Microsoft launches new laptops and earbuds at hardware event in New York

At Microsoft's hardware event in New York its new dual-screen devices grabbed much of the attention.

But those are out next year - there's much to talk about this side of Christmas.

There are new additions to its 2-in-1 range, some Surface Earbuds and a refresh of its traditional clamshell laptop.

"A lot of people have been underplaying Surface as a niche type of product and brand, but what you saw today is really broadening Microsoft's offering and catering not just to enterprises, who've been the biggest source of sales for Surface so far, but really catering to consumers as well," said Carolina Milanesi, a Silicon Valley based analyst.

"What strikes me the most is how much more the link between the software, the services and the hardware comes together. Microsoft is very different from the way it used to be when Surface started."

Surface Pro X

The new Surface Pro X is a 2-in-1 device powered by a custom chip that Microsoft claims will deliver better performance and battery life.

The outer shell is made from anodized aluminium and the kickstand can angle up to 165 degrees. The display is 13-inches with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2880x1920 resolution which is 267 PPI.

Microsoft says its the thinnest laptop yet at 5.3mm despite having a removable hard drive. It also has USB-C, fast charging and integrated LTE support.

What's got Surface fans excited is the SQ1 processor developed in partnership with Qualcomm.

That chipset has "Snapdragon mobile DNA" said Microsoft's chief product officer, Panos Panay, "alongside an integrated AI accelerator... you will not find this anywhere else out there."

The SQ1 offers seven watts of power which is, according to Microsoft, three times more performance per watt than the Surface Pro 6.

A cool feature added by the custom chip with AI is the ability to simulate eye contact during phone calls, if the person you're talking to isn't looking at the camera. 

The device works with a slim stylus that has its own charging pouch hidden on the keyboard. It's a fully functional pen with angle recognition and an eraser.

The Surface Pro X launches in New Zealand on November 19 with prices starting from NZ$1899.


Microsoft's new 2-1 Surfaces.
Microsoft's new 2-1 Surfaces. Photo credit: Newshub

Surface Pro 7

Microsoft's tablet/laptop hybrid has been updated with new Intel Core Ice Lake processors, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD capacity. A big change is the addition of a new USB-C port.

The microphones have been improved on the Surface Pro 7 so it works better with the Your Phone app which lets you accept calls from your phone and talk to people on your laptop.

The Surface Pro 7 also works with the Surface Pen which is now compatible with Excel for easier edits to spreadsheets.

Prices start at NZ$1399 and it goes on sale October 22.

Surface Earbuds

The new Surface Earbuds are a direct competitor to Apple's AirPods. They offer 24 hours of battery life and work on any platform. Gesture control allows you to play, pause, skip or change the volume.

The Earbuds also work with Microsoft Office and support over 60 languages. They can translate as you speak and input voice-to-text into documents or when you're talking to others in real time.

Local availability and pricing are yet to be announced, but the US pricing is US$249.

Microsoft's new wireless earbuds.
Microsoft's new wireless earbuds. Photo credit: Supplied

Surface Laptop 3

The Surface Laptop 3 comes in two sizes, 13.5-inch and 15-inch, offering serious competition to Apple's MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

The devices have touch screens, better keyboards and trackpads and USB-C connections.

The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 comes with 10th-generation Intel Core processors. Panay said it is twice as fast as the Surface Laptop 2 and three times as fast as the MacBook Air.

The 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 comes with an AMD Ryzen Surface Edition processor. Panay called it the fastest processor that AMD has ever created.

All-day battery life is still promised and fast charging is included - Microsoft claims it can charge up to 80 percent in under an hour.

Prices start at NZ$1899 for the 13-inch and NZ$2249 for the 15-inch. They'll launch on October 22.

Newshub attend the Surface event in New York as a guest of Microsoft.