microsoft surface 3 review

Battery life, on the other hand, has been less than stellar. Just remember that to make full use of the Surface Book 3’s power, you’ll need to reconnect the keyboard base. This keyboard and trackpad combination is the best you can get in the Windows world and shows Apple how a laptop keyboard should be done. The Surface 3 offers a welcome price break from the pricey Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and it's well built, offers a full version of Windows, and boasts impressive battery life. Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 test is fully threaded to make use of all available processor cores and threads in rendering a complex image. It’s not the lightest 13-inch laptop you can get, but it certainly isn’t cumbersome. The Surface Book 3 comes in either 13.5-inch or 15-inch display sizes and many different internal component configurations. Windows will let you know when it's attached via a green pop-up notification. In PCMark 8 Work Conventional, the Surface 3 scored 1,610 points. Testing conducted by Microsoft in September 2019 using preproduction software and preproduction 13.5” Intel® Core™ i5, 256GB, 8 GB RAM and 15” AMD Ryzen™ 5 3580U Mobile Processor with Radeon™ Vega 9 Graphics Microsoft Surface® Edition devices. That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but the Surface 3 is more than the sum of its parts. These specs make it comparable to dozens of ultraportable laptops, from the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 to Microsoft’s own 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3. That’s even faster than an older 15-inch MacBook Pro from 2016 that has a dedicated graphics card could manage. With 256 levels of pressure sensitivity and excellent palm rejection, the pen is among the best I've used with a tablet, alongside that of the Toshiba Encore 2 Write. The docking and undocking process can occasionally have hiccups. PCMark 8, meanwhile, has a Storage subtest that we use to assess the speed of the system’s storage subsystem. The heavy weight is not out of the ordinary for a 15-inch-class laptop, but when you detach the keyboard, the display is a much more manageable 1.8 pounds.

If there’s a serious concern about the keyboard, it’s the durability. There’s nothing else like the Surface Book 3, from Microsoft or any other mainstream laptop maker.

While this is helpful for the tablet-photographer-tourist, it means that when using the kickstand, the tablet and camera will point at a downward-sloping angle. The Surface Pen is available for $49.99 in a selection of colors—black, blue, or red—in addition to the bare-metal version with purple buttons offered when the pen first came available with the Surface Pro 3. Brian Westover is an Analyst for the Hardware Team, reviewing laptops, desktops, and storage devices. While detached, the Core i7's integrated Iris Plus handles graphics output. The MacBook Pro, ZBook Studio, and Yoga C940 are the standouts here, since they have more cores and threads. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor. The Surface 3 measures 10.52 by 7.36 by 0.34 inches (HWD), and weighs 1.4 pounds, making it lighter and easier to tote than its Pro counterpart, and putting it in the same weight-class as the Toshiba Encore 2 Write. If you want a traditional clamshell laptop, you can now choose between a 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 or a larger 15-inch model. Pop the tablet into the dock, and you've got a very usable desktop setup. Firstly, the Alcantara cloth deck that has been the signature of the Surface Laptop line is now optional depending on which color you get. Not only is 3:2 useful for some digital artists, but it lets you see more of a webpage or other vertical document before you have to scroll. The $400 Toshiba Encore 2 Write offers excellent note-taking capability, and includes the pen, so it remains our Editors' Choice.

Digital artists and on-the-go professionals who need the flexibility of a detachable tablet and some significant graphics horsepower will probably appreciate it most. Full HD display with touch and pen support. That’s better than the sub-six-hour times I saw on the 15-inch model (iFixit’s teardown says both the 13.5- and 15-inch versions have the same capacity battery), but it’s far from class leading and short of a full work day. You can also flip the keyboard base over and reattach it, letting you use the device as an easel or kiosk, with the display facing you and the keyboard resting on a flat surface.

The rear camera takes sharp, clear images, with very good color quality. Most other laptops in this price and size range do support Thunderbolt 3, so it’s frustrating that the Laptop 3 doesn’t. PCMag is obsessed with culture and tech, offering smart, spirited coverage of the products and innovations that shape our connected lives and the digital trends that keep us talking. We also leave the Windows taskbar power slider at its factory defaults when doing the battery test, to further ensure that the laptop manages its power use as it was designed to do. With the keyboard attached, it measures 0.9 by 13.6 by 9.9 inches and weighs 4.2 pounds. I also ran a second battery test on the display portion alone, detached from the keyboard base. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.

