Whilst we had a slightly lower level of excitement about two of the announcements from Microsoft’s recent Surface Event, for more or less everything else, we’re actually really impressed. Whilst most of what Microsoft announced other than those were generally spec bumps, Microsoft also pulled a few surprises and some very welcome changes to the devices, which in our opinion make them even more appealing!
Surface Pro X
We’ll kick things off with the all-new Surface Pro X. We don’t know why, but it seems ever since Apple announced the iPhone X, when companies decide to essential reinvent a category, you better add an X for … reasons? Unlike Apple though, this is the letter X and not a Roman numeral, but what Microsoft is essentially showing with the Surface Pro X, is where they see the Surface line going on in to the future.
One thing immediately noticeable about the new Surface Pro X is the design. Bezels are massively reduced, and the thinness is incredible, this is also reflected in the new Pen, which is now more flat than fully rounded, but there’s a pretty neat reason for that, which we’ll get to in a second. The display has the same PPI as the Surface Pro but at a 13 inch size, with a resolution of 2880 x 1920 with Microsoft’s usual 3:2 aspect ratio.
The design is pure Black, which has it’s benefits, but most definitely it’s negatives, just ask any earlier Surface owners. It does mean it’s a Fingerprint magnet, and getting those Fingerprints off is going to be a challenge, it’s bad but we almost wish they chose Glass for this reason.
One of the more interesting things about the Surface Pro X is actually what it’s running on, a special Microsoft SQ1 Chip which was designed in partnership with Qualcomm. It’s unclear whether this is one of the chips that Qualcomm showed off at a recent Event, though we do expect some custom touches by Microsoft, which is also the case for the AMD Processors in another Surface we’ll get to soon.
One thing we’re really happy to see with the Surface Pro X is that Microsoft have priced it for £999, which sure it doesn’t make it necessarily cheap, but for what Microsoft have pushed in to this isn’t too bad of a price point, and it puts it right there with a decent spec 12 inch iPad Pro, and do remember Microsoft has 128GB on the base model. Now, it is worth mentioning the Type Cover is not included, will set you back an extra $149 or more if you want the dodgy Alcantara material Microsoft just loves to promo, but then again it’s same with the iPad Pro.
Whilst the Type Cover on the Surface Pro X remains fairly unchanged in terms of the Keyboard, which is a great Keyboard to type on, the Trackpad area is ever-so slightly increased, but as you can see it is now hiding a new feature, a new place to put your Surface Pro Slim Pen! (Yes, it will only fit the flatter Slim Pen)
One thing that’s pretty awesome about the new Surface Pro X Pen is of course that it is Wirelessly charged, and done so via that same Keyboard area, which we think is perfect! Not only does this prevent you from losing it, it prevents you from finding it with little to no power … we say little to as Microsoft’s Pens tend to have pretty good Battery and Standby.
Other than that the device is fairly standard, the performance of the SQ1 Chip is allegedly the same power as the previous Surface Pro devices when running executable applications. Whilst we wish it was a tad more powerful, the Surface Pro 6 is hardly a slow machine, plus it’s worth remembering the advantages of the efficiency you naturally get with ARM, plus it’s always-on LTE (via NANO-SIM) as well as WiFi. It will also be interesting to see how well the SQ1’s variant of Qualcomm’s Adreno 685 Graphics play out in Windows 10.
As we touched on earlier the base model has 128GB SSD, which can be upped to 256GB and 512GB with 8 or 16GB of RAM, naturally you can imagine the 512GB / 16GB RAM is a pricey one.
The Surface Pro X goes on sale in November and will start at £999.
Surface Laptop 3
Design is always personal opinion and it’s impossible for everyone to like the same thing, but we’ve been seeing nothing but agreement with this opinion, but with the new aluminium finish which is available in multiple colours, we’re just gonna say it; the Surface Laptop 3 is the best looking Laptop on the market today! It’s sleek, consistent and just looks clean, especially in the new Matte Black finish, which we’re not going to lie, we are looking at that, then looking at Apple’s MacBook lineup and it doesn’t take us long to close the Tab on the Apple site! Obviously, it’s not running macOS, but on a design level this just makes Apple almost look amateur.
