Microsoft has announced several big updates to its Surface line-up, namely the new Surface Pro 8, Surface Laptop Studio, and Surface Duo 2. The new Surface laptops looks set to become some of the best laptops for photographers, while the Surface Duo 2 phone could finally give Microsoft a spot on our best camera phone list.
Surface Pro 8
The Surface Pro 8 is the latest iteration of Microsoft's 2-in-1 detachable tablet computer, where computer takes the form of a tablet which can be attached to a clip-on keyboard to transform into a more conventional laptop. However, unlike a tablet, the Surface Pro 8 runs full-on PC hardware, like Intel's latest 11th-gen Core i5 and i7 processors, enabling Thunderbolt 4 connectivity via two USB Type-C ports (Type-A devices will now require an adapter to plug in). Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 are also supported, while a good old 3.5mm audio port completes the connectivity options.
Microsoft has also boosted the Surface Pro 8's display specs. The new 13" PixelSense Flow screen is larger than the 12.3" display on the 'Pro 7, and resolution has been upped to 2880 x 1920 for a 267ppi pixel density. The display also gets a silky-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, though it can run at lower framerates to optimise battery life if needed. Dolby Vision support helps with display HDR content, and the screen is touch-sensitive for touch or stylus input, as it's compatible with Microsoft's new Surface Slim Pen 2. Microsoft has also equipped the Surface Pro 8 with a 5MP front-facing camera capable of recording 1080p video, plus there's a 4K-capable 10MP rear-facing camera.
Expect to pay $1,099 for a base quad core Intel Core i5 machine equipped with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and up to $2,599 for a Core i7 Surface Pro 8 packing 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD.
Surface Laptop Studio
Microsoft has also unveiled a brand new Surface product: Surface Laptop Studio. Positioned to replace the Surface Book, Surface Laptop Studio is another 2-in-1 tablet/laptop convertible, but one that more closely resembles a high-end laptop, albeit one with a unique party piece. Taking inspiration from the existing Microsoft Surface Studio desktop computer, the Surface Laptop Studio's screen is mounted to the rest of the laptop via a clever 'Dynamic Woven Hinge' which allows it to fold down and over the keyboard and touch pad to resemble an almost flat drawing surface.
Alternatively, you can set the screen to cover only the keyboard, with the touch pad still visible, in what Microsoft refers to as 'Stage Mode'.
The screen itself is a 14.4" PixelSense Flow Display with a 2400 x 1600 resolution, and like the Surface Pro 8, it features a 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision support. Thunderbolt 4 ports are also present, as is the option to spec a powerful GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card for video editing. Go for the $1,599 base config and you'll have to make do with Intel Iris Xe graphics and a Core i5 quad-core processor, whereas $2,099 will buy you a more powerful Core i7 CPU along with a larger 512GB SSD for storage.
Surface Duo 2
Not content with releasing new laptop offerings, Microsoft has also revealed the successor to its Surface Duo camera phone. Surface Duo 2 retains the dual-screen folding design of the original Duo, but packs a faster - and 5G capable - Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 system-on-chip.
One major drawback with the first Surface Duo was its single rear facing camera - hardly befitting of a flagship device. Microsoft has now addressed this, as the Surface Duo 2 sports a triple camera array consisting of 12MP f/1.7 27mm-equivalent wide-angle camera with OIS, a 16MP f/2.2 13mm-equiv. ultra-wide camera, and a 12MP f/2.4 51mm-equiv telephoto module, also with OIS.
But the centrepiece of the Surface Duo 2 is of course its dual AMOLED PixelSense Fusion Displays, which when unfolded give an 8.3-inch display and a combined resolution of 2688 x 1892 pixels, equating to 401 PPI. Microsoft has also made the display exceptionally color-accurate, and claims it can cover 100% of the sRGB and DCI-P3 color spaces. A 90Hz refresh rate and huge 800-nit max brightness complete the headline display specs.
Naturally, all this tech doesn't come cheap though. The surface Duo 2 starts at $1,500, and for that you only get 128GB storage. 256GB and 512GB versions are available, for $1,600 and $1,800 respectively. That makes the Surface Duo 2 around $400 more expensive than an iPhone 13 Pro Max with equivalent storage capacity.
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