Microsoft has unveiled a bunch of Surface computing devices, and more at the October 2018 event. The new devices include the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2, Surface Headphones as well as the Surface All Access subscription service. All in all, this is Microsoft firing the first shots in the battle that is expected to see Apple unveil some new iPad updates as well as maybe even a refreshed MacBook Air before the end of the year. This reaffirms the company’s commitment to making its own PCs. Microsoft also announced some updates for Windows 10 and Office 365.
Surface Pro 6
The new Surface Pro 6, the convertible 2-in-1 device in the Surface line-up, has been updated to run the 8th generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor options, the latest chips that Microsoft can get its hands on at the moment. The company claims that this makes the Surface Pro 6 1.5 times faster than the variant it succeeds, the Surface Pro 5. You will be able to choose between 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB SSD storage options. This retains the 12.3-inch PixelSense display with 10-point multi-touch.
In terms of the visual appearance, the Surface Pro 6 adopts the all-black colour finish. Thus far, the Surface Pro devices had retained a dash of silver colour. Microsoft says that the Surface Pro 6 will match the Surface Pro 5’s battery life, which means it should hover around 13.5 hour mark on a single charge. Interesting enough, the Surface Pro 6 does not get any USB Type-C ports.
Also, while the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 might come across as “$899 onwards”, configure it with 8GB RAM, a Core i5 processor and 256GB SSD (no other option is available, surprisingly), and the price you will need to pay is $1,199 (around Rs87,000). Add in another $160 (around Rs11,700) for the Type Cover Keyboard in black colour with the fingerprint ID, and that is when you will have a proper PC in the making.
Surface Laptop 2
Microsoft’s has updated the Surface laptop as well. we had quite liked the predecessor, the Surface Laptop, and the Surface Laptop 2 should be even better. There is the expected processor upgrade, and this will now run the 8th generation Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 chips. is also getting a processor bump and a new aesthetic option. The Surface Laptop 2 also gets a matte black colour option, much like the Surface Pro 6, and retains the burgundy, cobalt blue, and platinum colour variants too. Microsoft suggests that they have redesigned the thermal management system for the Surface Laptop 2, by updating the passive cooling option when there are heavy workloads on the machine.
The Surface Laptop 2 also doesn’t have USB-C ports. Microsoft says prices start at $999 for the entry level version, that runs an Intel Core i5 processor, has 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD.
There is now something known as the Surface Headphones. The surprise, the one unexpected thing for the Surface line-up refresh that Microsoft had in store this time around. The Surface Headphones have active noise cancellation and touch controls on one of the earcups. Inside each earcup is a 40mm audio driver and there are two beam-forming microphones near each ear to understand your voice better. In many ways, the Surface Headphones are designed to work better for Skype calls and when you summon the Cortana voice assistant. The Surface Headphones are priced at $349 (around Rs25,500) and will be competing with well established brands such as Bose and Sennheiser—that is the exact reason they will need to deliver top-notch music experience too. Too early to say anything about the potential performance, as Microsoft says the Surface Headphones will ship “later this holiday season.”
Surface Studio 2
Priced at $3,500 (around Rs2,56,000), the Surface Studio 2 is purely a professional computing device which would perhaps get a lot of attention from designers, photo and video editors etc. This has a 28-inch PixelSense touchscreen with support for the pen, and the control dial. While the display remains the same as the first generation, Microsoft does say that the display on the Surface Studio 2 has been re-caliberated for more accurate colour reproduction. The Surface Studio 2 runs the Intel i7-7820 processor, a 64-bit quad core chip that was released in 2017—and this is a bit of a surprise, though still an update over the 6th generation Skylake processor that powers the first generation Surface Studio. Apart from the newer Core i7 processor, what you will also get is 16GB or 32GB RAM, 1TB or 2TB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or GeForce GTX 1070 graphics.
Surface All Access
The Surface All Access option is indeed great news for anyone who wants to buy one of the new Surface computing devices, but is holding off because of the price tags. The subscription model will be available through Microsoft stores in the US to start off with, and for a price of $24.99 onwards per month (around Rs1,700) for a tenure of 24 months, you will be able to get your hands on a Surface computing device. For instance, the $24.99 plan bundles a Surface Go, your choice of Type Cover, and the Office 365 subscription. Similarly, there are plans for $46.63 (Surface Laptop and Office 365), $47.87 (Surface Pro, Type Cover and Office 365) and $54.96 (Surface Book 2 and Office 365), and so on.
The takeways from the Microsofr October 2018 event are that the company remains very serious about the Surface PC line-up, which now has five very distinct options to choose from, as well as an ever expanding range of accessories that Microsoft wants you to buy. The Surface Headphone is perhaps the newest example of that, and indicates the pursuit to create a complete ecosystem of accessories that will negate the need for you to look at any other brand. Good way that, to keep the business within the family.