Microsoft Refreshes Surface Lineupby Brett Howse on October 2, 2018 5:55 PM EST
In addition to the Windows 10 October 2018 update being launched, Microsoft also refreshed the majority of its Surface lineup today. This was very much an evolutionary update, and one that was sorely needed for some of their products, but with today’s announcement their entire lineup is now using the latest generation of CPUs and GPUs. We don’t have the full range of specs and pricing yet, but Nate is at the event today and will be doing a hands-on soon and will hopefully be able to get some more information. Also apologies for the photo quality Microsoft hasn't sent out press shots yet.
Surface Pro 6
Last June, Microsoft updated the Surface Pro 4 to the Surface Pro, dropping the numbering system while refreshing to Kaby Lake processors and therefore fixing the power management issues that plagued the Skylake lineup. Today, Surface Pro is now Surface Pro 6, meaning they’ve decided to go back to numbering. Naming aside, this is a good update to the product which was already near or at the top of its class in most categories. Other than moving to an 8th generation CPU, the rest of the Surface Pro 6 stays the same, including the lack of USB-C. Microsoft is offering it in a new matte black color though, which does look good.
Surface Laptop 2
Much like the Pro, Surface Laptop was stuck on dual-core Kaby Lake when the world had moved on to the quad-core Kaby Lake Refresh parts last fall. As such, it was in a pretty tough spot. It offers a nice design, great display, and comfortable Alcantara keyboard, but had sat idle for well over a year. The refreshed Surface Laptop 2 fixes this with the same 8th generation CPUs as Pro, and also the same matte black offering. Microsoft is claiming up to 14.5 hours of battery life on the new laptop, as well as 85% more performance, but the 85% gain is only because it sat with dual-core Kaby Lake for so long.
Surface Studio 2
We were one of the lucky few sites to get a chance to review the original Surface Studio, and it remains one of the best displays available on any PC, tied together with an all-in-one PC. The original version suffered from a couple of issued though, including being launched right at the tail end of NVIDIA’s Maxwell generation of GPUs, meaning as soon as it was available, it was also pretty much out of date. Today Microsoft is fixing many of the original complaints though. Not only does it come in a new “oxide transistor”
color TFT, the Surface Studio 2 now features a Pascal GPU with “6 TFLOPS” of performance, which should put it around a GTX 1070. That is a huge upgrade over the outgoing GTX 980M in the top model. Also, Microsoft is finally offering the Surface Studio with pure SSD storage. The hybrid SSHD in the original was one of its major faults. The amazing display with 192 PPI and a calibrated sRGB, P3 D65, and DCI-P3 gamut now offers improved contrast thanks to better polar alignment of the filters.
The new product in the lineup is the Surface Headphones, which offer 13 levels of noise cancelation, as well as two beam-forming microphones for Cortana and voice calls, and 8 total microphones for noise cancellation. They connect over Bluetooth, and will be available this holiday season.
Overall this event was pretty much as expected, with refreshes of the lineup. That’s not a bad thing though, since Microsoft tends to be slow on their refreshes, and all of these devices were in need of an update. We didn’t quite get the wow factor that Panos Panay and the rest of the Surface team can sometimes deliver, but there’s nothing wrong with iterating an already proven design.
Nate will check in soon with some hands-on of the new devices.
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OFelix - Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - linkThat Surface Laptop 2 sucks!
1 x USB 3.0 port.
shabby - Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - linkCourage!
dan3952 - Saturday, October 27, 2018 - linkThat would be a deal breaker for me as well. Sometimes I can't get used to the two USB-3 ports on my Lenovo where I had three on my previous model. Thunderbolt-3 is a worthy powerful replacement, however, for one of them.
HStewart - Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - linkI can see that with my Samsung Tab Pro - but it had USB-c which I can understand - it appears Microsoft is acting like Apple less ports in ways to reduce possible damage inside.
HStewart - Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - linkThat was suppose to be under USB 3.0 port topic
GreenReaper - Thursday, October 4, 2018 - linkIt's been like this ever since the first Surface Pro (which I have in front of me). I think a big part of it is power draw - tablets, in particular, just can't power a large number of high-drawing USB components, unless they have a power brick and cord to match - and they want to avoid that.
Those who want to do so can buy high-priced docks, presumably with their own power supplies.
HStewart - Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - linkWhat I am still amazed with all these Surface including the Surface Go, and all the work on Windows 10 for ARM, they is absolutely NO surface with Windows 10 for ARM.
I believe Qualcomm paid Microsoft to create Windows 10 for ARM.
Also I am curious why there is no surface with KabyLake G.
Dr. Swag - Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - linkKaby Lake g doesn't really fit into any of the surface products. The pro and laptop are too thin to have all that heat and the point of the book is to have the gpu and cpu separated.
Maybe the studio? But then you'd have 33% less cores and it seems Microsoft is going for more gpu power than the Kaby Lake g cpus provide.
Alexvrb - Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - linkThat's because we're waiting on Qualcomm. Even the 845/850 isn't quite enough. Maybe after they release their slightly higher TDP next-gen chips.
As for KBL-G in Surface... I want what you are smoking. I mean, maybe if they made it like an inch thick with a couple extra fans, underclocked it a little... nah.
domboy - Thursday, October 4, 2018 - linkYeah, I was really hoping to see an ARM-based Surface announced. That's what I'm waiting for...