Update Sept 16: A new report claims Microsoft won't release the Surface Book 3 at its October event.
But that should change in 2019.
The benefit of the Surface Book’s detachable design is that you get a full-fledged laptop, complete with discrete graphics in the base. There’s no awkward kickstand here. When you want a tablet, you simply remove the 13.5-inch screen from the base.
However, now that the Surface Book 2 is really starting to show its age, it’s time for Microsoft to upgrade this system or revamp it. Here’s what to expect from the Surface Book 3 — and what we want.
Surface Book 3 Release Date
the 13-inch and 15-inch Surface Book 2 went on sale in November of 2017, so it’s possible the Surface Book 3 won’t debut until spring of 2020.
Surface Book 3 Price
The 13-inch Surface Book 2 starts at $1,499 ($1,299 on sale), while the 15-inch model costs $2,299 with a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. That model comes with Nvidia graphics.
If you want Nvidia graphics on the 13.5-inch model, it costs $1,799. We expect the 2019 pricing for the Surface Book 3 to be in line with current pricing for the Surface Book 2.
Comet Lake or Ice Lake?
Intel’s 14-nanometer processor, Comet Lake, finally arrived on Windows laptops, promising a significant performance boost. But the 10-nanometer Intel Ice Lake chip is also here, offering a bump to graphics performance with its Iris Plus GPU. It’s likely either Comet Lake or Ice Lake chips will land in the Surface Book 2 if Microsoft decides to ship this year.
RAM will supposedly be offered in 16GB and 32GB options and storage should go up to a 1TB SSD (fingers crossed it's faster than before).
Next-gen Nvidia Turing graphics
The 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 comes with Intel integrated graphics on the Core i5 model and Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics on the Core i7 model. The 15-inch Surface Book 2 steps that up to 1060 graphics.
Nvidia launched GPUs with Turing architecture with the higher-end RTX 2080 Ti, 2080 and 2070 chips for gaming PCs. So it’s possible GTX 2060 and 2050 cards will be in the Surface Book 3. However, it's more likely that the Surface Book 3 will sport either GTX 1650 or 1660 variants of Nvidia's graphics.
Interestingly, Microsoft will supposedly offer the 15-inch Surface Book 3 with Quadro graphics. Unlike GTX or RTX graphics, which are meant for gaming, Quadro graphics (typically found in workstations) are better at computational tasks for the workflows of content creators and engineers.
Although Microsoft added USB-C to the 13.5-inch and 15-inch Surface Pro 3, it doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3 for the fastest transfer speeds. This would also open up the Surface Book 3 to connecting to a wider array of Thunderbolt docking stations.
Lose the bulky hinge—and some weight
The Fulcrum hinge on the Surface Book and Surface Book 2 works well and feels sturdy, but it’s time that Microsoft ditches this design for the Surface Book 3 and make a more Yoga-like convertible.
Let the Surface Pro lead the way with a detachable design.
While Microsoft is at it, it should try to make the Surface Book 3 thinner and lighter than its predecessor. The 13.5-inch model, for example, weighs 3.6 pounds and is 0.9 inches thick, which is one of the heaviest 2-in-1s in its class.
While both Surface Book 2 units boast some of the brightest and most colorful displays around, the resolution maxes out at 3000 x 2000 pixels for the 13.5-inch model and 3240 x 2160 pixel for the 15-inch model. A 4K option would be great for creative pros.
To be fair, the narrow bezel trend wasn’t in full force when the Surface Book 2 debuted, but now everyone is on the bandwagon and Microsoft should join the party. The Surface Book 3 could easily fit a 14-inch display in a similar or even more compact chassis.