If you are one of those fans of Microsoft who’s been yearning to see the software-to-hardware giant roll out some game-changing products, we’ve got some good news. At the annual Surface launch event in New York on October 2, the company launched a new group of its Surface devices. Also, the big-ticket launches include the Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7 tablet, Surface Earbuds, a dual-screen device called Surface Neo, Surface Pro X and Surface Duo, a new Microsoft phone and the line-up is so impressive that it has already created a buzz in social media and beyond. Microsoft seems to be determined to make a difference this time with the new devices, after spending some confusing years with its smartphone experiments.
So, what’s new this time around?
Surface Laptop 3
Let’s begin with the Surface Laptop 3. A design marvel from the first looks, the slim, snazzy laptop is available in 13.5” and new 15” versions. The laptops have large touch screens, and they run on AMD’s Ryzen 7 chips, which is a customised version processor Microsoft has billed the Ryzen 7 Surface Edition. Microsoft claims the laptop has improved speed for everyday productivity, Office 365, streaming music and shows, shopping, writing papers, and browsing -- well that’s a lot in one go. The laptops sport a display resolution of 2256 x 1504 and 2496 x 1664 (201 PPI) with an aspect ratio of 3:2. Yes, they support the Surface Pen and have 8GB and 16GB LPDDR4x RAM for powerful computing. The 13.5-inch version runs on Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i5 and Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processors. The 15-inch version has the custom-built AMD Ryzen and has a USB-C charger. With this hardware and software muscle, the Surface Laptop 3 could be the most reliable personal computer Microsoft could ever have rolled out.
Surface Pro 7
The Pro 7 has not many ‘news’ to it if you compare the specs with the Pro 6. However, there are some substantial upgrades on the processor and graphics. The marquee 12.3" touchscreen 2-in-1 laptop from Microsoft is super thin, sticking to its legacy, and boasts of cutting edge processors and faster charging. The comes in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB (LPDDR4x RAM) versions, running on Intel’s dual-core 10th Gen i3, i5 and i7 processors. The processor upgrade is quite cool, and the i5 and i7 versions feature Intel Iris Plus Graphics. You didn’t have it in the Pro 6.
The Neo arguably was the show-stopper of Microsoft event in which the new series of devices were announced. With this cool-looking, high-fidelity dual-screen device, Microsoft begins its flirtations with the foldable factor. This isn’t precisely foldable in the purest sense of the term. You may call it a twin-screen tablet; there are two 9-inch screens, and the device can be flipped to get a near-foldable experience thanks to its 360-degree hinge. Microsoft claims the Neo has the slimmest display panels of their kind; the device weighs only 655 grams and is 5.6-mm thick (or thin). The displays reportedly have more than 60 micro-coaxial cables running between the hinges, and each is thinner than a human hair. Isn’t that something?
Surface Pro X
The Surface Pro X tablet has a 13-inch screen, and it runs on a customised Qualcomm Snapdragon processor -- the SQ1 A. It features a 13-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 2880x1920 pixels (267 ppi). The device is run on an octa-core Microsoft SQ1 processor and sports 8GB RAM. The Pro X has Windows 10 as the operating system and has 128GB storage. It supports a nano-sim. The Microsoft Surface Pro X now wears Matte Black and has slimmer bezels.
The Pro X has a Slim Pen, which is optional. Could this be the much anticipated iPad killer? The device will be out in November in the US, and it may take more time to reach India. So, watch this space.
Clearly, not many saw this coming. A surprise introduction, the Surface Duo is an Android smartphone with two displays that can fold up, only interrupted by a small hinge in the middle. Microsoft’s fans, as well as the critics, seem to be surprised at the fact that the company decided to try an Android smartphone, mainly considering its not-so-great run with smartphones, on the Windows platform. The Surface Duo looks like a small tablet -- many think it looks like a tiny Samsung tab when folded -- is going to hit the stores next year. Why the long window? It seems it wants developers to jump into the bandwagon and start creating apps for the device.
Yes, these devices may take a long time to reach India; in all likelihood, they will hit this market only in 2020, but considering the drool-worthy specs and design of the new devices, the wait seems worth the money.