Microsoft prepares for Windows 11 with suite of Surface updates
The latest flavor of Microsoft's operating platform – Windows 11 – is due to land next month, and the computing giant has revealed what it's calling the "largest update to the Surface portfolio in its history."
The Surface party gets rolling with upgrades to the range of 2-in-1 tablet/notebooks, starting with a fresh new Surface Pro 8 that's twice as snappy as the previous generation.
This model is available with 11th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors supported by up to 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage, and rocks a thin-bezel 12-inch, 2,880 x 1,920 touchscreen with a 120-Hz refresh rate and support for Dolby Vision.
The detachable keyboard provides a home and charging zone for the new Surface Slim Pen 2 – which comes with a sharper tip, and a haptic motor to help recreate the feel of pen on paper.
The Pro 8 has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for 1080p video chats, and a 10-MP shooter around back that's capable of recording 4K video. And elsewhere, Dolby Atmos sound has been cooked in, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and users can expect up to 16 hours of per-charge battery life. This model is up for pre-order now, starting at US$1,099.99.
The 9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33-in (245 x 175 x 8.3-mm), 1.2-lb (544-g) Surface Go 3 is described as the most portable option in the range, and features a 10.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 touch display topped by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It can be had with either Intel Pentium Gold or Core i3 processors and up to 8 GB of RAM and 120 GB of storage.
There's a 5-MP camera to the front for Full HD video and an 8-MP module to the rear, and up to 11 hours of use is promised before needing to find a wall socket. The Wi-Fi 6 models start at $399.99, and devices with LTE Advanced capabilities are expected to follow shortly.
The Surface Pro X is also designed for folks on the move, and comes with a 13-inch, 2,880 x 1,920 touchscreen, Microsoft's own 8-core ARM-based processor supported by 8 or 16 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of SSD storage, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6 and optional Gigabit 4G connectivity, and a Windows 11 64-bit emulator for access to more apps. Per-charge battery life is reckoned to be up to 15 hours, and the Pro X has a starting price of $899.99.
If it's power you're after, Microsoft responds with a new take on the Surface Laptop Studio. Creators are offered a 14.4-inch, 2,400 x 1,600 touch-enabled display with Dolby Vision support, 11th Generation Intel Core H35 processor options, Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, and up to 32 GB of RAM and as much as 2 TB of SSD storage.
The hinge on this model includes woven fabric and can bend up to 180 degrees for different usage modes. The full keyboard can magnetically hold and charge the Surface Slim Pen 2 underneath, there's a Full HD front-facing camera, dual far-field microphones, and four Dolby Atmos speakers. Connectivity shapes up as Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Microsoft reckons that those opting for the Core i5 model can keep working for up to 19 hours on a single battery charge, while the Core i7 flavor can manage 18 hours. Pricing starts at $1,599.99.
Microsoft also revealed the next iteration of its pocket-friendly dual-screen mobile device at the Surface event. The Duo 2 doesn't run Windows 11 but is powered by Android and is designed for multitasking over two 8.3-inch, 2,688 x 1,892 AMOLED screens.
It's powered by a Snapdragon 888 5G chipset supported by 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 512 GB of storage, boasts a triple camera array around back comprising a 12-MP wide main, 12-MP telephoto, and a 16-MP ultra-wide, and there's also a 12-MP selfie cam in the bezel above the right display. This phone/tablet hybrid flips out at $1,499.99.