While Microsoft’s recent endeavours may be a bit more focused on their software side of things—Windows 11 is due to launch in two weeks time—that’s not to say that they’ve completely forgotten about their hardware products. In fact, as the just concluded Microsoft Surface event showed, the Redmond-based tech giant still has plenty of tricks up their sleeve.
Surface Pro 8
Perhaps the one device we’ve been waiting for quite a while now, the Surface Pro 8 is the latest in Microsoft’s line up of 2-in-1 Windows machines. Microsoft is calling it their most powerful Pro yet, and there’s good reason why.
Under the hood is are 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs, with your choice of either the Intel Core i5-1135G7 or the more powerful Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor. You’ll also be able to configure it with 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of LPDDR4X RAM and up to a 1TB SSD. Graphics come in the from of Intel Xe Graphics and Microsoft have also preloaded the Surface Pro 8 with Windows 11 Home out of the box.
The display is a 13-inch PixelSense screen, with the classic Microsoft 3:2 aspect ratio and a 2880 x 1920 pixel resolution. This makes it a slight upgrade over the Surface Pro 7’s 12.3-inch PixelSense display at a lower 2736 x 1824 pixel resolution. Microsoft has also made the bezels on the Surface Pro 8 thinner than it’s predecessor. The display has support for Adaptive Colour Technology and Dolby Vision too.
Another major upgrade with the display though is the refresh rate. While it’ll default to 60Hz, the display will switch to a 120Hz refresh rate when it detects touch or stylus inputs. This is done via the new Dynamic Refresh Rate feature on Windows 11, which can automatically adjust the refresh rate, similar to Apple’s own ProMotion display on the iPad Pro.
Furthermore, the Surface Pro 8 comes with two USB-C ports that double as both USB 4.0 and Thunderbolt 4 connections. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack, Microsoft’s Surface Connect port as well as a Surface Type Cover port. As for connectivity, it supports WiFi 6 as well as Bluetooth 5.1. Audio gets taken care of by a pair of 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos as well as a dual far-field microphone setup. You’ll also find a 10MP camera on the rear capable of up to 4K video while the 5MP front camera will be needed for Windows Hello authentication.
Battery-wise, Microsoft has packed in a 51.5Wh battery into the Surface Pro 8, and they claim that it’ll be good for up to 16 hours of use for ‘typical Surface device usage’. There’s also accessories in the form of the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and Surface Slim Pen 2, although those are sold separately. The Surface Pro 8’s body is built with anodised aluminum and comes in either a graphite or platinum colourway.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 starts at USD1,099.99(~RM4,606.76) and will officially go on sale starting from the 5th of October though you can pre-order it now. There’s up to eight different configurations of the Surface Pro 8 on Microsoft’s US store, with the most expensive option coming in at USD2,599.99(~RM10,888.76). However, there’s no word just yet on local pricing and availability.
Surface Laptop Studio
Microsoft had saved this announcement for last in their Surface Event, and it’s certainly a very interesting device. The Surface Laptop Studio’s design seems inspired by their own Surface Studio lineup of all-in-one desktops, and even features a hinge to let you pull the display over the keyboard for when you want to use a stylus.
While the Surface Pro 8 might’ve been Microsoft’s most powerful Surface Pro, the Surface Laptop Studio is now their most powerful laptop. This is thanks to the 11th Gen Intel Core H35-series processors under the hood. Technically speaking, these CPUs aren’t as powerful as the normal Intel H-series CPUs; they are more like Intel U-series chips bumped up to use 35W of power instead of the usual 15W-25W.
Specifically, the Surface Laptop Studio will come with either the Intel Core i5-11300H or the Intel Core i7-11370H. This gets mated to either 16GB or 32GB of LPDDR4X RAM, with up to 2TB of SSD storage. Graphics on the Core i5 models get handled by the integrated Intel Xe graphics, while the Core i7 models come with a significantly more powerful NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti graphics card. That being said, Microsoft didn’t reveal the wattage and total graphics power of the RTX 3050 Ti, but it’s likely much lower powered than those found in beefier gaming laptops.
The display meanwhile is a 14.4-inch PixelSense screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 2400 x 1600 pixel resolution. It’s refresh rate can also go up to 120Hz like the aforementioned Surface Pro 8, and has a contrast ratio of 1500:1. There’s support for touch input as well as the Surface Pen and Slim Pen 2. Behind the display is a hinge on the middle of the back, allowing you to pull the screen over the keyboard closer to you like an easel, or when you want to use it like a tablet. Perhaps not as eccentric as the Surface Book, but it’s still a nifty design.
Other features include a 58Whr battery that Microsoft rates for up to 19 hours of use on the Core i5 model, while the Core i7 model gets up to 18 hours. If you do opt for the Core i7 model, you get a more powerful 95W Surface Power Supply compared to the Core i5’s 65W Surface Power Supply. You’ll also find two USB 4.0 ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a 3.5mm audio jack and a Surface Connect port. There’s a front facing camera too for Windows Hello authentication while audio gets handled by a quad omnisonic speaker setup and dual far-field microphones.
The Surface Laptop Studio has support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. Just like the Surface Pro 8, the Surface Laptop Studio will come with Windows 11 Home too. The body of the laptop is built with magnesium and aluminum, and comes in a platinum colourway.
It starts at USD1,599.99(~RM6,700.76) for the Intel Core i5 model with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which balloons to USD3,099.99(~RM12,982.76) for the top-tier Intel Core i7 configuration that comes with 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD and the NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti GPU. Just like the Surface Pro 8, it’s available for pre-order now with the official release date being the 5th of October. There’s no word on local pricing and availability so far though.