Shiny new kit from Redmond includes wireless noise-cancelling headphones that boasts support for Cortana
Microsoft has unveiled new models for its Surface Pro tablet range, new Surface Laptops, a Surface Studio all in-one PC, and new headphones.
The portfolio refresh comes as Redmond seeks to tempt premium laptop and tablet users away from clutches of Dell’s XPS 13, Apple’s MacBook Pros, and even the Bose QC35 and Apple’s Beats headphones.
The new tech is said to be significantly faster than its predecessor machines, but there is little doubt that Microsoft continues to target its hardware at the premium end of the market with hefty price tags to boot.
Surface Pro 6
Most of the attention for the product launches in New York on Tuesday focused on Redmond’s Surface Pro 6 tablet hybrid device.
“Surface Pro 6 is the most powerful Surface Pro yet, introducing the latest 8th generation Intel Quad Core processor, blogged Panos Panay, chief product officer at Microsoft. “At more than 67 percent faster than 5th generation Surface Pro, we’ve redesigned Surface Pro 6 to pack in power but keep the portability, versatility and all-day battery we know our fans love.
Prices start at £749, with options for the quad-core Core i5 and i7 processors topping out at £2,149.
Microsoft claims to have improved the cooling and fan noise in order to match the boost in performance.
The Surface Pro 6 continues to boast the same detachable 2-in-1 form factor that was pioneered by the original Surface in 2012. The 12.3-inch, 267ppi display comes with a stated 13.5-hour battery life, but USB-C – which Microsoft has introduced on its Surface Go and Surface Book 2, is absent.
However there is now a black paint option, for those growing tired of the Surface’s trademark grey magnesium colour.
These new machines go on sale from 16 October.
Surface Laptop 2
Microsoft is making even bigger speed claims about the new Surface Laptop, which it says is 85 per cent faster than its predecessor.
It boasts the new Quad Core 8th generation Intel processor, a PixelSense Touch Display, and keyboard and trackpad. Battery life is claimed to be 14.5 hours. The base model used to come with 4GB, but this has now been improved to 8GB of RAM, coupled with the same 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504 display as the original.
Storage ranges from 128GB to 1TB, but once again USB-C is missing. The Surface Laptop 2 also goes on sale on October 16, with prices starting at £949 and going up to a hefty £2,529.
Users can also opt for the same matte-black colour option.
Surface Studio 2
Meanwhile the second generation Surface Studio, Microsoft’s large all-in-one PC that comes with the same 28in articulating screen as the original, is claimed to be “the most powerful Surface ever.”
Microsoft has carried out some revisions with this machine, with a 50 percent faster GPU, as well as making the screen 38 per cent brighter with 22 percent more contrast.
However, the Surface Studio 2 does not include Intel’s latest processors, but still ships with the same 7th-generation Core i7 as in the original. That said new models now boast a 1TB or 2TB SSD. The Studio 2 does have UCB-C connection.
There are no UK pricing and availability detail yet, but the Studio 2 is available to pre-order now in the US starting at $3,499 (roughly £2,694).
Microsoft did surprise industry watchers when it included Surface-branded (i.e. grey) headphones with Cortana built-in.
These are wireless (Bluetooth) noise-cancelling over the ear headphones, and is designed to take the fight to the Bose QC35 and Apple’s Beats headphones.
The headphone cups have volume and active noise-cancellation dials built in, and play and pause is done automatically when the headphones are put on or taken off.
Battery life is claimed to be 15 hours and they charge over USB-C in two hours.
These Surface Headphones will only be available in the US when they launch later in 2018, and will cost $350 (approximately £270).
Take our Microsoft quiz here!