Microsoft has announced a refresh to its Surface Laptop lineup, including a brand new ARM-based 2-in-1 laptop plus its first entrant into the true-wireless headphone market.
During the annual hardware launch event on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the brand new Surface Pro X, the refreshed Surface Pro 7 and two new versions of the Surface Laptop 3, as well as their True-Wireless headphones, the Surface Earbuds.
The Surface Pro X is a bold step for Microsoft, implementing a designer SQ1 chip that promises peak performance in an ARM-based ultraportable size form along with LTE support for mobile connectivity.
According to Microsoft executive Panos Panay, the new Qualcomm powered chip is an ‘integrated AI mobile accelerator’.
Available from 19 November at a starting price of $1,699, with preorders starting from today for the Matte Black finish.
With an included removable hard drive and support for two external displays via the USB-C port, the Surface Pro X is only 5.3 mm thin and weighs only 760 grams
Plus a new Surface Slim Pen with 4,096 levels of pressure is squeezed into a charging slot in the type cover.
The Surface Earbuds will join the Surface Headphones as Microsoft’s flagship audio products and will be available later this year for $249 in white.
Designed to work side by side with Microsoft Office, the included touchpads on the circular outside of the earbuds allow for tap and swipe gestures for functions like advancing slides in Powerpoint or changing tracks in Spotify.
Unlike the discreet design of the Apple AirPods or the recently released Amazon Echo Buds, the Surface Earbuds are far more pronounced in size.
However, Robin Seiler, Corporate Vice President, Program Management, Devices at Microsoft, claims they are suitable for all-day use with 24-hour battery life from the included carrying case.
Ms Seiler said Microsoft looked at many ergonomics options based on weight, creating a simple design ‘that balances against two points in your ear’.
The earbuds also include two individual microphones per Surface Bud with built-in filters to more effectively reduce ambient noise.
They are even compatible with over 60 languages for instant translation of dictated words for automatic input into a Word document.
The refreshed 2-in-1 Surface Pro 7 comes with Intel’s new 10th-generation chips, USB-C Thunderbolt 3 support and fast charging.
Available from 22 October starting at $1249, the Surface Pro 7 is also available for preorder today in either matte black or platinum.
While not much has changed from the Surface 6 to the 7, the upgraded graphics and processing power is a welcome renewal for the product.
The Surface 3, on the other hand, has been updated to include a new 15-inch model with a sleeker brushed aluminium enclosure in four different finishes (Platinum and Matte Black only available for 15-inch version).
Available at the same time as the Pro 7, the Surface 3 13-inch will start at $1699 with the 15-inch starting at $1999.
Both Surface Laptops are designed to take on the latest Apple MacBook, with the 15-inch able to run an AMD Ryzen 7 chip for the first time, which Mircosoft describes as ‘the most powerful mobile processor AMD has ever created, bar none’.
‘We wanted the best graphics performance in a single processor,’ said distinguished Microsoft engineer Pavan Davuluri.
The 13-inch version will come with Intel’s 10th gen quad-core ‘Ice Lake’ processor, which Microsoft claims is three times faster than a MacBook Air.
The Surface 3 introduces a touchscreen that is 20% larger, a removable hard drive and a fast charge port that will give an 80% charge in less than an hour.
With near-silent typing keys and 1.3mm thickness, the Surface 3 has become more discreet and functional than its predecessor.