Surface Book 3: what we want to see

Surface Book 3
Image Credit: Microsoft

The Surface Book 3 has a tough act to follow. When the original Surface Book hit the market, it was exceedingly successful. Yet, as incredible as it was, we actually didn’t expect the sequel, the Surface Book 2, to improve on everything the original did, resulting in a device that makes the MacBook Pro look like a cheap toy. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that we’re excited to see what the Surface Book 3 will look like, even if we probably won’t see it for a while.

We can see it now: a Surface Book 2 with a sharper, more vibrant display, more powerful components and Thunderbolt 3.

In other words, the Surface Book 3 could be the best 2-in-1 laptop ever made. With these features, it 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, then the Surface Book 3 might even end up being the best laptop to date.

Unfortunately, there is little to no concrete information about the Surface Book 3 at this time. However, 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 and hope the Surface Book 3 will 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 released in late 2017 so it’s more than a year old. However, if we follow the release pattern of Surface devices that aren’t the Surface Pro, we wouldn’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 probably won’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

Sadly, since there’s no concrete information about the Surface Book 3 at the moment, we don’t really know how much it’s going to cost. However, if we look at the pricing of the Surface Book and the Surface Book 2, we can certainly speculate.

Currently, 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 stays at its $2,499 or £2,349 (AU$3,649) price tag. If you ask us, that’s already sufficient scratch.

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

surface book 3 tablet mode

Image Credit: Microsoft

What we want to see in a Surface Book 3

As a Surface Book 3 release is so far off at this point, and we don’t have any solid information on what it’ll look like, all we can do right now is create a wishlist, if you must, of what we want to see improved in this follow-up. Here are the features we’d like to see in the Surface Book 3, based on speculation, leaks and rumors.

More powerful internals
The Surface Book is the most powerful and elegant laptop that Microsoft has ever crafted, so we’d certainly like to see up-to-date components all around. Now that Intel has unleashed its Ice Lake processors and we’ll start seeing them in laptops before the year is out ­– not to mention, Nvidia rolling out its Super RTX graphics in July – the Surface Book 3 could potentially be among the most powerful devices when it comes out. We can just imagine a portable workhorse that can do some 4K gaming in its downtime and last you a while as well.

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 needs to make better use of the space afforded it with the 15-inch Surface Book chassis. Right now, it’s simply wasted space waiting to be utilized.

Thunderbolt 3, please
The Surface connector on the Surface Book 2 is undeniably flexible, but it’s time for Microsoft to move onto Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C. Not only does Thunderbolt 3 offer faster file transfers, but it can also function 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 with the best of them, especially in 2019 or 2020, it needs to get on board with this growing standard.

It does look 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 its battery draining on top of pulling charge through its Surface Connector. Microsoft told us that this was because the device was designed for creatives and not for gaming, but the same company also gave it a built-in Xbox controller receiver, so that excuse sounds like a complete 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.