Microsoft is hard at work on a new flagship laptop, which Windows Central understands could show up as soon as this fall. Many expect this new laptop to replace the Surface Book, which has been Microsoft's flagship laptop line since its debut in 2015.
Windows Central understands that this new laptop likely won't be branded as "Surface Book," but rather something possibly under the "Surface Laptop" moniker such as "Surface Laptop Pro" or "Surface Laptop Studio." That said, because we don't actually know what it will be called, we figured calling it Surface Book 4 makes the most sense for now.
With that in mind, let's dive into what we do and don't know so far.
Surface Book 4: Release date and availability
Microsoft is holding a hardware event on September 22, and this is where I've heard Microsoft plans to unveil this new laptop. Microsoft is expected to announce a handful of other devices at this event too, including the Surface Duo 2 and Surface Pro 8.
Because of the global chip shortage, it's possible that availability of this device will be limited when it launches later this year. It's also possible that the Surface Book 4 will launch a bit later than Microsoft's other new Surface devices being announced this fall.
Surface Book 4: What we know
According to my sources, this new laptop will feature a new, non-detachable 2-in-1 design similar to that of the HP Elite Folio. The display can be pulled forward and laid flat over the keyboard for drawing or note taking. Sources say it looks like a super thin Surface Pro attached to the keyboard deck of a Surface Laptop.
A non-detachable design may allow Microsoft to put more powerful chips into the base too. The Surface Book's existing design only allows for U-series processors at most, which maxes out at just 4 cores. Most power-user grade laptops have options for 6-core or even 8-core processors like Dell's 15 and 17-inch XPS laptops. So we wouldn't be surprised to see options for more powerful chips inside this new laptop design.
I'm also told that the Surface Book 4 will feature RTX graphics, a larger trackpad, and a display size of around 14 inches with a high-refresh rate panel that dynamically adjusts.
- Redesigned: A pull forward display instead of one that can detach.
- New display: Around 14 inches in size with a dynamic high-refresh rate.
- RTX graphics: Powerful mobile graphics from NVIDIAs RTX line.
The Surface Book 4 will also be one of the first devices to ship with Windows 11, which includes a handful of new features that could benefit from new hardware, such as:
Dynamic Refresh Rate: This feature would enable a higher-refresh display like 90Hz or 120Hz, but can still drop to as low as 60hz when nothing is moving on the display. This can help save a bit of battery when running a higher-refresh rate display.
New Haptic Surface Pen: Windows 11 also supports smart pens with haptic feedback, which lets the pen simulate writing with different materials like pencil or pen on different types of paper. It's likely that Surface Book 4 will feature support for a new Surface pen with haptics.
Surface Book 4: Specs
Since details around Surface Book 4 are still very scarce, we don't know what specs it will have.
|Category||Surface Book 4|
|Operating system||Windows 11 (Home or Pro)|
|Display||14 inches, 3:2 aspect ratio, Dynamic Refresh Rate|
|Graphics||NVIDIA RTX Graphics|
|Memory||8GB, 16GB, 32GB|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
Surface Book 4: Price
Pricing for the Surface Book 4 is unknown at this time. Considering it will likely be positioned as a more powerful and versatile Surface Laptop, it's possible that we could see prices start at around the same as a Surface Book 3 at $1,599. That said, we just don't know how Microsoft plans to price this device, as it will likely be considered a new form factor with a new design and limited availability at first.
Surface Book 4: What I want to see
As this device will feature a new design, there's room for new additions that previous Surface's haven't included. Here's what I personally hope to see in the Surface Book 4:
- Thinner bezels: Since the Surface Book 4 as a new display size, Microsoft could (and should) take this opportunity to slim the bezels around the display.
- Thunderbolt 4: Microsoft's Surface line has always missed out on Thunderbolt, which is quickly becoming a pain point for many professional users. Microsoft should figure out a way of adding Thunderbolt 4 without removing the Surface Connect port.
- Display tech enhancements: While our sources suggest Surface Book 4 will have a higher-refresh rate display, we still don't know what kind of display panel it will have. We'd love to see options for an OLED panel, or options for an anti-reflective coating that helps diffuse light. Also, rounded display corners would be nice.
- Better upgradability: Microsoft has made small waves in making Surface products more upgradable, and we'd love to see that continue on Surface Book 4. Adding a removable SSD would be a great start.
Surface Book 4: Latest news
July 26, 2021: A recent patent filing has revealed a new "pull forward" design for an upcoming Surface device. This is likely a similar design that will be used in Microsoft's next flagship laptop, which we're calling Surface Book 4 for now.