A new Surface could come out alongside the Surface Pro 8 and maybe even the Surface Duo 2. Microsoft hasn’t said much to back an imminent launch, and so we’ve gathered all the rumors in one place, speculating on what might. end up coming in the coming months of this year: the Surface Book 4.
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Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 released powerful graphics in the convenient 2-in-1 form factor, but it’s starting to become an outdated piece of hardware for the price. The Surface Book line is in need of an update, and many believe that a new “Surface Laptop Pro” or “Surface Laptop Studio” could finally arrive soon.
There are still doubts whether Microsoft plans to launch a Surface Book 4. According to a report from Windows CentralIt appears that the company could end up replacing the expected device with a new Surface Laptop or Surface Laptop Studio.
We’re not sure if this next device will come to life under the name Surface Book 4. However, since this is just a rumor, we will continue to refer to the product as “Surface Book 4” throughout this article for that reason.
But, that doesn’t mean we can’t guess a price and release date based on the company’s latest flagship, the Surface Book 3. Like other tech giants, Microsoft generally updates Surface devices on the fall, around October.
The Surface Book 3, however, was quietly announced on May 6, 2020. Judging from that, there is a slim chance that the Surface Book 4 will arrive in late summer. But don’t take it too seriously.
The core Surface lineup is updated at the end of the year. You should look for a potential release around October or November. The last period of time seems like a better option.
Especially since Microsoft might want to schedule the release of a flagship device with its Windows 11 operating system, which is scheduled to release this holiday season. However, the chip shortage could change that.
When it comes to pricing, there are two things to think about: size and graphics. The Surface Book 3 comes in a base 13-inch model, as well as a larger 15-inch model. The 13-inch model is the most affordable option and has Intel’s integrated graphics or the GTX 1650 in other SKUs.
Meanwhile, the 15-inch Surface Book 3 models are high-end. Larger models get better with GTX 1660 Ti graphics and even Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000. Judging from that, you can expect Surface Book 4 to be a bit the same.
A base 13-inch model could cost around $ 1,600. Then adding additional graphics for the 15-inch model could bring things closer to $ 2,300 and even $ 3,000 if Microsoft opts for high-end studio graphics once again.
While the detachable display on the Surface Book was a revolutionary idea when it was initially announced, it has now become a rinse and repeat design in recent generations. Microsoft hasn’t changed much to the display bezels or the overall design of the Surface Book line. But that could now change for Surface Book 4.
According to Windows Central, Microsoft is studying the use of a non-detachable screen on Surface Book 4. A Microsoft patent for device hinges Computer scientists suggested this in July. So a future Surface Book 4, Surface Laptop Pro, or Surface Laptop Studio may look and feel a bit different.
In fact, it could go the way of the iPad Pro and even the HP Elite Folio. After years of the same design, Microsoft is toying with the idea of cramming the processor, GPU, and other components into the bottom half of a Surface computer, with a screen floating in midair and supported by a hinge.
This would allow the screen to come forward and rest at different angles via a stabilizing hinge. More importantly, it could also keep the more powerful GPU and other components away from the screen. You can see this in the patent diagram below.
This idea is something that Apple has embraced. If you look at the iPad Magic Keyboard, the keyboard is magnetically attached to the iPad screen, with the tablet “floating” in the air. The HP Elite Folio and even the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel have a similar design, allowing you to move the screen towards the keyboard.
Microsoft likely has some of the same thoughts in mind for the Surface Book 4, even if the patent doesn’t mention it by name. However, as always, patents do not reach the final product, but they could shape the future.
However, we want to mention the most practical design rumors that we have come across. A marketing image made it look like a new black model of the Surface Book would be released with the addition of some new ports. There is no indication that this is real and many have dismissed the image as false.
Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 features 10th Gen Intel processors and Nvidia GTX or Nvidia Quadro RTX graphics. Now, Intel has moved to the 11th generation Tiger Lake. Meanwhile, Nvidia has the RTX 30 series mobile GPUs. Look for these more powerful chips and graphics cards in the Surface Book 4.
The Nvidia GTX 1600 series chips from the Surface Book 3 performed very well in our tests, but when we reviewed the device, we did not like the performance of the Intel processor due to the 15W limit. Intel’s 11th Gen changes that with improvements to light gaming and photo editing with integrated Iris Plus graphics, so there is a chance this will improve.
As for GPU support, cramming an RTX 30 series processor into a mobile form factor like the Surface Book 4 could be quite problematic for Microsoft. There is not much space in the chassis.
But, considering rumors of a design change, it would be more likely for the Surface Book 4. The 2-in-1 could turn out to be a studio-quality machine than the old base RTX graphics could allow.
We also hope that the RTX 30 series can help stabilize the price. The older Nvidia Quadro RTX graphics model was quite expensive and was in the $ 3,000 price range.
Given the global chip shortage, it won’t be too surprising if we end up seeing these processors in the new Surface Book 4 rather than the next-gen Alder Lake processors Intel is currently working on.
Microsoft is also known for playing it safe and opting for processors that are a generation old. We can hope that Microsoft has managed to jump to the more exciting 12th generation chips in time, but we will find out in a few months.
Don’t discount AMD either. Microsoft already updated the Surface Laptop line with new AMD Ryzen processors, and some points of reference they hint that a new Surface Book might have Ryzen 5 4500U inside it too.
Despite all these rumors, there is still a lot we want in a Surface Book 4. Microsoft has been hesitant to adopt Thunderbolt in its products for security reasons, but a powerful device like the Surface Book 4 could benefit from the support. You can easily buy an inexpensive model and then add your own GPU externally later.
Since the Surface Pro X and even the Surface Go 2 have slimmer bezels, it would also be nice to see slimmer bezels on the Book 4. Other improvements on our wish list include improved speakers, USB-C for charging, a larger touchpad, and a most affordable price range.