UPDATED 15:08 EST / SEPTEMBER 22 2021

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Foldable Surface Duo 2 headlines Microsoft’s new two-in-one device lineup

Microsoft Corp. is setting the stage for the launch of Windows 11 next month by launching four new Surface two-in-one laptops that will ship with the operating system included.

The machines were announced by the company this morning alongside a fifth addition to the Surface product series. The Surface Duo 2 is the only one of the newly revealed devices that runs on Android rather than Windows. It stands out in other ways as well: The Duo 2 is not a laptop but a dual-screen smartphone that can be folded like a book when not actively used. 

Surface Duo 2

The Duo 2 is an improved version of Microsoft’s first entry into the foldable device market, the Surface Duo, with significantly upgraded specifications. Microsoft has revamped the case design as well. The hinge that the Duo 2 uses to fold its two displays into a more compact form doubles as a notification bar, allowing users to check alerts even when the device is closed.

The Duo 2’s two 5.8-inch screens may be used separately to run different apps side by side. They can also be used as one large, 8.3-inch display. The screens have an increased 90-Hertz refresh rate to enable sharper graphics, while a high-end Qualcomm 888 system-on-chip handles processing tasks. The chip is supported by 8 gigabytes of memory. 

Microsoft will make the Duo 2 available for order starting from $1,500. The premium price tag also includes a front-facing camera, three rear lenses, 5G support and the ability to make in-store purchases using mobile payment apps. Customers can order the Duo 2 with between 128 and 512 gigabytes of storage capacity.

Surface Laptop Studio 

Like the Duo, the Surface Laptop Studio is an upgraded and partly redesigned version of an existing Surface device. The machine improves upon Microsoft’s previous-generation flagship laptop with a hinge that allows users to set up the device in three different configurations. It can be used as a laptop, as a tablet or in what Microsoft calls Studio Mode. In Studio Mode, the display can be brought forward over the keyword.

The Surface Laptop Studio’s display is a 14.4-inch panel with a resolution of 2,400 pixels by 1,600 pixels. Most of the other specifications are customizable. The Surface Laptop Studio can be ordered with a i5-11300H or i7-11370H central processing unit from Intel’s 11th Gen Intel Core chip series and up to 32 gigabytes of memory. Storage capacity ranges from 256 gigabytes to 2 terabytes. 

For users who require more computing capacity than the Intel chips can provide, Microsoft will sell a version of the laptop with an Nvidia Corp. graphics card. There are two graphics cards to choose from: the consumer-grade GeForce RTX 3050 Ti and the NVIDIA RTX A2000, which is most commonly found in enterprise workstations. 

Pricing starts at $1,600.

More laptops

Alongside the Surface Laptop Studio, Microsoft debuted three additional Surface machines likewise powered by Windows 11. The devices are all based on the basic design: Each laptop features a detachable keyword that can be removed to turn it into a tablet.

The new Surface Pro 8, the first of the three laptops, comes with a $1,100 starting price and a 13-inch touchscreen flanked by narrower bezels than in the previous-generation Surface Pro. The default configuration includes an i5 processor from Intel’s 11th Gen Core series with eight gigabytes of memory, plus 128 gigabytes of storage. Users can optionally upgrade the CPU to a Core i7 processor and add better memory chips for a maximum of 32 gigabytes of RAM and a terabyte of storage.

The Surface Go 3 is a scaled-down version of the Surface Pro 8 with more accessible pricing that starts at $400. It offers 11 hours of battery life, or five hours less than the Surface Pro 8, and supports LTE connectivity but not 5G. The laptop is powered by a Core i3 chip that provides up to 60% more performance for applications than the CPU inside the previous-generation Surface Go.

Capping the lineup of new devices that Microsoft debuted today is a Wi-Fi version of the Surface Pro X. Available from $900, the Surface Pro X runs on Arm Ltd. silicon rather than an Intel Corp. processor like Microsoft’s other Windows laptops. The new Wi-Fi version offers similar specifications as the original at a slightly lower starting price. 

Images: Microsoft

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