The Surface Book 3 has big shoes to fill. When the original Surface Book hit the market, it was remarkably successful. Yet, as amazing as it was, its sequel, the Surface Book 2, improved on everything the original did, resulting in a machine that makes the MacBook Pro look like a cheap toy.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that we’re excited to see what the Surface Book 3 has in store, though we're not sure when we'll see it. Microsoft has hinted at an upcoming event on October 2 that might see a big hardware push from them. We'll see if there's any news regarding the Surface Book 3.
Regardless, we can envision it now: a Surface Book 2 with a crisper, richer display, Thunderbolt 3, and – if it ends up being the recently benchmarked Microsoft Surface powered by Intel Ice Lake – more powerful internals. In other words, the Surface Book 3 could end up being the best 2-in-1 laptop we’ve seen. With these features, it might be the perfect foil to Apple’s pro laptops.
If Microsoft is able to extract what made the first two Surface Book devices so good, and distill it into the third model, then the Surface Book 3 might even end up as the best laptop to date.
Regrettably, there is little to no tangible information about the Surface Book 3 right now. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t at least speculate based on past releases and our tech expertise.
With that in mind, let’s dig into what we think and hope the Surface Book 3 might 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 release date
The Surface Book 2 was released in late 2017 so it has a few years under its belt. However, if we look at 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 released in October 2018 – the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 – and there wasn’t any sign of a new Surface Book. Pair that with the fact that Microsoft has recently given the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 a quad-core processor, we don't expect to see a Surface Book 3 coming out any time soon.
Until we have more concrete information, or even rumors, we’re sticking with our late 2019 or 2020 Surface Book 3 release date prediction though we hopefully will know more on October 2nd.
Surface Book 3 price
Sadly, since there’s no concrete information about the Surface Book 3 right now, we don’t really know what to expect regarding cost. Still, if we look at the pricing of the Surface Book and the Surface Book 2, we can certainly speculate.
Currently, due to a new lower-storage model, the 13.5 inch Surface Book 2 begins at $1,199 or £1,149, while the 15-inch iteration stays at its $2,499 or £2,349 (AU$3,649) price tag. If you ask us, that’s already plenty pricey.
Fingers crossed that the would-be Surface Book 3 sticks well within that price range, as anything more would already be too expensive for our bank account.
What we want to see in a Surface Book 3
Since a Surface Book 3 release is seemingly so far away at this point, and we don’t have any solid information on what to expect, all we can do right now is put together a wish list, if you must, of what we would like 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 sophisticated laptop that Microsoft has ever designed, so we’d definitely like to see up-to-date components all around. Now that Intel has unveiled its Ice Lake processors and we’ll start seeing them in laptops before the end of the year – not to mention, Nvidia rolling out its Super RTX graphics in July – the Surface Book 3 could hypothetically be among the most powerful devices when it hits the streets. We can just imagine a portable workhorse that can handle 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 has to make better use of the room provided it with the 15-inch Surface Book chassis. Right now, it’s just wasted space waiting to be used.
Thunderbolt 3, please
The Surface connector on the Surface Book 2 is unquestionably flexible, but it’s time for Microsoft to incorporate Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C. Not only does Thunderbolt 3 provide faster file transfers, but it can also work as a one plug hub for all monitors and other peripherals you could want to connect. If the Surface Book 3 is actually going to compete with the best of them, particularly in 2019 or 2020, it needs to jump on board with this growing standard.
It looks like this might actually happen. Microsoft has patented a magnetic USB-C connector that would kind of function like the existing magnetic Surface charger. Whether or not it will actually support Thunderbolt 3 remains to be seen, but we don’t see why it wouldn’t.
Better power management
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Surface Book 2 15-inch is it wouldn't play games without draining its battery on top of pulling charge through its Surface Connector. Microsoft told us that this was due to the device being designed for creatives and not for gaming, but the same company also gave it a built-in Xbox controller receiver, so that excuse seems like a complete cop out.
Also, regardless of who the next iteration is made for, it should come with 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 screen comes in at 3,240 x 2,160 (260 ppi) at a 3:2 aspect ratio in the 15-inch model. It’s a gorgeous display, to be fair. Still, while it does come close to hitting that 4K mark, true 4K assets are becoming standard, and digital creators are likely to want 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 indispensable accessories in the box. Yes, that includes the fantastic Surface Dial, along with the Surface Pen, in this case. It’s only fair for what is basically a luxury item.
Black color option
The Surface Book 2 is already an exceptionally pretty device, but now that 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 might not only give the MacBook Pro 2018 a run for its money, but one that has a more striking color option than the Space Gray on the latest Apple flagship.
- These are the best laptops we’ve tested the world over