Razer Book 13 vs. Surface Laptop 3 13.5: Which PC is the better buy?

Razer Book 13 2020 Review Hero Logo
Razer Book 13 2020 Review Hero Logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Razer Book 13 is one of the best Windows laptops you can buy right now, and while the Surface Laptop 3 is a very good laptop with much to desire, it's hard to recommend it right now over Razer's latest and greatest.

Razer Book 13 vs Surface Laptop 3: Tech Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Razer Book 13Dell XPS 13
Processor28W 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7
28W 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7
Intel i5-1035G7
Intel i7-1065G7
RAM8 or 16GB
8 or 16GB DDR4
StorageUp to 512GB PCIe M.2 (upgradeable to 2TB)128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD (replaceable)
Display13.4-inch 16:10
Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) Non-Touch
Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) Touch
UHD+ (3840 x 2400) Touch
Gorilla Glass 6
13.5-inch PixelSense 2256 x 1504, 400 nits (touch and inking)
GraphicsIntel Iris XeIntel Iris Plus
Ports1x microSD card reader
1x HDMI 2.0 port
2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) (power, 4 lanes of PCI Express)
1x USB-A 3.2
Headphone/mic jack
1x USB-C
1x USB-A
3.5mm audio
Surface Connect
BiometricsWindows Hello (face)Windows Hello (face)
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6 Intel Wireless AX 201 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
Bluetooth 5.1
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
65-watt charger
10-12 hours
Dimensions0.60" x 11.6" x 7.8" (15.15mm x 295.6mm x 198mm)12.1" x 8.8" x .57" (308 mm x 223 mm x 14.5 mm)
Weight2.95 to 3.11lbs (1.34 to 1.4kg)2.79-2.84 lbs

The best Ultrabook

For its first attempt at a regular Ultrabook, Razer absolutely nailed it. The Razer Book 13 isn't just good compared to Razer's other laptops; it's arguably the best Ultrabook money can buy right now. And that includes Dell's all-conquering XPS 13.

The Razer Book 13 is a little powerhouse of an Ultrabook, with an 11th Gen 28W Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU and fast LPDDR4X memory, and the internals certainly have an edge over the Surface Laptop 3. The Intel Xe graphics you get on the Razer Book 13 are also an improvement over the old Iris Plus, and while neither are for gaming, Razer edges ahead again.

The Razer Book 13 is also more attractive for folks who need things like an HDMI output or a Thunderbolt connection, neither of which the Surface Laptop 3 has. The battery life is even pretty good.

The Book 13 also has an RGB keyboard, which is fantastic to type on, and superb speakers with THX Spatial Audio. Razer doesn't tend to cut corners, and it's clear to see in the Book 13. It has everything the company would put in its gaming laptops, but without the dedicated graphics.

Surface Laptop 3 lacking in some areas

The Surface Laptop 3.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Surface Laptop 3 immediately falls behind on hardware thanks to its length of time on the market. While hardly underpowered, it's still using 10th Gen Intel chips compared to the 28W 11th Gen you find in the Razer Book 13.

On the one hand, the Surface Laptop 3 has more affordable options, but on the other, it's still fairly expensive for older hardware. Paired with the lack of ports and the fact that further connectivity is hidden behind the first-party Surface Connect and not Thunderbolt, it becomes even harder to recommend.

If you're already a long-time Surface user, the Surface Laptop 3 is definitely more attractive than to someone coming in fresh. If you have accessories like a Surface Dock, Pen, or Dial already in your arsenal, you're much better equipped to get the best experience. For anyone else, it would be extra spend to get something as simple as an HDMI output, which you already get on the Razer Book 13.

Razer Book 13 the one to beat

If you are considering one of these two laptops then the Razer Book 13 is the one to get. It ticks all the main boxes, you don't have to worry about needing dongles or first-party docks to connect up the rest of your home office and it's an incredible piece of hardware. Sure, there is no pen support, but you do get touch and clamshell laptops are hardly the best to use for inking anyway.

Surface Laptop 3 harder to recommend

Unless you're already a longer-term Surface user with accessories in place or you're trying to spend as little as possible, it's harder to recommend the Surface Laptop 3. While the Razer Book 13 is an absolute hit, there are compromises to be made with the Surface Laptop 3, not least that it's a generation behind on its CPU and graphics.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine