New Sur­face Sur­faces

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MI­CROSOFT HASN’T AL­WAYS had suc­cess with hard­ware, but its Sur­face range broke the trend. The touch­screen hy­brid de­vices are in­no­va­tive and stylish, and Mi­crosoft has an­nounced an up­date to the range, bring­ing more power to the party.

Sur­face Pro 6, a two-in-one de­vice with de­tach­able key­board, has new pro­ces­sors. It starts at $899 for a sys­tem sport­ing a Core i5-8250U, 128GB of stor­age, and 8GB of RAM. This jumps to $2,299 if you want a Core i7-8650U. Still no USB-C port, though. Sur­face Lap­top 2, a touch­screen note­book, re­ceives a sim­i­lar bump in power. The $999 base ver­sion has 8GB of me­mory—dou­ble the pre­vi­ous ver­sion—and a Core i5 Kaby Lake dual-core pro­ces­sor. Still no USB-C, ei­ther. Both the Pro 6 and Lap­top 2 come in a new color op­tion: matte black. Ap­par­ently, it added 40–80 mi­crons to the thick­ness, which meant hav­ing to re­design the space around all the ports. Lastly, there is the Sur­face Stu­dio 2, the high-end desk­top ver­sion, aimed at “cre­atives.” This gets a Core i7-7820 and a GeForce GTX 1060 or 1070. Prices start at $3,499.

This is a mod­est re­fresh of spec­i­fi­ca­tions. What is com­pletely new is the Sur­face head­phones. Th­ese noise-can­cel­ing wire­less smart cans will cost $349. They pause mu­sic or mute when you re­move them, and restart when you put them back on. They also have built-in mi­cro­phones, so you can sum­mon Cor­tana if you must.

Juicier Sur­face gear is ex­pected next year, in­clud­ing the Sur­face Hub 2 and HoloLens. Mi­crosoft may have failed spec­tac­u­larly at smart­phones, but it has carved out a use­ful slice of the tablet and lap­top seg­ment for it­self.

The new 2018 Sur­face mod­els, now avail­able in a funky matte black.

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