and data that you use each month. It’s especially great if you’restuck at home using Wi-Fi, instead of your mobile data. Ting gives you complete control over your account. You can set alerts and caps for each device on your account to keep your usage in check, and they’ve got nationwide LTE coverage using T-Mobile Sprint and Verizon. That means great network coverage from coast to coast. Almost any phone will work with Ting from that ancient Motorola Razrsitting in your basement, to the latest iPhone 11 series. So check your phone’s compatibility at, we’re gonna have that down below and get $25 credit when you sign up. If you guys enjoyed this video and you’re looking for something else, Alex says shoot the webcam section please, if you haven’t already. I did Alex. I already showed on the webcam section. So maybe check out, I don’t know who cares. We want to cool the calculator. It’s a fun video, go watch it. (upbeat music)