What we hope to see in Microsoft's Surface Book 3

Surface Book 2
Surface Book 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Book 2 is the best device I've ever owned. For me, the 15-inch model represents the best of what Microsoft's leading industrial design team has to offer — with uncompromising power in a stunning, svelte package.

I'm not here to talk about what's great about the Surface Book 2, you can take a look at our Executive Editor Daniel Rubino's review for that. Instead, I'm here to talk about the things that … well, bug me about this PC. Things that I hope get rectified, or at least addressed, in the inevitable Surface Book 3.

Powerful, but not enough power

The Surface Book 2 packs a quad-core CPU complete with a GTX 1060, powering a 4K (horizontal) 3:2 display. In order to fully utilize the components in the Book 2 without turning your device into a makeshift BBQ grill, you need some pretty powerful cooling techniques. The Book 2, as such, can get pretty noisy under load. But that isn't the real problem.

The Surface Book 2 simply doesn't draw enough power for its components when maxed out. As a result, gaming or 3D editing tasks while on max settings, which the Book 2 is completely capable of, drains the battery even when it's plugged in. It's widely believed that this issue is why the Surface Book 2 can only connect a single 4K display at 60 Hz, and straight up refuses to allow for two, despite having the capability to do so.

There are ways around some of these problems, like dropping the quality of your games, lowering the display resolution of your screen, or running your Book 2 in battery saver mode, but you shouldn't have to. Hopefully, any prospective Surface Book 3 will provide enough power to actually utilize the components you're paying for inside the device.

Detachment issues

Another problem that I perceive with the Book 2 pertains to its unique detachment feature. The CPU and GPU are split between the display and base. The Book 2's "unique" feature is the fact that the display can be removed and act as a gigantic clipboard. The problem is, really, I'm not sure what use a gigantic 15-inch tablet really is, for anyone. The 13-inch model could maybe almost make sense in some limited boardroom scenarios, but I suspect the vast majority of users only detach the display to flip it into canvas or tent mode for media consumption or digital inking.

Additionally, the fact the display detaches creates a range of design and construction issues that are largely needless. At least on my Book 2, angling the display down can cause it to become disconnected for a brief moment, which can disable the dedicated GPU and USB devices in the base. Sometimes, it requires a reboot to fix. Other times, it requires a BIOS refresh to fix, both of which are inconvenient.

I think the Book 3 should catch up to how people actually want to use laptops. I suspect Microsoft has data to suggest virtually nobody detaches the display for an elongated period of time, and it doesn't help that Windows 10's tablet mode is, well, bad.

The obvious solution is to go with a 360-degree hinge. The Lenovo Yoga lineup is a great example of devices that can still enjoy tent, tablet, and canvas modes, without the needlessly complex, virtually redundant detachment scenario.

Paint it black

The latest Surface Laptop and Pro both come with black variants. It's subjective, but I never really liked the metallic finish on the modern Surface devices, as it's something I tend to associate with Apple devices.

Naturally, adding a black finish to the Surface line has typically come with a range of its own problems. There are reports that, like the old black Surface Pro 1 and 2, the paint can become scuffed quite easily, revealing the magnesium alloy underneath. That's obviously not something I want, but if Microsoft could figure a way of solving that issue, I'd take a black Book 3 over a metallic Book 3 in a heartbeat.

Inking ... on the trackpad

I'm sure there are technical reasons why this may or may not be possible, but I've always found it to be odd that if I want to do any form of inking, I either need to poke awkwardly at the screen set to a 90-degree angle, go through the motions of detaching, flipping, and resetting, or simply flop the Book 2 on its back. The Laptop 2 also shares this problem, and to a lesser degree so do the Pro and Go Surface devices, when all you want to do is make a quick signature or ink out a Sticky Note. (By the way, the new Sticky Notes app for Windows 10 is awesome.)

Surely it makes sense for some sort of low-fidelity inking capability on the trackpad itself. My Book 2 won't even recognize a stylus as a touch event, presumably because it's looking for fingers rather than something smaller, but it'd be far more intuitive for a quick inking piece to just grab the pen and drop some ink on the trackpad via the cursor, rather than angle the screen around.

Thunderbolt 3

Razer Core X

Razer Core X (Image credit: Windows Central)

I suppose one way Microsoft could solve its power draw woes from its dedicated GPU would be to enlist full Thunderbolt 3 in the next Surface Book model.

Thunderbolt 3 is four times faster than the standard USB 3.1 ports included on the Surface Book 2, and it also comes with four lanes of PCIe Generation 3, allowing you to utilize external GPU docks. Theoretically, you could grab a lower-end Surface Book 3 and grab an external, independently-powered dedicated GPU that wouldn't drain the Book's battery while maxed out, and you could slap in a desktop-class GPU for some serious gaming.

Almost perfect

Surface Book 2

Surface Book 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Book 2 has been a dream device for me for the most part. I tend to prefer Microsoft products for the peace of mind that comes with stellar customer service (at least in my experience) and the knowledge that generally driver updates are tested thoroughly for compatibility before hitting the Surface line.

Still, it's maddening that despite paying top-of-the-line prices, you can't get the full capability out of the components you paid for due to the power drain issue. Also, as someone who does digital art on occasion, it's a bit of a hassle to go through the ritualistic detachment process every time I want to lay the display out flat.

The Book 3, hopefully, will incorporate a bigger design revision than the Book 2 did, to address some of the most pressing usability issues. Either way, the quality has already ensured that I'll typically consider Surface before any other laptop. I'd just like to see Microsoft push it to the next level.

What changes do you want to see?

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • "What changes do you want to see?"
    1. Affordable pricing!
    2. Affordable pricing!
    3. Affordable pricing!
  • Then buy a device made by Samsung, HP, Dell, Lenovo, or any of the other OEMs making premium quality products. Surface isn't primarily about pricing.
  • I don't agree Surface should be affordable. It's meant to be a premium device and targeted at the same people who used to buy Mac's for its status and exclusivity which now isn't so exclusive. Surface has somewhat built it's own status, and rightly so as it's even more exclusive than a Mac with excellent quality and innovation. Lowering the price cheapens the branding, as well as creating conflict with Microsofts partners.
  • Good article. I want the Pro line and the Book line to merge. Give the "Book" a stand for use away from the keyboard, and make a type cover for it so that when I want to go light, but still need a keyboard, I can use that. Sure, it's more money cause I'd want it all, but the options would take this wonderful machine over the top in my estimation.
  • This. I feel like the whole point of Surface is convergence. For me, the next logical step is to bring the "clipboard" in line with the Surface Pro. This means kickstand, ports and an improvement on battery life. New Intel CPUs should allow for thunderbolt 3 on the tablet and a pass through for another on the keyboard. - tablet with type cover when portability is key and you're moving between setups - Connect the tablet to a dock at a desk for multi monitor, ethernet, keyboard, mouse, speakers etc. for getting day to day work done - have another dock setup at home with desktop grade eGPU for proper gaming (MS could even make a sleek surface branded eGPU dock with a Nvidia 2060/70 in it) - then I've got my keyboard setup with dGPU when I need that balance power and portability All these things can be made, sold and upgraded in isolation depending on the customers needs, and it essentially starts with the Surface Pro exactly as it is today. Additionally, it's sad to hear that Jez doesn't detach his screen. I use my tablet all the time in isolation. I think the problem is the lack of a kick stand so you can't put it down but you can still connect it to a desk based tablet stand to put it in line with other monitors. I think 13.5" is the sweet spot size wise but in the SB2 I think the performance trade off isn't worth it. I've spoken to reps from MS at trade shows who have told me this is the end goal of Surface Book but that was 3 years ago after the original SB release so here's hoping that this is what the big Surface overhaul is later this year.
  • I would like to see the lines merge and have a keyboard dock with no additional hardware. e.g. no extra betteries, dGPU. Just port expansion a0dn a good keyboard with a solid hinge.
  • Shut up and take my money! This would be my dream.
  • This is the best take. After years of MacBook pros I came back to windows with a surface book 2 15inch and the thing I love about it is the versatility. I use it as a laptop 25%of the time, docked to a monitor in easel mode with an external kb&m 60%of my time, then probably 10% as a pure tablet and then 5% with windows mixed reality gaming or as an Xbox replacement. The adaptability is mind blowing. The only thing I would want is more power and ports in the tablet section and possibly a kick stand.
  • I love this idea. When the screen is detached, let it be like a Surface Pro.
  • I would like them to drop the Intel CPUs, given they are behind the curve when it comes to Ryzen APUs. Intel CPUs are slightly slower and the HD620 is a joke, identical with the iGPU 520 launched over 3 years ago.
  • Which is why Intel started to offer AMD GPUs in their APUs. Ryzen is worse than what Intel offers. Just cheaper.
  • A black Surface Book 3? I could get with that, but as for your concern about the use of the clipboard, I routinely disconnect the screen from my 15 incher for reading and crossword action in my recliner. The base of my SB2 is connected to a 27 inch 4K display and every once in a while when I reconnect the clipboard, the USB C connection between the SB2 and my monitor does not turn the monitor back on as it should. A quick unplug and replug of the USB C cable fixes this. This doesn't happen with every reconnection of the clipboard, but this is the only "issue" I've had with my SB2.
  • Detachment issues... 100% agree. The idea while neat is just not worth all the headaches and overengineering required to make it function. I own a 1st generation Surface Book and the only time I detached it was to flip the screen around. As a tablet it's virtually useless. If you truly need a tablet the Surface Pro (especially what Microsoft will release this year) fills that category perfectly. They're now powerful enough for most situations. I'd prefer it if Microsoft just went full bore and made a traditional laptop to compete again the Macbook Pro's 45 watt CPUs. Or at least made a new category that took it on directly, spec for spec.
  • Pffffffffffffffff. Lol. Paaaalease.
  • There is Surface Laptop.... for a reason... and it's for consumers like yourself narir82. Can you lot please stop ruining innovation for the rest of us lol?
  • Agreed. Why cry when there is a clear category of that device.
    Maybe they should launch XBOX branded gaming laptop with really high spec.
  • Conversely if you want a laptop, buy a laptop.
  • 1. Black
    2. Thunderbolt 3
    3. Remove that awful hinge
    4. Remove that over sized charging port
    5. Reduce bezels
    6. Use Intel's WIFI chip instead of that awful Marvel
    7. Larger trackpad
    8. Add num pad (Not that big a deal though)
    9. Wacom instead of NTrig
    10. Space to store the pen inside surface (Like on Thinkpad X1 Yoga/C930)
  • Oh god you are asking way too much. I mean, some of them are fine, but others are... Well... Not a "Surface Book" kind of thing like the hinge removal.
  • Number 2, 4, 5, and 6 are a must.
  • @Tapatio_00.
    1) Sure why not
    2) That was a intel issue but should be rectified with the new generation CPUs.
    3) Not happening, you have a Surface Laptop for a reason.
    4) That also means another docking station and removes compatibility with older docking stations.
    5) That's possible with the latest screens from BOE or LG Display.
    6) Agreed.
    7) You can only fit a longer trackpad in terms of width and slightly taller as it will impact key spacing in the keys.
    8) Not possible to fit into a 15inch form factor without shrinking the keys and moving the keyboard to the left. So you need to compromise ergonomics.
    9) Not happening, Microsoft paid fair amount of money for ntrig and it removes compatibility with rest of the Surface line up that use Ntrig so everything upto Surface Pro 3.
    10) That means creating a slim pen which would resemble looking a like pencil so not happening. Otherwise you compromise thermals.
  • No one said it yet! 32GB ram please.
  • All ready have! DDR4L 2400MHz. NICCCCCEEE
  • I switched from SP4 to SB2, 13.5". Main reasons:
    * better battery life
    * SD card reader
    The screen detachment system tends to mess up every now and then; with the latest Win update, it is somewhat messed up.
    If SP7 gets better battery life than SB2, keeps the form factor with decreased bezel -> bigger screen, possibly somewhat thicker/heavier to allow for bigger battery, improves wifi card, and adds LTE, preferably adds SD card -- I'll switch back to the SP line.
  • I only want one thing: Compatibility with Surface Pro. I want to have a full Pro detachable from the base. I want to be able to buy a Pro and then the base later for a full Surface Book.
  • The Surface Pro had a power keyboard - keyboard with a integrated battery but they stopped making it for later Surface pro revisions.
  • I have the power keyboard for the original pro. I got it for cheap... ish, because it seemed like a good idea. The were the issues I had with it. 1. Weight was terrible. For a device that was already heavy in terms of using it like a tablet, it felt like it weighed about as much as my old HP 17 in laptop. 2. I had track pad issues. The mouse would start to jitter or jump around, when I tried to use it. I had to disconnect and reconnect the keyboard to correct this issue. (temporary fix, at best) 3. The battery did little in terms of batterylife. 4. No back-lit keys. Even though I only payed about half the price of the original, it wasn't worth having. That is why they probably stopped making them. The cons outweighed the pros... Wait, there weren't any.
  • @Vincet McLaughlin, fair points and usually these issues are solved in iterative updates to the product over time. There four key reasons for that 1) learning through mistakes, 2)Guarantees you've got a job going forward 3)shows the consumers that you're listening to them and 4) Increased product sales. Points 2 to 4 are why you will never see a "perfect" product, it will always be "flawed" in some shape or form. The classic case is Apple, that is their modus operandi. It's also why I personally never buy anything full price only second hand or several generations after. The only thing I ever bought full price was the Lumia 920 and when it was released. If I was to make anything it would be one product and it would be without compromise. Then refresh it with newer and better hardware over time.
  • I'm glad I'm not the only who's thought of the potential for inking on the touchpad. Maybe not so great for drawing but I think it could work well for a lot of workflow scenarios that might employ wacom tablet. Imagine using Adobe Premiere and using the pen+touchpad for navigation in one hand and the surface dial in the other for scrubbing tracks, fine tuning keys, etc. Beyond that, give me Ryzen+Vega with Thunderbolt and paint it black and you've got a winner.
  • Asking to make it non-detachable?
    Come on, you know why SB exists.
    That's the iconic feature.
    You should ask a new category (convertible) for your need. Let this form factor live, pls;")
  • I do not want to see them get rid of the detachment ability. I want them to vastly improve W10s experience when used as a tablet. I'd like the tablet portion to have a kickstand. I'd like better angle options for the display. And absolutely, I want a place to store and charge the pen without making the pen smaller. Unrelated to the SB2, MS pens are too slippery.
  • I think that some people just don't like the detach. I like it, and use it as a tablet fairly often, but not often enough for me to buy and actual tablet. I think that some actually need a bigger Surface Laptop 2 with thunderbolt. I have a Surface Book 2 and the only upgrade I would need would be a Thunderbolt port and nothing else.
  • Thunderbolt is a must, also the ability for the user to add an m2 SDD in the base would be great. Only other thing I would ask is a PSU that is powerful enough to supply enough power to keep the SB going for hours. This is my second SB and have to say this is the best laptop I have ever owned.
  • Forgot to add 64GB memory option would be fantastic.
  • Can't say I have any detachment issues, and I detach the screen every morning and evening at work. I flip the sreec around and use it as a third screen with 2 external monitors. I really wanted a black Book 2, but I went with a Dbrand skin to make it black and make the MS logo wooden. If you really want/need an external GPU, then you should've purchased a different device.
  • Most of these ideas are cool but keep in mind one thing regarding the hindge: remove that and you basically have a standard laptop. You can get most of the things on this list in a regular convertible laptop but making the SB3 that way makes it just another laptop, nothing special.
  • I didn't think tablet mode on a 15" would be all that useful. Then I had to present at a neighborhood meeting in a park. The tablet fit perfectly tucked into my elbow so it sat on my forearm. It was so natural that I could then hold the device one handed while doing other things with my free hand. I've loved the big tablet ever since.
  • They could add the possibility of a 360 degree hinge but one that still allows detaching (I think the porsche book did this iirc, this would fix one of the author's issues).
    The problem I have with Surface Books is that currently they are a a bit of a risk to buy here (no Microsoft Store) since they are expensive and are not serviceable. To compensate this, I think they should improve their service plans and sell both the tablet and keyboard parts loose (not sure if they already do this), this would make it less of a pain if something is broken/bricked since you only have to buy 1 instead of 2 parts. Making the keyboards compatible with older tablet parts would also be nice to compensate for no upgrade possibilities.
  • As a university student in maths/sciences, I am always using just the clipboard to take notes (OneNote has it's own problems), and it works wonderfully. I can last a couple classes, and plug in or use the keyboard underneath if needed.
    A wireless connection between keyboard and screen would be nice often, when I am using just the clipboard and need to type, the on-screen keyboard is horrible.
  • I don't own one yet, but the ONLY two reasons I want one are 1) to detach and use the display as a comic reader, and 2) to connect the graphics card and get design work done. If I were to change any one thing (other than price) I would add the kickstand from the Pro so that I can easily use it in tablet mode on a plane. Other things I'd like to see would be a taller screen ratio (similar to the iPad), a display with fewer sharp edges, and USB C charging on the tablet part. I like some of your suggestions, but take away the ability to remove the tablet, and I wouldn't consider it anymore.
  • What the hell is a BIOS refresh? Are you saying you have to flash your BIOS when your display becomes detached slightly? If you're talking about booting the BIOS, how are you differentiating that from a reboot?
  • He likely means booting TO the BIOS, which is different than just a reboot. Might have to make some BIOS changes to get the thing properly responsive (such as when a PC tries to boot to a USB drive when it's inserted and restarted).
  • Great article. I have been waiting for the Book 2 because of specs basically. I agree there needs to be others colours/shades. The power drain thing sounds super annoying. As for the detaching thing, I like how you don't have to put the keyboard upside down on any old scummy cafe table or work desk. It seems a bit cleaner to me, but I get your point. Definitely type C Thunderbolt 3!!!
  • The power drain is overblown, it sounds like a real problem but it is very slow and only if you constantly do heavy work (I mean like 100% of the time rendering etc which almost no one does without breaks) and e.g. >4 hours gaming. The reason why it is there is so the charger is smaller, which is a nice plus.
  • NO! Microsoft do NOT get rid of the ability to detach the screen. That sells this thing and it's amazing. Your device should not disconnect, that's a deffect that they will replace it for. I had the same problem except it was so extreme that it would disconnect at the slightest movement so they replaced it for me and I have no problems now. That being said, there's no reason to get rid of the detachable screen, isntead they should make the surface laptop which is pointless to have a touch screen with in current form, into a 360 degree hinge and give it a better processor.
  • @Kojackjku Why? That is just meaningless and results in brand dilution, you already have the Surface Pro and the Surface Book.
  • In that case get a Lenovo Yoga or a HP Spectre. Microsoft is most likely not going to turn the Surface Laptop into either of those product lines especially under the current leadership. The Surface Book will remain as it is - just because you don't want a detachable screen and don't like the hinge doesn't mean others don't as well (plus it's not like you don't have options - there are many premium notebooks that do what you want) Otherwise it is diluting the brand and it is guaranteed that people will complain if they do remove the hinge / remove the detachable screen.
  • I think it does make sense for the Surface Laptop since it has a touchscreen (and digitizer?) without adding notiticeable costs. That being said, I am not sure if everyone/purists wants to see that change since the hinges will change (probably a bit more screen wobble). I would like to see it though together with a ryzen proc. :)
  • It's a mechanical compromise.
  • I'm sure in in the minority here as I don't care about graphics at all, i'd rather see a surface book "Pro" with a 45 watt 6 core chip like they use in the XPS 15. I don't know if that's possible at this point with everything being in the clipboard portion, but I really want a Microsoft product with a heavier duty CPU. Ditch the dedicated graphics card completely for all I care, I just want the CPU!
  • Removing the gpu does not help here since they heat up different parts, what needs to be done is either improve the cooling of the clipboard portion or make the clipboard part thicker (which I guess not many people would like to see).
  • I think it's time for Microsoft to entirely rethink the Surface line, especially as we hear about Centaurus and Andromeda under consideration as "post-PC" and "post-smartphone" concept devices. They don't need to throw everything out from the line, but they really would stand to benefit from thinking about two big things: not overthinking design and not prioritizing Apple's structure over being decent to your customers. Ever since the Surface Laptop was announced, I've been very critical of it. Even now, I think that it is second only to the Kin One, when I think of worst ideas Microsoft has put forth for a hardware device. The Surface Pro came out as a way to rethink the laptop and move the market forward, which was great. The Surface Laptop then came and said "actually, let's just step back to 2010 and have clunky clamshell devices." It fights the whole concept of inking, thanks to the rigidity of its hinge. On top of that, it's VERY pricey and literally impossible to repair (check the iFixit guide, which requires total destruction of the keyboard and components to get inside). It's arguably the MOST anti-consumer device ever produced, and it is counterintuitive to the Surface's beginnings. It should just go. The Surface Book is the "overthinking" of originality. The hinge sounds conceptually cool, having buzzwords like "muscle hinge" behind the marketing and looking unique. In reality, as the author points out, it's just a clunky mess. It's unpleasantlt cumbersome to detach, flip, and reattach the display. I would sooner detach the keyboard and leave it on a table. As a laptop, it faces the same rigidity issues of the Surface Laptop. As a tablet, its lightweight design is really nice, as even the Surface Pro is a bit chunkier. I really think it's time to retire the original Surface Book and the Surface Laptop. The suggestion of a 360 hinge is something I have agreed with, and it could come in a design that replaces both the Book and Laptop in one, better device. Actually, I think something detachable WITH a 360-degree hinge would be ever better. Keep the option of a super-light tablet, but don't pair it with a convertible design that is awful to use. Imagine if the Surface Book had a 360 degree hinge, one that would be capable of lying flat on the keyboard base OR detaching. That's something I wouldn't just buy, but would say is worth the price premium over the Surface Pro. You would be able to choose between the floppy keyboard of the Surface Pro, at a lower price, or step up to a fuller, firmer keyboard with a similar form factor. That would really impress me as a product. Lastly, as someone else (and maybe multiple others) suggested in the comments, go to AMD. The author mentioned that the Surface Book struggles to charge while under heavy load, and that toning down stress on the system would help resolve that. Another option would be to get away from Intel. We know that AMD's stuff scales to lower-power devices quite well. The question there would be if you kept a dGPU in the base, or just went with a Ryzen APU with Vega inside. It would make more sense to replace the Surface Pro with that at the high-end (where a fan is in the chassis), but you might have to go with a dGPU and the Ryzen APU with the iGPU disabled in the Surface Book, where the form factor is tighter and AMD's GPUs can scale up their power-hungry nature quite quickly. An AMD-powered Surface Pro would be a near-instant buy for me, as someone who refuses to buy Intel-powered devices. An AMD-powered Surface Book, with a 360-degree, detachable keyboard, would be a true unicorn product though. I could never justify $1,500 on an Intel iGPU laptop with a clumsy 2-in-1 concept. I could EASILY justify it for an AMD-powered device that plays the 2-in-1 game better than anything before it.
  • Yeah good points. There is still 2 unique things about the Laptop though, it is light for a 13.5 inch touchscreen and alcantara keyboard for 13.5 inch. The sound system is also quite smart. It also seems more reliable than the Surface Book. Still I personally would like to see a new convertible hinge for the Laptop and indeed amd ryzen procs.
  • Yeah, no thanks. Surface Laptop wasn't released to be a product defining category like the Surface Pro but as a result of people who like the quality of Surface devices asking Microsoft for a traditional laptop form factor with Surface style. I'm using the Surface Laptop at this moment and it's great to use out of the office given its light weight, screen quality, and battery life. My burgundy Alcantara keyboard deck shows no wear or discoloration after a year's use. It wouldn't be a bad thing a future Surface Laptop to fold flat, but it is easy to sign documents or other limited inking on the Laptop as is. If you need more comprehensive inking ability, Surface GO, Surface Pro, Surface Book and Surface Studio all provide for that.
  • I use the 15" screen as a table all the time to edit photos. This is especially true in the field. This is my full time editing station on the move before I get back to the office. It is a lot easier to work with clients with the tablet in tablet mode than with a laptop. I cannot disagree with the problems and hope they are resolved.
  • I love my Surface Book 2 and honestly if they remove the hinge or the ability for a detable base, I won't be buying another one. It is very convenient and cool. Most of all though, it makes it different from just any other laptop.If someone wants a laptop, they should just get a laptop. Also, 360 hinges are stupid and I would never buy one. Hence the reason it is either the Surface Book 2 for me or the Surface Pro. And the Surface Book 2 is so much better because of its capabilities. My two cents though!
  • The detachable clipboard was the reason why I bought a Surface Book 2 instead of those 2-in-1's with a 360 hinge (I don't like how a 360 hinge puts the keyboard underneath the tablet). I detach the clipboard all the time since I write on the tablet a lot (I have the 13"). The only problem I have with it is when I'm using files on my microSD card, I have to close all those files/programs before I can detach. My other wish is that the components weren't glued together and the Surface Book was fixable. I was wary about buying the Surface Book because if the battery needs to be replaced or some component needs to be fixed, it won't be easy and the whole machine might be a write-off. I just bought it last month and overall, I'm really happy with it (aside from the first week of problems related to Windows updates).
  • There is the Surface laptop for those who don't want a detacheable screen... I for one want a device like the Surface Book with a detachable screen, hopefully the tablet portion will include Zen 2 and the base Ryzen mobile GPUs or a custom GPU from AMD. The latter makes more sense given the work AMD and Microsoft have done with the XBOX ONE SOC. For me, type c usb and LTE with esim would be ideal. Digital bezels is possible just Microsoft needs to seriously work on the tablet mode on W10 to make it work.
  • Microsoft should, realistically, release 12 different variations of the same machine to please everyone. I don't want a 360-degree hinge. There's plenty of machines that already do that. I'm buying a Surface Pro or Surface Book to REMOVE the keyboard. "I'm not sure what use a gigantic 15-inch tablet really is, for anyone."
    Yet people buy the ipad pro, 12"? A 15" screen is perfect for any artist... etc.
  • I'll add another vote to the "I detach daily" camp. It's why I own a surface book and not a surface pro. There are two things that I wish MS would do with the surface book. 1) Add Thunderbolt 3. 2) Make it reasonably easy to access the M.2 SSD so that user upgrades are possible. If I could have added a Thunderbolt 3 eGPU and a 1 TB 970 Pro I'd have purchased a 2nd 15" Surface Book for my wife. Alas, she ended up with a Yoga C930 instead...
  • Just take the surface pro as it is and make a book-style keyboard (diffrent options with extra battery, ports, graphic card). This is what I would do to create the best device ever:
    Offer this combination of pro+book in different sizes like: Small (surface go style), Normal (surface pro+surface book 13''), Big (surface book 15'').
    Then with each of them could go different keyboard styles: Type Cover (like today with pro and go), stiff hinge (like today with the book), 360 hinges (yoga style), extra power (add graphics card, ports, batteries in various combinations, configurations, prices and sizes). This would result in the best surface for each and everyone! Lets see what comes next :)
  • that would result in creating ONE mobile surface model lineup (meaning for this I would kill: surface Go, Pro, Book and Laptop) because you can make each of those devices with the respective combination of what I proposed above. That would be fantastic. I know it is quite a radical approach but still: Microsoft at the very least make a book style or stiff keyboard cover for the Pro :)
  • I do agree with the 360 hinge but then what would be the point of the Surface laptop?
  • It is not needed anymore. Even though they would probably argue that it is supposed to me a classig laptop and with the alcantara i would not use the 360 i guess
  • From a graphics perspective I'd like to add that the next Surface Book should be compatible with VR headsets like Oculus Rift and Vive (Pro). With the current graphics card there's no reason it can't be - even if its not running crazy frame rates - but I don't know what's technically preventing this.
  • I am a high school band director and use the 15" SB2 in tablet mode every day. I have my music scores scanned in and they have replaced the paper scores I have used in the past. It is much more convenient. That said, I agree with other posters that, if they remove the detachable clipboard, I won't upgrade or purchase another one. The ability to detach the clipboard is *the* reason that I purchased the SB 2 (and switched from 10 years of Mac) in the first place.
  • Inking in a track pad!? Awesome idea!
  • Above all else, I wish they'd fix their ntrig digitizer's biggest design flaw. People have complained about jittering and accuracy and Microsoft has pushed various fixed that have worked - to a degree. The problem is however that by design, if you draw slowly, your pen *will* jitter regardless, between the different discrete points of the sensor grid. I want to love my Surface Book 2 - it's a beautiful piece of hardware, and it does so many things right, but as I write my own review comparing it to the iPad Pro and the Mobile Studio Pro (from an illustrator's perspective), the fact that I simply cannot produce clean line art on it really is a complete deal breaker. I can sketch on it reasonably well, and I can paint on it just fine, but if anything requires precise, clean lines, it's such an immense pain that it doesn't justify the incredibly high price - at least not to the market segment I represent. It's a damn shame.
  • More or a Windows feature than a hardware feature, but Media Mode. Turn the laptop on and it gives an option to go to Media Mode where nothing is turned on except a Media Program to watch movies. The system is throttled Way down for battery life as playing a movie doesn't require much resources. Like, windows doesn't even start, it's a sub OS
  • My wishes for Surface Book 3 are as follows:
    1. Thunderbolt 3 and keep the legacy ports as well. Add HDMI 2.1 support also.
    2. Upgradeable SSD/RAM/Wi-Fi Card
    3. Add a kickstand on the back for tablet and be adjustable like other surface products
    4. Option of RTX 2060 and 2070/AMD Ryzen 3000 processor/Graphics Cards
    5. Have 13.5 inch balance power with efficiency (U-series processor, RTX 2060) and 15 inch become powerhouse (i7-8750H, RTX 2070)
    6. Improve tablet functionality for W10
    7. Improve detachment issues
    8. Reduce bezels and possibly add option of 144hz screen (Surface Gaming Laptop sounds cool !!!)
    9. Add place to insert pen and give the black color option
    10. What bobofgold said about convergence.
    All in all, I wanted a Surface Book since the first-gen came out in 2015, but I always thought it didn't perform for how much it costs. Surface Book 2 is nearly the perfect device for me, but still need to work on the price/performance ratio. Surface Book 3 is the device that Microsoft needs to go all out on and show the OEMs why this the best all-around device on the market.
  • I think there needs to be a smaller 10 inch version in order to make it more useful as a tablet. The detachable part doesn’t work with a big screen. I have an hp x2 10.1 right now which is basically this exact miniaturized form factor, and it works so much better on a lap than the Surface Pro or Go. The worst part is the Atom processor. The second worst is the plastic finish. A 10” Surface book form factor with LTE I would buy in a heartbeat.
  • Agree with everything except going with a 360 hinge. Having a detachable acreen is SO helpful.
  • Whether or not a 15" or 13" is personal taste and current use. Because I went to lots of meetings, I bought a 15", but now not so much and since I usually connect to a 27" monitor I now wish for smaller. OTOH, I hope to restart school soon so 15" note taking may work better. That said: - 5+ GHz Ice Lake
    - 24 hr battery
    - T'Bolt type C (but only if a new T'Bolt Surface Dock comes out to support it)
    - I like the Surface Connect, so any change to a type a Type C should support a quick breakaway to (magnetic ??) to avoid pulling the SB3 off the desk onto the carpetless cement floor.
    - The hinge is just fine.
    - Don't need more than 60 FPS at 4K res.
    - Option for more than 1T and 32 GB
    - My pen has not detached accidentally more than about twice since day 1. But a tougher magnet would work. I am not sure giving up internal space for pen storage is a good trade-off.
    - Platinum color is just fine.
    - Don't know the answer here, but is Ti a better case material than Al? It does have higher strength but slightly higher weight, but it could, therefore, be "milled" thinner for the same case rigidity and weight yielding more internal space. But magnetics?
    - And even better set up would be the make the "Surface Hub" act like a Surface Super Dock with a 27-32", 4k, 3:2 monitor that is "Thunderbolted" to an SB3, SP7 or Laptop 2 as the brains of the outfit.
  • My personal top of the list wish is...
    A kickstand!
    Have you tried drawing on it or tapping the screen with the keyboard connected? Yes, it wobbles more than jelly.
    That's a deal breaker right there.
    I love that it has all that power and a 15.6 screen , but the whole thing is ruined by that amateurish screen wobble.
    I can't believe how crap that is.
    Please give the screen a surface kickstand.
    Even for tablet mode drawing, if the pro gets it and the go gets it, then give the flagship one too.
    Face palm.
  • The trackpad must evolve. put a full-width second pen and touchscreen for palettes and menus. Trackpads are so antiquated, a waste of space, we could use that more productively, make it a screen instead...It does exactly the same thing but gives visual feedback.
    I'd love to put an editing ( visual audio) timeline down there or other UI elements, like inking surfaces or post its.
    Actually I really can't believe this is not a thing already.
    Keep the snap off feature, ignore those who don't use tablet mode, they probably still use a blackberry.
  • Detachment issues.
    That's is what led me to move to the HP Spectre x360 this time.
    I loved my SB, but the hinges are now at a point where the screen constantly loses connection to the base either at random every few minutes or at the slights wobble, effectively rendering the device useless. Cleaning and fresh installs didn't do anything to fix it.
    If they can get this under control, I'll be right back, becaue aside from that, the SB was my all time favorite machine.
  • I've not and any detaching issues with my SB 2, admittedly the original Surface Book especially at launch wasn't great. The detachable screen is what makes the Surface Book interesting.
  • definitely need to go back to the great feeling keyboard of SB1.
    SB2 got slightly mushy.
  • The primary reason I bought both a SB 1 and 2 is because of the detachable screen. So I think you're totally wrong on that. There are plenty of other convertibles with 360 degree hinges.
  • I liked whoever's idea it was to merge the SP6 with the Surface Book. It could be as "simple" (for the geniuses on the Surface team) as letting SP6 attach to a more solid keyboard accessory. I would still keep the kickstand, and allow the other less stable keyboard type cover for those that prefer a lighter form factor, but just have an additional attachment mechanism for the new keyboard that makes the SP6 more "lapable". Best of both worlds then.
  • No 128GB Variant. 768GB and 2TB Variants must be introduced. 24GB Ram for 2TB version.
  • All devices in this time should be online. I would like to see my next Surface Book 3 with eSIM.
  • Heya ladies & gentlemen, There's only ONE single thing I want from the Book 3 generation: the Surface Pro and Book lines of products should MERGE into a new family available in two size with borderless screens of 14'' and 16.5''. Why do we have those big Book tablets without the incredibly convenient Kickstand from the Pro? Imagine in the Book 2 15'' had a kick stand, how great it would be to watch movies on bed?
    Imagine if you do not need that much power most of the time but that you want a big 15'' Surface Pro? But sometimes after a big day you want to add more power and slide your Surface Pro 15'' into the big keyboard with GPU to make it a gaming/3D capable device? Or I can you it for this big week where I need to be focussed on a project that requires more power. Of course for that Microsoft would need to solve the battery issue of the books tablets, which should be possible, for example with a kickstand designed like the one of the great HP Pro 612 x2 that would from more room for a bigger battery. The Pro and the Book are great, but I never understood why both are separated. Basically both are just a big powerful tablet with a keyboard adding some more versatility of power. I also never understood why Microsoft is stuck with big useless screen borders and have let Apple and Samsung take the lead on borderless hybrids. Now that we know that the Pro 7 (and the Book 3 ?) will be completly reinvented, then I believe its time to make the ultimate laptop of 2020s: versatile as a Surface Pro, but with the battery life and power of the Book ...when you need it. Of course this could be completed with CPU and GPU additional power from the cloud as this would benefit from Microsoft incredible Azure plateform, bringing a longer lifetime to the Surface devices as well and new revenues with a new power-as-a-service kind of business model. Indeed this would mean being online when you need to do big work it's almost always the case now.
  • Well said.
    I agree, merge them and make a 13 and a 16 inch
    The 16 has a 2060 and Thunderbolt, a snap of screen and a kickstand. Simple. Less simple but i'd love to see... you could have an either/or situation with the option for a keyboard OR a second touch/pen screen as an input device.
  • Sorry for my word, but this article is quite nonsense. You buy a car and after you complain that it has four wheels, you only need two, this would be sufficient. So then better buy a bike in the first place.
    A Surface Laptop would be the best choice for you. The detachable screen is the one thing no other device has and the reason I got the SB2. I use it every day, taking notes in conferences, commuting in the train. For these situations I don't need a big heavy laptop but I enjoy and need a big screen. I even can do some video editing on the go with just the tablet.
    So, I think the surface line-up is perfect and a kick stand would ruin the SB2.
    Only battery life could be a bit better for the tablet.