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Microsoft Surface Book 3 15 Convertible Review: Still great, but is it better than its predecessor?

Battle of generations. We are pushing the almost unrivaled 15-inch convertible Surface Book 3 through our various test scenarios. Both the tablet hardware (i7 Ice Lake, G7 graphics) and the convertible hardware (GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q) look even more impressive compared to the predecessor (i7 Kaby Lake refresh, GTX 1060). But is the current model actually more powerful and is the difference noticeable enough to warrant an upgrade? These are questions we will attempt to answer in our review.
Christian Hintze, 👁 Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Marius S.),

As with the preceding Surface Book generation from 2018, there is both a 13.5-inch and a 15-inch version of the Microsoft convertible. We have tested both models and the review of the smaller Surface Book will be available at a later date. The main difference between the current 15-inch version of the Surface Book 3 and its predecessor is the new Ice Lake processor. We are testing one of the highest-end configurations that comes with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q. This combination should make the refresh even more powerful than the previous model, which we will verify in the following review.

When the Surface Book was released two years ago, it did not have any direct competitors and this has not changed. A convertible this powerful with a detachable tablet unit is exceedingly rare. Thus, we will use not only the Surface Book 2 but also the Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019, Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD and the Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL for comparison purposes.

Microsoft Surface Book 3 15 (Surface Book 3 Series)
Processor
Intel Core i7-1065G7 4 x 1.3 - 3.9 GHz, Ice Lake U
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, Geforce 442.19, Optimus with Intel UHD Graphics
Memory
16384 MB 
, LPDDR4x
Display
15 inch 3:2, 3240 x 2160 pixel 260 PPI, yes, native pen support, LG Philips LGD0554, IPS, glossy: yes, detachable screen, 60 Hz
Mainboard
Intel 495 (Ice Lake-U PCH-LP Premium)
Storage
SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG, 200 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Ice Lake-U/Y PCH-LP cAVS
Connections
3 USB 3.1 Gen2, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm headphone jack, Card Reader: SD card reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
Networking
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (a/b/g/h/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/ax = Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23 x 343 x 251 ( = 0.91 x 13.5 x 9.88 in)
Battery
82 Wh Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 17 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: Front camera + main camera
Primary Camera: 8 MPix 8.0-MP main camera with autofocus and 1080p HD video recording
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix 5.0-MP front camera with 1080p HD video recording
Additional features
Speakers: Front-facing Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, Keyboard: QWERTZ (DE), Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty, Hardware warranty limited to one year
Weight
1.907 kg ( = 67.27 oz / 4.2 pounds), Power Supply: 452 g ( = 15.94 oz / 1 pounds)
Price
2599 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
88 %
06/2020
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
i7-1065G7, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
1.9 kg23 mm15"3240x2160
02/2018
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
i7-8650U, GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile
1.9 kg23 mm15"3240x2160
89 %
01/2020
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
i9-9980HK, Radeon Pro Vega 20
1.8 kg15.5 mm15.4"2880x1800
87 %
03/2020
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
i7-10510U, GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
1.9 kg19.9 mm15.6"3840x2160
88 %
10/2019
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
i7-1065G7, Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
1.4 kg14.95 mm14"1920x1080

Case - Premium Microsoft Convertible

Compared to the first 2015 Surface Book from five years ago, the appearance of the case remains unchanged. It consists of magnesium alloy, while both the display and its edges are made of glass.

The fulcrum hinge
The fulcrum hinge
Maximum display angle of about 130 degrees, but the tablet can be flipped over
Maximum display angle of about 130 degrees, but the tablet can be flipped over

It is also noteworthy that there is still a fulcrum hinge that holds the display. Since unlike on a normal laptop, the 15-inch tablet unit is significantly heavier than a simple display, the tablet unit is susceptible to teetering despite the specialized hinge. While the display of the convertible can only be opened to a maximum angle of around 130 degrees, the tablet unit can be removed from the base with the push of a button and reattached upside down. Since the hinge makes the back of the device fairly thick and prevents the tablet from being fully closed-off, it is a possible entry point for dirt, crumbs and dust, which is why users would be wise to use a case when transporting the Surface Book 3 inside a backpack or bag.

That being said, the chassis is very robust overall, the top-heavy device is never in danger of tipping over, and both the base unit and the tablet appear to be fairly resistant to twisting attempts.

There is no maintenance hatch on the Surface Book and a look at the bottom does not even reveal any screws, which suggests that it is nearly impossible for an average user to perform maintenance on the device.

The measurements are identical to the previous model. Due to the somewhat bulky hinge, the entire device expands towards the back, where it exceeds its comfortably thin competition by a large margin. However, it only has a z-height of 15 mm near the front edge, which would make the Microsoft convertible thinner than many of its competitors.

Other than that, the Surface Book 3 is slightly narrower than competing 15-inch devices from Apple and Asus, although at the same time, it has a significantly larger height that can once again be attributed to the big hinge for an overall larger and thicker appearance than its direct competitors.

Size Comparison

356 mm / 14 inch 229 mm / 9.02 inch 19.9 mm / 0.783 inch 1.9 kg4.19 lbs343 mm / 13.5 inch 251 mm / 9.88 inch 23 mm / 0.906 inch 1.9 kg4.2 lbs343 mm / 13.5 inch 251 mm / 9.88 inch 23 mm / 0.906 inch 1.9 kg4.18 lbs349.3 mm / 13.8 inch 240.7 mm / 9.48 inch 15.5 mm / 0.61 inch 1.8 kg4.03 lbs320.3 mm / 12.6 inch 215.6 mm / 8.49 inch 14.95 mm / 0.589 inch 1.4 kg3.09 lbs

Features - Surface Book 3 without Thunderbolt...Again

Microsoft still has not implemented Thunderbolt 3, citing safety reasons for the decision. However, the optionally available Surface Dock does offer Thunderbolt, which leaves us wondering whether this was a measure to increase sales for the expensive accessory. There are three USB ports, all of which support USB 3.1 Gen. 2 and one of which is a Power Delivery-enabled Type-C port. Additionally, there is a full-size SD card reader and the Surface Connector, which is used as the default power connection or alternatively for the optional Surface Dock. Unfortunately, the proprietary power port prevents the use of popular third-party AC adapters.

While the port layout is good, the low number of total ports hardly makes this impressive. Only the USB Type-C connector and the narrow power connector occupy the right side, while the remaining ports can be found on the left.

Even though at least one USB Type-C port could have come in handy, the tablet unit only comes with an audio jack.

Left: 2x USB Type-A (3.1 Gen. 2), SD card
Left: 2x USB Type-A (3.1 Gen. 2), SD card
Right: audio jack, USB Type-C (3.1 Gen. 2), power/Surface connector
Right: audio jack, USB Type-C (3.1 Gen. 2), power/Surface connector
Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Back: Fulcrum hinge
Back: Fulcrum hinge

SD Card Reader

The transfer rates of the SD card reader in conjunction with our reference card Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II only marginally deviate from those of the previous model, suggesting that our test model uses the same SD card reader as its predecessor. The results exceed the device class average by a significant margin. On top of that, many convertibles do not even offer a full-size SD card reader in the first place (Apple, Lenovo).

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
164.2 MB/s ∼100% +16%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
141.8 MB/s ∼86%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
76.6 MB/s ∼47% -46%
Average of class Convertible
  (7.5 - 197, n=157)
64.5 MB/s ∼39% -55%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
247.7 MB/s ∼100% +11%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
224 MB/s ∼90%
Average of class Convertible
  (19.2 - 246, n=152)
79.9 MB/s ∼32% -64%

Communication

Since the Surface Book now comes with Wi-Fi 6, it shines in our comparison due to its measurably higher download speeds. The potential of the Wi-Fi module is still not fully exhausted, and it could theoretically achieve 25% to 50% faster performance. Its competitors are currently still slower, although this will likely change soon. While there are fluctuations in terms of the transfer rates, they are not noticeable during daily use. Furthermore, Bluetooth version 5.0 is supported.

Integrated Xbox wireless adapter
Integrated Xbox wireless adapter

Gamers will be glad to know that Microsoft has integrated a wireless Xbox controller adapter, allowing users to wirelessly connect an Xbox controller with an additional adapter. Note: Unlike the 15-inch model, the 13.5-inch model comes without the adapter.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Average Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
  (289 - 1722, n=105)
1216 MBit/s ∼100% +36%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
893 (708min - 946max) MBit/s ∼73%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
888 (626min - 939max) MBit/s ∼73% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Broadcom 802.11ac
817 (664min - 835max) MBit/s ∼67% -9%
Average of class Convertible
  (28.7 - 1470, n=178)
559 MBit/s ∼46% -37%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
501 MBit/s ∼41% -44%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Average Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
  (49.8 - 1775, n=105)
1085 MBit/s ∼100% +62%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
670 (617min - 713max) MBit/s ∼62%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
650 (378min - 680max) MBit/s ∼60% -3%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Broadcom 802.11ac
602 (543min - 628max) MBit/s ∼55% -10%
Average of class Convertible
  (36.4 - 1411, n=178)
553 MBit/s ∼51% -17%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
527 MBit/s ∼49% -21%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740750760770780790800810820830840850860870880890900910920930940950Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø893 (708-946)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø670 (617-713)

Webcam

The Surface Book 3 is equipped with two cameras: An 8-MP main camera and a 5-MP front camera for video calls & more. Two far-field studio microphones complement the latter for improved clarity and better speech quality.

While the cameras are above-average compared to normal laptops, they cannot quite compete with higher-end smartphone cameras. Pictures taken with the main camera in particular tend to look "milky" and the exposure constantly readjusts back and forth. However, the cameras are still a noticeable improvement for video calls.

ColorChecker
9.5 ∆E
10.7 ∆E
14.8 ∆E
10.8 ∆E
10.6 ∆E
14.6 ∆E
7.6 ∆E
15.4 ∆E
10 ∆E
7.5 ∆E
13.9 ∆E
5.5 ∆E
11 ∆E
18.4 ∆E
11.3 ∆E
5.5 ∆E
8.6 ∆E
15.9 ∆E
3.3 ∆E
9.1 ∆E
10.9 ∆E
4.9 ∆E
2.5 ∆E
7.5 ∆E
ColorChecker Microsoft Surface Book 3 15: 9.99 ∆E min: 2.51 - max: 18.42 ∆E

Security

TPM 2.0 comes with the Intel chip and users may use facial recognition via Windows Hello to log in. A Kensington lock, fingerprint sensor or other security features are not available, however.

Accessories

Expensive Surface accessories
Expensive Surface accessories

The scope of delivery includes no free extras, and instead, users can purchase (expensive) optional accessories from the Microsoft store. For example, the Surface Dock 2 is available for a hefty 299.99 Euros or $259.99 in the US (Dock 1 around 230 Euros or $199.99), while the Surface Pen costs around 110 Euros ($99.99). Meanwhile, the package of the first Surface Book still included the input pen at no additional cost.

Maintenance

No visible screws - no maintenance access
No visible screws - no maintenance access

Apparently, Microsoft does not want users to do any tinkering by themselves, since there are no screws on the bottom plate or the tablet. Thus, users who wish to perform maintenance are dependent on a professional. The maintenance options for the Surface Book are extremely poor.

