Microsoft Surface 2021 laptops: What Australians need to know
From the Surface Pro 8 to the dual screen Surface Duo 2, here are all the details on Microsoft's new devices.
Microsoft remains primarily a software company – it's kind of inherent in the name – but its hardware ambitions have been clear for years now. That's especially true for the Microsoft Surface line of devices, which have been in production since 2012.
Microsoft has announced a slew of new laptops and upgrades to existing lines designed to entice both the Surface old hands and those who might wonder what a Microsoft-produced laptop might be like. Here's what you need to know about the new models.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8
The Surface Pro line has been Microsoft's workhorse device of the line since its inception, and easily its most popular. In its 8th generation, Microsoft is making some bold claims around performance while tweaking the design. The claim is that it's 2x as fast as the Surface Pro 7, utilising 11th generation Intel Core i7 processors. That will also be helped by a bump in the basic specification to a minimum of 8GB RAM, although you can configure that to up to 16GB if you need more. On the storage side, you can opt for 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of SSD storage.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 will ship in either a platinum or graphite finish, and not all configurations are available in both colours. If you want a Core i7 model with 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage, that's a Graphite only variant. Want the full fat Core i7, 16GB RAM with a 1TB SSD? Platinum only.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is available to pre-order now from the Microsoft store, with shipping in Australia from 4 November 2021. Here's the price breakdown for each model:
|Microsoft Surface Pro 8||Price|
|Surface Pro 8 Core i5 8GB RAM 128GB SSD Platinum||$1,649.00|
|Surface Pro 8 Core i5 8GB RAM 256GB SSD Platinum/Graphite||$1,799.00|
|Surface Pro 8 Core i5 16GB RAM 256GB SSD Graphite||$2,099.00|
|Surface Pro 8 Core i5 8GB RAM 512GB SSD Graphite||$2,099.00|
|Surface Pro 8 Core i7 16GB RAM 256GB SSD Graphite/Platinum||$2,399.00|
|Surface Pro 8 Core i7 16GB RAM 512GB SSD Graphite/Platinum||$2,849.00|
|Surface Pro 8 Core i7 16GB RAM 1TB SSD Platinum||$3,299.00|
As always, if you want a type cover or the new Surface Slim Pen 2, it will cost you extra on top of the Surface Pro 8 price.
Surface Laptop Studio
If the Surface Pro is for pros, then the Surface Laptop Studio is for… studio pros, I guess? It's an even more premium laptop design that's rather like what would happen if a Surface Pro and a Surface Laptop got busy in a hotel in Redmond somewhere. It features a folding design built around a laptop body, so the keyboard becomes a base for it in what other makes might refer to as tent mode.
It also uses a 120Hz capable 14.4-inch touchscreen, 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors, and is also compatible with the new Surface Slim Pen 2. Microsoft hasn't yet announced Australian pricing, with the local site simply noting that it will be available in "early 2022", but in the US, pricing starts at US$1,600.
Surface Pro X
The Surface Pro X is Microsoft's ARM-based Windows laptop, and it's always sold as a super-portable machine with LTE compatibility on board. Not so now, however, with the new Surface Pro X offering up a lower-cost Wi-Fi only option if LTE isn't of interest to you.
Those new Wi-Fi only models aren't shipping in Australia as yet, and would appear to be only coming to market in early 2022. If you opt for a Surface Pro X in Australia right now, only the LTE variants are available.
Surface Go 3
The upgrades just keep on coming, with the Surface Go 2 making way for the Surface Go 3. Like its predecessor, this is the Surface you buy because you want a small and portable machine but either need a tiny form factor or don't want to meet the asking price of the Surface Pro X.
It's the most affordable Surface option, but also the lowest powered, relying on an Intel Pentium 6500Y with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage. The baseline 4GB RAM/64GB model will set you back $629, while the pepped up 8GB RAM/128GB model will cost $849.
The Surface Go 3 will be available in Australia from 5 October 2021, with pre-orders available now through the Microsoft store.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2
We never saw the original Surface Duo here in Australia, with Microsoft keeping its first in-house phone since it dumped Lumia as a US-only exclusive. However, the sequel phone will hit our shores, offering up an alternative folding phone tablet option to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. Like Samsung's phone it's an Android device featuring an 8.3-inch display when fully unfolded, comprised of 2 x 5.8-inch displays that sit side by side, like a book. There's no external display, but you do get a trio of cameras at the rear for your photography needs.
Microsoft's big pitch for the Surface Duo 2 is that it will allow you to run any 2 Android apps side by side. We've seen that kind of pitch before, most notably with the interesting-but-flawed dual screen LG V50 ThinQ, but the larger size of the Surface Duo 2 could make it a more compelling prospect.
The Surface Duo 2 will be available in Australia from late October, with pricing starting at $2,319.
Surface Slim Pen 2 and peripherals
The new Surface devices are also compatible with Microsoft's new Surface Slim Pen 2, which will ship in Australia from 21 October 2021 at $189.95. What that buys you is a stylus with a built in haptic motor that's designed to give more of a force feedback feel for artists and sketchers, as well as a sharper tip for more precision work.
Microsoft also announced other new Surface peripherals, including a sweet looking Ocean Plastic Mouse. As the name suggests, it's made from recycled ocean plastic, or at least 20% of it is. It will be available from 5 October 2021 for $34.95.
For Surface users with disabilities, Microsoft is also offering up what it calls the Surface Adaptive kit. This is a set of 16 adhesive buttons and keycap labels designed to make using a Surface easier for those who might otherwise find it difficult. It will retail for $24.95 in Australia.
Buy Microsoft Surface laptops
Select models in the upcoming Surface range are now available to pre-order at the Microsoft Store. If you're looking for a cheaper pre-2021 model, eBay has a stack of listings with prices starting at just $650.
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