Microsoft Surface event recap: Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Pro 8, Surface Duo 2 and more
Microsoft reveals new Windows 11 hardware — here's what they announced
Microsoft's been a busy tech giant lately. Not only is the company working on Windows 11, which just made its debut on Oct. 4, but it's got a ton of hardware in the works powered by that new operating system.
Microsoft showed off its latest hardware on September 22 during an online Microsoft Surface event that ran a little less than an hour. But that short amount of time came packed with product news, as Microsoft unveiled new 2-in-1 devices highlighted by the Surface Laptop Studio (which we've just reviewed), a hinged laptop that converts into a portable tablet, and arguably a machine Apple could only dream of making. Microsoft is taking another stab at a dual-screen phone as well, introducing the Surface Duo 2.
Here's a full rundown of the new products Microsoft showed off today, all of which became available on October 5, running Windows 11 (which released on Oct. 4).
New Surface products announced
Surface Laptop Studio: New 2-in-1 with flip-down 14-inch display
Surface Pro 8: Beefed up specs and 1080p camera
Surface Duo 2 (opens in new tab): Dual-screen phone with a ton of upgrades
Surface Go 3: Versatile and affordable iPad competitor
Surface Pro X: ARM-powered 2-in-1 now cheaper
Here's more details on all of the new Surface products, and check out our hubs to get all the specs, pricing and more.
Surface Laptop Studio: This $1,599 laptop takes the Surface Book and combines it with Microsoft's Surface Studio touchscreen desktop. The result is a powerful convertible laptop that slides into tablet-style device when you need a desktop-like surface for work.
The 14.4-inch touchscreen works in three modes, and everything's powered by an Intel 11th gen Core processor and up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics.
Surface Pro 8: A new 2-in-1 starting at $1,099, the Surface Pro 8 replaces the Surface Pro 7, and is built for Windows 11. You get 11th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs and a 13-inch touchscreen display along with upgraded with full HD cameras (all the better for that Microsoft Teams integration that's coming with Windows 11).
Surface Duo 2: Microsoft looks to fix the flaws of its original dual-screen phone with a new Surface Duo 2 that features a Snapdragon 888 processor and three rear cameras. The phone opens up to reveal a pair of facing panels, giving you 8.3 inches of workspace. The Surface Duo 2 costs $1,499 and seems like a natural rival to the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Surface Go 3: Another 2-in-1 from Microsoft, the Surface Go 3 seems aimed at kids and students. At $399, it's easily the most affordable Windows 11-ready device Microsoft announced today.
Surface Pro X: Microsoft spent little time on this $899 ARM-based tablet. The starting price is dropping y $100 and there's now a Wi-Fi-only option to go with the LTE version.
In addition, Microsoft showed off the Surface Slim Pen 2, an upgraded digital pen with built-in haptic motor that will work with many of the 2-in-1s announced today. There's now a Microsoft Ocean Mouse, made partially out recyclable ocean plastic, and a Surface Accessibility Kit that makes Microsoft's hardware easier to use.
Here's a look back at the Microsoft Surface Event as it happened.
So today's the day the Microsoft Surface event 2021 kicks off. We have a slew of predictions but we expect a few surprises to pop up as well.
After all we've already seen a leak of the Microsoft Surface Go 3, which is expected to get a big performance boost.
While you wait for the event to kick-off, we have seen this killer deal for the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. It might get replaced today, but this is a neat bargain.
It looks like the Microsoft Surface 8 Pro has been leaked and it's coming with a suite of new specs and a fresh design, finally! We're rather intrigued by the claimed 120Hz display.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Exposure ✅- Intel's 11th-generation Core processor- 13" 120Hz High Refresh Rate Narrow Border Screen- Windows 11- Dual Thunderbolt Interfaces- Replaceable SSD Hard Drives#Microsoft #Surface #SurfacePro8 pic.twitter.com/ITFftYG4dgSeptember 19, 2021
We're looking forward to seeing the Microsoft Surface Book 4, which is rumored to have a new design that harks back to the Surface Studio. We just hope it'll have a solid suite of specs too.