Warranty

Microsoft limits the hardware warranty to just one year. For an additional fee, the device can be insured against various accidental damages and the warranty extended to two years with the optional service Microsoft Complete. There are significantly more warranty options for corporations.

Comes at an even higher premium: Microsoft Complete
Comes at an even higher premium: Microsoft Complete

Input Devices - Surface Laptop without Any Flaws

Keyboard

Keyboard
Keyboard

The size of each of our German model's QWERTZ keys is 16x16 mm and there is enough space between them (about 2.5 mm). While they offer fairly shallow travel, they possess a distinct actuation point, resulting in a good feedback. There is no rattling while typing, the keyboard surface does not yield and the key clatter is acceptable. Typing on the Surface Book is swift and a very pleasant experience. The layout is decent aside from the half-height up/down arrow keys, although there is no numpad.

The keyboard is backlit and users can switch between three brightness levels or disable it via the F1 key. The release button for the tablet unit, which is now more reliable than the one on the first model, is located in the top right near the delete key. The power button and volume rocker are part of the tablet unit.

Touchpad

Touchpad
Touchpad

The touchpad has a surface area of 10.5 x 7 cm, making it sufficiently large. It offers good gliding properties and reliably recognizes four-finger gestures. There are no dedicated mouse buttons and although the integrated buttons offer a decent feedback, they are not particularly quiet.

Touchscreen

Navigating the Surface Book via the screen is no problem either, since the touchscreen works reliably. Since the Surface Pen is no longer included and Microsoft did not provide us with one, we were unable to test the Surface Pen as an input method.

Display - Microsoft Convertible with a Great Screen

Subpixel array
Subpixel array
Minor backlight bleeding around the edges
Minor backlight bleeding around the edges

Two years after the Surface Book 2, Microsoft once again relies on the same reflective LG Philips PixelSense display, although a few of its properties have been tweaked. Most notably, the black value and contrast ratio have been further improved. In turn, the brightness has decreased slightly (413 vs. 444 nits) and the good illumination has not changed (89%). The panel has a resolution of 3240x2160 pixels.

The adaptive brightness has proven to be an annoyance. The ambient light sensor measures the ambient brightness and automatically adjusts the display's brightness accordingly. The screen's brightness seems to constantly readjust itself, even if the lighting conditions barely change. Thankfully, this feature can be disabled via the settings, whereas the adaptive contrast can only be deactivated via the Intel graphics driver.

While we did notice some minor backlight bleeding around the edges of the panel (particularly near the top edge), they are only noticeable in very dark scenes and thus barely an issue.

389
cd/m²
416
cd/m²
400
cd/m²
425
cd/m²
428
cd/m²
397
cd/m²
437
cd/m²
426
cd/m²
401
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
LG Philips LGD0554
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 437 cd/m² Average: 413.2 cd/m² Minimum: 3.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 429 cd/m²
Contrast: 1861:1 (Black: 0.23 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.65 | 0.6-29.43 Ø5.8, calibrated: 0.92
ΔE Greyscale 3.99 | 0.64-98 Ø6
93% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 58% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 3.12
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
LG Philips LGD0554, IPS, 3240x2160, 15
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
LG Philips LGD0554, IPS, 3240x2160, 15
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
BOE HF NE156QUM-N64, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
LP140WF9-SPE2, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 14
Response Times
2894%
-49%
-26%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
38 (18, 20)
37.6 (18, 19.6)
1%
60 (29, 31)
-58%
49.6 (23.6, 26)
-31%
Response Time Black / White *
25 (15, 10)
22.4 (11.2, 11.2)
10%
35 (21, 14)
-40%
30 (16.4, 13.6)
-20%
PWM Frequency
250 (50)
21930 (50)
8672%
Screen
16%
4%
1%
Brightness middle
428
446
4%
351
-18%
384
-10%
Brightness
413
444
8%
335
-19%
363
-12%
Brightness Distribution
89
89
0%
87
-2%
90
1%
Black Level *
0.23
0.25
-9%
0.31
-35%
0.17
26%
Contrast
1861
1784
-4%
1132
-39%
2259
21%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.65
1.7
36%
1.74
34%
3.5
-32%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.12
2.7
67%
2.76
66%
5.5
32%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
0.92
1
-9%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.99
1.7
57%
2.22
44%
4.6
-15%
Gamma
3.12 71%
2.11 104%
2.35 94%
2.32 95%
CCT
6309 103%
6384 102%
6667 97%
6884 94%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
58
58.6
1%
62
7%
62
7%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
93
92.9
0%
97
4%
97.7
5%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
1455% / 680%
-23% / -5%
-13% / -3%

* ... smaller is better

Furthermore, we observed significantly larger color deviations, which combined with the excellent color accuracy after our calibration attempt, suggests that Microsoft may no longer individually calibrate each panel.

Color accuracy
Color accuracy
Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation sweeps
Saturation sweeps
Color accuracy (calibrated)
Color accuracy (calibrated)
Grayscale (calibrated)
Grayscale (calibrated)
Saturation sweeps (calibrated)
Saturation sweeps (calibrated)

The color gamut has remained almost identical at a near-full sRGB coverage (93%) and a 58% AdobeRGB coverage. Here, both the Asus ZenBook Flip and the Lenovo Yoga manage to beat our test device by a slim margin. That being said, they cannot match the Surface's brightness, black value or contrast ratio.

sRGB: 93%
sRGB: 93%
AdobeRGB: 58%
AdobeRGB: 58%
Lateral sunlight
Lateral sunlight

The reflective surface is the only limiting factor for outdoor use. Thankfully, the good brightness and contrast ratio of the screen partially make up for it for a decent outdoor usability. However, the reflections can be distracting.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
25 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15 ms rise
↘ 10 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 43 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (24.4 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18 ms rise
↘ 20 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 38 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (38.7 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 250 Hz ≤ 50 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 250 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 50 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 250 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 17520 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 2500000) Hz was measured.

