While it seemed Microsoft skipped a beat when it launched the new Surface Pro and a new laptop, but we now have what, on paper, is the most powerful Surface yet: The Surface Book 3.
We’ve spent the last week with a pretty powerful 15-inch version (it also comes in a 13-inch version) that comes with 512GB of storage, a 10th Gen. Intel Core i7 processor with 32GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 1660 Ti with 6GBs of RAM.
All that is nearly top of the line, minus the storage, for $2,799. So let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of the Book 3 and see what that all means.
If you’ve never seen a Surface Book, you know it’s in its own class when it comes to product design, sticking out from other 2-in-1s, and especially other laptops. Iit looks like a laptop by default, but its large, almost spiral hinge has a unique bend. The detachable screen includes most of the internals, so it’s top heavy to a degree.
The hinge is like a spiral with different links that can turn in when you want to close the laptop, or open to use the laptop at a normal 90-degree angle. When you close it, the hinges come together to form a “C,” which leaves quite a bit of space. Durability is a concern as stuff can very easily slide into the wide gap. When carrying it in a backpack or sleeve, dirt, keys and coins could potentially get in and scratch the display.
It’s also entirely made out of magnesium, so the 15-inch is a big machine. It’s also pretty thick, at 0.90 inches at the thickest point.
Opening the laptop reveals sizable bezels around the display, a large keyboard and a tiny trackpad. Since the unique hinge expands, it pushes the screen farther away from you. You’re also limited as to how far back you can push the display.
The magnesium frame is slightly puffed up on the inside as well, with a noticeable incline from the side edges moving toward the mainframe. It’s comfortable for your palms and aids in giving the Surface Book 3 keyboard an ample amount of travel.
It only shifts into an upward-facing gear around the top left and right side of the keyboard. The bottom has a noticeable slope, so ergonomically, this feels super high-end all around.
The keyboard provides a punchy experience with a familiar layout. You have decent space between the keys and rows. The keys have a nice recoil to them and make an audible clack when pressed. There’s a solid bounce, or recoil, on the Book 3, and we find it to be nearly on par with our current favorite, Apple’s Magic Keyboard. It’s also easy enough to hold down a function key with the FN key to engage a certain task. There’s also basically no latency when pressing in a key, even in high performance tasks.
After such a great typing experience, we were a bummed with the trackpad. It’s downright cramped and doesn’t make good use of space. They could have easily expanded it to the left and right with plenty of room to spare. It’s especially cramped in gaming and creative tasks, but also when working in a CMS that requires dragging elements. You might run out of room pretty fast. That likely won’t be a deal breaker for everyone, but we feel Microsoft could have cast a much wider net