Microsoft’s new Surface family delivers a surfeit of choice
New and updated Microsoft Surface devices include the Surface Laptop Studio and the Surface Duo 2 folding phone – here’s your chance to meet the family
The Microsoft Surface team has been busy. This week saw the launch of seven new and updated devices in the company’s portable Surface family, including a new version of the Surface Duo 2 folding phone, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio.
As you’d expect, each and every debut features incremental improvements over its predecessor, predominantly in terms of display quality, battery life and processor speed.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
The flexible screen position on the new Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Surface has always been about flexibility. The newest device to join the set is the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, the series’ most powerful laptop to date, with quad-core 11th generation Intel chips, up to two terabytes of solid-state storage and 32 GB of memory. The flexible screen can be angled forward over the keyboard for easier use of the optional pen. It joins the eighth version of the Surface Pro, the tablet that pioneered the use of a detachable cover/keyboard.
There’s also a Surface Pro X, the most flexible and thinnest family member. It sits alongside the Surface Go 3, the simplest and most affordable surface device that is pitched as a go-anywhere tablet with the functionality of a detachable keyboard.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2
Microsoft Surface Duo 2 showing its different modes
The new Surface Duo 2 improves on the original and shows that Microsoft is still committed to this as-yet-unproven form factor, at least for the time being. Available later in October 2021, the tautologically named Duo 2 beefs up the power, screen size and camera quality.
When we tried the original device back in the spring, the second screen brought welcome flexibility and made phone time feel rather more productive.
The Ocean Plastic Mouse, a step on the way to true sustainability
New accessories include an Adaptive Kit to improve accessibility, and a new iteration of the Surface Slim Pen 2, one of the better digital pens on the market. We especially like the way the pen docks magnetically to the Surface Laptop Studio and charges while it’s in place; it’ll also charge up when stored in the Surface Type Cover or its own charging case.
Finally, there’s also the Ocean Plastic Mouse, an ergonomic wireless pointing device that contains 20 per cent of the recycled material du jour, plastic waste sifted from the oceans. It’s a start.
Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2
If anything, the choice is now too broad, with each Surface finely tuned to appeal to a particular niche. Although it ensures that there’s definitely a device to suit your needs, perhaps a one-size-fits-all strategy might be back in fashion in the near future.
All the laptops in the family have been tuned for the arrival of Windows 11, officially available from the start of October 2021. §