These modes are traditionally the province of 2-in-1 convertible designs. Microsoft's newest tablet, the Surface 3 ($599, 128GB), is an excellent, more-affordable follow-up to the Surface Pro 3, but in a market that's filled with inexpensive Windows tablets—like the Editors' Choice Toshiba Encore 2 Write( at Amazon)—a well-made tablet at a moderately affordable price isn't enough to take the top prize. The keys and touchpad seem fine, but the soft velour-like material around the palm rests scuffs and wears easily – I only had the Surface 3 for less than a week when small signs of use were obvious. My tests line up with that — I was able to go from dead to 39 percent in 30 minutes of charging. The Surface Book 3 is a mashup of all three. This happens with the laptop in a stationary position and none of the lighting changing. By comparison, the Toshiba Encore 2 Write gives you 64GB, while the E-Fun Nextbook 10.1($100.00 at eBay) has only 32GB of onboard storage. It isn’t as adjustable as the Pro’s novel effort, but it has three sensible angles that work well for a variety of situations.

These include scientific and AI apps, in addition to some multimedia content creation ones. Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. That pixel count would qualify as 4K if it were a 16:9 display, but instead it uses the taller 3:2 ratio, which is rare among laptops in general, though standard fare on Microsoft's PCs.
Most of these bugs go away after fully shutting down the laptop and restarting it, but they are all frustrating things to experience in the first week of using a brand-new laptop. If Microsoft-designed mobile PCs are the essence of the Windows computing experience, and the Surface Book is Microsoft’s flagship, then the Surface Book 3 (starts at $1,599; $2,799 as tested) has a reasonable claim to be the ultimate Windows-powered mobile device. With a snappy, satisfying keyboard and solid battery life, Microsoft's 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is an excellent ultraportable that gets the basics right. Your subscription has been confirmed. You’ll rarely encounter a time when you can’t find an angle that works for you – I found the middle and shallowest angles the most useful. While 16 hours is a long time, it’s less than the nearly 20 hours the Surface Book 2 achieved, and also slightly less than Microsoft’s claim of up to 17.5 hours of battery life. With an advanced mechanical locking system for the keyboard base, powerful graphics processing, multiple cameras and batteries, and a choice of two screen sizes, the Surface Book 3 is a category-defying device for the few laptop buyers who can afford it and realize its full potential. Trusted Reviews may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase through links on our site. When it comes to image editing, the Surface Book 3 is much faster than its predecessor but still slightly slower than the other three competitors... Our image editing test involves applying a series of 10 complex filters and effects to a standard JPEG test image. And if you prioritize CPU power above physical flexibility, better-performing large laptops for similar money do exist, including the 16-inch MacBook Pro and a whole host of workstation-class Windows laptops. Relying on Intel HD Graphics (the Atom processor's integrated graphics solution) the Surface 3 ran all of our graphics and gaming benchmark tests—an accomplishment for an Atom-based system—even outperforming several competitors in some tests, but the tablet is built to support uses like streaming video, not running games. A Surface Book 3 configured with a 2TB SSD but otherwise identical components to the one tested here costs $3,399.99. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. We use this Windows-only benchmark to assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet jockeying, web browsing, and videoconferencing. Related: Best Tablet. Value-seekers will be disappointed to learn that most of these alternatives start around $1,000 for comparable configurations, $600 less than the Surface Book 3’s starting price.

Why would you want to go through these contortions? His answer alternated between Superman and Batman. The same is true of the Surface Book 2 and the ZBook Studio, content-creator-class laptops each sporting a 1TB SSD. The other change Microsoft made was swapping the ancient Mini DisplayPort for a USB-C port, which is probably what should have been on the first version of the Surface Laptop in 2017. But this hinge has a hidden release mechanism, activated with a press of a key on the keyboard. This detachable 2-in-1 laptop certainly offers the best blend of unique features, operating-mode flexibility, computing power, and portability of any Microsoft PC. But the Apple, HP, and Lenovo outclass it on most of our CPU-intensive content-creation tests. The Type Cover is very much like the Microsoft Type Cover (for Surface) introduced with the Microsoft Surface RT, with a similar size and shape, and the same magnetic docking connection. But the fast-charging feature only works when the laptop is closed and sleeping — you won’t get fast charging speeds while you’re using the machine. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

Surface Laptop 3 : Up to 11.5 hours of battery life based on typical Surface device usage. It doesn’t have any of the nagware or bloatware so common on machines from HP, Dell, and Lenovo, and it has simply the best keyboard you can get on a laptop. There are two notable changes with the design, however. Additional apps included on the system are the annotation app Drawboard PDF, Fresh Paint, Flipboard, and the New York Times Crossword. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from.

It's a breeze once you've done it a few times, although the first couple of attempts may cause some fumbling. The 13.5-inch touchscreen display is unchanged from prior models, and it maintains the signature 3:2 aspect ratio found on all Surface devices. Microsoft covers the Surface 3 with a one-year warranty. We review products independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page.

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