It’s hardware announcement season! Microsoft has the tricky third big slot — after Apple and Amazon, but ahead of Google, and if you’re in the market for a new Surface Laptop, it may have been worth the disgustingly early start time in New Zealand (3am) to watch.

Alongside some announcements about Copilot AI (it’s coming in the next Windows 11 update in four days’ time and to Microsoft 365 in November) and Bing Chat (it’s getting the DALL-E 3 generative image creator), Microsoft squeezed in two laptops: one for tight budgets and one for more… expansive ones.

Starting with the pricey option, Microsoft announced the Surface Laptop Studio 2 — the “most powerful” Surface it’s ever built (it would be a bit weird if they introduced something less powerful than its predecessor).

Anyway, it features Intel’s 13th Gen i7 H-class processor with up to 64GB RAM, up to 2TB storage and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4050 or 4060 GPU (though the entry-level model comes with Intel Iris Xe). It’s pictured at the top of the page.

Pleasingly, Microsoft hasn’t scrimped on the connectivity options, with two USB-C ports, one old-fashioned USB-A port and a microSD card reader. Unfortunately, you’ll need to buy the Surface Slim Pen 2 separately if you want to doodle on the 14.4in screen.

At the other end of the pricing spectrum is the Surface Laptop Go 3, which Microsoft says is 88% faster than its predecessor. 

Faster it may be, but that price comes with some drawbacks including a somewhat low-resolution 1,536 x 1,024 screen. It comes with a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor (for context, Intel just announced the 14th generation), 256GB storage and 8GB RAM — though that can be upgraded to 16GB should you wish (and you should wish).

Both are already listed on the Microsoft New Zealand Store, but unclickable at the time of writing, with a big tempting yellow “Coming Soon” label above them with no hints about how much they’ll set you back. 

But to give you an idea of how much pain your wallet might endure, Microsoft says that in the US, the Laptop Studio 2 will start at a not-too-bad US$1,999 (~NZ$3,372), but rise to a wince-worthy US$3,699 (~NZ$6,239) if you want to max out the specs.

The Laptop Go 3, meanwhile, starts at a far more affordable US$799 (~NZ$1,348) and goes up to US$999 (~NZ$1,684) if you want 16GB RAM. 

Both will be available on October 3 in the US — we’ll have to wait and see if “soon” means equally soon for New Zealanders.