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Friday, October 22, 2021

Here’s what to expect from Microsoft’s big Surface event tonight

New Surface Pro 8 and the second-generation Surface Duo could be the stars at Microsoft's big fall event on Wednesday.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi |
Updated: September 22, 2021 8:52:47 am
Microsoft's next Surface event will take place on September 22. Here's what to expect. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft will hold its next big product event later tonight. While there has been no official announcement of what will be unveiled, industry experts say all evidence points to the all-new Surface Pro, second-gen Surface Duo dual-screen device, Surface Go 3, and more. Microsoft’s invitation for the event revealed no details, simply teasing “Join us to see what’s next.”

Like Apple, Microsoft’s fall event gives consumers enough clues about where is company’s hardware strategy is headed. The product expected to show off on Wednesday will improve versions of the existing devices, with the Surface Pro 8 likely to hog all the limelight. With the Windows 11 shipping October 5 and Intel to officially launch Alder Lake CPUs soon, all eyes are on Microsoft and what it has in store for consumers this holiday season.

Here’s what you can expect to hear about at the Microsoft event.

Surface Pro is well due for a refresh

The Surface Pro is in serious need of a refresh, and this year it will finally get a makeover. The existing Surface Pro 7 looks dated in terms of design, with chunky bezels and limited port selection. Microsoft will introduce a new Surface Pro, likely named Surface Pro 8, that will have a 13-inch 120Hz display with narrow bezels and two Thunderbolt ports. It’s being said that the next-generation Surface Pro would ship without a USB-A port. This would be the first design change for the Surface Pro in years. The hybrid 2-in-1 would be powered by an 11th-generation Intel processor and could support replaceable SSD bays. Analysts expect the new Surface Pro could be priced at $800 for the base version.

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Hey, how about the Surface Duo?

The second-generation Surface Duo is expected to be the main attraction during Wednesday’s event. It won’t be ghastly different from the existing device– featuring the same dual-screen and form factor but will include improved cameras in addition to 5G support, NFC for contactless payments, Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, and “wireless power transfer.” Expect the Surface Duo 2 to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor and better software support. Like its predecessor, the new version will also be powered by Google’s Android OS. The original Surface Duo felt rough, with critics calling it an unfinished device. Microsoft will likely address all those issues with the second-generation Surface Duo. Hopefully, the Redmond giant will pitch the new Surface Duo differently this time around.

Surface Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro 8, Surface Duo 2, Windows 11, Microsoft event 2021, Surface Go 3, Surface Laptop 5, Surface Book 4 The Surface Duo is Microsoft’s two-screened device that can open up to become a tablet. (Image credit: Indian Express)

What about the next Surface Go and Surface Pro X?

What about the Surface Go? Well, it appears that the new Surface Go 3 will also be announced during Microsoft’s high-profile fall event. Don’t expect Microsoft to tweak the design language of the budget Surface device this year. But yes, the Surface Go 3 should come with either Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y or Intel Core i3-10100Y processors. It will still have a 10.5-inch screen, 64GB of eMMC storage on the base variant, and a 5MP front-facing camera with Windows Hello. The Surface Go is squarely aimed at the entry-level iPad, which recently made its debut during Apple’s fall event last week.

There’s also a chance to see Microsoft launching the new Surface Pro X at the event, though nothing much is known about the device. Expect the Windows tablet to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon SQ2 processor, the same custom chip featured in the last Surface Pro X, and 16GB of RAM. It remains to be seen if the new Surface Pro X gets support for a 120Hz display.

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Will Microsoft announce the new Surface Book 4?

The Surface Book has been Microsoft’s most powerful notebook, featuring powerful specs and a detachable screen. Although Microsoft is yet to indicate the arrival of the new Surface Book, reports claim the next model could feature a 14-inch high-refresh-rate display and  Nvidia RTX graphics. There’s a reasonable chance the next Surface Book will feature a pull-forward display instead of being fully detachable. The Surface Book 4 or Surface Book Pro as it is likely to be called will be pitted against Apple’s rumoured 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.

One more thing…

Another product desperately needs a refresh is the company’s high-end all-in-one Surface Studio. The Surface Studio 2 was announced way back in 2018, and hasn’t been updated since. It’s still a niche device starting at $3499 but then it is targeted at designers and “pro” level consumers. A major change for Surface Studio could be a bump in performance, a new design language, maybe a bigger display with thin bezels, and removable storage. It will be a surprise if Microsoft announces the new Surface Studio tomorrow.

We’ll have to wait and see if the rumours prove to be true. Microsoft will live-stream the event and you can follow Express Technology’s live blog online. The event is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. PT / 8:30 pm IST. 

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