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Surface Book 4 design improves on the flawed current model



Microsoft’s latest Surface Book 3 is a beautiful but flawed device. Users tend to buy it because it is Microsoft’s most powerful laptop, but when compared to 16-inch Apple’s MacBook Pro or Razer’s Laptops it is clear it just doesn’t stack up.

The detachable tablet design creates constraints that are hard to shake on the current Surface Book 3. The processor is inside the tablet portion of the device which is very thin and cannot accept a 45W Intel Core i7 processor like the MacBook Pro can. Having the processor in the base unit enables more room for heat pipes and fans. We recently detailed the issues with Surface Book 3 and did a review of the 15″ model as well.

Ryan Smalley, a Senior Industrial Designer from Seattle has created the perfect re-design for Surface Book 4. Looking at Ryan’s Linkedin experience he currently works for a design firm called Modality, before that at Comcast designing connected home devices like a smart display on his behance page, then before that worked at Microsoft as a contractor and before that had some prior Microsoft experience at another design firm designing Microsoft mice and Android phones. Looking at Ryan’s Behance page we see the famous Surface Note concept from a few years ago, that was posted all over the web years before the Surface Duo was unveiled.

The Surface Book 4 design favors the laptop over the detachable tablet while still enabling digital sketching. This would enable Microsoft to get a 45W Intel Core i7 processor in there for sure. When closed the shape is still reminiscent of the current Surface Book design with the back edge being rounded over.

After owning a Surface Book for some time, enjoying its uniqueness and dealing with some frustrations, I set out to improve the design. This concept is my original design and my ideal next laptop, enjoy.

Ryan Smalley, Senior Industrial Designer at Modality

When laid down flat, the design enables similar angles to Microsoft’s Surface Go, Pro and Pro X models. What’s interesting is it kind of looks like there is a Surface Pro on top of a laptop and we love it, take my money now!

13.5″ Surface Book 3

15″ Surface Book 3