Microsoft is still making Surface PCs! The company held a short virtual event earlier today to introduce two new models to its lineup, plus a few new software updates coming down the pipeline, including one with DALL-E integration.
For hardware, the Surface Studio 2+ is the big kicker today, as it’s a whopper of a machine with an Nvidia GPU on the inside. There’s also the Surface Pro 9 and portable Surface Laptop 5, which are a bump-up from last year’s releases.
The beefy Surface Studio 2 Plus
I bet you have never thought about spending $4,300 on a Surface PC, but Microsoft hopes to entice you with its Surface Studio 2+. What’s interesting to note is that it’s an upgrade to the Surface Studio 2, which launched nearly four years ago.
So what’s inside this pricey machine? The Surface Studio 2+ has a 28-inch touchscreen, an 11th-gen Core i7-11370H processor—which is a chip with a deadline, especially if you consider that we’re fast approaching the 13th generation of Intel’s chips. But what Microsoft hopes you’ll see as worth the cost is the Nvidia RTX 3060 laptop GPU with 6 GB of VRAM shoved inside. With its laptop configuration, the GPU will require less than half of the original wattage it would need inside a PC tower.
The rest of the specs in the Surface Studio 2+ are pretty standard. They include 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. There are also three USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports for connecting peripherals to your heart’s desire, including 4K monitors. You can also pay an extra $200 to bundle a stylus, keyboard, and mouse.
The Surface Studio 2+ is available for pre-order now and will start shipping at the end of this month.
The reliable Surface Pro 9
Weirdly, there are two vastly different variants of the Surface Pro 9. You can choose either one of the new 12-gen Intel CPUs or a 5G-capable ARM processor. Again, weird!
Microsoft used a version of the ARM chip featured inside this laptop about two years ago with the Surface Pro X. It looks like this time, the company’s trying a different name to see how it resonates with users. Just make sure you’re picking the one that’s right for you.
The Surface Pro 9 still carries that signature Microsoft design across the portfolio. The Intel-based variant comes with either a Core i5-1235U or a Core i7-1255U CPU. It features a 13-inch PixelSense display with a 120 Hz refresh rate, a 1080p webcam, up to 32 GB of RAM, and up to a 1 TB SSD. There are also two Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect external monitors and peripherals.
The ARM variant is more limited in specs. It has up to 16 GB of RAM and a maximum of 512 GB of storage. It also isn’t compatible with the Intel version’s Thunderbolt 4 ports, dialing you down instead to USB-C 3.2. But this version also has built-in 5G and eSIM support, so you can work on the go.
The Intel variant of the Surface Pro 9 starts at $1000, while the ARM version starts at $1300. Both are available for pre-order now and will ship later this month.
The portable Surface Laptop 5
Last in today’s Microsoft device showcase is the Surface Laptop 5, which appears to be an updated reprise of last year’s Surface Laptop 4—which we thought was nearly perfect.
This year’s models are only available with Intel chips, however. The Surface Laptop 5 comes with either the 12th-gen Core i5-1235U chip or the higher-performing Core i7-1255U. Each laptop is configurable with 8GB to 32GB of RAM and 256GB to 1TB of storage space. There are also two display sizes: 13.5-inches, which starts at $1000, and 15-inches, which starts at $1300.
Microsoft says the smaller size of the Surface Laptop 5 is capable of up to 18 hours of battery life on the go and that it can fast charge up to 50 percent in just half an hour. If you do like the idea of the Surface Laptop 5 but aren’t too keen on the display size, you can utilize the device’s Thunderbolt 4 compatibility to work on larger monitors. The Surface Laptop 5 also connects to WiFi 6. It’s available for pre-order now and will ship toward the end of the month.
Creator tools—with AI
In addition to the new Surface laptops and accessories, Microsoft has also added to the abilities of its creator tools in Microsoft 365, Edge, and Bing.
First up, Microsoft Designer is a free graphic design app that lets you make your own designs. But the kicker is that the company has integrated DALL-E 2 into it, making it easier for you to choose violence. You can use Microsoft Designer to instantly generate a design based on your text input. This is surely going to wreak havoc in the world. If you want to try it out, you can join the waitlist to be among the first to try it. Image Creator on Microsoft Bing is another way to use the AI-infused tool on the web.
Windows users, Clipchamp is also coming to Microsoft 365. You can use it to easily edit and string together videos, whether you’re making a meme or a photo slideshow. Give it a try now with your Microsoft account.
You can read the rest of Microsoft’s creator-tinged announcements on its blog.