I always enjoy a deep-dive into new devices when they land. The hat-trick of announcements from the Microsoft Conference in New York on October 2, presented a much anticipated refresh of Surface devices including Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3.
Across the board, there are three core upgrades: weight, speed and versatility. Each device has been designed with a specific audience in mind, but they are all suited to the remote or on-the-go worker and, naturally, work seamlessly with the larger Microsoft ecosystem. Wrapping it together is the protection of Microsoft’s award-winning modern security and manageability platforms.
So please allow me to introduce these exciting new devices…
Surface Pro 7
Surface Pro is the most loved 2 in 1 on the market2, and with Surface Pro 7, I think it just gets better. With a consistent form, most of the upgrades in the Surface Pro 7 are found under the hood. There’s a clear focus on improving functionality and performance, looking solely at the additional connectivity ports, processor overhaul and optional RAM upgrade. These devices are most suited to field workers, mobile sales reps and information workers. Official release is October 22.
Some stand out features of the Surface Pro 7 include:
Connect to anything – With both USB-A and USB-C ports, plus a headphone jack, it’s quite possibly the most natively connectable slimline device on the market (no more adapters!). The Surface Connect universal charger still works, as will the dock you’ve used with past generation devices.
It’s all about speed – Housing Intel’s latest 10th Gen “Ice Lake” processor sounds cool and it actually is – it means the Surface Pro 7 is twice as fast as Surface Pro 6 and twice as fast as the latest MacBook Air. Choose from the Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7.
Get back online faster – You’ve got all day battery-life, which actually means all-day if you work 10.5 hours straight (for the sticklers for detail, this is in fact 3 hours less than the Pro 6… it’s a trade-off for the speed!). But you can re-charge back to 80% in less than an hour which is similar to what you get with phone fast charge.
Monochrome colour palette – It’s black or platinum so your colour-pop will have to come from whatever Type Cover you choose – Black, Cobalt, Ice Blue or Poppy Red.
RAM upgrade is a bonus – The Pro 7 is a base model so it’s a perk to have the option to upgrade your RAM up to 16GB from the standard 4GB.
P.S. It’s Wi-Fi only – There’s no LTE capability, however, see note above regarding the latest Intel processor, which means the device can handle super-fast wireless speeds.
Surface Pro X
The wait is just a little longer for the Surface Pro X – due for official release on November 19. I’d describe the Pro X as the shiniest device of them all. Microsoft has packed a bunch of aesthetic and performance upgrades into this release. Edge-to-edge screen, built-in pen charge holder, removable SSD, and AI-smarts, to name a few. It’s exciting to see how far 2 in 1 devices have evolved. Whilst everyone in your office may one want of these, at just 774g they’re most suited to on-the-road customer service, field and sales reps, or customer relationship managers.
The following exciting features are just the beginning for Surface Pro X:
So much screen – With as much focus on looks as power, the Surface Pro X screen is almost edge-to-edge thanks to the slimmer display bezels.
Get back online faster – No compromise on speed or battery life here – with up to 13 hours run-time and a zero to 80% quick-charge in under an hour.
Innovative built-in pen charge – Definitely on the notable-features list is the neat charging station and home for your slim pen in the Surface Pro X Keyboard1. The pen too is fully functional with angle recognition (you can shade by laying the pen almost flat) and an eraser.
Removable SSD – A very new feature in both the Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3 is a discrete, yet accessible, pop-off plate to access your SSD. Whilst it has both security and upgrade benefits, it’s not a user-fix and should be tackled by a Microsoft technician.
Power and AI smarts
The geek facts: Brand new SQ1 Processor (Snapdragon 8cx variant) co-designed with Qualcomm and offering 2 teraflops of graphics power. The RAM chip too has been customised and starts at 7W of power – 3 times more powerful than the Surface Pro 6.
AI smarts built-in: The SQ1 processor enables these power-intensive features to work; using 50 times less power and not touching the GPU so normal processing functions are not impacted. One of the AI functions is eye gaze technology that automatically adjusts the camera, so the user’s eye position remains front-on during video calls (even if the device is flat on the table).
Truly mobile – Wi-Fi and built-in LTE making this a highly portable device
Most ports – At only 5mm thick at its slimmest point, there is no USB-A port. Instead, two USB-C ports and the usual Surface Connect universal port and dock connectivity you’ve used with past generation devices.
Surface Laptop 3
I’ve seen a lot of comparisons between this new Surface laptop and MacBook Air – looking at both the physical elements and specs. I’ll leave you to make your own decision, but I know what I’d choose… Releasing alongside the Surface Pro 7 on October 22, Surface Laptop 3 is a cutting-edge device for execs, information workers or those working with large data volumes and files.
Some of the best aspects of the Surface Laptop 3 include:
A choice of size – The original 13” model is essentially the same with a spec bump, the new 15” offering is a very competitive offering. Both are incredibly light at 1.25kg and 1.54kg respectively.
Speeds and specs – The smaller model features an upgrade to the 10th Generation Intel “Ice Lake” Core processor with an option of the i5 or i7 (8GB RAM and 128GB SSD vs 16GB RM and 1TB SSD). The exciting news is that the 15” model features a new custom-built AMD Ryzen Surface Edition processor and up to 32GB of RAM!
Removable SSD – The hard drive in the Surface Laptop 3 can be removed for secure disposal. This is great news for our corporate customers who require this feature for servicing and in an end-of-life device disposal scenario.
Premium finish and durability – The Alacantra fabric on the keypad deck remains and each come in a range of colours – matt black with a metal keyboard, sandstone, cobalt blue and platinum. The Surface Laptop 3 also comes in two durable pure metal finishes that up the ante on dirt resistance and hygiene.
Ready to upgrade your Surface fleet?
It’s obvious that Microsoft is taking feedback from partners and customers, with features like the removable hard drive and metal finishes in the laptop. 72% of people who use Surface at work want to use it all the time,2 and I know that I’m certainly going to want to take one of these home with me.