With rumors about what the next generation Surface Book could look like, the anticipation for the Surface Book 3 has been mounting for months. Fans of the Surface line are looking forward to seeing how Microsoft will refine the elegant Surface Book 2’s winning formula, all while continuing the legacy of the original Surface Book.
Luckily, fans don’t have to wait any longer. Microsoft has finally revealed the new Surface Book 3 – alongside the Surface Go 2 – billing it as the most powerful laptop it has ever made. Now that the next generation Surface Book is on its way, its specs and prices have officially been revealed, debunking earlier leaks like the rumored prices for both the 13-inch and 15-inch models while also confirming others like the speculation that we could be looking at a content creation powerhouse with its discrete Nvidia GPUs and Ice Lake processors.
Touting the GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q (for the 13-inch model) and the GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q or the Quadro RTX 3000 Max-Q (for the 15-inch) graphics as well as Core i5-1035G7 or Core i7-1065G7 processors, the Surface Book 3 is expected to offer up to 50% more in terms of performance and up to a claimed 17.5 hours of battery life. Sadly, it won’t have the Thunderbolt 3 port we’ve been hoping for, but it will have Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
With all this information going around, we thought we’d gather everything we have on the next generation Surface Book. If the company takes what made the Surface Book line such an excellent series and builds upon that, then the Surface Book 3 could be the best laptop to come out of Microsoft yet.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The would-be third Surface Book 2-in-1 laptop
- When is it out? June 5, 2020
- What will it cost? Likely as much as – if not more than – the current model
Surface Book 3 release date
With Microsoft recently revealing the details for the Surface Book 3, we finally have a release date of June 5. This confirms our earlier prediction that 2020 will definitely be the year for the next Surface Book release.
The Surface Book 2 was rolled out in late 2017 so it’s already got a few years under its belt. However, 2019 came and went without so much as a peep from the line. Three new Surface devices were released in late 2019 – the Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X, and Surface Laptop 3 – but there wasn’t any sign of the next-generation Surface Book. If you also account for the fact that Microsoft has recently given the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 a quad-core processor, 2019 would have been too early for a new model anyway.
Surface Book 3 price
We now also know how much the Surface Book 3 models will set back consumers. The Surface Book 3 13-inch will start at $1,599 (£1,599, AU$2,649) while the larger Surface Book 3 15-inch will kick off at $2,299 (£2,199, AU$3,699).
This debunks earlier leaks that put the 13-inch at €1,617 (around $1,760 or £1,410) and the 15-inch at €2,234 (around $2,430 or £1,950), which is great news. Another good news here is that the 15-inch seems to have dropped in price, making it cheaper than its Surface Book 2 counterpart that started at $2,499 (£2,349, AU$3,649). At least for its starting configuration.
For 13-inch fans, the new 13-inch model now starts off at a higher price tag, with a $100 increase over the Surface Book 2’s $1,499 (£1,499, around AU$2,600) starting price. Of course that’s also just the base model. Looking at Microsoft’s pricing, the 13-inch next two configurations boast the same prices but with double the RAM over their Surface Book 2 counterparts. What’s more is that the highest 13-inch configuration not only has twice as much memory, but it’s $300 cheaper than the previous model at $2,699 (about £2,180, AU$4,225).
Surface Book 3 design
A new patent has been discovered that suggests the Surface Book 3 could come with a radical new design, but sadly the Surface Book 3 looks a lot like the Surface Book 2. This is hardly a surprise considering that Microsoft’s recent Surface devices have been playing it pretty safe when it comes to design.
From a quick look at the specs, it looks like the Surface Book 3 will inherit the same PixelSense display for both its 13-inch and 15-inch models, as well as the same types of ports much to the disappointment of those who have been pushing for a Thunderbolt 3 port. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the next generation Surface Book is getting the redesign we were hoping for, with Microsoft focusing on internal improvements this time around.
What we want to see in a Surface Book 3
We now know what the Surface Book 3 is bringing to the table when it rolls out in June – namely, massive improvements in internal components and battery life. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be seeing big updates in its display and features.
These were the features we were hoping to see in the Surface Book 3, based on speculation, leaks and rumors.
More powerful internals
The Surface Book was the most powerful and sophisticated laptop that Microsoft had designed up to that point, so we’d appreciate seeing up-to-date components all around. Now that Intel has been shipping its Ice Lake processors and we’ll start seeing them in laptops before the end of the year – not to mention, Nvidia has rolled out its Super RTX graphics this summer – the Surface Book 3 could hypothetically be among the most powerful devices to hit the streets.
In fact, thanks to the leaks from @_rogame, we’ve seen configurations with both Ice Lake and an unnamed (possibly Tiger Lake) chips. However, the configurations do seem to come with Nvidia GTX 1650 Max Q and 1660 Ti Max Q so we’ll see if it can handle 4K gaming.
A more recent leak from tipster Roland Quandt, however, shows the Surface Book 3 having Intel 10th-generation Comet Lake processors, with the 13-inch model and 15-inch variants set to pack Core i5-10210U and Core i7-10510U CPUs, respectively. The leak also shows it offering GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q and GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q graphics. If this is accurate, we could be seeing the next-generation Surface Book specced-out and aimed at content creators.
Use the extra space accordingly
Microsoft could fit the Surface Book 3 with either an expanded keyboard with the number pad or top-firing speakers with deep bass chambers. The point is, 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 utilized.
Thunderbolt 3, please
The Surface connector on the Surface Book 2 is, without a doubt, versatile. However, it’s time for Microsoft to incorporate Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C. Thunderbolt 3 provides faster file transfers, and also works 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 there is, especially in 2019 or 2020, it needs to jump on board with this growing standard.
The good news is that 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 shouldn’t.
Better power management
One of the biggest flaws of the Surface Book 2 15-inch is that it couldn’t play games without draining its battery on top of pulling charge through its Surface Connector. Microsoft told us that this was because of the device being designed specifically for creatives and not for gaming. But, this is the same company that also gave it a built-in Xbox controller receiver, so that excuse seems like a total cop out.
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 on its 15-inch model. It’s a stunning display, to be fair. However, while it does come close to hitting that 4K mark, true 4K assets are becoming standard, and digital creators, for whom the Surface Book is designed, will want a screen that mirrors the sharpness at which they produce content.
All accessories included
For what it’s charging for its current – and will charge for its future – Surface Book products, Microsoft should include all of the essential accessories in the box. Yes, that includes the innovative 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 exceptionally stunning 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.