Microsoft expands its Surface lineup with a bundle of Windows 11 devices:
Windows 11’s October launch will be here before you know it. To celebrate, Microsoft would love to sell you one of a handful of new Surface devices that, with one notable exception, all run its new operating system.
Microsoft unveiled a cornucopia of Surface devices on Wednesday to beef up its 2-in-1 tablet/laptop selection. From a more affordable Surface Pro X to the beastly Surface Laptop Studio and the intriguing Surface Duo Pro, there’s a ton to dig into. Here’s every product Microsoft showed off, all of which are available for pre-order now.
Surface Go 3
The cheapest and most portable of the bunch is the Surface Go 3, which starts at $399. Microsoft claims the new Intel Core i3 processor makes the Go 3 about 60 percent faster than its predecessor. To go along with that, you get a 10.5-inch touchscreen, up to 8GB of RAM, and up max of 256GB for storage. According to Microsoft, it weighs just a little more than a pound, in case you were worried it would be too heavy to lug around everywhere.
Surface Pro 8 and Pro X
Moving on to far more expensive products, Microsoft bulked up its Surface Pro line with the flagship Surface Pro 8 and a more affordable version of last year’s Surface Pro X.
Let’s focus on the Surface Pro 8 first. Starting at $1,099.99, it’s supposedly twice as fast as the Surface Pro 7 thanks to quad-core Intel Core processors. RAM can scale from 8GB all the way to 32GB, with storage ranging from 128GB to 1TB. Regular folks can get by with the WiFi-only version, while enterprise customers have access to an LTE-enabled model, too.
New Thunderbolt 4 ports will let you expand the Surface Pro 8’s field of view across multiple 4K monitors if you happen to have some of those lying around. If you don’t, the 13-inch display should be sharp and smooth with a 2880 x 1920 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. And last but not least, the new keyboard has a small slot for the new Surface Slim Pen 2 (more on that later) that doubles as both storage and a charging port for the pen.
As for the Surface Pro X, the main difference seems to be that you can get a WiFi-only option for $899 now. It was previously more of an enterprise product with LTE features, but now there’s a more reasonably priced version if you so desire. That will be in stores on Oct. 5.
Surface Laptop Studio
The new Surface Laptop Studio is the most powerful addition to the Surface lineup. Starting at $1,599.99, this hybrid laptop is going to be the best of the bunch when it comes to intensive activities like PC gaming or rendering videos thanks to the inclusion of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPUs. With removable SSDs of up to 2TB in size and up to 32GB of RAM, memory shouldn’t be an issue here, either.
The 14.4-inch display comes with a 120Hz refresh rate for maximum smoothness and the new haptic touchpad can detect clicks from anywhere on the touchpad, not just the bottom. If your fingertip is in the upper left corner of the touchpad but you need to left click, you’ll be able to do that without moving it. A new hinge also allows for more freedom of movement for the screen, as it can sit upright like a regular laptop display, be moved forward for presentations, or positioned totally flush with the keyboard for use as a large tablet.
Yes, it’s a lot of money, but you get what you pay for. Look for the Surface Laptop Studio to launch on Oct. 5.
Surface Duo 2
The only non-Windows 11 Surface product Microsoft announced is the Surface Duo 2. Like the 2020 original, it’s an Android-based phone/tablet hybrid with two conjoined screens. Each screen individually measures in at 5.8-inches, with the full opened display expanding to 8.3-inches of usable screen space. All the multitasking functionality of last year’s model remains intact, but hopefully the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processor will speed things up.
You may have noticed the “5G” part of the processor name. That’s because the Surface Duo 2 supports 5G network bands for the first time, going up to mmWave in the United States. NFC support for contactless payments is another basic feature the Surface Duo 2 includes that its predecessor lacked. Perhaps most importantly, you can see notifications on the hinge when the phone is closed now. No more opening the phone just to see if you have any text messages waiting for you.
Sounds great, right? Well, it’s $1,499.99, so you better start saving up now. You have until Oct. 21, when the Surface Duo 2 launches.
Rounding out the announcements are a few accessories to bolster the Surface experience if you feel like spending some additional cash. First and foremost is the new Surface Slim Pen 2, a $129.99 add-on that works with every Surface product. Microsoft says it’s more precise and responsive than its predecessors, but the most interesting new addition is haptic feedback. The pen will vibrate in different ways depending on what you’re doing with it, whether it’s signaling that your command to erase a bunch of text was successful or just replicating the feeling of drawing on a canvas.
There’s also a new mouse made of 20 percent recycled ocean plastic that you can buy for $24.99.
That’s all fine and good, but the last and most interesting accessory is the Surface Adaptive Kit. This is a package that comes with a handful of helpful accessibility tools like keycap labels and port indicators that those with certain needs can attach to their Surface devices for easier use. This isn’t surprising given Microsoft’s recent accessibility work with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, but it’s nice to see those efforts expand into Surface.
Both the Slim Pen 2 and Adaptive Kit will launch sometime later this year.Did you get all of that? It’s a lot to take in, but Microsoft Surface aficionados will at least have plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks.
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