Microsoft took the wraps off its new Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and Surface Studio 2+ today. The new products are iterative updates with no significant design changes, though what’s happening under the hood is actually quite interesting.
Let’s start with the Surface Pro 9, which is released 10 years after Microsoft introduced its original Surface tablet, the Surface RT right at the start of the Windows 8 era.
Surface Pro 9
This year, the Surface Pro 9 keeps the same body but offers different CPU choices. For the first time, customers can choose between 12th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, and an ARM-based Microsoft SQ3 chip. The latter is a customized version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, and it’s also coupled with a 5G modem.
“The Microsoft SQ3 processor provides fast 5G connectivity and up to 19 hours of battery life. Additionally, it unlocks new AI features made possible through an entirely new Neural Processing Unit (NPU) that transforms how you connect with the people in your life,” said Microsoft’s Chief Hardware Officer Panos Panay.
Forget about the Surface Pro X line, Microsoft refers to the Qualcomm-powered Surface Pro 9 as the “Surface Pro 9 with 5G.” There are a couple of subtle differences between this 5G model and the regular Surface Pro 9 with 12th gen Intel CPUs, even though both tablets use the same design.
Here are the main differentiators between the Surface Pro 9 and the Surface Pro 9 with 5G:
- Both models feature a 13-inch 2880 x 1920 display with a dynamic refresh rate of up to 120Hz. However, the display on the regular Surface Pro 9 has 2 exclusive features, Dolby Vision and Auto Color Management.
- The regular Surface Pro 9 can be configured with 32GB of DDR5 RAM and 1TB of storage, while the Surface Pro 9 with 5G is limited to 16GB of DDR4x RAM and 512GB of storage.
- Microsoft promises up to 15.5 hours of battery life on the Surface Pro 9, and up to 19 hours on the Surface Pro 8 with 5G.
- The front-facing camera on the Surface Pro 9 with 5G supports exclusive Windows Studio Effects (Portrait Blur, Automatic Framing, Eye Contact).
- The regular Surface Pro 9 has 2 USB-C ports with USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4, while the 5G model has 2 USB-C 3.2 ports without Thunderbolt.
- The Graphite, Sapphire, and Forest colors are only available on Wi-Fi SKUs.
As usual, the Surface Pro Type keyboard and Surface Slim Pen 2 are sold separately, and there are new Surface Pro Signature Keyboards in Sapphire and Forest colors as well. The Surface Pro 9 starts at $999, and the Surface Pro 9 with 5G starts at $1,299. Both models will start shipping on October 25, and you can pre-order them now.
Surface Laptop 5
The Surface Laptop 5 features the same 12th gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs found on the new Surface Pro 9, and Microsoft claims that the Surface Laptop 5 is “over 50% more powerful than its predecessor.” If the choice between 13.5” and 15” options remains available, there are no Surface Laptop 5 models with AMD CPUs this year.
All Surface Laptop 5 models come with a 201 PPI screen with Dolby Vision support (there’s no 120Hz refresh rate, though), up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM, up to 1TB of storage, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and a 720p front-facing camera. The single USB-C port now supports USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4, while the single USB-A port still uses the slower USB 3.1 standard.
The main differences between the 13.5″ and the 15” Surface Laptop 5 models are CPU choices, battery life, and colors: There is no Core i5 option on the 15” models, which also have slightly better battery life (up to 18 hours compared to up to 17 hours on the 13.5” models). Lastly, the 15” models are only available in Platinum and Matte Black colors, while the 13.5” models are available in Platinum with Alcantara, Sage, Matte Black, and Sandstone.
The Surface Laptop 5 will start at $999 for the 13.5” model and $1,299 for the 15” model. Both versions are available to pre-order today, and they will start shipping on October 25.
Surface Studio 2+
The Surface Studio 2+ is the successor to the Surface Studio 2 released back in 2018. “As work environments have evolved in recent years, we’ve seen strong ongoing demand for this elegant, powerful, and versatile product,” Panos Panay said today.
If there are no design changes on the Surface Studio 2+, Microsoft included 11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPUs, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 laptop GPUs, and 3 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4. The 28” display now supports Dolby Vision and better gradients with Auto Color Management, though it’s still not 120Hz.
Other notable updates on the Surface Studio 2+ include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, Dolby Atmos speakers, and support for up to three 4K UHD 60Hz external displays via the Thunderbolt 4 ports. It’s a bit weird that Microsoft opted for older 11th Gen Intel CPUs, though Microsoft claims that the Surface Studio 2+ has up to 50% faster CPU speed than the Surface Studio 2, and it’s also 5x more powerful than the original model.
The Surface Studio 2+ starts at $4,499, and it will start shipping on October 25. You can also pre-order it today.
Microsoft also announced other new products today including the Microsoft Presenter+ Remote and the Microsoft Audio Dock, which are both certified for Microsoft Teams. You can learn more details about these new accessories in our separate post.