Microsoft gets busy with a new range of Surface computing devices

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Microsoft Corp. today debuted a new range of Surface products that are being hailed by even skeptical observers as “great upgrades.”

As expected, Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 6, a two-in-one laptop/tablet hybrid with eighth-generation quad-core Intel Core i5 processors, a 12.3-inch display, up to 1 terabyte of solid-state disk storage and 13.5 hours of battery life.

Keeping the same form factor as its predecessors, the Surface Pro 6 now comes in matte black, as do all the new Surface products announced at the event today. While regarded by most as being a great product, the one criticism leveled at it so far is that the device still lacks USB-C ports, something primarily seen on newer cell phones as well as Mac laptops on which most tech journalists type their reviews.

The second new Surface product announced was the Surface Laptop 2, starting at $999. The new version, like the Surface Pro 6, retains the same form factor as its predecessor but now has a matte black option as well as blue, burgundy and silver. A previous gold version has been discontinued.

Under the hood, the Surface Laptop 2 has a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 126GB of storage. Microsoft claims that the Laptop 2 “is an astounding 85 percent faster than the original Surface Laptop.”

Both the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 come with a “PixelSense” touch display. Microsoft said it can “adapt to help you take your ideas to the next level,” a fancy way of saying that the touchscreens are highly responsive.

The third and least expected announcement came in the form of the Surface Studio 2, an upgrade to the previous 28-inch computing device that made its debut in 2016.

The Surface Studio 2 offers the same form factor and in this case, the same 28-inch screen. Microsoft claimed it has tweaked the display to be 38 percent brighter than the previous model with 22 percent more contrast.

Surprisingly, the Surface Studio 2 is being shipped with only a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor inside. But it does ship with a new Nvidia Corp. Pascal graphics card and 2TB of SSD storage, meaning that it delivers a quicker experience. It’s for those with money to burn, since it starts at $3,499.

Finally came the debut of Surface Headphones, Bluetooth wireless headphones with noise cancellation features. Coming in at a $399, the headphones have built-in support for artificial intelligence assistants, including Apple Inc.’s Siri, Inc.’s Alex and Microsoft’s own Cortana. Although the Surface Headphones, like their predecessors, appear well-liked at the outset, the jury is still out as to whether they’re worthy of the price tag.

Photo: Microsoft

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