What to Expect From Microsoft’s Big Surface Event

What to Expect From Microsoft’s Big Surface Event
Microsoft's upcoming Surface event is sure to reveal all the new hardware shipping with Windows 11. (Image: Microsoft)

Windows 11 is just around the corner, which means it’s also time for Microsoft to launch new Surface hardware to go with it. We’re expecting to hear all about the device lineup at the company’s big hardware event on Thursday, September 23. The show kicks off at 1:00 a.m. AEST, and it’s an all virtual one, so you can join us at this official link to see all the latest devices Microsoft has in store. Here’s what we expect to see.

Surface Duo 2

Will the second-gen Surface Duo 2 make up for the design follies of the first one?  (Photo: Sam Rutherford) Will the second-gen Surface Duo 2 make up for the design follies of the first one? (Photo: Sam Rutherford)

Let’s start with the least Windows-y product in the lineup: Microsoft’s attempt to make a foldable Android phones is expected to get a reboot at the Surface event. The Surface Duo 2 leaked over the summer, first appearing on YouTube, and then Windows Central verified what was to come.

Leaked pics of the Surface Duo 2 show a dual-screen folding device with two 5.8-inch displays side by side, separated by a hinge. We’re expecting to see improved cameras: The leaks show a bulky rear camera module with three lenses, a wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lens. There’s also a selfie camera on the inside for video calls and the like.

The battery capacity of the Surface Duo 2 is expected to increase to help accommodate the device’s supposedly high refresh rate, though it’s unconfirmed if it’s 90Hz or 120Hz. We’ve also heard the Surface Duo 2 will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, 5G connectivity, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC, which should help make up a little for the last-gen Duo’s complete lack of contactless payments.

Surface Book 4

The device that is likely to steal the spotlight is the Surface Book 4, which is Microsoft’s flagship laptop. According to patents and some very creative rendering, this is expected to be a complete redesign of the portable two-in-one, with Microsoft dropping the detachable display in favour of a tethered one that’s more stable. The previous iterations of the Surface Book were top-heavy since all the components were laid inside the display. But this redesign would make the Surface Book 4 a bonafide convertible, able to turn from a laptop to a tablet for drawing and reading. Possible specs include a larger trackpad, a 14-inch display, two USB-C ports, and NVIDIA RTX graphics.

Windows Central notes that the name of this particular convertible laptop hasn’t been entirely solidified. Some of the possible names include “Book 4,” “Laptop Pro,” and “Laptop Studio.”

Surface Pro 8

Microsoft's been long committed to its little Surface device, and we'll likely see the next one bundled with Windows 11.  (Image: Microsoft) Microsoft’s been long committed to its little Surface device, and we’ll likely see the next one bundled with Windows 11. (Image: Microsoft)

The device that most resembles the first-generation Surface is the rumoured Surface Pro 8. This one will help usher in Windows 11, just like the original helped launch Windows 8 in 2012. How time flies!

The Surface Pro 8 isn’t likely to be a drastic design change since Microsoft has built an expansive line of accessories and peripherals specifically for this device. However, The Verge reports the design should include a larger display and smaller bezels and that at least one variant of the Surface Pro 8 will have Thunderbolt support, which would be a first for a Surface device. It’s also expected to get updated with Intel’s 11th-generation chips, which is par for the course for most laptop announcements this year.

Surface Pro X and Surface Go 3

Microsoft could make a wifi-only version of the Surface Pro X.  (Photo: Sam Rutherford) Microsoft could make a wifi-only version of the Surface Pro X. (Photo: Sam Rutherford)

There will likely be a hardware bump for the ARM-based Surface Pro X, including a chip refresh and a screen with a higher refresh rate. But beyond that, there’s little in the way of leaks and rumours regarding the Surface Pro X, besides the fact that Microsoft might finally make its always-connected device a little less connected by creating a wifi-only version of the device.

The budget Surface Go is also likely to get a reprise with the Surface Go 3. But for the most part, we’re only expecting a spec bump. Geekbench results point to the low-end Surface Go 3 running an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y and the higher-end version running on an Intel Core i3-10100Y processor with LTE.

Don’t Forget the Accessories

We’re expecting the Surface devices to get a few new pieces of flair. There’s likely a new Surface Pen on the horizon to accompany the Surface Book 4, along with haptic support tuned to Windows 11’s new pen-specific features. The signature Type Covers that accompany the Surface devices may also get a refresh. There’s no word on whether Microsoft might update the Surface Headphones 2 or Surface Earbuds, as they’re both a year and a half old at this point.

But we’ll find out in just a couple of days when Microsoft announces all its new hardware for spring. And then we have just a short wait until Windows 11 is officially available to all on Oct. 5. Keep it locked to Gizmodo for all the news — and share your Microsoft device wishlist with us in the comments below!