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Microsoft announces five new Surface devices

Five new Microsoft Surface devices have been launched ahead of the October 5th Windows 11 launch.

Microsoft Surface Devices

The new offerings include a new flagship of the range, a refreshed Surface Go and Surface Pro X, the Surface Pro 8 and the second gen Duo

Just a couple of weeks from the October 5th Windows 11 launch, Microsoft has announced five new Surface devices. Among the launches are one tablet, three laptops and a foldable phone. While the range in itself accounts for very little of Microsoft’s entire business, it has existed as being a great way to showcase the capabilities of Microsoft software. Over the years, Microsoft has improved the hardware functionalities and, in combination with stellar design, some Surface devices have evolved into being excellent devices by themselves. These new devices are launching with Windows 11 on October 5th.

The Surface Laptop Studio features a hinge mechanism never seen before on a Surface device.

Laptop Studio

Most prominent among the announcements is the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio that will now sit at the very top of Microsoft’s line-up. The Laptop Studio has a standout design that uses a central hinge mechanism on the display which allows it to move forward towards the user in settings where the keyboard isn’t being used. This, with the Laptop Studio’s 14-inch touchscreen display, allows users to draw and write on the screen far more easily. The screen, unlike on some other offerings, can’t be detached and used as a standalone tablet. There is a new Slim Pen 2 that is nestled beneath the keyboard where it also charges. Microsoft has added a tiny haptic motor for feedback to make it more intuitive to use. The Laptop Studio will retail at $1600.

The Surface Pro 8’s USP, much like its predecessor’s, remains its versatility.

Pro 8

Microsoft also announced the flagship Surface Pro 8 tablet after reports of delays in the launch of the device for more than a year. The device boasts of a 13-inch display instead of a 12.3-inch unit found in the last gen Pro. Other improvements include an adaptive colour feature and dynamic refresh rate up to 120Hz.

There is an optional detachable keyboard ($180) that will make the device a handy productivity tool as well. The keyboard also houses a slot for the new Slim Pen to be stored and charged right over the function keys. Pro 8s can be configured with 11th-generation Intel Core chips and as much as 32GB of RAM. Microsoft also claims that the Pro 8 gets as much as 16 hours of battery life. Starting at $1,100, the Pro 8 is much more expensive than two-year-old Surface Pro 7 which starts at  $750.

The Surface Duo 2 adopts a form factor that is very different from other foldable devices.

Duo 2

Microsoft’s Duo was a colossal failure. While the design and the build were praised by reviewers, it turned out to be device with way too many compromises (both in terms of software as well as hardware) for the price. Microsoft seems to have learnt its lessons and the Surface Duo 2 gets new cameras, 5G support, stereo audio, and a Snapdragon 888 under the hood.

The notebook like form factor is very different to the what everyone else is offering at the moment. Clever design features include things like rounded edges of the screen that can show notifications at a glance without opening the device.  The Duo 2 opens up to reveal two 5.8-inch screens that can be used together encouraging you to use them to multitask – the two screens allow you to run two apps at once or you can even use the screens together for one app if you chose to.  The displays themselves have a 90hz refresh rate.

The Duo 2 starts at $1,500, which is $100 more than its predecessor. It will ship in two colourways: white or black.

The Surface Go 3 is a pared down version of the Surface Pro 8.

Surface Go 3

Microsoft has also refreshed the entry-level Surface Go. The Microsoft Surface Go 3 starts at $400, without the optional keyboard. The Go 3 can be had with up to an Intel Core i3 chip, which should mean improved performance over the Go 2. Microsoft claims that the Go 3 gets up to 11 hours of battery life, a slight improvement over its predecessor.

Microsoft persists with its ARM aspirations with the Surface Pro X.

Surface Pro X

Microsoft announced a new Wi-Fi-only version of the Surface Pro X, a device it initially launched in 2019. For the most part, the Pro X remains the same when it comes to the hardware.  It costs $900 – $100 down on the Pro X’s original price. It has to be noted that the Pro X uses an ARM processor. Microsoft’s renewed focus on the Pro X can also be seen as an effort to showcase Windows 11’s capabilities to run certain 64-but apps through emulation.

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