For tech enthusiasts and fans, this upcoming holiday season is shaping up to be a doozy, between triple-lens iPhone cameras, face and gesture recognizing Google Pixels and the bevy of Microsoft Surface products that were just announced at the company’s annual October hardware event, credit cards may get stretched to the max.
During its October 2, 2019 event in New York, Microsoft executives took to the stage to weave a story of productivity amid various product announcements that ranged from updated designs to entirely new hardware offerings.
The event launched with a poignant story from head of the Surface division, Panos Panay where he likened using personal computers to playing the piano or conducting a symphony. From there, a waterfall of products were announced, some coming as soon as the end of the month, others planned out as far as holiday season 2020.
Here is what Surface fans can expect to grab soon and in the near future.
Surface Laptop 3
As expected, Microsoft’s Surface team did the work on adding/removing features customers have been clamoring for since its induction.
The new Surface Laptop 3 will come in two sizes, the standard 13-inch housing a 13.5-inch screen and a new 15-inch offering. According to Panos Panay, “Surface Laptop 3 is twice as fast with the same slim design and all-day battery life,” and will pack a 10th Generation Intel® Core™ processor, which marks one of the first time a Surface product has thrown caution to the wind and ran a next-gen processor from Intel during its release year.
The new 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 will come with an optional Alcantara or Aluminum finish. That’s right, Microsoft heard the gallery of questions regarding the longevity of a fabric keyboard is now offering its highest customer satisfaction rated laptop without it. There is also a choice between Intel and AMD with a new Ryzen Surface Edition processors. Coupled with a new USB-C port, 1.33 mm key travel and fast charging, the Surface Laptop becomes a no-brainer for anyone in need of a new laptop or shifting away from the seemingly geeky Surface Book and Surface Book 2.
Both the 13 and 15-inch will be available in October and are up for preorder currently at Microsoft’ Store for the price of $999 and $1,199 respectively. A new color option was added that now laces the laptop in a champagne-like gold.
Surface Pro 7
Perhaps, not wanting to undermine the anticipation and excitement of the Surface Pro X unveiling, the Surface Pro 7 was probably the most conservative announcement Microsoft held, with a handful of modest upgrades announced today. The SP7 clocks in with the same weight and size dimensions, but is now booking a USB-C connecting port as well as an upgrade to Intel’s 10th generation processor. Folks can grab the new Surface Pro for as little as $749 later this month.
Surface Pro X
Stealing the spotlight from Microsoft’s flagship Surface Pro device was its newly announced cousin, the Surface Pro X, which retains a bit of the industrial design of the Pro but with refinements that put it leagues ahead of its predecessor.
The Surface Pro X appears to finally be the head-to-head competitor of the Apple iPad Pro sporting a new slim design thanks to specialty designed Qualcomm processor dubbed the SQ1. Microsoft and Qualcomm teamed up to create new custom silicon for this 5.33 mm 2-in-1 weighing in at around 1.68 pounds. Beyond a new screen-to-body ratio that’s almost edge-to-edge, the internals for the Surface Pro X have been redesigned to house the new SQ1 chipset which will enable 9 teraflops of AI processing and 2 teraflops of graphical processing power.
The Surface team also redesigned its signature keyboard in conjunction with the Surface Pro X that now houses a wireless charging bed for the new Surface Slim Pen which also has undergone a redesign that includes ditching the wonky AAA batteries for wireless charging and new inking capabilities paired with various Microsoft and Adobe software.
The Pro X will be on shelves later this month starting at $999 and the Surface Slim Pen will be sitting in wait as well for $144.99, which is close to $50 more expensive than the current 4,190 points of pressure beast, the Surface Pen.
Expanding from the traditional to the aspirational Microsoft venture further into its workplace wearables with its new Surface Earbuds unveiling. Similar fit and finish to the Surface Headphones, Microsoft premium listening experience will be carried to in-ear earbuds that house immersive Omnisonic sound and claim to sport top-of-line accessibility with screen-free integration with software such as Office 365 and Spotify (on Android).
Screen-free integration with Office 365 lets you access your Outlook calendar and email with your voice7,8 (in the U.S.) and even get live, on-screen captions and translations in PowerPoint. Enjoy all-day battery life with the included wireless charging case.
The Surface Earbuds look to be a bit bigger than most “smart earbuds” on the market and are coming in with a hefty $249 price tag later this year. I suspect that they’ll get a reduction in a similar fashion to the Surface Headphone in early 2020.
The plot thickened when Microsoft executives showed off the long-rumored foldable device in the Surface Neo. Unfortunately, the new dual 9-inch screen, 360-degree full friction hinged handheld won’t be available until Fall 2020 at the earliest. When opened fully users will be able to experience a modified version of Windows 10 dubbed Windows 10X that uses some sort of smart snapping to arrange windows and prioritize data and document searches. The Neo will support the Surface Pen, presumably the new Surface Slim Pen, and other Bluetooth enabled mice and keyboards despite having its own miniature sliding keyboard attachment. Without an official release timeframe, Microsoft was also scant on potential pricing for the Neo at this time.
The anguish of 5 million displaced Windows Phone users were addressed today as Microsoft unveiled its tepid entrance back into the phone world with the Surface Duo. The Duo stands as a modified Surface Neo that was built in partnership with Google to address Microsoft’s long-standing app-accessibility issues. Even though the company just announced Windows 10X, the Duo is slated to run Android, and include all the Android apps available in the Google Play Store. Panos Panay showed several Android enabled apps as well as a screen with a Snapchat and YouTube prominently displayed.
The Duo will sport dual 5.6-inch screens and when opened, span 8.3 inches. Microsoft plans to refine the look of the Duo and Neo over the next year and it’s uncertain at the moment whether there will be rear-facing cameras and headphone jacks attached to these projects.
Microsoft announced a lot on stage today but the company is also making several off-stage announcements as well that include updates to other accessories such as the Arc Mouse, Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard, Type Cover and more.
View our extensive coverage of the event for more details.