Microsoft's Surface Book 3 offers up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPUs, 32GB RAM, up to NVIDIA RTX Quadro series GPU options, Wi-Fi 6 and has a starting price of $1599.99.
We can't believe that it took Microsoft this long to update their Surface Book product line. But, they finally did & while the Surface Book 3 is a pretty significant upgrade, it doesn't change things much. If you liked what Microsoft did with the Surface Book 2, you'll like the Surface Book 3 too. But, if that product wasn't a good fit for your workflow, neither will this new one be.
Everything Changed or Unchanged in Surface Book 3
Microsoft has gone for the new 10th gen G7 chips from Intel in the CPU section. The quadcore Ice Lake G7 chips are based on the new 10 nm process technology. There is a 13.5 inch & a 15 inch model just like last year. You can get the 13.5" model with either the i5-1035G7 or the i7-1065G7 CPU. However, the 15 inch model doesn't have the i5 option & comes with the i7-1065G7 by default. Now, these are still 15W chips so, keep that in mind.
Just like the new 13" Macbook Pro, Microsoft is also using the faster 3733 MHz LPDDR4X RAM with 8GB (only available in the 13.5" model), 16GB & 32GB memory configurations. The storage situation has also improved with faster 256GB, 512GB & 1TB SSD options on International models with an additional 2TB option in the US for the 15 inch model.
Where things start to get really interesting though, is in the GPU section. Previously you couldn't get a discrete GPU if you went with the smaller variant. So, unless you went 15 inch, you were stuck with the stock Intel GPU. While that option isn't gone, this time you can get a 13.5" Surface Book 3 with a discrete 1650 MaxQ from NVIDIA. However, do keep in mind that this model ships with 4 gigabytes of the older & slower GDDR5 type VRAM.
The 15 inch model does have better GPU options available. The base variant ships with the 1660Ti but, if that's not enough for you, you can get the workstation grade Quadro RTX 3000 instead. You do get 6GB GDDR6 VRAM in both of the models so, no complains in that department.
The Reason why I'm bringing the Display so late in the article is because, that's something Microsoft decided to keep mostly untouched. The displays are still running at the resolution of 3000x2000 for the 13.5" model and 3240x2160 in the 15" model. The contrast ratio also remains unchanged at 1600:1 and the aspect ratio is 3:2.
The port selection remains unchanged as well with two USB Type-A ports on the left and one USB Type-C port on the right. They are all USB 3.1 Gen 2 so, transfer speeds will be faster but, there is no Thunderbolt 3 support yet again. There is also a full size SD Card slot & a Surface Connect charging port. You know in case you want to use just the Tablet. The display/tablet houses the 3.5 mm headphone jack & a second Surface Connect port. However, I'm not sure why Microsoft skipped Thunderbolt 3 again but, they definitely gave Apple the upper hand in the process.
The connectivity has been improved, finally! The Surface Book 3 now comes with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 ax). This is a significant improvement over 802.11 ac Wi-Fi in terms of speed. The Bluetooth version has also been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.0. So, it is now possible to connect two Bluetooth devices at the same time. However, it's still not the latest version (v5.1) so, can't give Microsoft too many props in this department.
The Power supply options are fairly different though. The 13.5 inch model ships with either a 65W power adapter (with built-in 5W USB Type-A port) for the i5 model or a 102W power adapter (with built-in 7W USB Type-A port) for the i7 model. The 15 inch model ships with a 127W power adapter with a 7W USB Type-A port built in. Microsoft claims 15.5 hours of battery life on the 13.5 inch model & about 17.5 hours on the 15 inch model.
Pricing and Availability For The 13.5 inch and 15 inch Models
The Surface Book 3 will start at $1599.99 for the 13.5 inch model and $2299 for the 15 inch model. We do not have the pricing info of all the configurations with different GPUs right now but, here are the prices we do have available,
Surface Book 3 13 inch Pricing
Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: $1599.99
Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD: $1999.99
Core i7, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD: $2499.99
Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD: $2699.99
Surface Book 3 15 inch Pricing
Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD: $2299.99
Core i7, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD: $2799.99
Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD: $2999.99
Core i7, 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD: $3399.99
If you want to pick one up, the Surface Book 3 is up for Pre-order in the US right now. If you live in Canada, you can pick it up starting May 21st. There is no word on the Indian pricing & availability just yet.