Surface Book 2: A Lower Price, A Simpler Design, And An Early Release Date

Rumors have emerged that the Surface Book 2 would abandon its iconic 2-in-1 design.

The original Surface Book was a unique entry into the portable computing space. Designed as a flagship laptop that transforms into a massive tablet, the Surface Book was a productivity device that attempted to merge two worlds. While the machine’s features were exemplary, its rather unwieldy design has polarized users and critics of the device. If new rumors are to be believed, however, it appears that Microsoft is going to make the Surface Book 2 into a machine that is much simpler and a lot more cohesive.

According to a recent DigiTimes report, the Surface Book 2 has already entered pre-production. What is more interesting, however, is that the device is allegedly going to follow a far simpler design than the first-generation Surface Book. Quoting an anonymous source, the report stated that for the 2017 iteration of the flagship laptop, Microsoft would be adopting a series of changes to the device’s design and pricing.

“The new Surface Book is expected to adopt a clamshell design instead of its traditional 2-in-1 and will feature a starting price lower than that of its predecessors. The new Surface Book continues to feature a 13.5-inch display and chassis made of magnesium-aluminum-alloy. The product is expected to be priced at around US$1,000, much lower than the starting prices of Microsoft’s existing Surface Books, which range from US$1,499-3,199.”

Considering that Microsoft is already mass-producing the Surface Book 2, the online publication further stated that the Redmond-based tech giant is preparing to announce the powerhouse portable computing device sometime between March and the end of April 2017. What’s more, the upcoming Surface Book 2 is rumored to be priced around $1,000, which is significantly lower than its current iteration, which starts at a pretty hefty $1,299.

While the report was indeed compelling, it should be noted that DigiTimes has a mixed track record with regards to leaks and rumors about upcoming devices. Thus, tech-themed websites such as LaptopMag have stated that fans of the Surface series would be wise to take this new rumor with a grain of salt. After all, the Surface Book is iconic due to its transformable design. Thus, removing one of the laptop’s most iconic features seems to make little sense.

Then again, it is quite difficult to argue with the point made by the DigiTimes report. After all, if there is something that could be improved about the Surface Book 2, it would be its overall design and price. The first-generation Surface Book, while a stellar machine in its own right, was bogged down by its flawed design, most noticeable through a gap between the device’s screen and keyboard when the laptop is closed. Its premium price, on the other hand, has made the device unattainable for a massive number of potential users.

Though the rumors about the Surface Book 2 being a device that completely abandons its traditional design might not be entirely accurate, it is possible that the source of the DigiTimes report was merely referring to a particular, possibly entry-level variant of the upcoming device. Interestingly, speculations have already been high that the Surface Book 2 would be introduced with multiple versions. Thus, the design that was teased in the recent rumors might simply be the basic variant of the upcoming productivity machine.

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 would be competing against rivals such as the MacBook Pro 2016, which launched last year to much fanfare and acclaim. If any, a redesigned, entry-level Surface Book 2 would be able to compete very well against the entry-level MacBook Pro 2016, which sports an aging Skylake processor among other underwhelming internals. If Microsoft does release an entry-level Surface Book 2, the portable computing game would be much more interesting.

[Featured Image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]