Business Insider Edition

Here's everything Microsoft announced at its big hardware event, including an Android phone and a super-fast, super-slim Surface Pro

Antonio Villas-Boas , Business Insider US
 Oct 03, 2019, 08:05 AM
Business Insider
  • Microsoft held its annual hardware launch event on Wednesday.
  • It introduced the Surface Pro 7 laptop/tablet hybrid and the Surface Laptop 3 - updates to existing devices.
  • Notably, though, Microsoft had more brand-new devices to discuss than it did of those widely-expected refreshes.
  • Microsoft also unveiled the super-slim Surface Pro X, the dual-screen Surface Neo, and the biggest surprise of all: An Android-powered smartphone with two screens called the Surface Duo. It also announced wireless earbuds called the Surface Earbuds.
  • That's four all-new devices announced, compared to the two more conventional refreshes.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Microsoft held its big Surface event on Wednesday, where the company announced its brand new lineup of laptops and other hardware for the coming year and beyond.

At the event, we got a look at the new Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 - devices that are more-or-less simple refreshes over their predecessors, save for a few interesting new tidbits. The new Surface Pro 7, for instance, finally adds a USB-C port.

However, Microsoft also introduced brand new, never-seen-before devices that blur the lines between tablets and laptops, including the Surface Pro X and the Surface Neo. The company even announced an Android-powered phone called the Surface Duo, as well as the wireless Surface Earbuds.

If you have no idea what those last few devices are, scroll down below to find out:


A folding smartphone called the Surface Duo. That's right, Microsoft is back in the smartphone game.

The Surface Duo is a dual-screen smartphone that runs Android, and folds down the middle with a hinge.

Microsoft's Surface Duo won't come out until the holiday of 2020 - a delay to let developers get their hands on the phone and start bringing their apps over. As of yet, there's no pricing for this thing, but it is intriguing.


A dual-screen tablet that thinks its a laptop called the Surface Neo.

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The Surface Neo has the general appearance of two tablets connected with a hinge, and the design gives it the option to fold into a laptop shape or to be held open like a book. It combines the portable design of a tablet with the versatility and productivity of the Windows 10 operating system.

The Neo can be used as a tablet, or it can take on the form of a laptop. It's all screen and no keyboard on its own, but a magnetically attachable keyboard can fit on top of the bottom portion of the Neo.

Microsoft showed how the keyboard can be moved around the Neo's bottom portion, and the software creates a secondary screen in the screen space above the physical keyboard when it's attached. It's a little bit like the Touch Bar on Apple's most recent MacBook Pro models, only Microsoft calls this strip the "wonderbar."

The Neo won't be available for another year until the 2020 shopping season, the company said, but Microsoft is showing it off early to help get developers interested.


A super-slim tablet/laptop hybrid called the Surface Pro X — which runs an ARM chip, in a first for Microsoft.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The Surface Pro X is essentially a lighter version of the company's Surface Pro laptop/tablet hybrids. It has a similar overall tablet design with a detachable keyboard.

What makes it special is that it runs on an ARM-based processor from Qualcomm. Yep, that's the same chipmaker that makes chips for a lot of Android phones. Except the ARM chip in the Surface Pro X is specially designed and configured for a laptop that runs the full version of Windows 10.

ARM chips offer great power efficiency, which means long battery lives. For the Surface Pro X, the ARM chip affords 13 hours of battery life. And since ARM-based chips are power efficient, they don't need fans and chunky heatsinks inside the enclosure, which means the Surface Pro X is lighter and thinner than its numbered predecessors.

The Surface Pro X won't be the machine of choice for power-hungry users - it's likely to be less powerful than the Surface Pro 7, also announced on Wednesday - but it's theoretically a perfect device for the most common things people do on laptops, like browsing the web, emailing, and running productivity apps like Microsoft Office.

It's available to preorder on Wednesday and will be widely available on November 5.


A Surface Laptop 3 and a new 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 with sleek designs.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Both the new 13-inch and 15-inch Surface laptops sport sleek metal designs that give the latest Apple MacBook Pro a run for their money. That's notable, because previous versions of the Surface Laptop only came with alcantara fabric coating on the keyboard area - for the first time, the Surface Laptop 3 will give users a more traditional brushed aluminum option.

Meanwhile, the 15-inch Surface Laptop is a brand-new size option that should appeal to those who want more screen real estate than what 13-inch laptops offer. The 15-inch Surface Laptop also runs on a chip from AMD, which is a first for Microsoft laptops. Microsoft has exclusively used Intel chips so far in its Surface lineup.

Both new Surface laptops will be available starting on October 22.


A refreshed Surface Pro 7.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The new Surface Pro 7 is mostly a small upgrade from the Surface Pro 6, adding things like the new Intel 10th-generation chips and, finally, a USB-C port.

While a USB-C port is great, it doesn't support the Thunderbolt 3 standard. In fact, none of the USB-C ports of Microsoft's latest laptops support Thunderbolt 3, which is a shame and possibly a deal-breaker for many.


Surface Buds wireless earbuds.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Microsoft is getting into the wireless earbud game with its Surface Buds. They have eight hours of battery life and the charging case holds a 24-hour charge.

Beyond playing music and taking phone calls, Microsoft boasts that it has integrations with the Office 365 suite - including the ability to swipe on the earbuds to advance to the next slide on PowerPoint, and even transcribe what you're saying during a presentation and add your speech as a caption in over 60 languages.

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