Everything we saw at the 2021 Microsoft Surface event
There were, of course, new Surface laptops, but there was a whole lot more.
The past few months have been filled with news related to Microsoft’s most popular product: Windows 11. While we are all very excited to give that a shot when it lands in October, we need some exceptional hardware to showcase it. That’s where the 2021 Microsoft Surface event comes in.
The company’s September 22 event saw the launch of multiple new products. While laptops and other Windows-based devices made up the bulk of the show, we also saw the company’s newest Android device. Check out the roundup of everything Microsoft announced below!
Microsoft Surface Duo 2
The Surface Duo 2 was probably the most anticipated product at the 2021 Microsoft Surface event. Landing as Microsoft’s second-ever Android-based product, it is under a ton of pressure to succeed. This is because last year’s original Surface Duo was by all accounts a failure both critically and commercially. Can the sequel right the wrongs of its predecessor?
Judging from what the Surface Duo 2 offers, it could happen. First, Microsoft smartened up and put a triple-lens camera on the back (the Surface Duo had no rear camera at all). It also upgraded the processor to the flagship Snapdragon 888 and brought in 5G connectivity.
Another new hardware feature is the Glance Bar, which runs along the outside edge of the phone. It has a display that will show you basic info without needing to open the device, including the time, battery life, notifications, etc.
The real problem with the original Surface Duo, though, was its price. Microsoft didn’t smarten up in this category, unfortunately. The Surface Duo’s original $1,399 price tag went up by $100 to $1,499 for the Surface Duo 2. You’ll be able to grab the Surface Duo 2 starting October 5 but pre-orders are open now.
Time will tell if Microsoft addressed the myriad software problems the original Duo faced (it’s not a good sign that the Duo 2 ships with Android 11 and Microsoft isn’t divulging when it will get Android 12). We’ll also need to put those cameras to the test. Stay tuned for our full review in which we’ll be able to answer all these questions!
Surface Pro 8
It’s been around two years since we last saw a flagship Surface laptop/tablet in the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. With that in mind, Surface fans have likely been hotly anticipating the follow-up, finally out this year as the Surface Pro 8.
As expected, the Surface Pro 8 brings a larger display with smaller bezels. It also upgrades the display to a sweet 120Hz panel. On the outside, the tablet has Thunderbolt ports for the first time, which power users will no doubt welcome. Of course, casual users might be disappointed to find it has no USB-A ports. Better buy some dongles!
Additionally, the new Surface Slim Pen 2 is landing along with the Surface Pro 8 and even has a little charging/storage slot in the detachable keyboard. Microsoft touts the new higher-accuracy usage of the Slim Pen 2.
At the Microsoft Surface event, the company touted a $1,099 introductory price for the Surface Pro 8. You’ll be able to grab one on October 5 but pre-orders are open now.
Surface Laptop Studio
We have good news and possibly bad news for those of you who love the line of Surface Book laptops. The good news is that Microsoft announced its newest flagship laptop at the Microsoft Surface event today, which is very much like a Surface Book 4. The possibly bad news is that the company completely revamped one of the integral features of the laptop and gave it a new name: Surface Laptop Studio.
With the previous three generations of Surface Books, you’ve been able to detach the screen to use it as a tablet. With the Surface Laptop Studio, though, the screen is only partially detachable. Instead of popping off the keyboard chassis, it pulls forward so you can use it at various angles, even in a flat configuration. However, it does not actually come all the way off.
See also: The best laptops you can buy
Assuming that hasn’t turned you off, Microsoft put in all the expected upgrades. That includes a 120Hz display, which should make all manners of tasks (and any gaming you want to do) extra nice. It also has a magnetic storage/area for the Surface Pen. This is now Microsoft’s most powerful laptop hardware you can get.
The Microsoft Surface Book 4 will set you back $1,600 in its most basic configuration. Orders open on October 5 but pre-orders are open now.
Surface Go 3
If a high-end device like the Surface Pro 8 is too rich for your blood, Microsoft has got you covered. The Surface Go 3 is the latest budget model in the Surface series. As usual, it features lower-end specs while borrowing the same laptop/tablet hybrid design of the Surface Pro 8.
Not much has changed for the latest Surface Go, but Microsoft did bring in new Intel processors for a huge speed bump. It starts at a very reasonable $400 and you can grab one on October 5 but pre-orders are open now.
2021 Microsoft Surface event: Other tidbits
- Surface Pro X: Starting at $900, a slightly updated version of the original Pro X is available. It supports 64-bit emulation and comes with Windows 11 out of the box. It also comes in a Wi-Fi-only model. However, there’s no new hardware inside.
- Surface Slim Pen 2: This newly updated Slim Pen works well with the new display of the Surface Pro 8. The Pro 8 keyboard even has a slot that charges/stores the accessory. The stylus goes for $130.
- Ocean Plastic Mouse: An environmentally friendly mouse made of 20% recycled ocean plastics. It costs $25.
- Surface Adaptive Kit: A set of various stickers and customization systems you can apply to Surface laptops to help the vision-impaired as well as those with motor impairments.