Surface Book 3: what we want to see

Surface Book 3
Image Credit: Microsoft

The Surface Book 3 has a hard act to follow. When the original Surface Book hit the streets, it was incredibly successful. Yet, awesome as it was, we didn’t expect the sequel, the Surface Book 2, to improve on everything the original did, culminating in a device that makes the MacBook Pro look like a cheap toy. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that we can’t wait to see what the Surface Book 3 will look like, even if we probably won’t see it for a while.

We can imagine it now: a Surface Book 2 with a sharper, brighter display, more powerful components and Thunderbolt 3. It could be the best 2-in-1 laptop ever made. With these features, the Surface Book 3 will be the perfect foil to Apple’s pro laptops.

If Microsoft is able to bottle up what made the first two Surface Book devices great, and distill it into the third model, the Surface Book 3 might end up being the best laptop to date.

Currently, there is little to no concrete information about the Surface Book 3. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t at least speculate based on past releases and our tech expertise. 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 in motion

Image Credit: Microsoft

Surface Book 3 release date

The Surface Book 2 was rolled out in late 2017 so 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 or early 2020 at the earliest.

Two new Surface devices were launched in October 2018 – the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2, and we didn’t see any sign of a new Surface Book. Couple that with the fact that Microsoft has recently given the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 a quad-core processor, we don’t see a Surface Book 3 coming out any time soon.

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 prediction.

surface book 3 in motion

Image Credit: Microsoft

Surface Book 3 price

Unfortunately, because there’s no concrete information about the Surface Book 3 at the moment, we don’t really know anything about how much it’s going to cost. However, we can

look at the pricing of the Surface Book and the Surface Book 2, and speculate a little.

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 remains at a $2,499 or £2,349 (AU$3,649) price of admission. If you ask us, that’s already enough scratch.

Let’s hope that the would-be Surface Book 3 stays well within that price range, as anything more would already be far too pricey for our sensibilities.

surface book 3 tablet mode

Image Credit: Microsoft

What we want to see in a Surface Book 3

Because a Surface Book 3 release 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 of what we want to see improved in the follow-up. So, here’s our Surface Book 3 wish list, based on speculation, leaks and rumors.

More powerful internals
The Surface Book is the most powerful and elegant laptops that Microsoft has produced, so we’d like to see up-to-date components all around. Now that Intel is unleashing its Ice Lake processors before the year is out, and Nvidia is rumored to roll out its Super RTX

graphics in July – 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 is battery efficient.

Use the extra space accordingly

Whether it’s with 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 its 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 indeed flexible, but it’s time for Microsoft to move onto Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C. Not only does Thunderbolt 3 allow for faster file transfers, but 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 get on board with this growing standard.

It looks like this 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 is 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 for creatives and not gaming, the same company also gave it a built-in Xbox controller receiver, so that excuse sounds like a total cop out.

Also, whatever or whoever the next iteration is made for, it should have improved power management so 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 fair. However, while it comes close to hitting that 4K mark, true 4K assets are becoming standard, and digital creators are likely to 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 the black color option as well.

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