Looking for the best Surface Book? Buy the Surface Book 3.

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Classic Value

Surface Book 2

More Powerful Surface

Surface Book 3

The Surface Book 2 is an excellent PC. While it rocks slower graphics, processors, RAM, storage, and Wi-Fi, you’ve got quite the compelling 2-in-1 PC if you’re looking for something special on a budget.

$1,150 at Microsoft

Pros

  • More affordable
  • Better value
  • Same gorgeous design
  • Still a solid 2-in-1 PC

Cons

  • Older Intel CPUs
  • Slower NVIDIA GPUs
  • Wi-Fi 5
  • Less battery life

The latest and greatest from Microsoft. Packing 10th Gen Intel CPUs and better NVIDIA GPUs, the newer Surface Book 3 is a vastly more powerful 2-in-1 PC.

$1,600 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Newer Intel CPUs
  • Better NVIDIA GPUs
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Better battery life

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Still no Thunderbolt 3

The choice between Surface Book 2 and Surface Book 3 primarily comes down to your available budget. The bump in specs is nice for those seeking a new, powerful PC with the latest from Intel and NVIDIA, but if you simply need a decently powered 2-in-1 Windows PC from Microsoft, the Surface Book 2 is still worth considering.

The display remains the same, so do the ports and webcams. In fact, there are more things the same than different with the Surface Book 3. But where there are improvements, they’re considerable, making it one compelling portable PC.

Surface Book 2 vs. Surface Book 3 specs

Surface Book 2 (13.5) Surface Book 3 (13.5)
Processor 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300U
8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U
10th Gen Intel i5-1035G7
10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7
RAM 8GB LPDDR3
16GB LPDDR3
8GB LPDDR4x
16GB LPDDR4x
32GB LPDDR4x
Storage 256GB
512GB
1TB
256GB
512GB
1TB
Display size 13.5 inches
Touch
13.5 inches
Touch
Display resolution 3000 x 2000
3:2 aspect
267 PPI
3000 x 2000
3:2 aspect
267 PPI
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
Intel Iris Plus
GeForce GTX 1650 (Max-Q)
Ports Two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
One USB Type-C w/ video, power in/out and USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in keyboard base)
Two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
One USB Type-C w/ video, power in/out and USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in keyboard base)
Connectivity Marvel Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
Xbox Wireless
Intel Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax
Bluetooth 5.0
Xbox Wireless
Camera 5MP Front-facing 1080P
8.0MP Rear-facing AF 1080P
5MP Front-facing 1080P
8.0MP Rear-facing AF 1080P
Biometrics IR camera IR camera
Battery 70WHr
Up to 17 hours
70WHr
Up to 17.5 hours
Charger 39W (Core i5)
95W (Core i7)
65W (Core i5)
102W (Core i7)
Dimensions 343 mm x 251 mm x 15-23 mm (L x W x D)
13.5 in x 9.87 in x 0.57 to 0.90 in
343 mm x 251 mm x 15-23 mm (L x W x D)
13.5 in x 9.87 in x 0.57 to 0.90 in
Weight Total: 1,905 g (4.20 lbs)
Tablet: 817 g (1.80 lbs)
Total: 1,905 g (4.20 lbs)
Tablet: 817 g (1.80 lbs)
Surface Book 2 (15) Surface Book 3 (15)
Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7
RAM 8GB LPDDR3
16GB LPDDR3
8GB LPDDR4x
16GB LPDDR4x
32GB LPDDR4x
Storage 256GB
512GB
1TB
256GB
512GB
1TB
2TB
Display size 15 inches
Touch
15 inches
Touch
Display resolution 3240 x 2160
3:2 aspect
260 PPI
3240 x 2160
3:2 aspect
260 PPI
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
Intel Iris Plus
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Max-Q)
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000
Ports Two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
One USB Type-C w/ video, power in/out and USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in keyboard base)
Two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
One USB Type-C w/ video, power in/out and USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in keyboard base)
Connectivity Marvel Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
Xbox Wireless
Intel Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax
Bluetooth 5.0
Xbox Wireless
Camera 5MP Front-facing 1080P
8.0MP Rear-facing AF 1080P
5MP Front-facing 1080P
8.0MP Rear-facing AF 1080P
Biometrics IR camera IR camera
Battery 80WHr
Up to 17 hours
80WHr
Up to 17.5 hours
Charger 102W 127W
Dimensions 343 mm x 251 mm x 15-23 mm (L x W x D)
13.5 in x 9.87 in x 0.57 to 0.90 in
343 mm x 251 mm x 15-23 mm (L x W x D)
13.5 in x 9.87 in x 0.57 to 0.90 in
Weight i5 total: 1,533g (3.38lbs)
i7 total: 1,642g (3.62lbs)
Tablet: 719g (1.59lbs)
i5 total: 1,533g (3.38lbs)
i7 total: 1,642g (3.62lbs)
Tablet: 719g (1.59lbs)

New internals for the same excellent Surface Book

Externally, nothing changed with the move from Surface Book 2 to Surface Book 3. If you put one of each side by side, you’d be hard-pressed to tell any visual difference. It’s all about what’s under the hood, which is where the considerable price difference comes into play.

The newer Surface Book 3 is updated for 2020, though there are some omissions like Thunderbolt 3. For CPUs, we’ve got the choice of up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7, a very capable mobile processor used in many modern Ultrabooks.

GPUs were also given a bump with the 15-inch able to take on a GTX 1660 Ti with 6GB GDDR6 RAM. It’s powerful, clocking in a 40% performance boost over the Surface Book’s GTX 1060. There’s even an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 GPU option for creatives and professionals.

Next up is Wi-Fi, which is now Wi-Fi 6, and thanks to Microsoft switching to Intel for wireless connectivity, we also have Bluetooth 5.0. And, of course, Microsoft included Xbox Wireless. Finally, we have RAM and SSD improvements. Surface Book 3 swaps out the slower DDR3 RAM for LPDDR4x. SSD performance has also been bumped.

Overall, the Surface Book 3 is essentially a Surface Book 2 with everything turned up to 11. If you dig the Surface Book design and don’t want it to change, this new generation will please you. But if you’re holding out for a design refresh, you’re going to have to wait a little longer.

Surface Book 2 is better for tighter budgets

If you simply do not have enough funds to splash out on the Surface Book 3, but still desire a Surface Book of your own, the Surface Book 2 is still a good buy. It can be configured with an 8th Gen Intel Core-i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and an NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU.

Classic Value

Surface Book 2

Still a solid 2-in-1

The Surface Book 2 may be the older PC here, but it still packs a punch. Sure, you miss out on all the new stuff, but at a $500 discount compared to the Surface Book 3, this is quite the deal.

Surface Book 3 is the star pick with better internal hardware

If you want the absolute best Surface Book, there’s only one choice. Surface Book 3 has better internal components, is newer, and has support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. It’s just a shame that Microsoft couldn’t evolve the external design a little.

More Powerful Surface

Surface Book 3

The best Surface Book

Microsoft kept the Surface Book 3 looking like a Surface Book but took most of the internal components out for newer, more powerful, and efficient counterparts to be installed.

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