Surface Go 3

There is a small bump for the Surface Go line, going from version 2 to version 3. The Surface Go is the smallest, lightest, and least expensive Surface device in the lineup, but has suffered from anemic performance compared to the rest of the devices. The only significant change to the Surface Go 3 is that there is now an optional Core i3-10100Y processor, which is a higher speed bin of the venerable Amber Lake-Y dual core SoC that Microsoft used in the Surface Go 2. The base offering still comes with a Pentium dual-core, though the Pentium Gold 6500Y used here is a big step up in some ways since it can turbo to 3.4GHz, whereas the Go 2's Pentium 4425Y lacked turbo altogether.

Meanwhile the base model still ships with just 64 GB of eMMC storage, although 128 and 256 GB SSDs are available, with the latter being only on the commercial lineup. Luckily the price didn’t change, with the Surface Go 3 still starting at just $400, although that model with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage would feel awfully slow for most people.

Surface Duo 2

The second-generation Microsoft-designed folding phone is also being announced and adds performance and usability to help it compete in the high-end of the mobile phone space. Now shipping with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, the Surface Duo 2 adds a lot to its camera department with the inclusion of a triple-camera for wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto photos.

The folding display also gets a size bump from 5.6-inch individual screens to 5.8-inch panels, which provides an effective display size of 8.3-inches when both are opened. The Surface team also took the opportunity to add 5G support, which is also expected in 2021.

For multi-tasking, there is 8 GB of LPDDR5 memory, and storage options are 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB.

The Surface Duo 2 is really supposed to showcase Microsoft’s Android app suite for Office, and with the updates, it should do a much better job considering the high-entry price of $1500.

Accessories

In addition to the devices, Microsoft is also releasing a couple of new accessories. The Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse is made from 20% recycled ocean plastic and is just $25.

The Surface Adaptive Kit, designed in partnership with people with disabilities, is a set of textured labels which can be attached to the keyboard and ports to make it easier to identify what they are by touch and color.

Summary

Microsoft’s Surface team has grown from just designing a couple of devices, to a wide swath of devices covering a large part of the PC market, and they have expanded beyond those borders too with the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2. Looking at the devices holistically, the design team generally tries to offer something with a slight twist compared to the other designs on the market, and some are more successful design wins than others. The Surface Pro, as an example, as created an entire genre of devices that mimic it, and the update being announced today is a solid refresh of that design which should allow Surface Pro to continue to be the industry leader.

The Surface Laptop Studio is an interesting design, and while not a completely new concept, it looks to be a well-executed take on the convertible laptop. From the specifications, it appears to be taking over from the Surface Book, which was their previous performance-laptop. It is less complicated than the Surface Book, which should lead to an overall better product.

The Surface Pro X certainly did not see very much love, and Windows on Arm did not get advanced at all on the hardware front today. The Surface Pro 8 now gets the same 13-inch display, which is good for the Pro 8, but does diminish the Pro X. Surface Go 3 also got just the tiniest of updates and is still a somewhat awkward device. The base model is inexpensive, but unimpressive, and when the necessary options are chosen, the price creeps up. It is still a well-built device, with a wonderful magnesium allow chassis and individually calibrated display, which sounds great for $400, but the $400 model is significantly more disappointing than the upgraded models sadly.

Microsoft tends to update their hardware at almost random intervals, but quibbles aside, these updates are all welcome, with some really excellent changes, such as the addition of Thunderbolt 4. I look forward to being able to try some of these devices out in the future and see how much the changes impact the device experience.

Microsoft Resurfaces The Surface Lineup For 2021: New Devices, New Designs
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  • gonsalvg - Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - link

    Sudio Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade - Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - link

    Hallelujah, MS finally copied the HP Spectre Folio and old Sony VAIO on the display hinge.

    That was one of the best hinges ever designed for a foldable screen IMO, and now MS is finally decided to copy it.

    Took them long enough.

    Sadly their LapTop still looks chunky compared to the elegance of the leather clad HP Spectre Folio.
    Reply
  • Byte - Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - link

    I invented those hinges in high school. Glad to see them finally. Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade - Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - link

    What year did you graduate HS?

    Sony & HP have both used those same hinges before MS ever used them.
    Reply
  • eh_ch_the_first - Monday, September 27, 2021 - link

    Acer did it in the R7 back in 2013.
    https://www.anandtech.com/show/7221/acer-r7-review...

    Dell had the Inspiron Duo two to three years prior that used a wild spinning screen, contained in a ring frame, that was functionally similar but less useful at partial open/close, because the top of the ring obstructed the screen.
    https://www.wired.com/2011/02/dell-inspiron-duo/

    The best use case I've imagined is to obscure the keyboard so that you can practice touch typing, or to squeeze it onto the food tray of a airplane/bus seat, where there isn't space for a clamshell screen to open up.

    This one looks about as impressive (meh), but the trackpad gives it some sexiness...
    Reply
  • eh_ch_the_first - Monday, September 27, 2021 - link

    lol replied to the wrong post. Rookie! Reply
  • Ivan Argentinski - Thursday, September 30, 2021 - link

    R7 was/still is the best design. I am sorry there were no new versions.

    I am even writing this on my beloved R7, with everything possible upgraded or refreshed. It still works, but I am worried what I'll buy after it is gone.

    And yes, Surface Laptop Studio reminds me of my R7. However, they were not brave enough to position the keyboard down and the touchpad up, which is a great design.

    But still, I might buy it, just because it reminds me of the R7.
    Reply
  • eh_ch_the_first - Saturday, October 2, 2021 - link

    I just clicked through the article and noted the unconventional keyboard/touchpad arrangement. I was like eww, but you seem to like it.

    Could you explain more why you like it with keyboard forward, please?
    Reply
  • Retycint - Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - link

    Overclocked quad cores in the Surface Studios… When my 1.35kg ROG Flow X13 has an 8 core and the same RTX3050Ti in the same form factor (and the ROG is even thinner). I guess in Microsoft’s world 4 cores are all you need? Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - link

    In Microsoft's world, 4 cores that don't throttle are better than 8 cores that do. Reply

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