Microsoft unveil Surface Duo phone, Surface Neo tablet & much more in New York
At an event in New York today, Microsoft unveiled their latest Surface devices, some of which will be available before the end of this year, while others won’t be launching until Christmas next year. The event follows on from last year’s event where Microsoft slew of hardware launches, both in existing and new product categories, showing that the company are in the hardware business for the long game. Today’s event was no different with Microsoft showing their entry into the wireless earbuds category along with brand new concept dual screen products which should arrive next Christmas.
Here’s a rundown of everything Microsoft announced at its event:
Surface Laptop 3
Microsoft’s head of devices Panos Panay kicked off the event by unveiling the company’s latest touchscreen laptop. The updated device now comes in two sizes (with 13- and 15-inch displays), and features a few key changes. It features a 20% larger trackpad, studio microphones (for better-sounding video calls), fast-charging batteries (up to 80% charge in under an hour), and powerful new Intel processor and AMD graphics cards that Panay said makes the device three times faster than a similar MacBook Air.
The laptop can also be repaired a little more easily than many similar devices on the market today: You can unscrew the feet of the laptop to get to the motherboard, and you can easily replace the hard drive.
Below is a breakdown of Irish pricing and availability:
- Laptop 3 13” €1,169. It is generally available on October 22nd
- Laptop 4 15” €1,399. It is also generally available on 22nd October
Surface Pro 7
Microsoft then went on to show off an updated version of its Pro tablet, which has a few additions over last year’s model. The device now features both regular USB-A and USB-C connections, and the same studio mics that are in the Surface Laptop 3. There have also been a few updates to the software that controls the stylus, so users can now interact with documents far more naturally.
Surface Pro 7 starts at €919 with general availability is on 22nd October.
Joining pretty much every other company out there, Microsoft is throwing their hat into the wireless earbuds ring. Their new, rather large buds will have deep integration to Microsoft’s Office 365 software. Using the buds, you can live-dictate a PowerPoint slide deck while tapping the buds to change slides, or dictate to Word to write a document. Various swiping and tapping gestures can open apps like Spotify and control them, without having to say a word to a voice assistant or look at a phone.
The earbuds have 8 hours of battery life per charge, and their case holds another two full charges, meaning that theoretically the buds can be used for 24 hours before needing a full recharge. Their earpieces were designed to fit snugly in the ear, but not dive into the ear canal, which can be uncomfortable for some. The design also allows the wearer to still hear the outside world (useful for when you’re on the subway or out on the street) if needed.
The buds have yet to be given an Irish price or any launch date but we’ll be sure to update this article once we know more.
Surface Pro X
The device is a slimmed-down, more powerful tablet aimed at people who need to get real work done on the go. It has an always-on LTE cellular data connection, and Microsoft worked with Qualcomm to build a custom processor built on the company’s Snapdragon architecture.
The tablet is only 5.33 mm thick and weighs 1.68 pounds. The optional keyboard case features a mouse as well as a small magnetic well that a stylus can sit and charge in when it’s not in use.
Surface Pro X starts at €1,169 with general availability is on 19th November.
Right at the very end and in a very apple-esque, ‘One more thing’ moment, Microsoft unveiled an entirely new type of device, which he said wouldn’t be ready until “next holiday”: the dual-screen Surface Neo. It’s a 5.6mm-thin touchscreen laptop where both sides of the device are displays, allowing it to be held like a book or a laptop. It has a 360-degree hinge that allows the two displays to be folded into any position. A stylus hangs off the back magnetically, charging when not in use.
There’s also an optional magnetic keyboard cover that can flip up over one of the displays, allowing you to type with relative ease, if you’re not a fan of typing on glass. You can also pull off the keyboard, use both screens, and type from the keyboard remotely, connected over Bluetooth. Although the device isn’t finished (some of the interactions it showed off were still a little slow and clunky), Microsoft wants to get it into developers’ hands as soon as possible so that when it’s ready to ship to consumers – likely next Christmas.
What actually should have been called Microsoft’s ‘Two More Things’ moment, they also unveiled the Surface Duo, essentially a shrunken-down Neo that runs a combination of Google’s Android with Microsoft apps that can be used as a folding smartphone.
Unlike other tablets or large smartphones on the market, the device will let you multitask without compromise. Panay showed off someone taking a video call while running PowerPoint and answering emails. Many devices don’t have the power or screen real estate to allow you to run multiple processor-intensive applications at once.
The device features two discrete screens that fold together, rather than one folding display, so hopefully the Duo won’t struggle with some of the production issues that other foldable devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X have faced.
Like Neo, the Duo won’t be available until next Christmas.