The 4K IPS panel of the Surface Book 3 offers excellent viewing angles. Even when viewing the display from an angle, the vast majority of details remain visible.

Performance - Better than the Surface Book 2?

On paper, the Surface Book 3 is very well equipped and should achieve an even higher performance level than its predecessor. Theoretically, the Ice Lake processor, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q and 16 GB of RAM should even satisfy gamers. Or as the official Microsoft web page puts it: "Tackle intensive tasks, edit large video files, and enjoy the best gaming experience on a Surface laptop."

While the 15-inch model is limited to the Intel Core i7, the 13.5-inch model can also be configured with a cheaper Core i5. With just 256 GB, the storage capacity of our test model is rather small. However, there are models with 512 GB or even 1 TB of storage space and there is a 32 GB RAM option. The premiums are substantial. The manufacturer demands an additional 450 Euros ($500) for doubling the RAM and storage space to 32/512 GB!

Processor

Our test device features the Ice Lake CPU Intel Core i7-1065G7 with integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7. In spite of its efficiency, this CPU is quite powerful, which makes it a common choice for subnotebooks and convertibles. The clock speeds are very flexible and while the guaranteed base clock speed is only 1.3 GHz, individual cores can boost to up to 3.9 GHz.

To quickly summarize in advance: The current Surface Book generation makes no big strides in terms of the CPU performance and its Core i7-8650U-based predecessor tends to achieve similar or even greater results. Similarly, the Surface Book 2 also offers faster short-term performance. Even the Lenovo Yoga, which is equipped with the same processor, performs better in the Cinebench loop, demonstrating the inability of our test device to fully exploit the CPU's potential. However, this only applies to the Cinebench R15 multi-core test. By contrast, the processor's results in the single-core and the Cinebench R20 multi-core benchmarks match our expectations. The overall performance level across all tests is very similar to our reference Core i7-1065G7 device.

In battery mode, the laptop's Cinebench R15 score only drops by about 5%.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740750760770780790800810820830840Tooltip
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15 Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Core i7-1065G7: Ø553 (543.52-602.8)
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15 Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U; Best Performance: Ø593 (581.66-669.98)
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15 Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U; Better Performance: Ø589 (551.98-657.09)
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15 Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U; Recommended: Ø547 (539.19-648.97)
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T Intel Core i7-10510U, Intel Core i7-10510U: Ø755 (699.58-835.95)
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Core i7-1065G7; Performance Mode: Ø702 (693.71-740.11)
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Core i7-1065G7: Ø672 (659-720)
Cinebench R20: CPU (Single Core) | CPU (Multi Core)
Cinebench R15: CPU Single 64Bit | CPU Multi 64Bit
Blender 2.79: BMW27 CPU
7-Zip 18.03: 7z b 4 -mmt1 | 7z b 4
Geekbench 5.1 / 5.2: 64 Bit Single-Core Score | 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2: 4k Preset
LibreOffice : 20 Documents To PDF
R Benchmark 2.5: Overall mean
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Single Core) - CPU (Single Core)
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U
496 Points ∼100% +9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
481 Points ∼97% +6%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
453 Points ∼91%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (358 - 474, n=28)
440 Points ∼89% -3%
Average of class Convertible
  (78 - 496, n=53)
371 Points ∼75% -18%
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Multi Core) - CPU (Multi Core)
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
3197 Points ∼100% +112%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U
1721 Points ∼54% +14%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (1081 - 2024, n=28)
1524 Points ∼48% +1%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
1505 Points ∼47%
Average of class Convertible
  (200 - 2829, n=53)
1271 Points ∼40% -16%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Single 64Bit - CPU Single 64Bit
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U
197 Points ∼100% +9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
181 Points ∼92% 0%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
180.91 Points ∼92%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7
179 Points ∼91% -1%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Intel Core i7-8650U
178 Points ∼90% -2%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (141 - 190, n=32)
175 Points ∼89% -3%
Average of class Convertible
  (19 - 213, n=342)
112 Points ∼57% -38%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Multi 64Bit - CPU Multi 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
1327 Points ∼100% +120%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U
836 Points ∼63% +39%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7
740 (693min - 740max) Points ∼56% +23%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7
720 (659min - 720max) Points ∼54% +19%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Intel Core i7-8650U
675 Points ∼51% +12%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Intel Core i7-8650U
657 Points ∼50% +9%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Intel Core i7-8650U
649 Points ∼49% +8%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (288 - 836, n=33)
652 Points ∼49% +8%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
603 (543.52min - 602.8max) Points ∼45%
Average of class Convertible
  (33 - 1049, n=353)
342 Points ∼26% -43%
Blender 2.79 / BMW27 CPU - BMW27 CPU
Average of class Convertible
  (447 - 5811, n=44)
1380 Seconds * ∼100% -63%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (675 - 1650, n=20)
889 Seconds * ∼64% -5%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
846.4 Seconds * ∼61%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7
765 Seconds * ∼55% +10%
7-Zip 18.03 / 7z b 4 -mmt1 - 7z b 4 -mmt1
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7
4431 MIPS ∼100% +2%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (3948 - 4589, n=21)
4337 MIPS ∼98% 0%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
4327 MIPS ∼98%
Average of class Convertible
  (1307 - 5167, n=43)
3969 MIPS ∼90% -8%
7-Zip 18.03 / 7z b 4 - 7z b 4
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7
18289 MIPS ∼100% +1%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
18106 MIPS ∼99%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (10406 - 22898, n=21)
17175 MIPS ∼94% -5%
Average of class Convertible
  (3541 - 31114, n=44)
15819 MIPS ∼86% -13%
Geekbench 5.1 / 5.2 / 64 Bit Single-Core Score - 64 Bit Single-Core Score
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
1324 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (948 - 1348, n=16)
1288 Points ∼97% -3%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U
1287 Points ∼97% -3%
Average of class Convertible
  (233 - 1566, n=29)
1017 Points ∼77% -23%
Geekbench 5.1 / 5.2 / 64 Bit Multi-Core Score - 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
4626 Points ∼100%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U
4467 Points ∼97% -3%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (2464 - 4855, n=16)
4315 Points ∼93% -7%
Average of class Convertible
  (770 - 5443, n=29)
3551 Points ∼77% -23%
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2 / 4k Preset - 4k Preset
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7
5.1 fps ∼100% +13%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (2.2 - 6.38, n=19)
4.56 fps ∼89% +1%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
4.53 fps ∼89%
Average of class Convertible
  (0.58 - 8.81, n=44)
3.95 fps ∼77% -13%
LibreOffice / 20 Documents To PDF - 20 Documents To PDF
Average of class Convertible
  (46.9 - 238, n=24)
87.1 s ∼100% +36%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
63.9 s ∼73%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (46.9 - 85.3, n=16)
59.8 s ∼69% -6%
R Benchmark 2.5 / Overall mean - Overall mean
Average of class Convertible
  (0.611 - 2.74, n=25)
1.004 sec * ∼100% -44%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7
  (0.661 - 0.899, n=16)
0.716 sec * ∼71% -3%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7
0.695 sec * ∼69%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
180.91 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
603 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
96.52 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.62 %
Help

