Microsoft’s annual Surface event turned out to a rather power packed affair. As perhaps it was to be expected, this time around, there was greater focus on the software side of things. And one eye on the future, as perhaps the rather cool new additions to the Surface hardware line-up would perhaps testify to. Some of this stuff was expected, such as the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 and the Surface Pro 7. But as you would imagine, it is the unexpected and the cool which really stands out. The Surface Pro X, the Surface Neo, the Surface Duo and the wireless earbuds called Surface Buds.
Then there is the small matter of a new variant of Windows, called Windows 10X, specifically designed for multi-screen devices. The fine print however suggests that you won’t be able to buy all this cool stuff right away though. We decipher all the announcements from Microsoft’s Surface event for 2019.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
The Surface Laptop line-up has been expanded to add the new 15-inch screen size option, in addition to the 13-inch model. These will be powered by Intel’s 10th generation Ice Lake processors with the Iris Plus graphics. Apart from the Intel processor powered variants, you will also be able to choose the AMD Ryzen powered Surface Laptop 15 Surface Edition. For this particular processor, Microsoft worked with AMD to develop and optimise this for the Surface Laptop 3. What alreadt feel like an extended line-up of variants and options gets another one which Microsoft says will be without the Alcantara fabric layer around the keyboard. Speaking of which, the new designs mean the trackpad on these laptops is 20% larger than the predecessor.
Microsoft did not hold back on the firing though, and they say that the Surface Laptop 3 is 3X faster than the current iteration of the Apple MacBook Air. says that this product is three times faster than Apple’s current MacBook Air.
The Surface Laptop 3 is now up for pre-order in the US, starting at $999 (around Rs 71,000) for the 13-inch model and $1,199 (around Rs 85,000) for the 15-inch model.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Probably the simplest update to the existing Surface line-up. This succeeds the Surface Pro 6 and now runs the new 10th generation Intel Core processors. But the universe would probably be the happiest about the fact that the Surface Connector which was a regular fixture in Surface devices all this while, has made way for the USB-C port for power.
The Surface Pro 7 is also up for pre-order in the US with prices starting $749 (around Rs 53,000).
Microsoft Surface Pro X
This is where things become serious. And cool. It is not easy to describe the Surface Pro X. It is like the Surface Pro series, but there is some amount of additional versatility to it. This is 13-inch convertible that becomes a tablet and a laptop, as you need it to. Design refinements mean thin bezels are smaller. It also has a Type Cover but is different from the one that the Surface Pro uses. There is also a docking option for the Surface Pen. And this runs Windows 10. But wait to hear this. The Surface Pro X is powered by Microsoft’s custom ARM-based SQ1 chipset. And there is LTE connectivity that should be great news for those who travel a lot. Microsoft claims it has 3X more performance than the Surface Pro 6 while the graphics have been seriously boosted as well.
The Surface Pro X can now be pre-ordered $999, and will ship sometime in November.
Microsoft Surface Neo
There really is no ambiguity as to what it is, when you take a look at the Surface Neo. Basically, there are two 9-inch screens held together by a what must be a rather robust hinge—this hinge is 350-degrees, by the way. Microsoft showed off how they have implemented a new has engineered a new keyboard that sits above the display, a touch interface called Wonderbar (inspiration from Apple’s Touch Bar, perhaps?) and when you slide up this keyboard, the on-screen trackpad is revealed.
The thing is, Microsoft is still working on the Surface Neo, and this will only be available sometime towards the end of next year. No pricing details as yet, or the other specifications. But this was perhaps a good way to show off Windows 10X, which has been designed for multi-screen devices specifically.
This neatly leads up to the biggest iteration we have ever seen for Windows 10, in all its years of existence. Windows 10X has been made for multi-screen devices. The basics remain the same, and Microsoft says that all apps that currently run on your Windows 10 machine will also run on Windows 10X. However, this is better positioned to utilize the multiple screens that may be available on certain devices, to run multiple apps, a separate set of tasks and more across them.
Microsoft Surface Duo
After announcing the Windows 10X operating system for multi-screen and foldable screen devices, Microsoft promptly went ahead and announced the Surface Duo—a foldable tablet running, yes you are reading it right, Android. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it is just a bit perplexing. The Surface Duo will have two 5.6-inch screens merged with the help of a 360-degree hinge. Each display can run a different app, and from what we can see, Android has been skinned and customized to look a lot like some aspect of Windows. A smaller Surface Neo perhaps, but since this runs Android, there will be full access to the Play Store as well. Oh. And this is a phone too.
But the Surface Duo isn’t coming anytime soon. This will only arrive in stores towards the end of the year 2020.
This was also very much expected. Pretty much everyone is making wireless earbuds these days and Microsoft surely didn’t want to be left behind. As wireless earbuds do, these also come with a charging case—and Microsoft says the Surface Buds offer up to 24 hour battery life with these topping them up at intervals. There are touch sensitive controls on each earbud and Microsoft says these have omnisonic sound as well as a directional dual-array microphone.
These roll out later this year for $249 (around Rs 17,700).