Microsoft just wrapped up its Fall 2021 Surface Event in a little under an hour and introduced new hardware, refreshes to existing line ups and further acknowledge the need for accessibility design.
With eight new devices shown off during the 50 min presentation, Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay and his host of presenters rattled off specs, use cases, design philosophies and engineering feats when rolling out the Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro X, Surface Go 3, Surface Slim Pen 2, Surface Duo 2, Surface Adaptive kit, Ocean Mouse, and Surface Laptop Studio.
Some of the announcement highlights include:
Surface Pro 8
- Surface Pro 8 is over 2 times faster than Surface Pro 7. Delivering over 40% higher sustained CPU performance and 74% faster graphics sustained performance,
- 2 Thunderbolt™ 4 ports. Support for multiple 4K monitors, keep large creative files on hand with an external
hard drive or create a dream gaming setup with an external GPU.2
- 11% larger, 10.8% higher resolution, 12.5% brighter, individually calibrated and virtually edge-to-edge, high-resolution 13”
PixelSense™ Flow touch display. Now with up to 120Hz refresh rate (60hz default) for an even
smoother pen experience and more responsive touch.
- Full HD cameras with improved low-light performance and consistent brightness across different lighting conditions, Studio Mics, and optimized speakers for
crystal-clear sound delivers an even better video calling experience. HD rear-facing camera with support for 4K video.
- The most advanced digital pen experience on a Pro. Unlock new experiences with Surface Slim
Pen. Tactile signals is a new digital pen experience that uses the built-in haptic motor in Surface Slim Pen 2 to give you the same feeling you get with pen on paper when notetaking and drawing. Surface Pro 8 with Surface Pen 2 has greater precision and lower latency when inking compared to Surface Slim Pen. Always charged, ready, and securely stored in Surface Pro Signature Keyboard.
Surface Pro X
- Gigabit LTE we will be extending the Pro X line-up and Wi-Fi only option.
- New entry price point, starting at $899
- Windows on ARM improvements: expanded native app support, now supports 64-bit emulation. More applications optimized for Windows on ARM than ever before including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Shapr 3D, Zoom, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Teams.
- 64-bit version of Office on ARM devices. This new version of Office is designed specifically for the next version of Windows on ARM. It has been recompiled for the ARM architecture to run fast, bring greater memory availability, offer better support for large documents, and maintain compatibility with existing 64-bit add-ins using the new x64emulation capability provided by Windows.
- Windows 11 unlocks more experiences than ever. Windows 11 on ARM supports both x86 and x64 emulation.
- Console caliber gaming. Play together and discover your next favorite game with friends. With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, access over 100 high-quality games through Xbox.com/Play for one low monthly price.
- For commercial customers, App Assure continues to provide support for those customers transitioning to Windows on ARM. With more support for printer drivers and security software.
Surface Go 3
Under the hood, the base model, which starts at $399, comes with an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. Microsoft is also offering another model with a faster Intel Core i3-10100Y CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB SSD. "Designed to light up the best of Windows 11, Surface Go 3 is 60% faster with an Intel Core i3 processor,” the company said today.
It's important to note that the new Surface Go 3 will retain the same design, including the 10.5-inch display with a 1920x1280 resolution. Additionally, the ports selection on the Surface Go 3 have not changed, unlike on the Surface Pro 8 which now has dual Thunderbolt ports. The Go 3 still comes with a USB-C port, a micro-SD port as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also has the same dual microphones and 2W Dolby Audio speakers as its predecessor. As for battery life, the Surface Go 3 should deliver up to up to 13 hours of battery life, according to Microsoft.
The Surface Duo 2 features a Snapdragon 888 SoC with a 5G modem, 8GB RAM, larger dual 8.3" PixelSense displays, a triple camera system on the back, and NFC support for contactless payments. Here are the full details.
- Operating System: Android 11
- Display: Dual 8.3" PixelSense displays
- SoC: Snapdragon 888
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB
- Rear Camera: Wide (12MP), Telephoto (12MP), Ultrawide (16MP)
- Front Camera: 12MP
- Security: Fingerprint Reader
- Connectivity: 5G, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
- Ports: 1 x USB-C
- Audio: Stereo Speakers
- Battery: 4,400mAh (approximate)
- Colors: Glacier (white), Obsidian (black)
Surface Slim Pen 2
Thanks to new capabilities in Windows 11 and a custom G6 processor found in the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop, the Surface Slim Pen 2 will provide tactile signals that create the feeling of pen on paper when used on these new Surface devices.
The Surface Slim Pen 2 can be also recharged automatically when it’s magnetically attached to the Surface Laptop Studio or stored in the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard. It will be priced at $129.99, and you can pre-order it today in select markets.
Ocean Plastic Mouse
The software giant also unveiled the Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse today, which is made from high-quality resin that uses 20 percent plastic recovered from the oceans. It’s available for pre-order today for $24.99.
Surface Adaptive Kit
The kit has been created in partnership with people with disabilities, and it includes keycap labels, bump labels, port indicators, as well as device openers to make it easier for people with disabilities to use various devices including PC keyboards. The Surface Adaptive Kit will be available later this year.
Surface Laptop Studio
The base Surface Laptop Studio model with a Core i5 CPU, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage will start at $1,599. The more expensive options include up to 32GB of RAM, up to 2TB of removable SSD storage, and the 14.4 PixelSense Flow touch display also offers optional 120Hz support, just like on the new Surface Pro 8. It’s worth noting that the Surface Laptop Studio’s screen also supports Dolby Vision, Dolby’s premium HDR format that is starting to become popular in the entertainment industry.
According to Microsoft, this new Dynamic Woven Hinge will let Surface Laptop Studio owners seamlessly transition between three modes: a classic "Laptop Mode," a "Stage mode" where the display is pulled forward to cover the keyboard, and a "Studio mode" where the screen sits above the base to provide a portable digital canvas.
What did you think of the event? Are you excited? Let us know in the comments below and visit the Surface Event 2021 tag on the site to read the full detailed write-ups that include additional information on pricing, availability and configuration options.