Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5: Is it worth switching from the previous model?

Still unique: The hinge of the Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5
Still unique: The hinge of the Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5
With the third edition of its convertible, Microsoft has given the Surface Book 3 13.5 an Ice Lake CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 in Max-Q design. But does the hardware really have an advantage over the Surface Book 2?
Mike Wobker & Christian Hintze, 👁 Sebastian Jentsch, 🇩🇪 🇪🇸

After our test of the Surface Book 3 15, we were overcome with the sobering realization that Microsoft somehow missed the mark with the hardware upgrade of the third convertible generation. Now we were able to take a closer look at the smaller 13.5-inch model, and at the beginning the already known strengths of the tablet-notebook hybrid were shown.

The workmanship of the case is first-class and the unique hinge allows the display to be completely removed, making it a full-fledged tablet. The keyboard dock houses a dedicated GPU and one additional battery. All the remaining hardware sits in the tablet, e.g. the new Ice Lake CPU with its capable integrated graphics unit, so users do not have to sacrifice all the performance. If the tablet is placed on the keyboard's very stable locking mechanism, a stable notebook is also available.

Where's the added value?

Inside, Microsoft is now relying on Ice Lake CPUs and the i7 variant that we have tested has also been given an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 in the energy-saving Max-Q design. However, this is almost the only component that offers higher performance compared to the previous model. Both the Intel Core i7-1065G7 and the mass storage do no better than the components in the Surface Book 2. Instead, the SSD is a lot slower now and the CPU is at par with its predeccessor at best.

Since the battery life is significantly shorter and the connection equipment has not changed, owners of the previous model will certainly not be ready to switch. Ultimately, the plus in system performance is mainly due to the graphics card. Anyone who has always flirted with the purchase of a Surface Book will still enjoy the device. 


Our detailed review of the Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5 shows further differences between this model and its predecessor.

static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 06 > Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5: Is it worth switching from the previous model?
Mike Wobker & Christian Hintze, 2020-06-29 (Update: 2020-06-26)
Mike Wobker
Editor of the original article: Mike Wobker - Editor
I made my first IT walking attempts on a 386 with 4 MB of RAM. After that followed various PCs and notebooks, which I looked after and repaired in my circle of friends and acquaintances. After an apprenticeship as a telecommunications systems engineer and several years of professional experience, I graduated with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering. Today I live out my fascination for IT, technology and mobile devices by writing test reports. In my free time I like to devote myself to vegan cooking and spend time with my family, which includes a whole range of animal roommates.
Christian Hintze
Translator: Christian Hintze - Editor
Because of my interest in computer games I started studying computer science, became a psychologist, but stayed true to the games and the hardware. For example during my year abroad in London as a games tester at Sega. In my spare time I find a balance between PC games and sports (meanwhile mainly indoor soccer and running after my toddler), playing guitar and building bamboo bikes (well, so far only one under guidance).