Surface Book 3: what we want to see

Everyone fell in love with the Surface Book when it first launched. Then, the Surface Book 2 followed a couple years later, took everything the original did and turned all the dials up to 11. It really was one of the best 2-in-1 laptops running Windows 10 we’ve ever used – and it mostly still is. So, you can understand why we’re anticipating the Surface Book 3, even though it might be 2020 before we see it in the wild.

Just imagine – what could the Surface Book 3 look like? A Surface Book 2 with a sharper, brighter display, more powerful components and Thunderbolt 3 – it could be amazing. With these features, the Surface Book 3 would be the perfect foil to the MacBook Pro. If Microsoft releases a Surface Book 3 that improves on the Surface Book 2’s shortcomings, while fortifying its successes, it could be one of the best laptops.

Now, while there is little to no concrete information about the Surface Book 3, we can at least do a bit of speculation based on past releases and our tech expertise. So, with that in mind, let’s dive into what we think the Surface Book 3 may look like.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The would-be third Surface Book 2-in-1 laptop
  • When is it out? Likely between September and November 2019
  • What will it cost? Likely as much as – if not more than – the current model

surface book 3

Image Credit: Microsoft

Surface Book 3 release date

The Surface Book 2 was released in late 2017 – it’s more than a year old. But, if we follow the release pattern of Surface devices that aren’t the Surface Pro, you shouldn’t expect the Surface Book 3 until late 2019 at the earliest.

There were a couple new Surface devices launched in October 2018: the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2. However, there was no sign of the Surface Book 3. This shouldn’t be too surprising, as we expect the Surface Book 3 will launch in late 2019 or early 2020 at the latest. 

Until we get more concrete information, or even rumors, we’re going to stick with our late 2019 or 2020 Surface Book 3 release date speculation.

surface book 3

Image Credit: Microsoft

Surface Book 3 price

Unfortunately, because there’s no concrete information about the Surface Book 3 right now, we don’t really know anything about its price. However, we can look at the pricing of the Surface Book and the Surface Book 2 and do a bit of speculation.

Right now, thanks to a new lower-storage model, the 13.5 inch Surface Book 2 starts at $1,199 or £1,149, while the 15 inch version still sits at a $2,499 or £2,349 (AU$3,649) price of admission. If you ask us, that’s already enough scratch.

Still, let’s hope and pray that the would-be Surface Book 3 stays well within that price range, as we likely wouldn’t be able to afford much more.

surface book 3

Image Credit: Microsoft

What we want to see in a Surface Book 3

Because the Surface Book 3 is so far off, and we don’t have any solid information on what it’ll look like, all we can do is create a wishlist for what we want to see improved in the next Surface Book. So, here’s our Surface Book 3 wish list, based on speculation, leaks and rumors. 

More powerful internals
The Surface Book represents the most powerful and elegant laptops that Microsoft manufactures, so we’d like to see up-to-date components all around. Now that Intel is supposedly getting ready to release Whiskey Lake processors for laptops and Nvidia is fresh off of the Nvidia Turing announcement – the Surface Book 3 might be an extremely powerful device when it comes to market. Just imagine a portable workhorse that can do some 4K gaming in its downtime. 

And, if Microsoft waits to release the Surface Book 3 until Ice Lake hits the streets in late 2019, the Surface Book 3 could be both powerful and battery efficient.

Use the extra space accordingly
Whether it’s through an expanded keyboard with the number pad or top-firing speakers with deep bass chambers, Microsoft has to make better use of the space afforded it with the 15-inch Surface Book design. As of now, it’s simply wasted space waiting to be utilized.

Thunderbolt 3, please
The Surface connector on the Surface Book 2 is flexible, to be sure, but it’s time for Microsoft to move onto Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C. Not only does Thunderbolt 3 allow for faster file transfers, it can also serve as a one plug hub for all displays and other peripherals you could want to connect. If the Surface Book 3 is really going to compete, especially in 2019 or 2020, it needs to respect this growing standard.

And, it looks like it may actually happen. Microsoft has patented a magnetic USB-C connector that would sort of function like the existing magnetic Surface charger. Whether or not this will actually support Thunderbolt 3 remains to be seen, but we don’t see why it wouldn’t.

Better power management
One of the fatal flaws of the Surface Book 2 15-inch was it couldn't play games without draining its battery on top of pulling charge through its Surface Connector. While Microsoft might have told us it was designed creatives and not gaming, the same company was the one who gave it a built-in Xbox controller receiver. Whatever or whoever, the next iteration is made for, it should have improved power management as to not dip into its battery reserves for extra juice.

A 4K display would be nice
The Surface Book 2’s display comes in at 3,240 x 2,160 (260 ppi) at a 3:2 aspect ratio in the 15-inch model. It’s a beautiful display, to be sure. However, while it comes close to hitting that 4K mark, true 4K assets are becoming standard, so digital creators would likely appreciate a screen that mirrors the sharpness at which they produce content. 

All accessories included
For what it’s charging for current – and will charge for future – Surface Book products, Microsoft should include all of the essential accessories in the box. Yes, that includes the awesome Surface Dial alongside the Surface Pen in this case. It’s only fair for what is essentially a luxury item.

Black color option
The Surface Book 2 is already an extremely attractive device, but after Microsoft revealed the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Laptop 2, we would love to see the next premium 2-in-1 adopt it, too. 

Just imagine, a Surface Book 3 that could not only compete with the MacBook Pro 2018, but one that has a more beautiful color option than the Space Gray on the latest Apple flagship. 

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