As an incoming college freshman, I was in need of a versatile laptop, especially given the remote nature of this semester.
A large factor for me was finding a laptop with a touchscreen so I could write notes directly into my computer and (nearly) eliminate the need for physical school supplies. A Surface pro was what first came to mind, but wanting a laptop with a real base struck that out of my options. An email from my school’s engineering department’s Microsoft connection brought the Surface Book 3 to the table. It was a versatile 2-1 that I could use as a regular computer and as a tablet to take handwritten notes with. After seeing the deal I was getting with my student discount, I was sold. A few weeks later I had a 15” 16GB 256GB Surface Book 3 in front of me, ready to unbox.
My first thought? This thing is gorgeous! I had been wishing it came in more colors but once I opened that box I realized that silver was perfect. The surface book 3 has 2 USB-a ports, 1 USB-c port, an SDXC card reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and 2 Surface Connect ports.
It has a front and rear-facing camera, and a detachable keyboard.
There are 3 different ways to configure a Surface Book 3
This was my first laptop with a touch screen, and I am loving it! I tried out adobe fresco (though now I’m committed to Affinity Designer, more on that here) and created some nice silhouettes to use in my designs. I have some available for free here!
I did have an issue where my screen would go black and the laptop would die, and after about a day it started happening every 30-45 seconds. I contacted Microsoft Support and got an exchange within about a week or two.
6 Weeks In
I’ve been using this laptop to do all my schoolwork and stay paper-free. I have another post detailing how I do this here!
3 main pros
To reiterate, I absolutely love the touch screen. I can write straight on my screen which allows me to do all my math homework and note-taking on OneNote. I won’t go too much in-depth here because I have a whole other post about how I use the touch screen here.
The 15” screen is amazing, from Zoom calls to Netflix binges, it’s a definite upgrade from my old 13” Macbook. It’s also nice when you’re working with a split screen and don’t have to keep scrolling across each half to actually see the page contents. You can check out just how nice it is here on my Instagram.
The battery life is amazing, I keep an extra charger in my backpack and have yet to have to pull it out 6 weeks in. The charger itself magnetically connects to the right side. It takes 2.5 hours to charge and lasts about 17 hours on average before needing to recharge. This can also vary on whether the battery is set to Low Power, Recommend, Better Performance, and Best Performance.
3 main cons
There is an issue that comes up when writing with the stylus on the lower parts of the screen, and the writing comes out like well, this
This can be incredibly annoying when I’m taking notes since I have to come back later and rewrite everything that came out messed up. I thought it was just an issue with OneNote at first but the same thing happens when I’m trying to annotate a pdf on Edge or draw in Affinity Designer.
A more recent issue has been the screen randomly going black for a few seconds. I’ll be in the middle of a Zoom call or taking an online test when the screen blacks out. I try moving the mouse and clicking a few buttons before it finally comes back to whatever I was doing. The laptop doesn’t shut down or anything, and any audio keeps playing. I haven’t figured out a specific reason yet, but it may be from overcharging and leaving it on charge for too long after it’s hit 100%.
Lastly, I don’t like how there isn’t a way to lock the keyboard. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to write on the screen and your arm keeps hitting buttons on the keyboard. It would be nice to hit a button that disengages the keyboard without having to take off the screen and flip it around. Trying to quickly write a note onto the screen can become troublesome when you lean over and have an elbow launch Netflix and end up playing a scene from your latest anime obsession for your Chem class.
I honestly love my surface book 3! It has everything I want in a laptop and makes online school so much easier. There are a few things here and there that are annoying but all in all the pros outbalance the cons. I plan on doing a more in-depth review at the end of the semester and possibly a year later if I see enough change in performance quality. If you have any questions comment below or shoot me an email at email@example.com .