Microsoft Surface Book 4 tipped for radical redesign

Microsoft Surface Book 3
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The next Microsoft Surface Book, which may be called the Surface Book 4, could see a radical redesign, Windows Central’s Zac Bowden believes. 

Since the original Surface Book debuted in 2015, its main selling point has been its status as a true 2-in-1 PC: the screen physically detaches from the Performance Base, giving you both a basic, lightweight tablet and a powerful laptop with GPU and extra battery.

According to Bowden’s sources, this won’t be the case with the next-generation Surface Book. Instead, the new model will feature a non-detachable display, removing the breakaway-tablet format altogether.

If true, what would make the new Surface Book distinct from every other powerful laptop on the market? This is where Bowden moves into more speculative territory, but, if correct, it certainly would give the computer its own distinct place in the market. 

Pointing to a recent patent, Bowden speculates that Microsoft will embrace a new hinge mechanism where the screen can be held firmly in at different angles via a built-in stand. As with the Surface Studio, the screen could be pulled towards you, or rotated to be almost completely flat for drawing on with the Surface Pen. 

A Microsoft patent showing a radical new laptop hinge

(Image credit: Free Patents Online)

This wouldn’t just be advantageous in terms of flexibility, but would provide another benefit: more powerful chips. The current Surface Book family only permits U-series processors thanks to the break-away design where the CPU has to live in the tablet section. With an all-in-one build, Microsoft could give the Surface Book a bit more grunt with a 6- or 8-core processor. 

On the subject of power, Windows Central’s sources say that the new version will include Nvidia RTX graphics and dynamically adjusting, high-refresh rate 14-inch panels. The sources also say that the trackpad will be larger this time around.

Given the dramatic design change, Bowden says the device likely won’t be branded a Surface Book at all, and will instead be named the Surface Laptop Studio or Surface Laptop Pro.

There’s nothing concrete in terms of release date, but Bowden has heard that Microsoft will hold a hardware event in the fall as per usual, and speculates that it could be in October, as with past years. That would make the new Surface Book one of the first devices to ship with Windows 11, alongside the Surface Pro 8 which is expected to launch at the same time. 

The report is a mixture of informed insider information and speculation, but it certainly feels plausible. Not only is the patent right there in Microsoft’s name, but if the company is happy to kill the Surface Book’s main USP, it stands to reason that it must have something else in place – otherwise one of the company’s more unusual products would become just another high-end identikit laptop.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.