It’s ironic really, as one of the first things we thought of with the Matte Black Surface Laptop 3, shown above, is the Black option for the old plastic MacBook Apple used to sell, how times change eh. Black isn’t the only colour you can get the Surface Laptop 3, in fact you can get it 5 colours with 2 finishes; Sandstone (Gold Metal), Platinum (Silver, Alcantara), Black (Metal shown above), Cobalt Blue (Alcantara) and Platinum (Silver, Metal).
The Surface Laptop 3 features Intel’s all new 10th Generation Processors configurable with a Core i5 up to a Core i7 with RAM ranging from 8GB to 16GB and SSD Storage from 128GB to 512GB. Base model starts at £999, though you can more than double that for top spec at £2,349 model for a 13 inch with a Core i7, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD.
Full configurations are below;
- Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD = £999
- Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD = £1469
- Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD = £1,549
- Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD = £1,949
- Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD = £2,349
It’s not just colour options for the Surface Laptop 3 though, it’s also, for the first time ever, size options. Whilst the 13 inch has always been the configuration for the Surface Laptop it now has a 15 inch option, which is actually a lot more interesting!
All-new 15 inch Surface Laptop 3 with AMD Ryzen!
Cue the zero people disappointed this is not available with Alcantara, but this is the all-new 15 inch Surface Laptop 3. On paper it’s the same thing made bigger, ports are the same (Single USB-A, USB-C, Surface Connector), Screen is the same with resolution boosted for size, but of course there’s an extra secret lying beneath the 15 inch version of the Surface Laptop 3 and that is the inclusion of a first for the Surface line, AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 Processors, which include the in-built Vega 7 and Vega 11 Graphics.
Surprisingly the price for the 15 inch model isn’t actually that different to the 13 inch, starting at £1199 which gets you an AMD Ryzen 5 3580U, 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD. You can configure the Surface Laptop 3 15 inch all the way up to £2,599 which gets you an AMD Ryzen 7 3780U, 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. It’s really awesome to see AMD CPUs make it to Surface, AMD has been killing it in CPUs versus Intel, though they have yet to prove themselves with Ryzen on a Notebook so this will be interesting, especially as this is Ryzen 5/7 Surface Edition.
Full configurations are below;
- Ryzen 5, 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD = £1,199
- Ryzen 5, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD = £1,469
- Ryzen 7, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD = £1,699
- Ryzen 7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD = £2,049
- Ryzen 7, 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD = £2,599
Whilst the Surface Laptop 3 isn’t the best bang for the buck, it’s still great to see there’s not much difference between the 15 inch and the 13 inch in terms of price, and the addition of a custom AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 Surface Edition is a great bonus as well with Vega graphics.
Surface Pro 7
Whilst their may not be any magical new variant of the Surface Pro, Microsoft have naturally given the Surface Pro a pretty welcome spec bump as well as some slight design touches which is nice to see. For starters, USB-C is now a Port on the Surface Pro 7, finally, replacing the Mini Display Port, and now the Surface connector, like the Laptop 3, can now Fast Charge.
Other than that the Surface Pro 7 is getting a spec bump, but they’re certainly decent Spec bumps, and the price is fairly competitive, but do keep in mind, one thing we always say about Surface Pro devices, they don’t come with a Type Cover, so you have to consider that addition when you look at them.
Full configurations are below;
- Core i3, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD = £799
- Core i5, 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD = £899
- Core i5, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD = £1,169
- Core i5, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD = £1,399
- Core i7, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD = £1,449
- Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD = £1,849
- Core i7, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD = £2,249
For those wondering, a Type Cover, which is necessary for these is a penny shy of £150, so do bare that in mind! Plus, we do not recommend the Core i3 variant, so for that reason the base level would realistically be the i5 with Type Cover which would be £1049, which is a very interesting price point when you consider that makes this more than the Surface Laptop 3, but you do lose that 2-in-1 aspect naturally.
We’ve always had a soft spot for the Surface line and Microsoft have certainly announced some great products, you’re probably wondering why we never covered the Surface Buds, and it’s the same reason we barely covered the AirPods, but the added issue to the the Buds is they look worse, if you want overpriced PowerPoint presentation not noise cancelling earphones, go for it. As for the Surface Pro X Pro 7 and Laptop 3, Microsoft have knocked it out of the park with these and they’re right up there with the best Ultrabooks and 2-in-1 you can get for Windows.
What do you think of the Surface announcements?
Microsoft also announced two devices which won’t be released this year, but, if you’re interested, our coverage on the Surface Neo and Duo you can find right here!