With the Windows 11 release date just around the corner – October 5th – Microsoft today announced its new Surface lineup, designed specifically with the new OS in mind.
Microsoft announced four new Surface products at its event. The Surface Go 3, Surface Pro 8, Surface Laptop Studio and the Surface Duo 2. There was also a new mouse (made from reused plastic), an “adaptive kit” that enables less able people to use Surface devices, and the Surface Slim Pen 2.
The Surface Pro 8 now has a better display, a faster processor and improved compatibility with the new Surface Slim Pen 2.
The Surface Go lineup didn’t receive any significant improvements other than a faster processor.
The new Duo 2 improves on the original Duo in almost every way – with better cameras, better displays and a new Glance Bar for notifications.
But the main event was the new Surface Laptop Studio which, Microsoft claims, is the most powerful Surface product to date. It’s a laptop with a unique hinge allowing the screen to cover the keyboard, and it comes with an NVIDIA Graphics 3050Ti.
Below, we cover the new Surface lineup in more detail.
Surface Pro 8
The 2-in-1 Surface Pro 8 now has a 13-inch PixelSense edge-to-edge display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s compatible with Dolby Vision and has introduced new adaptive technology that matches the screen’s colour and temperature to your environment.
The performance has also been improved. The Pro 8 has a Quad-Core 11th Generation Intel processor that Microsoft claims will provide a 43% increase in compute power and 75% “faster” graphics over the Surface Pro 7. It will also come with 32GB of RAM, and Microsoft claims will have 16 hours worth of battery life.
In terms of design and functionality, the Pro 8 will stick with its detachable keyboard; however, now there’s a slot where you can place the new Surface Slim Pen 2. This is built into the keyboard, and it will magnetically lock and charge the stylus. The Surface Slim Pen 2 has improved sensors and will now feel more natural to use thanks to the tactile signals that the device sends when being used. These are mechanical vibrations that make it feel more like you’re using a pen on paper.
The camera has been moved to the centre of the device, and the Surface Pro 8 will support Thunderbolt 4.
The Surface Pro 8 starts at $1,849 and will be released on November 4th. The Surface Slim Pen 2 will also release on November 4th and will cost $199.
Surface Go 3
The Surface Go lineup only received a minor update with the Surface Go 3.
It comes with a more powerful processor. Base models come with a Pentium Gold 6500Y CPU, and the more expensive versions come with a 10th Generation Core i3 CPU, which Microsoft claims will be 60% faster than the Core m3 in the Go 2.
Starting at $719.00, the Surface Go 3 releases on October 5th.
Ocean Plastic Mouse
Microsoft signalled its intentions to move towards sustainability with its products.
To showcase its message, Microsoft announced the Ocean Plastic mouse, which is made of 20% recycled plastics.
The Ocean Plastic Mouse will release on October 5th and costs $39.95.
Surface Adaptive Kit
Microsoft announced its Surface Adaptive Kit – a set of tools, stickers, lanyards and keycaps that assist less able people when using Surface devices.
Dave Dame, Director of Accessibility at Microsoft, has cerebral palsy. He showed how the Adaptive Kit enabled him to open the Surface devices and spend more time using them instead of setting them up.
The Surface adaptive kit costs $24.95, and you can go here www.microsoft.com/en-nz/surface for more information.
Surface Duo 2
The dual-screen Surface Duo 2 has improved on nearly every aspect of the original Duo.
It now has a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processor, which will bring improved performance and 8GB of RAM.
The display is larger now at 8.3inches when unfolded. And the two screens are PixelSense Fusion displays running simultaneously at a maximum of 90Hz.
One of the biggest changes is the Glance Bar running down the side of the device. This is used to show notifications. It lights up when a call or message is coming, and it can also show battery level.
The cameras have also been improved. Instead of a single camera, the Duo 2 features a 3 camera array. It has a 12MP wide lens, a 12MP telephoto lens and a 16MP ultra wide lens. These also feature dual optical image stabilisation.
Many Microsoft apps have been redesigned to function with the Duo 2’s dual-screen such as Teams, and the Duo 2 is compatible with WiFi 6.
The Duo 2’s price and release date are yet to be announced in New Zealand.
Surface Laptop Studio
The Surface Laptop Studio, Microsoft claims, is the most powerful Surface product yet.
It’s a laptop that features a hinge allowing you to pull the screen over the keyboard, turning it into an easel (an upright support used for displaying something resting upon it at an angle of about 20°).
It has a 14.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen with a 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision HDR support.
It’s compatible with the Slim Pen 2 (sold separately) and has a slot for charging and storing the stylus.
It features an Intel Quad-Core 11th Gen processor and two different configurations. There’s a Core i5 configuration that comes with an Intel Iris Xe graphics processor and a Core i7 model that comes with Nvidia’s RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB of GDDR6 memory.
It’s compatible with Thunderbolt 4. It has quad omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos and an AI-powered smart camera on the front.
The Surface Laptop Studio doesn’t have a price in New Zealand yet and will be released in early 2022.