Any devs using 13" Surface Book 3 or Surface Laptop 3 with i7?


Any devs out there using a 13″ SB3 or SL3 with an i7? How’s the fan noise and battery life with your typical dev workflow?

I’ve been using a SB2 13″ with the 7th gen i5 for the past two years. It’s not my daily driver, but I do use it for dev work when working from the recliner in the evening or when traveling. I hate fan noise and value long battery life, so I picked the i5 over the i7 when making my SB2 purchase. The 2 core i5, and to some degree 8 GB RAM, is admittedly not the best set up for dev work, but I manage to make it work.

With the sales Microsoft has going on with SB3 and Surface Laptop, I’m seriously thinking about picking up a new laptop and selling my SB2. I’d again prefer an i5. The 10th gen 4 core i5 in the SB3 seems more than enough for a dev workload. The 8 GB of RAM is a bummer, but again, I don’t think that has been as big of a problem as the 2 cores of the 7th gen i5 in the SB2. I wish Microsoft would make an i5 model of SB3 with 16 GB of RAM. $400 just to get 8 more GB of RAM is tough to swallow. I’m also worried the fan noise of an i7 would be annoying and the battery life would not be nearly as good as I’m getting with the SB2 with the i5.

The Surface Laptop 3 is tempting, but the smaller battery means I’ll get less battery life than with the SB. I also find it hard to swallow losing the extra USB port and SD card slot. I love the keyboard on the SB2. My typing accuracy and speed is through the roof with the SB2. The keyboard on my wife’s Surface Laptop (1) is not nearly as nice. I have not had a chance to try out a keyboard on the SL3, so I’m unsure if they have improved this since v1. And finally, while I love the look of black, I really don’t love how black shows body oils. I wish Microsoft had released an all metal version of SL with the magnesium finish. It just feels great and hides the body oils well. All this to say, while the SL3 may be a better value, there are some compromises in my mind.

All this to say an i7 with 16 GB of RAM seems to be ideal as long as I’m not compromising on noise and battery life.

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