EletiofeEverything Microsoft Announced, Including a Wacky Laptop

Everything Microsoft Announced, Including a Wacky Laptop

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a week has passed since Apple dropped a deluge of hardware, but brace yourselves—it’s Microsoft’s turn. Today, the company announced new Surface laptops, accessories, and a phone, at a virtual event. From a wacky folding laptop to the new and improved Surface Duo 2, there’s plenty to choose from if you’ve been holding out for an upgrade

All the hardware below is available for preorder starting today at Microsoft.com, and they’ll officially launch on October 5 (except for the Duo 2, which launches October 21). Here’s everything Microsoft announced.

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Surface Laptop Studio

Photograph: Microsoft

If the Surface Book and Surface Studio had a baby, it would be the Surface Laptop Studio. The 14.4-inch touchscreen laptop comes with a 120-Hz refresh rate, but the display can adjust depending on what you need to do. There’s Laptop Mode, with full access to the keyboard and touchpad; Stage Mode, where you can pull the display toward you to watch movies or play games; and Studio Mode (aka Tablet Mode), for drawing and writing. This is all possible thanks to a dual-hinge design embedded into the center, back behind the display and the base. The screen doesn’t fold, but the casing behind it does. 

It comes equipped with a 1080p front-facing camera and an 11th-gen Intel processor. (You can choose between Core i5 or Core i7.) It’s compatible with Microsoft’s new Surface Slim Pen 2, also announced today and sold separately, which adds haptic feedback for a more interactive experience and low latency. The latter means it should feel more responsive when you write or sketch. It attaches magnetically to the bottom edge of the laptop, below the trackpad, similar to Apple’s iPad Pro. The Surface Laptop Studio starts at $1,600

Surface Pro X

Photograph: Microsoft

This time around, Microsoft is offering a Wi-Fi-only model of the Surface Pro X in addition to the LTE version. The starting price has also dipped by $100, making it a bit more affordable at $899. The Surface Pro X comes with improvements to Windows on ARM too, with a variety of optimized apps including Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Teams. 

Just like its predecessor, the Surface Pro X includes a 13-inch touchscreen display, up to 15 hours of battery life, up to 16 GB of RAM, and runs on Microsoft’s very own custom processors. 

Surface Pro 8

Photograph: Microsoft

The Surface Pro 8, on the other hand, brings improvements to both the inside and out. Its 13-inch display is bigger and brighter than the Surface Pro 7. Like the Surface Laptop Studio, it packs a 120 Hz screen, Thunderbolt 4 ports, and works with the Slim Pen 2 (sold separately). You can also charge and store the pen on the detachable keyboard (also not included). Microsoft made some improvements to its cameras too, adding better low-light capabilities for when you’re Zooming in the dark. 

Internally, Microsoft says the Pro 8 is more than twice as fast as its predecessor, offering 40 percent higher CPU performance and 74 percent faster graphics. That’s thanks to the 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor or i7 processor. It starts at $1,100

Surface Go 3

Photograph: Microsoft

The Surface Go 3 isn’t all that different from last year’s model on the outside. It still has the same $400 price, the same 10.5-inch display, a kickstand on the back, a 5-megapixel selfie camera coupled with an 8-megapixel rear camera, and an attachable keyboard (sold separately). The main upgrades can be found under the hood. You now have the choice between a dual-core Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y processor or a 10th-gen Intel Core i3 processor. This tiny laptop/tablet hybrid also gets an additional hour of battery life, bringing the total up to 11 hours.

Surface Duo 2

Photograph: Microsoft

The first Surface Duo, Microsoft’s dual-screened portable device, didn’t exactly sell like hotcakes. But this time around, the company has leaned into the whole phone element of the Surface Duo (which had phone-call capabilities from the beginning). The Surface Duo 2 has been upgraded to include a rear camera module—with wide, ultrawide, and telephoto cameras—and will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 5G chip platform. That’s the top-end smartphone chip found on most flagship Android phones today. It ships with Android 11, and in demonstrations of the foldable, Microsoft eschewed productivity hacks for more fun features: photo snapping, game playing, and TikTok browsing. 

No doubt, the Surface Duo 2 is a smartphone. Its starting price of $1,500 might make you wince, though. You can read more about it here.

Additional Accessories

Alongside the new Surface Slim Pen 2 ($130), Microsoft has another new accessory to go along with many of these Surface laptops: an environmentally-friendly mouse. The new Ocean Plastic Mouse is made of 20 percent recycled ocean plastic and 100 percent recyclable packaging. As for its features, it comes equipped with left and right click buttons, a built-in scroll wheel, fast-tracking sensors, and Bluetooth connectivity (with up to a year of battery life). It costs $25.

Microsoft also showed off an inexpensive sticker-and-lanyard pack to help people with disabilities navigate their hardware. Called the Surface Adaptive Kit, the sticker pack includes 16 tactile, adhesive buttons. There are also high-contrast keycap labels for people with low vision, as well as port labels that can be applied to both a cable and corresponding port on a laptop. And a lanyard tab offers an attachable loop that helps people with limited motor skills open up laptops more easily.

Windows 11 Is Coming

Windows 11 will be free to everyone who owns Windows 10, this fall.Photograph: Microsoft

Wednesday’s event was extremely hardware-focused, but most of the devices revealed today are premium vehicles for Microsoft’s newest operating system: Windows 11. First revealed this past June and shipping on October 5, Windows 11 is Microsoft’s first major OS update in several years. Its notable features include a repositioned Start button (which can be moved back to its traditional placement if you prefer), a new Windows Store, and support for Android apps, among other things. Some of these features will be rolled out in phases, and beta versions of Win11 have been buggy. But you can bet that Microsoft—and other PC makers who license the company’s OS—will be racing to get their machines buyer-ready by the holiday season. 


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