Microsoft launches Surface Pro 8, Laptop Studio and Duo 2 phone

Windows 11 maker unveils hybrid PC products and accessibility kit for people with disabilities

Microsoft has announced a range of computers, laptops, and a dual-screen smartphone as part of its big Surface Windows 11 event.

The unveiled devices include brand new computer types and updated models in existing lines, as well as new accessibility options. Each of the machines will be some of the first to ship with Windows 11.

Surface Pro 8

microsoft surface pro 8
The Surface Pro 8 resembles the sleeker design of the Surface Pro X with bigger screen and modern ports. Photograph: Microsoft

Microsoft’s popular original two-in-one convertible tablet PC has had a full redesign for its eighth generation. The Surface Pro 8 now has a larger, brighter and higher resolution 13in touchscreen that supports Dolby Vision HDR and a refresh rate up to 120Hz for a smoother experience – a rarity outside dedicated gaming PCs.

The Pro 8 is twice as fast as the Pro 7 with the latest 11th generation Intel Core chips, up to 32GB of RAM and two USB4/Thunderbolt 4 ports. It also has a redesigned keyboard and Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus that contains a vibrating motor designed to give you the sensation of pen on paper as you write on the glass screen.

The Surface Pro 8 starts at $1,099.99 in the US from 8 October and £999 in the UK from 28 October.

The smaller, cheaper Surface Go 3 has also been announced with faster chips while the Surface Pro X line now starts with a cheaper model and wifi-only options. Microsoft also announced the Ocean Plastic Mouse that is made of 20% recycled plastic.

Surface Laptop Studio

microsoft surface laptop studio
The Surface Laptop Studio’s Dolby Vision-supporting screen is on a hinge that converts it between laptop, stage and studio modes. Photograph: Microsoft

The Surface Laptop Studio, a type of laptop workstation, is designed to combine the best bits of Microsoft’s laptop and desktop computers.

The Laptop Studio looks like a traditional laptop that sits on a fanbase, but the 14.4in 120Hz touch screen unclips at the bottom, pulling forward and folding down on to the deck of the machine to turn into a large drawing pad similar to the Surface Studio desktop.

The portable workstation has 11th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 H-series chips with an option for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti discrete graphics card, two USB4/Thunderbolt 4 ports, up to 32GB of RAM and a removable SSD for storage. It replaces the Surface Book line as Microsoft’s most powerful machine.

The Surface Laptop Studio starts at $1,599.99 in the US and will be available from 8 October with UK pricing and availability to be announced in 2022.

Surface Duo 2

microsoft surface duo 2
The dual-screen Duo 2 is Microsoft’s second attempt at an Android phone with multiple ways to stand it up to use it. Photograph: Microsoft

Microsoft’s second version of its two-screen Android phone hopes to fix the issues of its predecessor to better take on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3.

The new Duo 2 has a similar design with two 5.8in AMOLED screens joined by a 360-degree hinge in the middle, which now has a display down its spine for showing notifications. But now it comes with much more modern and competitive specifications, including the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor with 5G, a triple camera system on the back and NFC for contactless payments.

The Surface Duo 2 starts at $1,499.99 in the US from 8 October and £1,349 in the UK from 21 October.

Surface Adaptive Kit

Surface Adaptive Kit
The Surface Adaptive Kit is part of a renewed push for greater accessibility from Microsoft’s Inclusive Tech Lab. Photograph: Microsoft

As part of Microsoft’s continued efforts on accessibility, the company announced it was working on a set of attachments for its Surface computers that make them easier to use for people with disabilities.

The kit includes tactile keycap labels and 3D bump labels that can help locate parts of the machines by touch. There are dedicated coloured port markers with raised textures and corresponding cable wraps to help put the right cable in the correct hole. Finally, the company has made stick-on loops and rings to help people open the laptop or pull out the kickstand on a tablet.

The kit will be available later this year for £14.99.

Contributor

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

The GuardianTramp

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