We'd love to see the Surface Neo make a return, as it's been on hiatus for since its reveal in October 2019. But we're not going to get our hopes up, as Microsoft is more likely to focus on a second-gen Surface Duo than a dual screen tablet.
Of course this event won't just be about new hardware, with the upcoming Windows 11 likely to feature heavily too. On that front, Microsoft's PC Health Check app is available again (opens in new tab) a few months after being pulled. And this time, it actually explains why your PC isn't compatible with the new OS and what you can do to fix it.
If you're wondering if you have a machine that'll be able to handle Windows 11 then take a look at our Windows 11 system requirements breakdown. And if you're wondering about Windows 11 TPM requirements, we've got you covered.
Are there any products you'd like to see from the Microsoft Surface event? If so tweet us @tomsguide as we'd be keen to hear your predictions.
We're hoping to see Microsoft lean heavily on the Xbox Game Pass potential of the rumored Surface Duo 2, given we found the original Duo rather slick for cloud-powered Xbox gaming.
One device we don't expect to see if a new Surface Laptop, despise the most recent model being a rather lackluster upgrade on its predecessor.
We are expecting some form of camera upgrade on the Surface Duo 2. And going by the alleged leaks so far, it could be a dual or triple camera array. We just hope Microsoft spend more time optimizing apps to run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.
On the Windows 11 front, Microsoft has been active since its Windows 11 event back in June updating the world on what's coming when the new operating system lands in October. Recent updates have covered how the new software could speed up your desktop as well as the new features coming to the Photos app in Windows 11. (We're particularly excited about the multi-view look for comparing images that Microsoft is adding.)
We'd expect to hear more along those line about Windows 11 during today's presentation, even if it's brief, to keep building the excitement for next month's release.
Microsoft's event live stream is now live on YouTube (opens in new tab) and embedded above. Happy Surface Event live streaming, everybody.
We could see a new Surface Duo today, so it's worth reviewing what we thought about the original Surface Duo, an innovative if flawed dual-screen phone. Specifically, the phone suffered from poor cameras, an outdated processor and some software glitches.
Presumably, the Surface Duo 2 would address those complaints. There's supposedly going to be a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 processor this time around and Microsoft is rumored to be adding triple cameras to the new Surface Duo. Whether that will be enough to justify what figures to be a high price, we'll have to wait and see.
The Microsoft hype machine is start to limber up.
Almost showtime...#MicrosoftEvent https://t.co/856YkSaSVh pic.twitter.com/TeHRW3TJfmSeptember 22, 2021
So to recap, our last-minute predictions with 10 minutes to go before Microsoft kicks things off:
- A new Surface Book
- A new Surface Pro
- A new Surface Duo
And maybe some sort of hardware surprise. We're thinking something along the lines of that crazy Surface Hub 2S that Microsoft showed off a few years back, if only to wow us all.
And we're underway with Panos Panay: "It's about the hardware completing that magical experience."
Specifically, today will focus on the Surface hardware, as has widely been expected.
Eight new devices and accessories are coming today, Panos Panay says. That's a lot devices!
We've replaced the embedded live stream link pointing to an older Surface event to the proper event. The person responsible for the error has been sentenced to live blogging.
First up, innovations in the 2-in-1 lineup: It's the Surface Pro 8.
Is it built for Windows 11? You bet it is. It's also got 16 hours of battery life and faster performance than the Surface Pro 7, powered by 11th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs.
That's a 13-inch display and its refresh rate can ramp up to 120Hz.
Microsoft is talking up the Surface Slim Pen 2 as a necessary accessory for the Surface Pro 8. It's very responsive, we're told
Surface Go 3 is here, too, so that's another 2-in-1. It's 60% faster than before, with Windows 11 improving the overall experience.
Both the Surface Go 3 and Surface Pro 8 presentations have focused on Microsoft Teams integration in Windows 11, just in case you were wondering if Microsoft is keen on talking up the video messaging features in its upcoming software release.
It's a 10.5-inch display on this kid-friendly 2-in-1.
Microsoft is also announcing the Microsoft Ocean Mouse, made out of 25% recycled ocean plastic. The box is fully recyclable, too, so sustainability is part of Microsoft's message here.
On the accessibility front, Microsoft is talking about the Surface Adaptive Kit to help people more easily use Microsoft hardware. Raised stickers you can add to the keyboard with different shapes and design that will benefit visually impaired users. There are lanyards that pull out the kickstand, too.
Basically, the idea is that Surface Adaptive Kit lets people modify their device so they spend more time using the device and less time dealing with workarounds.
Accessibility is becoming an important factor in computing — more so than in the past — and it's good to see Microsoft front and center on this aspect of design.
Time to meet the next Surface Duo. It's a phone with an dual screen display (when opened), and as the rumors foretold, there's a Snapdragon 888 processor (with built-in 5G) and a triple lens camera array on the back.
You get an 8.3 inch display when open, which is larger than the Galaxy Z Fold 3's 7.6 inch screen. Of course, the Samsung phone's display is seamless while the Surface Duo 2 is two panels stuck together. However, a curved display gives the effect of bringing the two panels closer together.
This phone works with Slim Pen, too.
There's a screen to glance at the phone so you don't have to open it.
Let's talk Surface Duo 2 cameras — you get wide, ultrawide and telephoto lenses. Editing controls appear on the phone's left screen, so you tweak photos (appearing on the right screen) without cluttering up your view.
For those of you who care about camera specs: 12MP (f/1.7) main with OIS, 16MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, and 12MP (f/2.4) telephoto with OIS.
Is there Microsoft Teams integration? You bet. And because this is a dual-screen device, the other screen can be used as a collaborative white board.
And now the most powerful Surface Microsoft has ever made, at least according to Panos Panay. It's the Surface Laptop Studio, built on the heritage of the Surface Book and the Surface Studio. Basically, this is a laptop with a hinged design that can transform into a Studio-like tablet.
Some of the specs: there's a a quad-core 11th gen Intel processor with Nvidia graphics.
You have a 14.4-inch display, but Panay says that it's still very portable. You pull the display toward you to get something called stage mode, which is basically propping up the display to watch content.
Studio mode is where you can lay the screen flat to draw and enjoy other tablet-like experiences. When you draw on the surface — with the new Surface Slim Pen 2, of course — there's haptic feedback that makes it feel like you're drawing on paper.
Panos Panay is addressing developers now, which suggests the Surface Studio Laptop is being marketed toward professionals.
The message to developer is that the Surface Laptop Studio has the processing oomph and 120Hz display to keep up with anything devs are working on.
Interestingly, Microsoft is showing how the Laptop Studio can dock with external displays — in this case a pair of 4K displays. Again, that's a direct appeal to power users.
And lest you think that Slim Pen is just for drawing, a demo is showing how to use the stylus to edit video when the Surface Laptop Studio is in Studio mode.
All of the products announced today will be available on October 5, the same day Windows 11 drops. So plenty of hardware will be out when the new Microsoft software arrives.
Satya Nadella is here with some big picture stuff on innovation. Accessibility and sustainability are part of that, just to return to some of the themes from earlier today.
And that's it — not even so much as a recap. Fortunately, that's why we're here. Microsoft's announcements:
- The Surface Pro 8 2-in-1
- The Surface Go 3 2-in-1
- The Surface Duo 2 smartphone
- The Surface Laptop Studio
- The Surface Slim Pen 2
- A mouse made out of recyclable materials
- And the Surface Accessibility kit.
Throw in a Windows 11 launch, and that's a pretty big day for everyone. We'll see all these products on Oct. 5. Thanks for joining us, and we'll have more details on each of these products as the day goes on.
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