10 Features We Want to See in an Updated Microsoft Surface Book

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-08-31
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Features We Want to See in an Updated Microsoft Surface Book
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    10 Features We Want to See in an Updated Microsoft Surface Book

    There are a number of features Microsoft needs to include in its next-generation Surface Book if it is to be a market-leading hybrid.
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    A Higher-Resolution Screen Would Be Nice
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    A Higher-Resolution Screen Would Be Nice

    Although the 13.5-inch display in the Surface Book 2 already comes with a solid resolution of 3,000 by 2,000 pixels, it could be better. Several reports have said that Microsoft is planning a 4K screen in the Surface Book 2, which would represent a nice upgrade over its existing display technology. It also would help the device separate itself from competitors such as Apple's MacBook Air.
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    Bring on Intel's Latest Processors
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    Bring on Intel's Latest Processors

    Just about every report surrounding the Surface Book 2 says that it will come with Intel's latest-generation Kaby Lake processors. That would make sense. Intel's upcoming processors not only are faster than preceding models, but they also make it easier for Microsoft to move toward virtual reality and other emerging technologies if it so chooses.
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    Don't Forget the Surface Pen
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    Don't Forget the Surface Pen

    Since Microsoft's Surface Pen works quite well on the Surface Book, it wouldn't make sense for Microsoft to eliminate the feature. But the company could launch a new and improved Surface Pen that's both more accurate and delivers finer detail when writing or coloring a picture. The Surface Pen will differentiate the Surface Book 2 from its competitors.
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    The Basic Design Doesn't Require Much Revision
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    The Basic Design Doesn't Require Much Revision

    Although it would be nice to see Microsoft remove the pesky gap between the keyboard and display in the Surface Book, there isn't much else the company would need to do to appeal to customers. The Surface Book is a well-designed computer that holds up well against new competitors from Lenovo, HP and others. Offering a similar design with a few tweaks here and there would be nice.
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    An Extended Battery Life Is Always Welcome
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    An Extended Battery Life Is Always Welcome

    Microsoft simply cannot offer a new Surface Book that comes with the same or less battery life than its predecessor. Customers expect longer battery lives now and need it for when they're traveling. If Microsoft wants to appeal to enterprise users with Surface Book 2—and it should—the company must deliver a battery life that exceeds the first-generation Surface Book's 12 hours.
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    It Could Use More Ports
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    It Could Use More Ports

    The first-generation Surface Book is a little light on ports, featuring just two USB 3.0 connectors and a full-size SD card reader and mini display port. Let's hope that Microsoft can find a way to squeeze one or two more USB 3.0 ports and perhaps even a USB Type-C connector in the next-generation Surface Book.
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    Continue to Remember Security
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    Continue to Remember Security

    Microsoft will be trying to appeal to the corporate world with Surface Book 2, and that means it must offer as much security as possible. In addition to the Trusted Platform Module chip in the first-generation Surface Book, Microsoft must consider other ways to safeguard data, such as using biometric technology that goes beyond just Windows Hello facial recognition. A fingerprint scanner and even an iris scanner seem like good options.
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    Stick With Just Windows 10 Pro
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    Stick With Just Windows 10 Pro

    Microsoft made the smart move with its first Surface Book in only offering Windows 10 Pro to customers. The company must not change that policy. Windows 10 Pro is far better than Windows 10 Home and is the version corporate customers want. If Microsoft wants to appeal to both consumers and corporate customers, it only needs to offer Windows 10 Pro in the Surface Book 2.
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    Better Graphics to Support Virtual Reality Is a No-Brainer
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    Better Graphics to Support Virtual Reality Is a No-Brainer

    Whether it's AMD or Nvidia, Microsoft needs to deliver the very best graphics cards it can in the Surface Book 2. As the company itself noted recently in a statement with Intel, "mixed reality," or the confluence of virtual and augmented reality, is the future. But at least right now, it requires high-end graphics units to deliver appealing virtual experiences. If Microsoft is serious about virtual and augmented reality, bundling a high-end graphics chip would go a long way in making the Surface Book 2 a good platform to support VR.
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    Don't Go Overboard on the Price
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    Don't Go Overboard on the Price

    Reports are mixed on whether Microsoft will keep the same price or raise prices for its Surface Book 2. Hopefully the company will find cost savings in its supply chain to help it keep prices static. The Surface Book 2 could be among the most popular Windows-based hybrids. But that can only be possible if Microsoft keeps its cost in check.
 

Microsoft on Aug. 21 dropped a hint, either intentionally or inadvertently, about what's next for its hardware division by posting a teaser image on Instagram of what most believe is the next Surface Book model. The image appears to show a Surface Book—which could be named the Surface Book 2 when it launches—with a redesigned hinge. The image follows earlier rumors that Microsoft is planning to eliminate the gap between the screen and keyboard in the original Surface Book so the two components are flush. Microsoft also is rumored to be planning internal component upgrades for a purported Surface Book 2, as well as enhancements to the 2-in-1 hybrid notebook's screen. Microsoft is even reportedly planning to support virtual and augmented reality in its next device. But if nothing else, Microsoft's teaser suggests it has something up its sleeve. This eWEEK slide show will talk about some of the features Microsoft should include in an updated Surface Book, no matter what its name is when it actually reaches the market.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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