• Nandan V

The 2019 Surface Lineup

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

On 2nd October, 2019 Microsoft revealed a new line of surface products in an event conducted at New York City. As we will find out most of it refreshed existing surface products but there are a few that stand out in the crowd. All of them twins! So yeayy!

2019 Microsoft Surface Lineup

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

The Surface Pro lineup is a family of products that offer the portability of a laptop in the form factor of a tablet. Unlike its competitor, the iPad Pro from Apple, the Surface Lineup runs full-blown Windows 10 so that you indeed get the perks of an actual laptop.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7. Source: Microsoft

The 2019 edition, 7th in the series is just a refresh from last year’s model with the latest 10th gen processors from Intel. There are few key differences which the addition of a USB – C port albeit along with the surface connector. The USB – C port, however, does not support the Thunderbolt 3 standard which is disappointing for those wanting to connect external GPUs for that extra oomph in performance. 

The 7th iteration gets some cool new colors for the keyboard attachment. A poppy red (blend of red and orange), a cobalt blue and the default gray (which is a bit darker this time around, not the first company to have difficulty in picking the right gray).

Microsoft offers choices ranging from a dual-core i3 and all the way up to quad-core i5 and i7 processors. The base variant will ship with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, this goes up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

The Surface Pro 7 will launch on October 22nd for $749. The Type Covers will set you back $129.99 for black $159.99 for the Alcantara options.

Microsoft Surface Pro X

The Microsoft Surface Pro X is one of the new members of the Surface family. The Pro X packs a punch in terms of what’s under the hood and overall provides a fresh experience. It comes with a custom ARM-based processor from Qualcomm called the Snapdragon SQ1 (more on this later) instead of an Intel one.

Surface Pro X. Source: Microsoft

The Surface Pro X has a 12-inch PixelSense display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The Pro X is thinner (by a millimeter) and lighter (by a gram) compared to the Surface Pro 7. The Surface Pro X has a redesigned Type Cover so that the new Surface Slim Pen can be housed in the top portion where it can be stowed away and charged. The approach is miles better than what Apple offers right now with the iPad Pro. Windows 10X detects when the Slim Pen is picked up and pops out an intelligent menu much like on the Note series from Samsung.

The mobile ARM-based Snapdragon processor provides LTE connectivity using a nano-SIM slot. No more waiting on insanely slow (and insecure) public WiFi networks, stay hooked on the go. The all-new processor also puts into good use Qualcomm’s Windows on ARM work.

Microsoft promises 13 hours of battery backup and now offers fast charging with up to 80% charge in an hour.

The Surface Pro X will be launched in the US on November, 5th for $999. The Surface Slim Pen and Type Covers are sold separately as always for $144.99 and $139.99. Microsoft offers a bundle deal for the Slim Pen and Type Cover at $269.99.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

The 2019 edition of a well-acclaimed Surface Laptop brings a lot onto the table. This year however it’s not just a spec refresh. Microsoft extends the boundaries this year in every sense. They went ahead and launched two laptops with the bigger one powered by the red team! Microsoft has worked with AMD and co-developed the processor for the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3. The other is a 13.5-inch variant power by the usual ones from the blue team.

Surface Laptop 3. 13.5-inch and 15-inch. Source: Microsoft

The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is a direct successor to the Surface Laptop 2 with the only change being a 20% larger track-pad and a USB-C port instead of the Mini DisplayPort. Just like with the Surface Pro 7, there is no Thunderbolt 3 support over USB-C. The rest of the IO remains the same with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a full-size USB Type-A port and a Surface Connector. Inside you will find the latest Intel 10th gen processors in either i5 or i7 flavors.

The real whopper is the 15-inch offering a lot more than a 15-inch display. Microsoft has custom-built CPUs from AMD which pack an extra GPU core compared to the commercially available Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 CPUs. The addition of the 1 GPU core may not sound like a huge change but is capable of boosting the already great Vega 11 graphics so as to offer better performance in 3D rendering tasks, Photoshop, etc. Don’t expect 60 fps in AAA gaming titles though. Microsoft has teamed with the red team on this one as it believes consumers of this variant expect better graphical performance and Intel lacks in this area for now. The red team version also gets up to twice the maximum RAM capacity at 32 GB. Microsoft, however, limits the maximum storage capacity to 512 GB instead of 1TB like on the 13.5-inch.

The port selection is identical to the 13.5-inch variant with no Thunderbolt 3 on this one either. Both offer around 12 hours of battery life with the new fast charging feature offering up to 80% charge within an hour.

The 15-inch is available in all aluminum black or silver colors. The 13.5-inch variant comes in 4 colors: black, silver, gold and blue. The red color from last year is done away with along with the Alcantara fabric option which was a signature for the Surface Laptop lineup since its inception two years ago. The entire Surface Laptop lineup for 2019 ditches the fabric option which Microsoft explains is due to hygiene concerns.

The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is priced at $999 with the 15-inch starting at $1199. Both will start shipping on 22nd October, 2019 with pre-orders already available as of 2nd October, 2019.

Foldables: Surface Neo & Duo

Microsoft made a surprise announcement of two new foldable devices, the Surface Neo and Surface Duo. 

Surface Duo (left) and Neo (right). Source: CNET

The Surface Duo is an Android-based device which kind of reminds me of the recent LG G8X with the add-on secondary USB-C display. The Surface Duo boasts the usual advantages of a twin display device like improved multitasking, better gaming with the second display transforming into a game controller, etc. Surface Neo will be equipped with a Snapdragon 855 which would be just fine if it were to be released in 2019. The Surface Neo is set to be out only in 2020 by which time the design will be dated and specs just old. 

Surface Neo is a completely different story. Microsoft aims to redesign the Windows 10 OS to better suite foldable devices and calls it the Windows 10X which was designed intimately with the Surface hardware team. This is a step forward considering the Frankenstein devices of the past running Windows 8. 

The Neo has a quirky keyboard attachment which is magnetic and charges as it is slapped back much like the Slim Pen. Windows 10X will display what Microsoft calls a Wonder Bar when the keyboard snaps into place on the display offering a much richer typing experience kind of like the touch bar on MacBooks.

There is a lot to find out about these two new devices, which we won’t until 2020.


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