Wednesday 6th May saw Microsoft update its Surface Book line, making a few changes to their 13.5 and 15-inch Surface Book 3 laptops that were announced that day.
Much like the MacBook Pro, the design on the outside has not changed much – the fulcrum hinge is retained, the 3:2 screen can detach to become an over sized tablet, and support for the Surface Pen is still a key selling point.
What makes the Surface Book 3 a worthy contender isn’t just the Surface Pen or a slim stylish design but Microsoft’s willingness to deliver a high-performance detachable laptop that offers the versatility of a processor-powered tablet and portable studio.
From the previous models of two years ago, the Surface Book 3 is definitely charged up with the latest hardware possible underneath the hood, and it is also evident that Microsoft this time around has a gaming capability focus towards the new line considering the available spec sheet.
The Surface Book 3 range does not feel the need to compromise with specs in order to create an ‘entry level’ laptop. On the other hand, Apple did something else with its entry level model by sticking to an eighth generation (8th-gen) chipset in a ‘Pro’ laptop for 2020, which feels more like a step into the MacBook Air portfolio.
Though one should note that both the Surface and 13-inch MacBook Pro’s are still using quad-core processors so, let’s not jump off the roof yet in excitement.
Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 laptop is the right step towards ‘Pro’ machines
The Surface Book 3 ships with Intel’s latest 10th Gen processors, with the base 13.5-inch model starting at $1,599 (UGX 6,076,716) for a quad-core Core i5, and the 15-inch version having a quad-core Core i7 processor at a starting price of $2,299 (UGX 8,736,942).
Just in case you’re worried about the basic 13.5-inch model being less ‘powerful’, just know that it ships with Intel’s built-in Iris Plus graphics, plus you can also go for the option to upgrade to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q model that has a starting price of $1,999 (UGX 7,596,845) .
The 15-inch model ships with a GTX 1660Ti or businesses can upgrade to a Quadro RTX 3000 GPU starting at $3,499 (UGX 13,297,330), which means it should be good enough to run the latest Xbox Game Pass titles at 60fps with 1080p resolution.
Honestly speaking though, when you look at the African market, more so that in Uganda. Those price ranges for the Surface laptops are definitely worth a new liver, and several small businesses won’t be able to afford that kind of hardware in this market.
Microsoft says the Surface Book 3 is the most ‘powerful Surface laptop’ yet
The technological updates made to the Surface 3 have been a major focus on developers who demanded more from the previous models.
“What’s changing with Surface Book 3 is that it now comes with up to 32GB of RAM, which is really important for running virtual machines or things like Kubernetes,” said Robin Seiler, corporate vice president of program management for devices at Microsoft.
The Surface Book 3 will also ship with the fastest SSD Microsoft has ever shipped: an M.2 2280 in the 1TB and 2TB models. “This is one of the biggest asks we’ve had from coders, who need it for compiling, source control, package management,” said Seiler.
The charger has also undergone changes with it being upgraded to a 127W one on the 15-inch model so as to solve the issues and limitations of the 102W charger from the previous model. Microsoft claims that one will be able to get up to 17.5 hours of battery life and get back to work with improved standby that extends for days.
They also added the ‘Instant On’ feature that allows you to bring your screen up fast, with Windows Hello being able to log you in with a glance instantly.
According to Microsoft, the Surface 3 is much faster than before, and can perform intensive tasks meaning its new Quad-core powered 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processors can handle heavy software like Autodesk, AutoCAD, and Adobe Creative Cloud, including coding faster in Microsoft Visual Studio.
The Surface Book 3 isn’t all that mighty though
However, despite the upgrades made to the hardware, there are still concerns that bother us such as the lack of support for Thunderbolt 3 ports, which according to Seiler is still not an option due to security concerns.
This is a big let down for those who wish to gain the advantage of faster speeds when connecting to external drive storage or want to hook up a more powerful GPU yet Apple’s new MacBook Pro’s have them as a standard. In response to the lack of Thunderbolt 3 ports, you get two USB-A ports, a single USB-C port with USB Power Delivery 3.0 support, a full-size UHS-II SD card reader, and a Surface Connect port.
According to Cherlynn Low of Engadget, the Surface Book 3 is not really a good decision to jump into yet considering the fact that the 15-inch Book 3 is still stuck with four cores, though you still have the option to upgrade to an NVIDIA GeForce 1660 Ti or even the Quadro RTX 3000.
“But the quad-core CPU is embarrassing when compared to the competition. The MacBook Pro 16 inch, for example, comes with six- or eight-core options, and the Dell XPS 15 has a six-core configuration.” Cherlynn says.
Whether the Book 3 meets your expectations or not, the decision lies with the buyer and what they think can achieve with it. The Surface Book 3 is now available and you can preorder it today.
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Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.