Surface Book 2 Update
Posted by Ryan Raubenheimer on
Released in October 2015, Microsoft Surface Book was a hugely popular hybrid that had many impressed. It was big yet light, powerful, boasted a detachable clipboard and included a Surface Pen. It also featured Microsoft Windows Pro (naturally).
But this "ultimate laptop for working professionals" wasn't without its flaws and a few (albeit minor) kinks that needed straightening out.
In late October this year some of those were remedied when Microsoft announced an upgrade in the form of a Surface Book i7. But make no mistake; this was no Surface Book 2, leaving many to ponder when the all-new second generation Surface Book would be released.
Here's what we can tell from the rumours doing the rounds...
The original Surface Book was released in October 2015 heralding a new era of hybrids for Microsoft.
Boasting a larger than average screen, a variety of ports and a nifty, detachable clipboard it was billed as the ultimate laptop and to a large extent it was.
However its battery didn't live up to the 12-hour promise and the much touted dynamic fulcrum hinge received mixed reviews. This hinge enabled the device to operate in three configurations; laptop, tablet and "creative canvas" where you detach the screen and turn it around.
In late October 2016, Microsoft released an updated Surface Book - The i7. This offered users a base with more power, faster performance, a better battery and further multi-tasking capabilities, while the clipboard component remained unchanged.
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According to WCC Tech, design issues have seen a delay in any release of the second generation Surface Book Pro, and they're unlikely to be remedied until next year.
That puts its release date somewhere around the second quarter of 2017, between March and June, which would likely coincide with the next Windows update.
Kaby Lake Processor - It's pretty much a definite that Surface Book 2 will use Intel's latest offering, the Kaby Lake Processor.This 14 nanometer model was announced in August and began shipping to manufacturers even earlier. It's said to offer better graphics support with improved performance, and this will allow the Surface Book to do a number of things.
Higher resolution - Kaby Lake will enable the Surface Book 2 to offer a higher definition screen although the physical size of it will likely stay the same. At present the tablet style screen is 13.5 inches and comes with a display that's 3000 by 2000 or 267dpi.
The new model will likely boast 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) which allows for 4K video playback and 3D graphics.
USB Type C - Kaby Lake also offers support for a USB type C port and Thunderbolt 3, so those ports look likely. They'll be added to the already popular USB 3 ports, mini display port and SD card slot.
More Power - To support this new resolution and a better graphics processing unit (GPU), Microsoft will need to provide more power, which they could probably use anyway. The original version promised 12 hours of continual usage but according to Tech Radar was just under eight, with the clipboard on its own clocking up four.
Rechargeable Surface Pen - The Surface Pen which can be magnetically attached to the clipboard may soon boast rechargeable batteries and a dock, with old patents indicating Microsoft wants to head this way. At present this nifty little addition requires AAA batteries.
What users want
So that's what we're likely to get but there's one extra many users would like to see. The original Surface Book came with a detachable clipboard that looked and acted like an everyday tablet. But its release mechanism had many a reviewer questioning Microsoft's rationale.
When closed the hinge provides a gap, which some find aesthetically unappealing. But more importantly it was a little tricky to use. Releasing the tablet requires the base to be turned on and then users must press and hold a key until the clipboard releases. As it‘s software reliant instead of mechanical, that has the potential for an unwelcome glitch, so many argue a new Surface Book 2 should look to remedy this issue.
Any new Surface Book would likely remain in a similar price bracket to its predecessor and by no means was it cheap. A base configuration retailed at AU$2299 and if you wanted to add more the expense quickly ramped up.
With some further improvements to the battery life, a little attention to the hinge and exciting new capabilities like 3D graphics and 4K video, the envisaged Microsoft Surface Book 2 would seem likely to impress. After all, the original covered some serious ground and we can only expect the new one would cover more.