What’s new with Microsoft (2019 Edition)
October 3, 2019
I’ve seen the future of computers, and I kind of like it. At Microsoft’s most recent October event, they showed off a few new updates to existing computers, like the Surface Pro 7, and Surface Laptop 3. But the rest, Microsoft pulled straight from the future. I don’t know if Chief Product Officer Panos Panay secretly has a time machine, but the things he showed off must be. Let’s deep dive on what exactly Microsoft showed off.
Surface Laptop 3
Starting off is an innovative refresh that I honestly only vaguely consider a refresh. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 is a total overhaul from the Laptop 2. The new laptop features two different size models, 13.5 or 15 inches. The 13.5-inch models come in a variety of colors including Platinum, Cobalt Blue, Matte Black, and Sandstone, and the 15-inch model comes in Matte Black and Platinum. And, for the first time, the Surface Laptop now also has the option for a non-Alcantara fabric finish, for those that like a smooth, metal workspace. Another large change is the new processor offerings. Microsoft only offers the 13.5-inch model with Intel 10th generation Ice Lake processors (the latest), but they also only offer the 15-inch model with AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 CPUs. This marks a huge change as well, since the Surface line traditionally ran on Intel processors.
One other fun update to the device is that it now finally has a USB-C port, bringing it into the modern day with other laptops. And, for those that aren’t satisfied with their current configuration, the new Surface Laptop also has a removable Hard Drive expansion bay. With all of these updates to the Laptop, I’d say this makes it one of the best laptops available today.
Surface Pro 7
In addition to an update to the Surface Laptop, Microsoft also refreshed the Surface Pro 7. The Surface Pro 7 is only a minimal update, giving it Intel 10
th generation CPUs, and USB-C capability as well. In addition, Microsoft created a new keyboard/pen color for the Pro, calling it “Poppy Red.” In the end, the Surface Pro 7 is only a minor update, but one that some could find extremely helpful with USB-C.
Surface Pro X
This is one of the most innovative devices yet. Imagine your standard Surface Pro. But significantly thinner, lighter, and faster. Then you get the Surface Pro X. This is a brand-new device from Microsoft, featuring a similar form factor to the Surface Pro, but with a twist. The Pro X has a new pen, the Surface Slim Pen. It’s a little flatter than the Surface Pen and is rechargeable. The pen even has a devoted space, hidden in the Surface Pro X’s keyboard hinge. It hides there, and charges magnetically when not in use.
Another revolutionary part of this device it what it runs on. The Surface Pro X runs on a CPU called the Microsoft SQ1. This is a custom ARM processor, built in collaboration with Qualcomm. It’s a mobile processor that’s made to bring extreme speeds to mobile devices. Plus, it allows for two USB-C ports on the device that can each process 4k resolutions, AND a constant LTE connection (which comes standard with this device). In addition, the Surface Pro X has a removable and upgradable SSD, just like the Surface Laptop 3. In the end, the Surface Pro X seems to set the new standard for the typical ‘PC.’
In a long-awaited follow-up to the Surface Headphones from last year, Microsoft announced the Surface Earbuds. Imagine the power of the Surface Headphones but crammed into two small total-wireless earbuds. Plus, some new intelligent features to help you throughout your day. The Surface Earbuds are controlled by a touch-sensitive surface on the earpiece, which is on both earbuds. They also feature two microphones on each earpiece to help with microphone accuracy, and it integrates with Microsoft Office for more intelligent features.
Last year, I purchased the Surface Headphones, and was surprised by how amazing their quality was, and how intuitive they were to use. The Surface Earbuds are, in my current analysis, even better.
Surface Neo and Surface Duo
This was truly a huge surprise. In a brand new move, Microsoft previewed the Surface Neo, their folding computer. It runs a special version of Windows, called “Windows 10X,” and is powered by an Intel Processor. It even features a magnetic keyboard that flips up and is recognized on the screens, making those who don’t like typing on touchscreens a good option for work. Microsoft was very quiet on the final details of the device, but it’s amazing, and I personally want one asap. Sadly however, the Surface Neo isn’t going to be available to consumers until Holiday 2020, a year later. But when it does come out, it has the potential to redefine the computing industry forever.
This is personally my favorite device. But in order to talk more about it, I must tell a story. It was 2013. I was going into my 6th grade year in middle school, and my parents decided I needed a cell phone. They let me try out all three platforms at the time (Windows Mobile, Android, and iOS). After some time with each, I settled on the Windows Phone. Why? Well, I felt it to be the device that would up my productivity, and work best with my lifestyle (Windows PC, all around all the time). I loved my Windows Phone a lot. I ended up upgrading it a few times over the years, eventually ending with the Lumia 950. That device was truly my favorite of the bunch. Then, in 2016, Microsoft ended Windows Phone. I was devastated. I moved to Android immediately, since it was the most logical successor. But I still missed my Windows Phone. That’s where we get to today.
The Surface Duo is Microsoft’s newest take on the phone. They don’t technically call it a phone, but it’s a small mobile device with folding capabilities, as well as the ability to make phone calls, and send text messages. And, it runs Android. It’s now my dream phone. Microsoft finally built a phone to satisfy my need for a Windows Phone. And it’s simply stunning. Sadly, just like the Surface Neo, the Surface Duo isn’t available until holiday 2020.
To sum it up, Microsoft has just shown us a minor update, and then a leap into the future. And I kind-of like it. 2020 now has the potential to be an amazing year in computing. And in 2019, we take the gradual step towards it. I cannot wait to see and get my hands on the Surface Neo and Duo, but in the meantime, I am (as Panos Panay puts it) super pumped!
Below is a gallery of additional photos from the event.