It’s the busiest time of year for gadget makers, Microsoft included. We had some idea of what Microsoft had in store for today thanks to some well-timed leaks. That said, other than some telling photos, details were thin. But now the Surface Event 2019 is all done — and amazingly, Microsoft still had a few surprises up its sleeve. Here’s everything we know about the latest Surface products.
Surface Laptop 3
This year, Microsoft is offering not one but two versions of its Surface Laptop 3 — the regular 13.5-inch, and a larger 15-inch model. The 13-inch models will ship with 10th generation Intel chips. The 15-inch version will ship with AMD’s Ryzen 7 processor.
In terms of hardware changes, it’s got a 20 per cent larger trackpad. The laptops sport a machined aluminium finish, and the controversial Alcantara fabric is also now optional. The laptops have both USB-C and USB-A. Another significant change is that if you remove three screws, the top of the surface can come off — a win for repairability. The Surface Laptop 3 also adds a new fast charge feature that will purportedly let you charge up to 80 per cent battery in an hour.
Surface Pro 7
Missing from last year’s sixth edition Surface Pro was USB-C. Not so this year. The USB-C port was front-and-centre today, though not at the expense of a regular ol’ USB-A port. Otherwise, at a glance, there wasn’t too much different about this year’s design — they’ll come in black and silver like last year. It’ll also feature new studio mics to better capture sound for voice-to-text. Also new—phone calls are integrated into the OS, meaning calls from an Android phone will automatically pop up on the Surface.
Inside, the Surface Pro 7 is powered by Intel’s 10th generation processors. No big surprise there.
The Surface Pro 7 will retail for $1,249 and ship October 22. You can preorder today.
Microsoft’s new earbuds have productivity on the brain. They integrate with Microsoft Office, and one highlighted feature is that you can use them for dictation. You can also use them to navigate through PowerPoint presentations. At the event, Microsoft also demoed the earbuds as capable of real-time captions. Android users can also tap to open Spotify automatically. Audio-wise, they feature omnisonic sound, a directional dual-array mic, and noise reduction.
They will start at around $380 and will be available later this year.
Surface Pro X
There have been rumours that Microsoft has been working on an ARM-powered Surface for months. Well, it turns out they were right. The Surface Pro X is a thin 5.3 mm, and spec-wise has some impressive features. Inside, it’s powered by a custom Surface SQ1 processor, a 2 teraflop GPU, has USB-C, as well as fast charging.
It’s also got the Surface Slim Pen cleverly built into a slot right into the keyboard, so it can constantly recharge while you’re not using it. The Surface Pro X weighs a mere 750g and the display measures 13 inches in a 12-inch chassis (thinner bezels!), with a resolution of 2880 by 1920 resolution for 267 pixels per inch. For connectivity, it’s got LTE advanced.
Whoa. We won’t be seeing this beast until next year’s holiday season but get hyped. The Surface Neo looks like a tiny notebook when closed but then opens into a foldable, dual-screen tablet. There’s no trackpad on the keyboard — it’s built into the display instead. The Surface Pen and keyboard will magnetically snap into place on the back. It’s 5.6mm thin, weighs a light 655 grams, is covered in Gorilla Glass, and has a 360-degree hinge. Both screens measure 9 inches. Inside, the Neo is powered by an Intel Lakefield processor and an 11th generation graphics engine.
While there was a lot of chatter about the hardware, also important was the announcement of Windows 10X. It’s a specific OS that’s “designed and optimised” for two screens. It supports all apps, including Microsoft Office. In a demo, Microsoft showed off how opening an app on one side of the screen, will automatically reflow it onto the second screen. Also, when you flip the keyboard, it can automatically recognise that and change the second screen into a “wonder bar” — something akin to the Touch Bar on MacBooks.
No word on pricing, but it’s probably fair to say it’ll probably be somewhat expensive.
Well, this might leave Samsung shaking in its boots. The Surface Duo is like a tinier version of the Neo, except it’s also a phone. Microsoft says you can text, write, and all the things you expect smartphones to do. It’s got two 5.6-inch displays and a 360-degree hinge. Other huge news: Microsoft is partnering with Google to bring Android into its phone. Meaning, you get every single Android app... on a Surface phone.
Like the Neo, the Surface Duo will be available for the 2020 holiday season.