For fans of Surface, today is a good day. Microsoft has announced a significant refresh to its lineup that includes a brand-new laptop called the Laptop Studio as well as a refresh to many of its products that includes the Surface Pro 8, Duo 2, and the entry-level Go 3.
The refresh across the lineup is significant for Microsoft as the company prepares for the release of Windows 11 that will arrive on October 5th. With the new OS, Microsoft will be using the Pro 8 and the Laptop Studio as the hero devices to showcase the new software.
Surface Pro 8
The Surface Pro line is the classic Surface hardware and was the first device to create momentum for Microsoft. And with the release of the Pro 8, the device is receiving what could arguably be called the biggest update since its release.
The new device ships with 11th gen Intel chips ranging from an i3 to an i7 with up to Intel Iris Xe graphics and can top out at 32GB of RAM with 1TB of storage. While those specs are expected, Microsoft is finally embracing Thunderbolt 4 with this release which means you can tap into the rich ecosystem of accessories with two TB4 ports.
But the bigger update is that that Pro 8 now resembles that of the Pro X, meaning thinner bezels, a keyboard cover that can dock the pen, and a bigger display. Microsoft says that the display is 11% larger, 10.8% higher resolution, and nearly 13% brighter – the display measures in at 13in. But even better is that the display now supports a refresh rate of 120Hz.
And for corporate customers, this device will support the removable solid-state drive and there will be LTE options available as well. And to little surprise, TPM 2.0 is included.
The Surface Pro 8 starts at $1099 and is available for pre-order starting today.
Surface Duo 2
While the Pro 8 received a good update, the Duo 2 specs are being brought into the current timeline with a significant spec bump that should help with the performance and longevity of the hardware.
The Duo 2 now sports a Snapdragon 888 processor, 5G connectivity, a new triple-camera setup, NFC for payments, larger (and brighter) displays, and the ability to notifications with information being displayed on the very edge of the display.
When opened, the screen size is now 8.3” AMOLED, 2688×1892 at 401PPI and behind the glass is a 4449mAh (typical) dual battery.
There is also a new color option, Obsidian (dark color) or Glacier (lighter color) with a price of $1499.99 and pre-orders opening up today.
Surface Adaptive Kit
One of the more unique items announced today is the Surface Adaptive Kit. This is an accessibility pack of labels that make it easier to identify ports, keys, and even open the lid of a laptop.
Surface Go 3 and Pro X
The Surface Go is the entry-level Surface device and today, Microsoft is bumping the version number to 3 and improving the specs as well.
The processors available for this device start with a Pentium Gold 6500Y (dual-core) and go up to a Core i3-10100Y CPU. Sadly, the storage continues to start with 64GB of eMMC and not much else has changed for the device.
At 1.2 pounds, the Go 3 retains its ultra-portability functionality, and LTE inclusion makes it a device that’s good to toss into a backpack when you need something larger than a phone to get work done.
The Surface Go 3 will start at $399 with pre-orders opening up today too.
On the Pro X side of the coin, Microsoft is introducing a WiFi-only model of the Pro X that starts at $899.99.
When it comes to these devices, the Pro 8 should get the limelight and will likely sell well among Surface fans. The device is not only adding useful features like Thunderbolt but improving the display size, the processing power, and importantly, improving the display. Generally speaking, Microsoft is hitting most of the pain points from prior generations and building a Pro that many of us have desired for several generations.
While the Duo is a good update, the huge outlier is if Microsoft will be providing adequate support for the device – the first-gen Duo is nearly two generations behind on the OS. Other than that big unknown, the upgrade addresses many complaints from the first generation but the competition is tough in this space and if the camera does not live up to the promises, the device may disappoint users.
For corporate customers, these updates are likely going to resonate well with the inclusion of Thunderbolt and the continued inclusion of the Surface connect port as this makes it easy to support multiple generations of Surface products in one environment. Toss in the removable storage and these will be an easy upgrade choice for many organizations.