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Microsoft refreshed its entire Surface line of laptops, tablets, and phones via a video presentation it streamed earlier today. These are the biggest hardware announcements Microsoft has made this year, with improvements to design and power across the board.
Microsoft will begin shipping its Surface gear will start shipping on October 5, but you can preorder these gadgets today on Microsoft’s site right now. The benefit of preordering is that you’re guaranteed to get hardware the day its released, which is more important than ever because of the global chip shortage.
The shortage is limiting companies’ ability to keep up with supply, so you may have to wait a while if you don’t lock in your order early. If you didn’t catch the presentation, here’s everything you need to know about Microsoft’s new Surface line, and where to place your preorder.
1. Surface Pro 8
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 is the latest version of the versatile, mainstream laptop, and this new version 48% faster than the version that it’s replacing. Microsoft says it has 70% improved graphics performance, too, which will come in handy when you’re editing photos and videos. These performance bumps come courtesy of an Intel quad-core i5 processor.
This laptop comes with 8GB of RAM (memory) and a 128GB SSD (storage), but can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD depending on your needs. The Surface Pro 8 also features a five megapixel 1080P HD camera, 10 megapixel 4K back camera, and gets up to 16 hours of battery life per charge.
One of the most meaningful upgrades Microsoft made to this machine was equipping it with two Thunderbolt 4 ports. This will allow you to connect ultra-fast external drives, or powerful external graphics cards to further extend the capabilities of this machine.
Finally, Microsoft touted the Surface Pro 8’s 13-inch touch screen, which has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. This guarantees smooth scrolling and ultra-sharp text and images.
In short, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 is currently the best premium Windows laptop for most people.
2. Surface Go 3
The Surface Go is Microsoft’s entry level, two-in-one computer, and this third revision is up to 60% faster thanks to Intel’s new processors.
This small-but-mighty machine has a high resolution 10.5-inch display, 4GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD. These specs are very reasonable for common tasks like creating presentations, writing documents, or editing spreadsheets. You can configure a version of the Surface Go 3 with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a faster Intel processor for an additional fee.
Microsoft says the new Surface Pro 3 gets up to 11 hours of battery per charge, which is enough to make it through a work or school day. If you’re shopping for a student, or need an ultra thin and light machine to get light work done around the house, Microsoft’s upgrades to the Surface Go 3 make it an excellent machine for those tasks.
3. Surface Duo II
The Surface Duo II is Microsoft’s latest crack as a fold-able smartphone, and it received technical improvements across the board.
This year’s model is outfitted with an ultra-fast Snapdragon 888 processor, which is necessary to power this device’s dual screens. Each display is 5.8-inches when measured diagonally, and creates an 8.3-inch 90Hz screen when the phone is fully opened. This is a different approach to other foldable phones, which use a single display.
The Surface Pro Duo has a three-camera system that includes a 12 megapixel wide angle lens, 12 megapixel telephoto lens, and an ultra-wide 16 megapixel lens. These cameras can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second. This premium tri-camera system is rounded out by a 12 megapixel front-facing camera for clear selfies.
This smartphone’s most innovative feature is its ability to display notifications on the Duo II’s hinge when it’s closed. The notifications are color coated, so you’ll know what type of message you’ve received at a glance.
The Surface Duo II’s improved specs and innovative design features make it one of the most interesting foldable phones to launch in 2021. It’ll be available on October 21.
4. Surface Laptop Studio
Microsoft saved its largest announcement for last: The Surface Laptop Studio. This is Microsoft’s most powerful laptop to date, and is the ultimate Windows-based portable computer.
The Surface Laptop Studio features a 14.4-inch high resolution display with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. The screen supports HDR, which means colors will look more vibrant whether you’re watching videos or creating them.
The laptop features a quad-core Intel i5 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. You can configure it with an Intel Core i7, 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD if your needs require the power. Higher-end configurations feature NVidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory.
What makes the Surface Laptop Studio special is Microsoft’s extreme attention to detail. You can adjust the haptic feedback on its touch-sensitive trackpad, attach the Surface Pen II to its body magnetically for easy storage, and flip the screen into a number of different configurations. If you need to get things done, the Surface Laptop Studio is designed to accommodate you.