Microsoft’s recent Surface announcements have focused on defining new locations in the ARM-powered Surface Pro X update; And Surface is bringing a popular line to a wider audience with Laptop Go. But what about the flagship? The Surface Book 3, launched in May this year, seems a little out of place for Microsoft… a Surface device that does not seek to redefine the location where it lives.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a fully capable laptop with the same style touch that helps the Surface Book when the first iteration arrived in October 2015. But the world of PCs has moved forward and creative expectations of high-end laptops have moved forward. While the Surface Book has also moved ahead, the competition has grown further since then.
I’ve spent some time with the 15-inch Surface Book 3, which sports Intel’s tenth-generation i7-1065G7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q graphics card. This is closer to the upper end of the configuration – a model with the Quadra RTX 3000 Max-Q is available if you need more graphical power.
Let’s get something out. In my day-to-day work, it is just a little power for me. I can certainly make my office documents and work on everything needed to publish these words and pictures on the Internet; There is more than enough oomph to do direct editing for my retro gaming YouTube channel (as well as run streaming software and emulator in one place); Editing and exporting audio podcasts is incredibly smooth; And it can happily stream audio and play radio playout software when I need to be live on the airwave.
That said, the extra power allows me to use the Surface Book 3 as a solid yet unexpected gaming machine. While it’s not specifically designed for this location – there’s no way the Surface Book 3 can keep up with performance and thermal control in the likes of Dell Alienware or Razor Blade gaming laptops – a few tweaks to each game’s settings With this you can reach 60 fps. On the current headlines. You also have the option to convert it all to 1080p for more frames, even if it ignores the capability of a 3000 x 2000 pixel screen.
Why is all this important? Because for many people, the Surface Book 3 can be all the computing power they need for the next few years, even if the laptop is small at the top of the performance tree.
The Surface Book 3 is effectively the same design as the first Surface Book launched five years ago. Yes, there have been technical improvements in the choice of the hinge, the latching system that allows for screen separation, and an increase in keyboard base to accommodate more cooling for the graphics processor, but it’s clearly the same design. is.
And here is Achilles Heel of Surface Book 3. There is no place in the design to allow for today’s top-end specifications that are required by creatives. The defining feature of the detachable screen to offer Windows 10 tablets means that the screen assembly has to function as a full standalone Windows computer machine. Given the expander screen and the need to be as thin and light as possible, the design is limiting the technology that can be integrated.
The rough form factor of the Surface Pro Ultraports allows for greater thermal management (including a fan to help move hot air out of the hardware). Thanks to some smart engineers, the keyboard accommodates additional graphical power, providing greater cooling capacity. Thank you for the thick wedge as you hinge.
But the business remains closed. Take the processor. Microsoft is using a U-Series processor from Intel. It is designed for ultraportable machines and draws 15 watts. More power laptops are going to use H-series processors that can run up to 45 watts with more cores and threads (the above Razor Blade eight-core sixteen threads uses Core i7-10875H).
If you want a detachable screen on your laptop, then you have to sacrifice some computing power to do so.
The Surface Book 3 is not the ultimate laptop for those who need more power in a laptop. This does not mean that video editing, heavy lifting on images, or software development should ignore Surface Book 3; But they should know that there are boundaries at the top of the envelope.
If your requirements are high, but not according to demand, then the Surface Book 3 is a solid machine. While most people are going to put it in laptop mode, you cannot discount tablet mode. This is an important part of the package and there will be users where the ability to turn off the screen and use the Surface Pen directly on the screen is the killer feature. That third mode – flipping the screen back and forth and attaching it to the base creates a portable drawing desk, which opens up a different way of making portable computers with enough rake on the screen.
The trade-off between power and design is clearly visible here. Design seekers, convertible modes of use and increased versatility are the target markets for the Surface Book 3.
And as I mentioned earlier, Surface Book 3 gives me enough power to do the work I need my computer to do. When the world is allowed to travel again and I need all my reporting and broadcasting from a remote press room to anywhere in Europe on a single machine, Surface Book 3 would be a good choice.
When it was launched, Surface Book Surface Book enabled PC Design. Comparisons continue on Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops (and frankly I prefer Surface’s detachable and touch-enabled screen to remove function keys to add touch bars to Apple’s MacOS laptops) and Surface’s Five Year Old Design. Book still stands out in a crowd.
Microsoft partners have given new form factors and ideas to the Windows 10 table, and have caught up with the Surface Book and in many cases outpaced certain elements of the package. In a sense, this is a win for Microsoft, as everyone benefits in a Windows 10 ecosystem. The Surface Book and Surface Pro range contributed by setting the bar.
Maybe that’s why I have ‘this?’ 3. The specs have been bumped with the Surface Book, it fits comfortably with my work, it still has all the design cues and engineering that defines the machine … but it doesn’t move the bar Or does not challenge the market. The Surface Book 3 has to do everything I need to do, but I’m not sure it’s doing exactly what it can for Microsoft.
Now read how Microsoft’s Surface Pro X is challenging Apple’s upcoming move for Mac powered by ARM …