What’s New? The Surface line just keeps getting better

It’s been a while since Microsoft surprised us with its first Surface laptop, tablet, or whatever it was. At the time, the design was something unique and innovative, but not everyone liked it, or at least, not everyone was sure that the Surface was a good move for Microsoft.

Microsoft’s introduction of its Surface tablet engendered buzz like no other we’ve seen from Microsoft. The big question is, does it stand up to the hype? – PCWorld

Microsoft first announced the Surface at an event on 18 June 2012, presented by former CEO Steve Ballmer in Milk Studios Los Angeles. This hybrid tablet included a keyboard that was surprisingly good, and it also served as a cover for it.

Earlier today, Microsoft announced new updates to its existing line of Surface products and a few new items as well. So the question is, is Microsoft’s Surface line getting better? In my opinion, yes, it has been improving with every update and every product added to it. The Surface Book 2 for example, is an excellent laptop for power users looking not only for a responsive and capable laptop, but also a computer that can act as a tablet for portability, creative work, and even for entertainment.

What’s new?

Both of these incredible products come in an all-new finish, a timeless and sophisticated matte black.

Surface Pro 6

  • Featuring the latest 8th generation Intel® Quad Core™ processor.
  • More than 67 percent faster than 5th generation Surface Pro.
  • Same portability, versatility and all-day battery as before.
  • PixelSense™ Touch Display.
  • Intelligent inking.
  • Password-free Windows Hello sign-in.
  • Windows Timeline.

Surface Laptop 2

  • New Quad Core 8th generation Intel® processor.
  • 85 percent faster than the original Surface Laptop.
  • PixelSense™ Touch Display.
  • Best in class keyboard and trackpad.
  • 14.5 hours of battery life you need to get through your day (without sacrificing performance and portability).

Surface Studio 2

This is the second generation of the most potent Surface ever. This is the computer that targets annoyed Mac OS users that need high graphics performance, and fast processing for video creation, and other demanding computing tasks.

  • Next generation Pascal graphics and 50 percent faster GPU.
  • 38 percent brighter than previous Surface Studio, with 22 percent more contrast.
  • Surface Pen:
    • 4,096 levels of pressure, tilt sensitivity for drawing and sketching.
    • Best-in-class ink latency.

Surface Headphones

This is the new Surface family member, the Surface Headphones that match the design and we hope, the quality, of the rest of the Surface line products.

  • Spectacular sound quality and 13 levels of ambient noise control.
  • Designed with collaboration in mind, there are 2 beam-forming microphones on each ear cup, 8 microphones in total.
  • Easily adjust volume and noise cancellation levels with new, intuitive on-ear dials.

Microsoft says that while Surface Headphones are optimized for Surface devices, they will pair with any Bluetooth enabled device so when you’re switching between PC and phone, you can stay connected to your music, meeting or call seamlessly. The Surface Headphones also integrate with Cortana for voice-activated commands – I’ll get back to you on how well that works once I get a hold of them to try it.

What else is new?

Many people are already using Surface products, and the continued success of the Surface line depends, in part, on how many people Microsoft can get to switch from Mac OS devices and who are looking for powerful and capable tools that can help them complete their work and enjoy every minute of it.

These Surface products aren’t cheap, and to help with that, Microsoft also released a new program called Surface All Access to help people purchase any of their Surface products with low monthly payments.

One more thing, you can also get the Windows 10 October 2018 update now, details are on the video below – or you can just wait until the general rollout begins on Oct. 9.

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 – The laptop that is what the Macbook Pro should have been

MacBook Pro and Surface Book 2 images

It has taken a few years for Apple to make any considerable upgrades to its most powerful line of laptops, the MacBook Pro (MBP). This I believe, has given Microsoft the opportunity to release a second and better iteration of a product that has both a new design and a set of features that can potentially make MacBook Pro users switch to this Windows laptop, at least for now. So what’s Apple to do?

Well, perhaps nothing if they aren’t as excited as they were once about pursuing the high-end laptop market which is made of, undeniably, of many of their existing customers via iPhone and iPads. The MacBook Pro has always been considered upscale and the high-end of laptops for professionals. The premium materials and powerful specs of the MacBook Pro were still on par with its high price, which made it hard for Windows laptop companies to compete.

The MacBook Pro

Presently, I consider the current MacBook Pro overpriced for what it offers. The 13 and 15-inch MBP models are priced only $100 less than Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 laptops of the same size with similar specs. But I consider that the Windows laptops while still expensive, offer a computer with better specs than the MacBook Pro where it counts. The Surface Book 2 includes a much better battery life (up to 17 hours vs. MBP’s 10 hours) a 10 point multi-touch display, better connections including a full-size SD card reader, and the versatility to be not just a laptop but also a tablet, and portable studio all-in-one.

The Surface Book 2

The Surface Book 2 also has better options for storage, Microsoft offers four storage options for the 13-inch model, and 3 storage options for the 15-inch model which range from a Solid state drive (SSD) 128GB to a roomy 1TB PCIe SSD, and you’ll still be under $3,300 while the Apple MacBook Pro will cost you over $4,000 if you choose a drive larger than 512GB.

The Surface Book 2 also features two cameras, a 5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video and an 8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p Full HD video. In comparison, the MacBook Pro includes a 720p FaceTime HD camera. To be honest, I haven’t really used the Surface’s rear-facing camera yet, I just haven’t found a use case for it, so not sure what advantages exists for having it.

The main advantage

The versatility of the Surface Book 2 is also no joke, I was a bit skeptic of it, but I’ve been using this laptop for two months now, and the tablet and studio options have been handy for me. When you detach the screen to use as a tablet, you end up with an incredibly light and powerful tablet.

The design is something I wasn’t a fan of when I first saw it, but it has grown on me. The hinge adds a bump to the Surface Book 2 profile, but it doesn’t bother me. This powerful laptop isn’t the thinnest, but it is indeed not the heaviest either. The 13.5-inch model wights 3.38 lbs while the 15-inch model is at 4.2 lbs. In comparison, the new Apple MacBook Pro is at 3.02 lbs for the 13-inch model and 4.02 lbs for the 15-inch model.

Another advantage of the Surface Book 2 is its QWERTY keyboard, it feels good, and it is definitely much better than the MBP’s keyboard equipped with the low-profile butterfly switch mechanisms.

The main disadvantage

The most significant disadvantage of the Surface Book 2 is that it falls short in memory options as you can only get up to 16GB while the MacBook Pro is configurable to 32GB of memory. This is important to a lot of people, having the extra memory comes handy when using memory hungry applications while coding or using photography and/or video editor applications.

Apple failed to impress with the release of the new options of their MacBook Pro line earlier this summer. In contrast, Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is already a great laptop, and there are rumors that the Surface Book 3 release might be around the corner. There are good chances that the Surface Book 3 will include a 32GB memory option, and perhaps a better screen resolution if they want to stay ahead of Apple’s MacBook Pro line.

Bottom line

Most people who have gotten the Surface Book 2 would agree that Microsoft is changing the game and it’s regaining the attention of creators in search of a powerful and capable laptop, while Apple has a hard time keeping up after leaving their line of laptops unattended for so long.

Yup. Microsoft got its mojo back, and there is competition again.

Image credit: By SimonWaldherr [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons