AP­PEAL

Mi­crosoft’s new re­leases sug­gest a will­ing­ness to think out­side the box... and it’s an ap­proach that may help them stand out from the crowd

Gloucestershire Echo - - TECH NOW -

AN­OTHER week, an­other rash of new re­leases from one of the world’s big­gest tech com­pa­nies. It’s nice to see that Mi­crosoft, the old and ven­er­a­ble pur­veyor of the once ubiq­ui­tous Win­dows op­er­at­ing sys­tem, is still in the game, show­ing off some in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy as it re­vealed its “hol­i­day line-up” for 2019.

Mi­crosoft may lag be­hind the big­gest hard­ware-mak­ers at the mo­ment, but it’s still rak­ing in cash with Win­dows – and deep pock­ets com­bined with un­der­dog sta­tus can bring into be­ing some re­ally off-the-wall stuff.

While this year’s line-up is pretty unin­spir­ing, what Mi­crosoft plans to do next year has turned some heads…

SUR­FACE NEO

THE first of two gen­uinely in­ter­est­ing de­vices Mi­crosoft teased for re­lease next year is the Sur­face Neo – a dual-screen tablet which runs on Win­dows 10X – Mi­crosoft de­scribes that as an “ex­pres­sion of Win­dows 10”, what­ever that means.

The soft­ware is con­sid­er­ably less in­ter­est­ing than the hard­ware. In­stead of go­ing for bend­able screens like Sam­sung, Mi­crosoft has built a two-screen de­vice with hinges that can fold through a full 360 de­grees. This means the sys­tem can adapt to how you use it – it has two 9in screens, which when open, will of­fer a 13in dis­play.

Mi­crosoft says it will be fully fea­tured with per­for­mance and pro­duc­tiv­ity like a “true PC”. There’s a re­mov­able key­board and sup­port for the Sur­face Pen and a Blue­tooth mouse. There’s no word yet on how much it’ll cost, but it looks quite dif­fer­ent to any­thing else on the mar­ket.

SUR­FACE DUO

THE Sur­face Duo is more or less the Neo’s lit­tle sib­ling – a dual screen de­vice also with a 360-de­gree hinge, it’s de­signed to fit in your pocket. The two 5.6in screens will give 8.3in of dis­play when open.

The other dif­fer­ence be­tween the two fold­ing de­vices is that the Duo runs on An­droid, not Win­dows. This opens the de­vice up to the whole world of An­droid apps and is a smart move on Mi­crosoft’s part.

Like the Duo, there’s no re­lease date be­yond the vague 2020 aim, and pric­ing is also a mys­tery.

SUR­FACE PRO 7

From £799 (out on Oc­to­ber 22) MI­CROSOFT also of­fered up­dates to its cur­rent line-up of de­vices – with an all-new Sur­face Pro, now up to ver­sion num­ber 7. This re­tains the tried-and-tested look and feel of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion 2-in-1 de­vice (it’s both a lap­top AND a tablet), but dou­bles the pro­cess­ing speed with the lat­est 10th gen­er­a­tion Core chips from In­tel. There’s both USB-A and USB-C con­nec­tiv­ity, and all-day bat­tery life. The Pro 7 comes in plat­inum or black, but you can jazz the whole thing up with the wide va­ri­ety of coloured ac­ces­sories, in­clud­ing cov­ers, mice and pens.

SUR­FACE EAR­BUDS

COM­ING later this year are Mi­crosoft’s first true wire­less ear­buds. The Sur­face Ear­buds fol­low the usual trend – in-ear buds that live in a charg­ing case. This pro­vides 24-hour bat­tery life. There’s also sim­ple one-touch pair­ing with your de­vice.

What is new from Mi­crosoft is the look of the Sur­face Buds. The large cir­cu­lar shape may just de­velop the iconic sta­tus Ap­ple’s Air­pods en­joy now.

There’s no UK re­lease date or price yet, but in the US they’ll cost $250.

SUR­FACE LAP­TOP 3

From £999 (out on Oc­to­ber 22) MI­CROSOFT has up­dated its Sur­face Lap­top, now on to ver­sion three.

There’s the usual speed bump as well as the ad­di­tion of two new colours – Sand­stone and Cobalt. The new graph­ics chip in­side from AMD makes the Sur­face Pro 3, Mi­crosoft says, “the fastest 15in lap­top you can buy”.

The cam­eras, glass track­pad and the au­dio have all been up­graded.

SUR­FACE PRO X

From £999 (out on Novem­ber 19) THE Sur­face Pro X is Mi­crosoft’s next gen­er­a­tion Sur­face de­vice and sports all man­ner of im­prove­ments across the board.

There’s a new chip, de­signed by Mi­crosoft in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Qual­comm.

The de­vice looks the part, too – it’s thin­ner and has smaller bezels round the screen.

The new Pro X key­board at­tach­ment also sports a handy slot for stor­ing (and charg­ing) the new slimmed down Sur­face Pen.

Specced up: The re­vamped Sur­face Pro X gets a host of ma­jor im­prove­ments

Sur­face Ear­buds

Speeded up: The Sur­face Lap­top 3

Sur­face Neo, top, and Duo

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