Never a dull moment in the tech world. It seems the American Fall is brining a non-stop slew of hardware & gaming announcements from everyone at the moment and today was Microsoft’s turn to shine. The company unveiled three new versions of their popular Surface lineup, two of which were largely incremental whilst the third was a whole new look and a direct shot at Apple’s iPad Pro business in more ways than one, but really that was merely the setup for the big surprise at the end.
Surface Pro X
Microsoft have decided to make a return to Arm-based processing and have teamed up with Qualcomm to produce their own custom Arm chip they’re calling the SQ1. This will be the brains behind it’s newest addition to the Surface lineup, the Surface Pro X.
Equipped with 2 USB-C ports and a 13″ 2880 x 1920 PixelSense (Retina) display the Surface Pro X starts out with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD that is user replaceable! Yes you read that right! It packs in 13 hours of battery life and includes “an integrated AI engine”, which means not much to most people.
The keyboard cover has also been redesigned to include a small docking space for an all new Surface “Slim Pen”. This dock, which sits above your number keys across the top of the keyboard, also appears to act as a magnetic flip to further increase the typing angle that I know a lot of people will enjoy.
Shipping this November the Surface Pro X starts at A$1,699 (similar to Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9″), with Australian pricing expected shortly.
Surface Pro 7
Despite what the rumours suggested the new Surface Pro 7 is not a complete redesign. Instead it’s a pretty standard update over last year’s model. It retains a USB-A port but adds in USB-C with a pretty stock-standard update to Intel’s 10th generation CPUs.
The Surface Pro 7 is expected to be available to order later today in Australia and start from A$1,249, shipping October 22nd.
Surface Laptop 3
Microsoft aren’t scared of diversifying in their suppliers. The Surface Laptop 3 ushers in a new partnership with AMD sporting a co-designed CPU in its 15″ model. The 13″ will stay on Intel but shift up to the 10th-gen CPUs similar to the Pro 7.
Updates beyond CPU are again minimal with both models available to order later today with the 15″ starting at US$1,199 and the 13″ at US$999. They’re expected to ship October 22nd.
This device comes in two models: There’s a 15-inch one aimed more at “consumers” and featuring an AMD processor, which Microsoft codesigned with AMD; and a 13-inch model running an Intel 10th-generation Core processor. Alcantara-covered keyboard is now optional (huzzah!), too. The Intel-based 13-inch Laptop 3 starts at A$1,699; the AMD-based Laptop 3 starts at A$1,999. Both devices are available for preorder today, Oct. 2, and will ship on Oct. 22.
Surface Neo tablet
Remember the Lenovo Yoga series of laptops? Well Microsoft just took a massive dump on them and said “we can do that better” with their new foldable tablet the Surface Neo.
The Neo is a 13″ 2-in-1 that runs a new hybrid version of Windows called Windows 10X. The new version is designed with a foldable future in mind and is the realisation of the company’s Courier concept from over a decade ago.
The Neo’s foldable casing is constructed with a slew of magnets that allow you to clip on a new keyboard and the Surface Slim Pen, essentially putting a real keyboard over where a virtual one might fit.
It’s an interesting product and I’m keen to get my own hands on with one. Whether it will land with the consumer remains to be seen and anything with a hinge is going to come under a lot of justified scrutiny for durability and reliability in the years to come.
Surface Duo phone
Microsoft are making phones again! What’s even more crazy is they’re doing it with Google! The newly announced Surface Duo is a smaller, Android-powered, version of the Surface Neo.
The Duo is made up of two 6.5″ displays that sit on a 360 degree hinge not unlike its Neo Win 10X brother. The big story here is Microsoft’s jump to Google, the fact it’s kind of a foldable display but really isn’t (despite what MS want you to believe) and how thin it is.
More details will be coming out over the coming months with the phone not expected to ship until Christmas 2020 at this stage.
Earbuds & more
Because literally every tech company needs their own earbuds now Microsoft joined the fray with the Surface Earbuds. The US$249 sound emitters apparently integrate with Office somehow and it remains to be see how or why that might be useful but sure, why not?
They’ll be available later this year and likely sell just as
poorly well as their other Surface headphones have.