System Performance

Although the system performance is good, it is by no means better than that of the previous model. While the performance varies during the individual tests of the devices in our comparison, the performances of the Surface Book 2 and 3 are comparable with slight advantages for the former (PCMark 8). The Lenovo Yoga is equipped with the same processor and achieves about 15% faster performance.

PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5160 Points ∼100% +27%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024
4911 Points ∼95% +21%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
4070 Points ∼79%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
 
4070 Points ∼79% 0%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3900 Points ∼76% -4%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
3441 Points ∼67% -15%
Average of class Convertible
  (605 - 5161, n=134)
2659 Points ∼52% -35%
Productivity
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
7151 Points ∼100% +8%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6924 Points ∼97% +5%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
6595 Points ∼92%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
 
6595 Points ∼92% 0%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
6000 Points ∼84% -9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024
5532 Points ∼77% -16%
Average of class Convertible
  (1121 - 7945, n=136)
5502 Points ∼77% -17%
Essentials
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
9678 Points ∼100% +19%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
8848 Points ∼91% +9%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
8134 Points ∼84%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
 
8134 Points ∼84% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024
7972 Points ∼82% -2%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
7554 Points ∼78% -7%
Average of class Convertible
  (2489 - 10546, n=136)
7304 Points ∼75% -10%
Score
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4583 Points ∼100% +6%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4417 Points ∼96% +2%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
4317 Points ∼94%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
 
4317 Points ∼94% 0%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
4312 Points ∼94% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024
4305 Points ∼94% 0%
Average of class Convertible
  (872 - 5214, n=137)
3358 Points ∼73% -22%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5158 Points ∼100% +17%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4544 Points ∼88% +3%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
4415 Points ∼86%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
 
4415 Points ∼86% 0%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
4375 Points ∼85% -1%
Average of class Convertible
  (1007 - 5366, n=259)
3831 Points ∼74% -13%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4003 Points ∼100% +18%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3601 Points ∼90% +6%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
3382 Points ∼84%
Average Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
 
3382 Points ∼84% 0%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
3159 Points ∼79% -7%
Average of class Convertible
  (741 - 4741, n=309)
2871 Points ∼72% -15%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3382 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4415 points
PCMark 10 Score
4317 points
Help

DPC Latencies

We encountered driver issues during our tests with the LatencyMon tool. Microsoft's kernel mode driver framework runtime appears to cause issues that may result in disruptive latencies during use.

LatencyMon: Latencies
LatencyMon: Latencies
LatencyMon: Drivers
LatencyMon: Drivers
LatencyMon: YouTube
LatencyMon: YouTube
DPC Latencies / LatencyMon - interrupt to process latency (max), Web, Youtube, Prime95
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
1029.6 μs * ∼100%

* ... smaller is better

Storage Solution

Microsoft has replaced the fast Samsung PM961 with a 256-GB SK Hynix BC501. Our SSD/HDD benchmark table contains detailed measurements of both storage drives for comparison. While the SK Hynix SSD occupies the 218th spot, the Samsung model comes in at the 28th spot for a noticeable performance difference. Compared to the SSD within the Surface Book 2, the new OS drive is significantly slower and the Surface Book 3's competition tends to implement significantly faster solutions as well. Microsoft's decision to use a cheaper SSD strikes us as odd.

Although variants with 512 GB or even 1 TB are also available, the price gaps are very big and it is unclear whether Microsoft uses models from other manufacturers in these higher-end configurations.

Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Average SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
19%
98%
101%
5%
Write 4K
87.38
140.57
61%
137.8
58%
128.4
47%
96.6 (87.4 - 112, n=4)
11%
Read 4K
38.14
43.62
14%
44.15
16%
46.37
22%
39.1 (35.6 - 42.1, n=4)
3%
Write Seq
609.9
343.33
-44%
2073
240%
1863
205%
637 (601 - 706, n=4)
4%
Read Seq
1029
1451.81
41%
2165
110%
2340
127%
1032 (1023 - 1044, n=4)
0%
Write 4K Q32T1
280.3
344.37
23%
431.9
54%
451.1
61%
303 (269 - 337, n=4)
8%
Read 4K Q32T1
259.6
457.23
76%
427.7
65%
415.3
60%
298 (260 - 400, n=4)
15%
Write Seq Q32T1
828.5
344.3
-58%
2253
172%
2985
260%
822 (818 - 829, n=4)
-1%
Read Seq Q32T1
2037
2885.4
42%
3480
71%
2565
26%
2030 (2025 - 2037, n=4)
0%
Write 4K Q8T8
451.4
Read 4K Q8T8
1004.4
AS SSD
113%
123%
-11%
Copy Game MB/s
1241.53
1278.47
376 (368 - 387, n=3)
Copy Program MB/s
457.86
541.73
252 (200 - 300, n=3)
Copy ISO MB/s
1931.07
2015.93
786 (764 - 828, n=3)
Score Total
1470
3582
144%
3670
150%
1471 (1434 - 1520, n=4)
0%
Score Write
459
1628
255%
1721
275%
493 (459 - 525, n=4)
7%
Score Read
701
1335
90%
1322
89%
669 (639 - 701, n=4)
-5%
Access Time Write *
0.036
0.029
19%
0.029
19%
0.086 (0.036 - 0.11, n=4)
-139%
Access Time Read *
0.072
0.082
-14%
0.052
28%
0.06 (0.055 - 0.072, n=4)
17%
4K-64 Write
311.74
1370.88
340%
1461.29
369%
339 (312 - 355, n=4)
9%
4K-64 Read
500.95
1013.4
102%
1010.39
102%
493 (483 - 501, n=4)
-2%
4K Write
100.94
125.99
25%
134.11
33%
104 (96.8 - 120, n=4)
3%
4K Read
37.2
47.43
28%
59.06
59%
38.2 (35 - 42.4, n=4)
3%
Seq Write
461.31
1307.15
183%
1253
172%
493 (461 - 514, n=4)
7%
Seq Read
1625.07
2739.08
69%
2524.94
55%
1370 (1122 - 1625, n=4)
-16%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
19% / 19%
106% / 107%
112% / 114%
-3% / -4%

* ... smaller is better

SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
Sequential Read: 1005 MB/s
Sequential Write: 678.8 MB/s
512K Read: 864.6 MB/s
512K Write: 541.5 MB/s
4K Read: 39.1 MB/s
4K Write: 88.04 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 235 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 268.6 MB/s

Dauerleistung Lesen: DiskSpd Read Loop, Queue Depth 8

0100200300400500600700800900100011001200130014001500160017001800Tooltip
: Ø1703 (927.96-1798.13)

GPU Performance

Despite being equipped with the strongest integrated Intel graphics card Iris Plus Graphics G7, the Surface also comes with a dedicated GPU, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q. It is hidden within the base unit of the Surface Book. While its slightly lower clock speeds make it more economical, they also result in ~15% slower performance compared to a normal GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.

The results of the synthetic 3DMark tests match our expectations for a GTX 1660 Ti fairly precisely and only the Fire Strike benchmark produces a severe outlier. Relative to the previous model, which is equipped with the GTX 1060, it offers around 20-30% faster performance.

With a deficit of about 17%, the GPU performance decreases even further in battery mode.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (17010 - 18653, n=8)
17711 Points ∼100% +2%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-1065G7
17421 Points ∼98%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, Intel Core i7-8650U
14254 Points ∼80% -18%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
12474 Points ∼70% -28%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-10510U
7291 Points ∼41% -58%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
4613 Points ∼26% -74%
Average of class Convertible
  (173 - 17421, n=366)
1516 Points ∼9% -91%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-1065G7
5126 Points ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (4867 - 5440, n=8)
5089 Points ∼99% -1%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, Intel Core i7-8650U
3577 Points ∼70% -30%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
2633 Points ∼51% -49%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-10510U
1634 Points ∼32% -68%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
835 Points ∼16% -84%
Average of class Convertible
  (85 - 5126, n=63)
638 Points ∼12% -88%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (12903 - 13870, n=7)
13356 Points ∼100% +2%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-1065G7
13158 Points ∼99%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, Intel Core i7-8650U
10708 Points ∼80% -19%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
9108 Points ∼68% -31%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-10510U
5616 Points ∼42% -57%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
3156 Points ∼24% -76%
Average of class Convertible
  (132 - 13158, n=273)
1215 Points ∼9% -91%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (38321 - 89505, n=7)
63736 Points ∼100% +66%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-1065G7
38321 Points ∼60%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-10510U
27059 Points ∼42% -29%
Average of class Convertible
  (1023 - 38419, n=319)
7517 Points ∼12% -80%
3DMark 11 Performance
14387 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
16807 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
10103 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
4820 points
Help

Gaming Performance

While the performance results in the synthetic tests match our expectations, the results of our gaming tests unfortunately do not. In The Witcher 3, the Surface Book 3 performs about 10% to 25% worse than an average GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q. At least, the gap becomes smaller at higher resolutions and quality settings. At Full HD resolution, The Witcher 3 can even be played at maximum settings. At the Surface's native 4K resolution however, it tends to struggle when it comes to more-demanding titles (The Witcher 3, Far Cry 5) and the limited performance then also becomes apparent. Although the average frame rate in Battlefield V promises smooth 4K gaming, micro stutters adversely affect the gameplay.

Even though 4K gaming may be out of reach, the Surface is still well suited to gaming overall. Due to the slower SSD, users may experience longer loading times.

Detaching the tablet unit incurs a two-fold performance decrease: On the one hand, the tablet then permanently operates in battery mode, since it can only be charged through the base unit, and on the other hand, it loses access to the dedicated GPU and the integrated Intel G7 graphics becomes active, which is significantly weaker. For example: In Far Cry 5, the tablet only reaches 19 FPS at the lowest settings compared to 68 FPS and particularly the lack of dedicated VRAM becomes apparent.

The Witcher 3
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (44.8 - 53.2, n=7)
50.3 fps ∼100% +12%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
44.8 fps ∼89%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
29.4 (25min, 27P1 - 33max) fps ∼58% -34%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
20.8 fps ∼41% -54%
Average of class Convertible
  (2.97 - 44.8, n=24)
13.4 fps ∼27% -70%
1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (64.4 - 95.3, n=7)
87.9 fps ∼100% +36%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
64.4 fps ∼73%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
34.5 fps ∼39% -46%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
18.9 fps ∼22% -71%
Average of class Convertible
  (4.2 - 64.4, n=35)
16.9 fps ∼19% -74%
1366x768 Medium Graphics & Postprocessing
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (111 - 173, n=6)
154 fps ∼100% +38%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
111.4 fps ∼72%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
57.6 fps ∼37% -48%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
35.8 fps ∼23% -68%
Average of class Convertible
  (3.7 - 111, n=35)
27.9 fps ∼18% -75%
1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (138 - 258, n=7)
212 fps ∼100% +47%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
144.5 fps ∼68%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
100.5 fps ∼47% -30%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
56 fps ∼26% -61%
Average of class Convertible
  (4.69 - 145, n=60)
32.3 fps ∼15% -78%
Far Cry 5
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (50 - 74, n=2)
62 fps ∼100% +24%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
50 fps ∼81%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
32 fps ∼52% -36%
Average of class Convertible
  (9 - 50, n=6)
27.3 fps ∼44% -45%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:T
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (53 - 79, n=2)
66 fps ∼100% +25%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
53 fps ∼80%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
35 fps ∼53% -34%
Average of class Convertible
  (10 - 53, n=7)
27.3 fps ∼41% -48%
1920x1080 Medium Preset AA:T
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (54 - 84, n=2)
69 fps ∼100% +28%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
54 fps ∼78%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
38 fps ∼55% -30%
Average of class Convertible
  (11 - 54, n=8)
28.1 fps ∼41% -48%
1920x1080 Low Preset AA:T
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
59 fps ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
 
59 fps ∼100% 0%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
44 fps ∼75% -25%
Average of class Convertible
  (17 - 59, n=4)
42 fps ∼71% -29%
1280x720 Low Preset AA:T
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (68 - 103, n=2)
85.5 fps ∼100% +26%
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
71 fps ∼83% +4%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
68 fps ∼80%
Average of class Convertible
  (1 - 78, n=12)
34.9 fps ∼41% -49%
Battlefield V
3840x2160 Ultra Preset
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
37.9 fps ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
 
37.9 fps ∼100% 0%
Average of class Convertible
  (16.4 - 37.9, n=2)
27.2 fps ∼72% -28%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
73 fps ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (61 - 85, n=3)
73 fps ∼100% 0%
Average of class Convertible
  (11.6 - 73, n=3)
44.1 fps ∼60% -40%
1920x1080 High Preset
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (65.9 - 92.2, n=3)
78.5 fps ∼100% +1%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
77.5 fps ∼99%
Average of class Convertible
  (12.6 - 77.5, n=5)
34.6 fps ∼44% -55%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
17.2 fps ∼22% -78%
1920x1080 Medium Preset
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (74.6 - 103, n=3)
86.7 fps ∼100% +5%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
82.9 fps ∼96%
Average of class Convertible
  (14.1 - 82.9, n=5)
38.9 fps ∼45% -53%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
20.6 fps ∼24% -75%
1280x720 Low Preset
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
  (94.3 - 152, n=3)
121 fps ∼100% +28%
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
Intel Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
94.3 fps ∼78%
Average of class Convertible
  (5.8 - 118, n=6)
52.9 fps ∼44% -44%
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
43 fps ∼36% -54%

The performance in our The Witcher 3 loop is mostly consistent and the graphics performance of the convertible only marginally drops over time.

0510152025303540455055Tooltip
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG: Ø43.6 (39-48)
low med. high ultra4K
The Witcher 3 (2015) 144.5 111.4 64.4 44.8 30.9 fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 113 102.1 93.8 86.3 fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 68.8 62.9 55.4 fps
Far Cry 5 (2018) 68 54 53 50 30 fps
Battlefield V (2018) 94.3 82.9 77.5 73 37.9 fps

Emissions - Quieter, but Warmer than its Predecessor

System Noise

Microsoft has managed to reduce the fan noise further. While idling, the fans tend to stand still and the fan noise of the convertible barely exceeds the ambient noise level even under medium load for a total improvement of 16% compared to the previous model. Under maximum load, the fan noise drops from 45 dB (Surface Book 2) to just 34 dB - incredible! The only device that is able to achieve similar results is the Lenovo Yoga, although it has no dedicated graphics card.

