Microsoft Refreshes the Surface Pro and Shows Off Four New Devices
Andrew Wheeler posted on October 08, 2019 |

Microsoft has long been known as a software juggernaut. Bill Gates and Paul (return some videotapes) Allen basically created the concept of a software company in the late 70s. It grew along with the personal computer industry and exploded with the release of Windows 95, prompting an anti-trust suit from the United States government. But most people don't know that Microsoft has been making and releasing hardware since 1980, and began developing in-house hardware in 1982, when Microsoft's Hardware division was created. They've created everything from computer mice, teleconferencing hardware, webcams and networking products to tablets, mobile phones, the infamous Zune media player and their mixed reality headsets, the Microsoft HoloLens.

At Microsoft's annual hardware launch event on Wednesday of last week, the tech giant introduced several new products including the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3. These are serial products which refresh an existing line of products and were expected and anticipated by attendees. However, Microsoft also introduced four completely new devices. They introduced the Surface Pro X, the dual-screen Surface Neo tablet. Then they unveiled a smartphone with two screens they're calling the Surface Duo, which runs on Google's Android OS. 


The Surface Duo smartphone has two screens and runs on Google's Android OS. (Image courtesy of Microsoft).
The Surface Duo smartphone has two screens and runs on Google's Android OS. (Image courtesy of Microsoft).


The larger device, known (at least for now) as Surface Neo, is a dual-screen device with a movable keyboard that attaches magnetically and charges wirelessly. You can place it over one of the screens, and it covers about two-thirds of that screen, leaving space for a virtual touchpad (at the bottom) or what Microsoft calls Wunderbar (at the top). The latter feature is sort of like a giant version of Apple's Touch Bar.
This is the Surface Neo. It has two screens and an adjustable keyboard that attaches to the device magnetically. The keyboard also charges wirelessly. Users can place it directly over one screen. It covers the majority of the screen. (Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

The Surface Pro 7 now comes with a USB-C port and more graphics and processing power than the previous version, the Surface Pro 6. The Surface Pro X is for professional-grade users. It has a magnetic storage compartment that houses and charges the pen. It's pretty lightweight and is only 7.3 mm thick. It is similar to the company's design prerogative of meshing the features of tablets and laptops with it's detachable keyboard. It's processor is ARM-based from Qualcomm, which are used in a lot of Android phones. But this one is setup to run Windows 10.


The Surface Pro X and (Image courtesy of Microsoft).
The Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3. (Image courtesy of Microsoft).
Price and Availability

The new Surface laptops will be available on October 22nd. The Surface Laptop 3 has two sizes: the 13-inch version starts at $1000. The 15-inch version starts at $1100. The Surface Pro 7 will start at $750. The Surface Pro X also starts at $1000 and can be preordered in advance of its November 5th release date. 

Bottom Line

The addition of a USB-C port is a welcome addition, but there's no support for the Thunderbolt 3 standard on any of the Surface laptops, which is a nuisance that will sway many away from purchasing it. Microsoft also released earbuds that charge wirelessly and last for 24 hours. At the event, Microsoft demonstrated the Office Suite 365 integration features. Features like using your earbuds to swipe slides in PowerPoint. They also demonstrated how the earbuds can translate speech in real-time in over 60 languages. These will cost $250 when they are released during holiday season.


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