The NEW Surface Range
Microsoft has launched the Surface Pro X, a redesigned thin and light two-in-one Windows 10 PC running on custom ARM chips rather than traditional Intel processors, plus the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3, and previewed a folding phone and dual-screen tablet.
The products were unveiled at an event in New York on Wednesday, where Microsoft sought to grab attention from rivals including Apple and Samsung.
The Surface Pro X is Microsoft’s next-generation mobile tablet-laptop hybrid. It fits a larger high-resolution 13in screen into the 12in frame of the existing Surface Pro, is only 5.3mm thick at its thinnest point and weighs 762g. It retains the detachable Type Cover keyboard from Microsoft’s existing line, but introduces a new Surface Slim Pen stylus that fits between keyboard and tablet for charging and storage.
The biggest change is the use of the Microsoft SQ1 chip instead of Intel chips. The new custom ARM-based processor has an integrated AI engine and was developed with Qualcomm based on mobile device technology but running full Windows 10. Microsoft said the chip is three times more powerful per watt than the processor in the existing Surface Pro 6.
“What does that mean? Better battery life, faster, thinner, lighter with unprecedented performance, all while running the full power of Windows, Office, Edge and Chrome,” said Panos Panay, the chief product officer of Microsoft.
The new tablet PC also has always-connected 4G, similar to a smartphone, and promises battery life far in excess of traditional Intel computers.
Alongside the new ARM-powered Surface, Microsoft also announced an updated version of its traditional Windows tablet, the Surface Pro 7. It will use Intel’s 10th generation Core chips, making it more powerful than the outgoing Surface Pro 6. But the addition of USB-C connectivity to the tablet and a new fast-charging technology that will mean the battery can reach 80% in under an hour, are the biggest changes.
Microsoft also unveiled updated traditional laptops with a refreshed 13.5in and brand new 15in Surface Laptop 3.
The 13.5in Surface Laptop 3 has a 20% larger trackpad, comes in either aluminium or Microsoft’s fabric Alcantara finish, and has USB-C for the first time. It also uses 10th-generation Intel Core chips, which Microsoft said are twice as fast as those found in the outgoing Surface Laptop 2 and three times more powerful than those found in Apple’s MacBook Air.
The larger 15in Surface Laptop 3 bucks the trend with options for an Ryzen Surface Edition processor made by Intel’s longtime rival AMD, which Microsoft said has the fastest graphics of any laptop in its class.
Geoff Blaber of analysts CCS Insight said: “Broadening its silicon partners to include AMD and Qualcomm will inevitably raise eyebrows and cause Intel to look over its shoulder.
“The reality is that this is about choice, control and flexibility as Microsoft widens the Surface portfolio to address a growing range of devices and use cases.”
Both laptops feature all-day battery life and Microsoft’s new fast-charging technology. They are also repairable, with removable hard drives and other components designed to be easily taken apart.