Noise Level

Idle
30.2 / 30.2 / 30.2 dB(A)
Load
30.9 / 34.3 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.2 dB(A)
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Noise
-5%
-1%
1%
off / environment *
30.2
29.1
4%
30.3
-0%
29.3
3%
Idle Minimum *
30.2
29.1
4%
30.3
-0%
29.3
3%
Idle Average *
30.2
29.1
4%
30.3
-0%
29.3
3%
Idle Maximum *
30.2
29.1
4%
30.3
-0%
29.3
3%
Load Average *
30.9
35.7
-16%
33.7
-9%
33.3
-8%
Witcher 3 ultra *
45.1
37.4
17%
Load Maximum *
34.3
45.3
-32%
38.9
-13%
33.3
3%

* ... smaller is better

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.532.133.934.432.52536.537.138.74136.53139.833.234.642.439.84031.930.831.331.431.95033.733.531.33033.76329.529.328.128.429.58027.427.427.626.727.410025.82626.72625.812527.925.325.125.127.916025.124.823.72425.120023.523.323.22223.525022.122.922.722.522.131521.821.421.121.221.84002220.520.820.12250021.82019.919.521.863021.119.319.318.921.180020.918.418.518.420.9100021.218.218.11821.2125024.11817.917.524.116002317.817.517.423200024.717.617.517.624.7250024.117.817.417.524.1315024.418.217.717.624.4400019.718.617.717.719.7500019.619.6181819.6630019.119.218.118.119.1800018.719.118.218.218.71000018.719.918.218.218.71250018.419.118.118.118.41600018.418.818.118.218.4SPL34.33130.430.334.3N21.51.41.42median 21.8median 19.2median 18.2median 18.2median 21.8Delta2.41.622.12.4hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseMicrosoft Surface Book 3 15

Temperature

The results of our temperature measurements are mixed. While the heat development under load has slightly decreased, the idle temperatures have increased significantly. The tablet unit in particular becomes warm to the touch even during fairly undemanding workloads.

Microsoft Surface Book 3 15
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, i7-1065G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD-A1027T
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Heat
7%
7%
9%
Maximum Upper Side *
41.4
43.5
-5%
42.6
-3%
41
1%
Maximum Bottom *
39.7
42.7
-8%
41.5
-5%
44.6
-12%
Idle Upper Side *
34.6
28.4
18%
26.4
24%
24.4
29%
Idle Bottom *
30.3
23.7
22%
26.3
13%
25
17%

* ... smaller is better

Our stress test consists of running Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously for one hour. After an initial spike to around 2.4 GHz, the CPU clock rates stabilize at around 1.7 GHz after 10 to 20 minutes. The GPU performance drops slower with the inital clock speed of 1.5 GHz dropping to 1 GHz after 20 minutes and to just 645 MHz at the end of the test.

While the temperatures of the GPU hit a maximum of just 64 °C, the reported CPU core temperatures are surprising and likely a visual bug. Our test starts while the convertible is idling and the temperature of all CPU cores immediately jumps to 99 °C. According to the application, they later stabilize at around 85-87 °C. This shows that there are temperature trade-offs for powerful hardware in a thin tablet chassis with quiet fans.

A second run of 3DMark 11 immediately after the stress test showed no performance disadvantages.

Beginning of the stress test
Beginning of the stress test
Stress test after one minute
Stress test after one minute
Stress test after one hour
Stress test after one hour
Max. Load
 37.2 °C
99 F
41.4 °C
107 F
37.6 °C
100 F
 
 35.4 °C
96 F
40.2 °C
104 F
36 °C
97 F
 
 38.4 °C
101 F
38.2 °C
101 F
38.8 °C
102 F
 
Maximum: 41.4 °C = 107 F
Average: 38.1 °C = 101 F
38.6 °C
101 F
39.4 °C
103 F
36.9 °C
98 F
37.1 °C
99 F
39.7 °C
103 F
37.6 °C
100 F
35 °C
95 F
37 °C
99 F
34.4 °C
94 F
Maximum: 39.7 °C = 103 F
Average: 37.3 °C = 99 F
Power Supply (max.)  44.9 °C = 113 F | Room Temperature 24.7 °C = 76 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.1 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 30.3 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Convertible.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 41.4 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 35.3 °C / 96 F, ranging from 21.8 to 55.7 °C for the class Convertible.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 39.7 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30.3 °C / 87 F, compared to the device average of 30.3 °C / 87 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 34.6 °C / 94 F, compared to the device average of 30.3 °C / 87 F.
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 38.8 °C / 101.8 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.9 °C / 84 F (-9.9 °C / -17.8 F).
Idle
Idle
Idle
Idle
Idle
Idle
Load
Load
Load
Load
Load
Load
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

Speakers

Considering the thin chassis which houses them, the Dolby Atmos stereo speakers are respectable. While they could be slightly louder, they offer more present bass than many cheaper models. Overall, they are still not a replacement for high-quality, external speakers or headphones. External audio devices can be connected via a headphone jack or Bluetooth 5.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs203334.4332536.44136.43135.442.435.44030.931.430.95032.43032.4633128.4318034.526.734.510041.82641.812547.225.147.216048.42448.420050.52250.525049.322.549.331553.521.253.540048.120.148.150049.719.549.763060.518.960.580060.118.460.1100063.91863.9125063.917.563.916006017.460200064.417.664.4250062.317.562.3315059.717.659.7400065.817.765.8500064.91864.9630058.618.158.6800058.218.258.21000056.518.256.51250055.818.155.81600050.718.250.7SPL74.230.374.2N32.91.432.9median 58.2median 18.2median 58.2Delta6.32.16.335.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6median 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseMicrosoft Surface Book 3 15Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Microsoft Surface Book 3 15 audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (65.76 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 9.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.2% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.1% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (14.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 9% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 88% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 22%, worst was 53%
Compared to all devices tested
» 13% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 84% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 65%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 65%

Energy Management - Economical Surface

Energy Consumption

The energy consumption is fairly low considering the powerful hardware. While idling, only the more efficient integrated graphics card is active, which conserves power. The GTX 1660 Ti becomes active when processing more-demanding workloads and the consumption reflects this. At least under maximum load, the consumption of the GPU still falls below the average of a GTX 1660 Ti.

The included charger is now rated for 127 watts, which makes it very well-dimensioned even for temporary peaks (108 watts).

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.8 / 1 Watt
Idle