The Surface lineup is led by the Surface Pro, Microsoft’s flagship 2-in-1 device. But the Surface Laptop represents a more conventional approach — a clamshell laptop with a touchscreen and a sleek design.
The Surface Laptop 2 is the current model, though according to the latest rumors, the third iteration is on its way soon. Here’s everything we know so far about the Surface Laptop 3.
Price and release date
Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMicrosoft currently has a hardware event scheduled for October 2, 2019. The event is said to feature new Surface hardware from the company. Reports indicate that along with a Surface Pro 7, we’ll also see the Surface Laptop 3 make an appearance.
The Surface Laptop 2 was announced at a similar event in October 2018, so we’d expect something similar this time around for the third iteration.
The Surface Laptop 2 launched with a price of $1,000, though it eventually received a price cut to $900, which is the current price. We expect the Surface Laptop 3 to be priced similarly, with more powerful configurations offering increased RAM and storage, as well as a faster processor, though recent reports have indicated a cheaper Core i3 model may be available, along with more expensive options with discrete graphics.
A larger 15-inch model on the way
The existence of the Surface Laptop 3 was no more than an educated guess until a report from WinFuture delivered some tasty morsels on some of its new potential features. The biggest standout feature mentioned was the option for a larger, 15-inch model.
The standard size is a 13.5-inch screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 2,256 x 1,504 pixel resolution. There’s no indication of the resolution or aspect ratio of this potential 15-inch model, but we’d hope it keeps its boxier shape. Taller aspect ratios have become more common on 13- and 14-inch laptops, but we haven’t seen many make it to the larger 15-inch laptops.
A 15-inch model could also mean that Microsoft is targeting content creators. Other 15-inch laptops like the XPS 15 and MacBook Pro 15 offer dedicated graphics cards, up to Core i9 processors, and color-accurate, high-resolution displays.
Could be powered by AMD
Rich Shibley/Digital TrendsThe most surprising tidbit from the report is that the Surface Laptop 3 could be powered by AMD processors. This would be a huge blow to Intel, of course, and a fairly big win for AMD. The company has seen a lot of success in desktop processors lately, though it’s struggled to find its way into high-end laptops. A brand as popular as Surface moving to AMD would represent a significant shift in the tide.
In particular, the report indicates that we could see the Ryzen 5 3550H and Ryzen 7 3750H, which closely rival an 8th-gen Core i5 or Core i7, offered as the two processor options. They are quad-core chips with integrated Radeon RX Vega graphics and could provide the Surface Laptop 3 with some better graphics potential.
In fact, a separate leak adds some hope for that. It indicates that the 15 inch Surface Laptop 3 could launch with an eight-core AMD processor. Of course, such a processor does not exist as of yet, but it could be based on the AMD EPYC Embedded 3000, which doesn’t have integrated graphics. That means, there’s extra room for both the eight-core AMD Surface Laptop and a dedicated graphics card. Such a Surface Laptop 3 model would take on both the MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS 15.
All this would come at an interesting time for Intel. Its 10th-gen processors are coming this fall amid a wide launch of updated laptops, but missing the Surface Laptop 3 would be a significant hole in the lineup.
Rich Shibley/Digital TrendsThough it wasn’t mentioned in the report, we’re hoping to hear that the Surface Laptop 3 will include a USB-C port. It was our biggest complaint about the previous iteration. The Surface Laptop 2 was one of the only laptops we reviewed in 2019 that didn’t include the modern, universal port, and instead relied on just USB-A, a mini-DisplayPort, and Microsoft’s magnetic Surface Connect port for power and docking.
Patents we’ve seen indicate that the Surface Pro 7 may be finally moving to USB-C, so we’d assume the Surface Laptop 3 would follow the same trend. The Surface Go and Surface Book 2 both currently offer a USB-C port.
Rich Shibley/Digital TrendsThe Surface Laptop 2 is already a trim, sleek laptop. It’s made of aluminum, looks premium, and feels sturdy in the hand. The one change we’d hope Microsoft would make to the design is smaller bezels along the sides and top of the screen. The 3:2 screen is already larger than most 13-inch laptops, but the chunky bezels make it unnecessarily large and a little outdated.
Some thinner bezels, like those on the Dell XPS 13, would go a long way. Microsoft is one of the last manufacturers to pick up this trend, along with Apple. But in October, Apple is expected to launch the 16-inch MacBook Pro with much thinner bezels. For Microsoft, we expect something similar.