Microsoft has unveiled a number of new Surface devices at a virtual event overnight — including its most powerful laptop yet, a redesigned Surface Pro and a second iteration of its ambitious double-screen Android smartphone — as the company prepares to launch Windows 11 next month.
The Surface Laptop Studio — which would seem to supplant the existing Surface Book as Microsoft’s new portable powerhouse, but which also takes inspiration from the desktop Surface Studio — was the centrepiece of the show. The device can be used as a traditional laptop, or with the screen moved forward for use without the keyboard, or folded down entirely into a tablet or slate.
It’s set to arrive in Australia early next year, although no local pricing was given. In the US it will start at $US1600 ($2210).
“[Studio] is the culmination of years of Surface innovation, on hinges, display, silicon, and more, and brings the best of the Surface heritage together in one powerhouse device,” said Microsoft vice president of devices Pete Kyriacou in announcing the machine.
Meanwhile the Surface Pro 8 tablet, launching November 4 from $1649, has a bigger and higher-resolution screen than its predecessors and slimmer bezels, while sharing a lot of under-the-hood upgrades with the larger Studio. Both devices pack an 11th Gen Intel processor, up to 32GB of RAM and a pair of USB 4.0 ports with Thunderbolt 4. And both feature displays with up to 120Hz refresh and support for Dolby Vision HDR, while the Studio also has GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics inside.
For its new smartphone, the Surface Duo 2, Microsoft showcased substantially updated screens and cameras, which were two of the main areas of complaint with last year’s debut device. On paper, the improvements bring the device much closer to other flagship phones.
The Duo 2 has a pair of 5.8-inch OLED screens that can run apps separately or act as one 8.3-inch display. In addition to being larger they also now support HDR and an adaptive refresh rate up to 90Hz. In addition to the single above-display camera (which has been upgraded since last time), there is now also a three-camera array on the back with wide, ultra-wide and 2x telephoto shooters.
Whether the other common complaint — a lack of polish in how Android spread across the two screens — has been addressed remains to be seen. Microsoft says Duo 2 will run Android 11 and come pre-installed with the best its own services and Google’s.