Microsoft Surface Event Recap: Prices and Availability
Microsoft favour power upgrades, over design changes, in the latest generation of Surface devices.
It was a Microsoft's biggest day of the year, for hardware. The Redmond based company announced four new devices including the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2 and Surface Headphones. They also announced and released the Windows 10 October 2018 update.Surface Pro 6
The Surface Pro line has, to a degree, become Microsoft's flagship consumer device over the past few years. The first few Surface Pro iterations were sort of ugly ducklings. But the Surface 4 and 5 became beautiful metal and glass swans, leaving many asking if they are the best portable 2-in-1 devices. The new Surface Pro 6 is attempting to continue the good name of the Surface brand. It’s 67% more powerful than the previous iteration, thanks to 8th Generation Intel processors and a redesigned cooling system. The outside looks just like the Surface Pro 5, but if you have a beautiful swan of a laptop, why change?
It features the same 12.3 inch, 267ppi display but with a higher contrast ratio and the battery life has been extended to 13.5 hours. That's very nice for the type of power users who will be buying such a device.
The entry level Surface Pro 6 - 128GB / Intel Core i5 / 8GB RAM (Platinum) - will cost £879.00 and can be pre-ordered now. Shipping will start on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.
Surface Laptop 2
The updated device's processor is the latest, 8th generation, quad-core, Intel Core processor which runs up to 85% faster than the previous generation. It features a quieter keyboard and OmniSonic speakers, which Microsoft claim deliver premium sound. The display on the Surface Laptop 2 has also seen an upgrade, with over 3.4 million pixels delivering a 1,500:1 contrast ratio.
Whilst it's not a huge update, Microsoft has clearly focused on smoothing out some of the rough edges on the last Surface Laptop. The new device specs show a more honed and refined product.
The entry level Surface Laptop 2 - 128GB / Intel Core i5 / 8GB RAM (Platinum) - will set you back £979.00. You’ll be able to pre-order it starting October 3rd, 2018, to arrive on October 16.
Surface Studio 2
Whilst the Surface Pro is the flagship model, the Surface Studio acts more as Microsoft’s 'blue-sky' device where they demo the best new ideas and tech that are possible in a Surface-style device. The new devices feature Nvidia’s new Pascal graphics, not the latest Nvidia Turing RTX. However, this offers, up to 50% greater graphics performance. Such an update is aimed right at creatives, such as Video Producers or Graphic Designers. Unfortunately, while Microsoft went big on the graphics they played it safe when choosing a processor. The company decided to only upgrade to Kaby Lake processors rather than Coffee Lake chips. Which is a shame, as Coffee Lake offers higher-core counts for better multi-tasking.
The 28-inch display has now been upgraded to a ‘Brilliant PixelSense’ Display, that Microsoft claims is 500nits brighter than last the generation. The company claims this results in a panel that’s 38% brighter with 22% higher contrast. The Surface Studio 2 gets a USB-C port, because it's 2018 and everything should have a USB-C port. There is also built-in Xbox wireless support.
The Surface Studio 2 is also available for pre-order, but only in the USA where it costs $3,499. After a quick conversion, that's £2,700. However, expect the UK price to be far closer to £3,499 than £2,700.
Maybe the most interesting news was that Microsoft are making headphones now. They are Bluetooth, have 13 levels of Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and have Cortana built-in. They also cost $349. There is no UK pricing but Microsoft claims they will be available in the US before Christmas. If you want to know more about this surprise announcement check out our article .
Windows 10 - October 2018 Update
Microsoft announced the Windows 10 October 2018 update will be available immediately. There's no build up or waiting, just turn on your PC and it should be ready to download. Most of the update is minor.
However, Microsoft did show off a very cool feature called ‘Your Phone’. The app lets you send and receive texts and view photos right from your Android device. The company promises that features for the iPhone will arrive later. This feature takes on Apple, who have similar integrations between its Macs and iPhones. This could be big news for Android users who have PC’s - so most of the world - because currently, there aren't many options that allow for such easy integration.
Are these new devices enough to tempt users away from Apple’s iPads, iMacs or Macbooks? Is Microsoft now making the most forward-thinking computers? Or is Windows 10 still a sticking point for people prepared to spend north of £1000 on a computer?
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.