Microsoft has announced a number of products at its annual Surface event, most excitingly, the previously-leaked Surface Pro 8.
On top of this, the company announced the Wi-Fi-only Surface Pro x, the Surface Duo 2, a Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Go 3, a Surface Slim Pen 2, the Surface Adaptive Kit – and an environmentally friendly Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse.
“Throughout our history as Surface, we have seen that the most meaningful experiences come from innovation at the intersection of hardware and software,” Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay said at the launch.
“This idea was the catalyst for Surface — to build hardware that would not only be a stage for Windows, but push the platform and the ecosystem forward.”
The range will start shipping on October 5, the same day as Windows 11 makes its way into the market.
Read below for a breakdown of all the new products announced.
SURFACE PRO 8
Starting from AU$1,649.00
Release date: November 4, 2021
When it comes to boasts, Microsoft certainly had our attention with its claims that this Pro 8 is twice as fast as the Pro 7, with some extreme under-the-hood improvements meaning that the Pro 8 has 40 per cent higher sustained CPU performance, 74 per cent better graphics performance, and Intel’s quad-core 11th-Gen Core i5 and i7 processors driving things.
The consumer models come with Intel Iris Xe graphics, with the enterprise model sporting Intel UHD Graphics. Memory is between 8GB and 32GB, and even the display has been improved: the 13-inch PixelSense Flow display has a resolution of 2,880 x 1,920, with 10.8 per cent higher resolution than the Pro 7, and a screen that’s 11 per cent larger.
The 120Hz refresh rate, and improved mic, cameras and speakers makes this perfect for gaming, video editing, and as a portable multimedia set-up.
Thunderbolt 4 support has also been added.
SURFACE PRO X
Starting from AU$1,699.00
Available to order now.
Rather than beef up this year’s Pro X, Microsoft have opted to drop the price and use this as its entry machine. It’s a Wi-Fi only machine, which may limit its appeal, but the custom SQ1 and SQ2 processors with integrated SQ Adreno graphics card will pack enough power for light users, and the 15-hour battery life, compatibility with the Surface Pro Keyboard and new Surface Slim Pen 2 makes this an excellent affordable option.
SURFACE DUO 2
Perhaps the market wasn’t ready for the Surface Duo phone last September. Or perhaps, the Surface Duo wasn’t quite ready for the market. Whatever the reason for the original’s lack of traction, the Surface Duo 2 is coming into a market excited by foldables, and with a number of improvements upon the original.
The Duo still sports two 5.8-inch displays, which can be turned into one 8.3-inch PixelSense Fusion display, but the Duo now packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. Microsoft claim the 4449mAh battery will give a full-day’s charge.
The phone comes with 128, 256, or 512GB of storage, and with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM.
There’s now three cameras on the back: the main 16-megapixel ultrawide lens, a 12-megapixel wide camera, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, with 2x optical zoom. A 12-megapixel front-facing camera makes this the perfect Teams conference tool – no doubt the reason for the leap in camera quality.
The glance bar on the hinge is the most handy feature – saving you from constantly opening and closing for notifications or time.
SURFACE LAPTOP STUDIO
Pricing unavailable. Ships early 2022.
The long-rumoured Surface Book 4 has popped up as the Surface Laptop Studio. It’s basically an iPad Pro and MacBook competitor, with a 14-inch display, 120Hx refresh rate, and a range of Intel’s 11th Gen H-Series processors (the i7-1170H is the top end).
It comes with two different options for graphics cards: an integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics or a discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti.
The biggest improvement is two ports for Thunderbolt 4, and Dolby Atmos support through the inbuilt speakers.
Microsoft are assuming most customers will pair this with the Surface Slim Pen 2 – which we’ll dive into in a minute.
SURFACE GO 3
Starting from AU$629.00
Release date 5 October 2021
The affordable model, perfect for students whose parents would rather than school machine not double up as a gaming portal.
With a 10.5-inch display, a backpack-friendly 0.5kg weight, Dolby Audio support, and in-built speakers and microphones for Teams, this is a beast of a machine for the price.
Add the new Intel Core i3 processor, and the options of 4G LTE or Wi-Fi only, this may just prove to be a Chromebook killer.
SURFACE SLIM PEN 2
Available on October 5.
The Surface Slim Pen 2 is designed to feel just like writing on paper, according to Microsoft. The secret is the built-in ‘haptic motor’.
“Tactile signals is a new digital pen experience that uses the built-in haptic motor in Surface Slim Pen 2 to give you the same feeling you get with pen on paper when note-taking and drawing,” Microsoft explains.
“Tactile signals can make it easy for you to know when you’ve successfully used natural gestures like circling to select and crossing out to delete in Microsoft Word or tools in Adobe Fresco.”
This pen is compatible with all old Surface Pro models from 3 onwards, Pro X, the Surface Duo and Duo 2, the Surface Hub 2S, all Surface Laptops, Surface Studios, and the Surface Book and new Surface Laptop Studio.
MICROSOFT OCEAN PLASTIC MOUSE
This marine-friendly mouse is composed from 20 per cent recycled ocean plastic, with packaging made from 100 per cent recycled materials.
The company describes it as “a breakthrough in materials technology that begins with the removal of plastic waste from oceans and waterways.”
It supports Bluetooth 5.0 up to 33 feet, and operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency.