Microsoft is launching a revamped line of its most powerful and cheapest Windows 10 PCs, the Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2, as it adjusts to continue operations during the pandemic.
The new products, announced by blog post rather than an event, are Microsoft’s premium computers competing directly with the likes of Apple and Dell, but with more novel designs.
The Surface Book 3 is Microsoft’s next-generation high-power portable PC featuring a similar laptop with detachable tablet design as introduced in 2017. The Windows 10 machine is available in 13in or 15in versions, and ships with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, which gives it up to 50% greater performance than the Surface Book 2 from 2018.
Alongside Nvidia GeForce consumer graphics processors, Microsoft has also added the option for Nvidia’s Quadro graphics chips for the first time, which are commonly used in workstations in academia and commercial settings.
Surface Book 3 starts at $1,599 in the US and will be available from 21 May. It will cost from £1,599 in the UK available from 5 June.
Microsoft has also revamped its cheapest Windows 10 machine with the Surface Go 2. The new tablet has a larger 10.5in screen in a similar sized body compared to its predecessor, with optional detachable Type Cover keyboards similar to those available for Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 and Pro X.
The Surface Go 2 has Intel eighth-generation Intel Core M processors, which make it 64% faster than the previous version and give it longer battery life. Microsoft has also improved the microphones given it a five-megapixel front-facing camera designed for crisp video calls even in low light conditions, something that has suddenly become increasingly important during the pandemic.
The Surface Go 2 starts at £399 in the UK or $399 in the US and will be available from 12 May.
Alongside the new Surface PCs, which join the previously revamped Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7 and Pro X, Microsoft also launched a new version of its noise cancelling Surface Headphones 2. The headphones form part of the firm’s push to dominate remote working through its Office subscriptions and Teams video chat system.
The new headphones have improved sound quality, longer battery life and can now be bought in black, alongside the more showy original platinum grey colour of their predecessors. The Surface Headphones 2 cost $249 in the US from 12 May and £239.99 in the UK from 5 June.
Microsoft also announced that it’s delayed Apple AirPods competitors, the Surface Earbuds, will finally ship costing £199 in the UK and $199 in the US from 12 May. The true wireless earbuds with advanced Office integration were originally announced in October last year but were delayed in November pushed back to spring 2020.
After starting as a way to introduce new Windows PC formfactors in 2012, Microsoft’s Surface laptops, tablets, desktops and accessories have become a key part of its business accounting for just shy of $2bn in revenue, up 6% year-on-year. They have also reinvigorated Microsoft’s brand image and seen it compete directly with the likes of Apple on premium hardware and mindshare.
World news – GB – Microsoft launches faster Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2