To celebrate 10 years of its Surface products, Microsoft has launched a trio of new Surface computers: Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5 and Surface Studio 2+
Surface Pro 9
The Surface Pro is arguably the most innovative product in Microsoft's extensive Surface product line-up. Where other 2-in-1 laptops can often be little more than a laptop with a screen that can hinge back through 360 degrees to form a thick 'tablet', Surface Pro has always been designed to more closely resemble a tablet form factor. The device can then be converted into a genuine laptop alternative with the addition of a slim keyboard attachment, while a multi-angle kickstand props up the display.
The Surface Pro 9 is outwardly similar to its predecessors, with premium aluminium casing and a choice of color finishes. The 13-inch PixelSense display is available with a 120Hz refresh rate, along with an under-screen HD camera and Omnisonic speakers. Microsoft's custom G6 chip is said to improve pen input fidelity with tactile signals, which combined with the new Ink Focus in Microsoft OneNote, or the upcoming GoodNotes app, using the pen input should feel more like using a conventional pen on paper. Power comes from either 12th-gen Intel Core processors, or the more mobile-orientated Microsoft SQ 3 powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon.
Intel-based Surface Pro 9s are verified as Intel Evo laptops, meaning they conform to strict criteria that ensures smooth, powerful performance while also maintaining all-day battery life. Performance is touted as being increased by 50% over the Surface Pro 8, with the addition of Thunderbolt 4 enabling faster data transfer speeds, as well as the option to attach an external graphics card.
Surface Pro 9 laptops equipped with the Microsoft SQ 3 processor get fast 5G connectivity, an even longer battery life - up to 19 hours - as well as new AI features made possible by an all-new Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Capable of more than 15 trillion calculations per second, the NPU in Surface Pro 9 is said to "drive new experiences with Windows Studio effects".
Surface Laptop 5
Where Surface Pro 9 is a Windows PC-based tablet that can convert to a laptop, the Surface Laptop 5 is simply that - a traditional laptop - albeit a thin, light and ultra-efficient one. Like the latest Surface Pro, Surface Laptop 5 utilizes Intel 12th-gen processors, giving the same 50% speed boost, Intel Evo certification, and the addition of Thunderbolt 4 connectivity for the first time.
Two display sizes are available: 13.5 inch, and 15 inch, with both boasting Dolby Vision IQ for enhanced image quality, while the speaker setup now gets Dolby Atmos 3D for a more immersive soundstage. The front-facing HD camera and Studio Microphones are capable of adjusting camera exposure to any lighting conditions, while the anodized aluminium exterior is complemented by new color options.
Surface Studio 2+
It's been four whole years since the Surface Studio 2 was revealed, so its replacement is long overdue. One reason why development has been slow is the Surface Studio has very little competition, as it's unlike pretty much any other desktop computer. Its centerpiece is a beautiful and expansive 28-inch 3:2 display with not only touch sensitivity, but also pen input, which helped make the Surface Studio a dream machine for graphic artists.
The display is mounted on a 'Zero Gravity Hinge' that allows it to be positioned at any angle from vertical, right down to near-horizontal for an almost lay-flat drawing mode. The base of the hinge houses the computing components, and its here where Surface Studio 2+ differs most from the old 'Studio 2. An updated Intel Core i7 H Series processor delivers up to 50% faster CPU performance, while the inclusion of GeForce RTX 3060 discrete graphics is said to double the graphics performance. The display, cameras, Studio Mics and ports are also improved, and you now get Thunderbolt 4 as standard.
As well as the three new Surface computers, Microsoft is also improving Windows 11 so you can access iPhone photos and videos right from the Windows photo app thanks to a new iCloud for Windows app (available November). Microsoft has also announced that Apple Music and the Apple TV app will launch on Windows next year.
Furthermore, Microsoft is set to launch a new graphic design app as part of its Microsoft 365 package. 'Microsoft Designer' is an AI-driven app that utilises DALL∙E 2 intelligence to harness the power of cloud-based AI, along with your own content and ideas, to automatically generate a variety of unique images and designs. The technology is also set to be incorporated into Microsoft Bing search and the Edge web browser.