May 07, 2020

Inspecting the new Surface Book 3

Children of the ‘80s will no doubt be aware of the iconic Inspector Gadget series. Looking back, the show writers deserve some serious kudos for predicting the technologies we know and love today. Take Penny’s computer book, for example – she had access to infinite information in seconds, wireless capabilities, Bluetooth, GPS maps and video chatting… all at her fingertips.

Like Penny, customers who get their hands on the recently-announced Surface Book 3 are set to receive a device that can handle any task thrown at it. With Microsoft’s powerful new 2-in-1 slated for a May 21 release, I’ve run our magnifying glass over the announcements to give you the complete Surface Book 3 rundown – and explore what these upgrades mean for your organisation.

What’s staying the same?

For this upgrade, it’s not about the form. The major changes to Surface Book 3 are what you can’t see, with Microsoft having largely focused on the performance of internal hardware.

The form factor stays true

Surface Book 3 is as sturdy as ever with a full-body magnesium alloy construction – as is the keyboard base. Of course, the two batteries remain: one in the tablet and one in the base, making it just as easy to use as a tablet or laptop, depending on the task at hand.

Size-wise you still have a choice

The 13.5-inch and 15-inch models both remain, each with the same screen resolution as Book 2.

Battery life goes on and on

Like its predecessor, Surface Book 3 still delivers between 15 to 17 hours of battery life, making it ideal for on-the-go workers.

What’s changing?

Surface Book 3 is gaining some serious grunt. From pumped up graphics performance and lightning fast processors, to speedy charging and audio enhancements, it’s clear this model is made to meet the varying demands of the modern workplace.

Pick your flavour of graphic cards

That’s right, Surface Book 3 offers three discrete graphics cards to choose from, depending on what you need it to do:

  • Quadro RTX 3000 – this beefy graphics card is industry standard for CAD and technical drawing, medical applications and other power-hungry visual applications.
  • GTX 1660 TI – sitting in the middle of the pack, this card makes for a great gaming experience to boot, and noticeably bumps up the performance from the GTX 1650.
  • GTX 1650 – this card delivers plenty of graphics performance and easily powers creative applications like Adobe Photoshop.

The power of ten

Like the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro 7, Intel’s 10 nanometre CPUs can be found in each Surface Book 3. These 10th gen Intel iSelect processors – codenamed ‘Ice Lake’ – include an impressive list of the latest advances in modern computing power.

A more powerful power adaptor

As a direct result of customer feedback, with the voice of the people has directed these adaptor improvements. While using highly intensive applications – such as the Adobe suite or video editing software – some reported that the Book 2 would discharge, even while plugged in. In response, Microsoft have introduced a new 127-watt power adaptor – up nearly 25% on the previous model – to allow for increased processing, even when using those storage-intensive, high-end applications.

The Slim Pen is mightier than the keyboard

The Surface Slim Pen is the new pen protocol moving forward, and for good reason. We might be working in an increasingly digital world but the memory recall, focus and productivity benefits of modern note taking (digital handwriting and sketching) have been touted by numerous studies.

On average, doodlers recall 29% more information than non-doodlers1. Learnings from the education sector tell us students and teachers do better with digital ink, too. According to IDC, digital inking saves time, improves classroom efficiencies and personalises the learning environment. In fact, the study reported that 90% of teachers agree that digital inking improves the quality of their curriculum2. And with an increased number of students currently learning from home, digital inking allows them to interact naturally with digital content.

Looking for a few more enhancements? Check out these great Surface Book 3 features.

  • Even faster charging | Like a number of its stablemates, fast charging has made its way to Surface Book 3, allowing you to get back to 80% charge in less than an hour.
  • Crystal-clear audio | Gone are the days of muffled voices when video conferencing thanks to dual Studio Mics – traits inherited from the Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7 and the Surface Pro X.
  • Instant On and improved standby | A handy feature to get you back to what you were doing faster.
  • Sustainable packaging | Your new device will come in environmentally-friendly brown box packaging.

The Surface Book 3 Verdict

Already boasting enviable good looks, Microsoft’s focus on putting a bit more oomph under the hood is a welcome move. As a result, we expect to see more technical users hopping onboard thanks to the improved graphics card options and CPU. If the Book 2 wasn’t powerful enough for their needs, the new hardware should address those concerns.

The new Surface Book 3 will be a powerful tool for remote and on-the-go workers as well. Formidable performance, long lasting batteries, fast charging, durability, and excellent portability – this is the holy grail for people on the go. Add the Poppy Red or Ice Blue range of Surface accessories, like the pen and mouse, and the device is ready to handle whatever is thrown its way- even top-secret missions, a la Inspector Gadget.

Like to know more?

As Microsoft’s largest Australian partner, Data#3 is your go-to partner for end-to-end support, maintenance and training for all your Surface fleet requirements. Contact us to learn more, request a demo device or place an order.

Order Surface Book 3

1. Microsoft Corporation (2017). The Innovator’s Guide to Modern Note Taking [Online]. Available at
2. IDC (2017). Digital Ink in the Classroom [Online]. Available at: