Microsoft Surface Laptop 3: what we want to see

Curious about what Surface Laptop 3 will bring to the table? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

When the original Surface Laptop first came out more than two years old now, stuck with Windows 10 S Mode, it didn’t make that much sense compared to the rest of the Surface lineup. But, when the Surface Laptop 2 finally rolled out last year, Microsoft refined the formula enough and redefined the Surface Laptop image, and it became one of the best laptops on the market.

So, that leaves us thinking: what will the Surface Laptop 3 look like?

Beyond obvious upgrades to the internals, like Intel Whiskey Lake or Ice Lake processors, a higher resolution and Thunderbolt 3 are the highest on our wishlist. However, Microsoft would likely have to be willing to abandon its proprietary Surface connector.

Currently, we don’t have any solid information about the Surface Laptop 3 – although some are speculating that it might make an appearance at teased Microsoft October 2 event. Still, until Microsoft releases any concrete information about the next generation Surface Laptop, all we can do is craft a wish list of what we want to see in the Surface Laptop 3.

Based on the past Surface Laptop releases, here are our Surface Laptop 3 speculations, predictions and rumors we heard through the grapevine. Be sure to keep this page bookmarked, and we’ll update it with any Surface Laptop 3 news or rumors comes our way.

Cut to the chase 

  • What is it? The next Surface Laptop 
  • When is it out? September 2019 at the earliest 
  • What will it cost? Likely around $999 (about £780, AU$1,385) 

Surface Laptop 3

Surface Laptop 3 release date 

Unlike something like the Surface Pro 7, there have only been two Surface Laptop releases, and it’s a product line that has only been around for less than two years. So, we have less info to work with when guessing at a release window.

The original Surface Laptop came out in June 2017, along with the Surface Pro, but the Surface Laptop 2 saw an October 2018 release. So, while we might end up seeing the Surface Laptop 3 sometime in 2019, it’s hard to predict exactly what month it will get released. It is, however, very possible that we’ll see it launch in or before September, as it’s popular for students.

However, if Microsoft does roll it out then, it’d have to use Intel Whiskey Lake processors instead of the next-gen Ice Lake chips, and that may not be a substantial enough upgrade from the Kaby Lake Refresh chips in the Surface Laptop 2. 

Since Intel has already started shipping out the Ice Lake chips on August 1, we could see Microsoft announcing the Surface Laptop 3 at their October event and releasing it a few days or weeks later.

This is all speculation, of course, so you should take it with salt. We’ll update this section as soon as we hear anything about the Surface Laptop 2 release date.

Surface Laptop 3

Surface Laptop 3 price 

The original Surface Laptop came out with a $799 (around £560, AU$1,000) price tag, and an Intel Core m3 processor and Windows 10 S out of the box. 

The Surface Laptop 2, on the other hand, considerably raised the price of entry, charging users $200 more at $999 (£979, AU$1,499). But, to be fair, this higher price point did come with full-fat Ultrabook processors in every configuration – not to mention, the full Windows 10 Home. 

It’s highly likely that Microsoft will charge the same $999 (£979, AU$1,499) for the Surface Book 3, to keep it competitive with similar Ultrabooks, such as the Dell XPS 13.

Surface Laptop 3

What we want to see 

The Surface Laptop 2 already improved so much on the Surface Laptop that it’s hard to know what else Microsoft could do to make it even better. Still, we’ve come up with a few things we’d like to see in the Surface Laptop 3, using our tech expertise as our guiding hand. 

Faster processors
The Surface Laptop 2 had vastly improved upon the CPUs on offer, moving from dual-core Kaby Lake chips to quad-core 8th-generation Kaby Lake Refresh processors. But, more speed is never a bad thing, and we’d love to see more power behind the Surface Laptop 3. 

There are technically faster Ultrabook-class processors out already, touting Intel’s Whiskey Lake chips. However, those deliver such a small upgrade in performance, that it really isn’t worth upgrading. 

At CES 2019, Intel announced its 10nm Ice Lake processors, promising to increase performance two fold in certain workloads. While Intel’s performance claims should be taken with a grain of salt, the gains to performance and battery life that a 10nm process would afford are still exciting. And, we’d love to see that in the next Surface Laptop.

Thunderbolt 3, please
Now that Thunderbolt 3 is becoming a standard, Microsoft absolutely needs to include the technology in its next line of laptops. There are so many monitors, external hard drives and other peripherals are using Thunderbolt 3, and Microsoft needs to bring its port selection to the modern age – that Surface connection isn’t going to cut it for much longer.

Lucky for us, Microsoft has patented a new magnetic USB-C charger, that would have the best of both worlds. We just hope the technology is ready and on the Surface Laptop 3 before it hits the streets.

Freshen up the design
The Surface Laptop 2 didn’t really change the look and feel of its predecessor beyond adding a new black color option. That isn’t really a complaint, more of a suggestion: we’d still like to see Microsoft offer a slimmer design.

And, it’s not like Microsoft isn’t pursuing thinner designs. Microsoft has patented a thinner Type Cover, with a touchpad built right into the printed circuit board. This could possibly lead to the Surface Pro 7 having a smaller footprint overall, but we’d also be interested to see if this design philosophy would carry over to other Surface devices.

Thinner laptops are always in demand, so a thinner and lighter Surface Laptop 3 is definitely possible.

However, we have seen a recent patent from Microsoft that could make the fur-coated design of the Surface Laptop 3 make a little more sense. The patent describes a touch-sensitive fabric, that could give the Surface Laptop 3 more touch controls on the chassis of the device, maybe for volume or brightness. A fuzzy Touch Bar, perhaps?

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