While in Berlin, Panos Panay, Microsoft's product manager, unveiled the American giant's new products to the European press 15 days after the global event held in New York. More information about the brand's projects and its ambitions in an ultra-competitive market were also revealed.
Microsoft came to Europe with a lot of new features this fall. The Redmond firm believes more than ever in its Surface hardware range, which is growing year after year. It has successfully established its brand in the computer and tablet market not only with the general public but also with professionals. It is therefore not surprising that Microsoft is announcing its new products for this new season.
However, the real surprise is not the new laptops or tablets that will be available this year, but the Surface Neo and Duo foldables.
The future of PC and mobile
Yes, Microsoft has not said its last word about smartphones. Although Windows Phone has said goodbye, the American company still intends to play a role on the market, resulting in an atypical folding smartphone called Surface Neo. However, unlike the Galaxy Fold or Mate X, the Seattle firm has chosen the concept of a 5.6-inch dual screen separated by two 360-degree metal hinges that multiply the configurations. It's a way of avoiding Samsung's concerns about screen fragility while offering users the opportunity to enjoy two screens, and therefore be more productive.
The device, which we could not take in our hand because it is still in a prototype state, impressed us. Its slim design and simplicity will seduce a lot of people. It's a nice surprise, and Microsoft has chosen Android as its OS. For Panos Panay, the choice was obvious because it was the "best choice" for this format. Just like Windows 10X is for the Surface Duo. In terms of photography, no details are available at the moment, but Panay promised that the Surface Duo will have a "superb camera". The Surface Duo follows the same principle but applied to a tablet with a dual 9-inch LCD screen that forms a 13-inch screen when unfolded.
In short, both devices are desirable but, unfortunately, we will have to wait a year before we can buy them. Microsoft refers to the end of 2020 for these two devices. In this respect, Microsoft acts a bit like a car manufacturer that unveils its concept car first. The American company wants to indicate the direction in which the market will trend towards and encourage other manufacturers to follow these formats. I look forward to trying the Surface Duo and Neo, anyway.
Taking on the MacBook Air, iPad Pro and Pixelbook
In addition to the Surface Neo and Duo, the bulk of Microsoft's show was dedicated to the new Surface Laptop 3 laptops and the new Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro X tablets. The first is a computer designed to compete in particular with the MacBook Air and remain competitive in the ultraportable segment at around €1,149.
Available with a display size of 13.5 inches, the Surface Laptop 3 features a touch screen and a 10th generation Intel processor (i5 and i7) with 8 or 16GB of RAM. For the first time, 15-inch models equipped with AMD processors are available. The Surface Laptop 3 includes a removable SSD hard drive, a USB-C port and a USB-A port, as well as a larger touchpad. Now available, the Laptop 3 starts from €1,169.
In addition to updating its Surface Pro with a new model equipped with the latest Intel Core processors of the 10th generation (€899 starting this month), it is especially the Surface Pro X that looks interesting. The first Microsoft tablet to have its own processor designed in partnership with Qualcomm, it offers a thinner design than the Surface Pro (7.3 mm vs. 9 mm).
Truly portable (774 grams), the Surface Pro X is certainly Microsoft's most promising product. A hybrid between the computer and the tablet, its 13-inch screen (2880 x 1920 pixels) is bright and suitable for all uses, both personal and professional. Launched at €1,169 in black, the Surface Pro X has everything it takes to compete with the iPad Pro, especially since the device offers greater versatility thanks to its detachable keyboard that houses the stylus.
In short, this year, the 2019 vintage is promising. The age of maturity seems to have arrived for Microsoft, seven years after the launch of the Surface line in 2012. This time, software and hardware are more optimized than ever and the three new products announced could quickly become bestsellers. I expect plenty will end up under Christmas trees this year.
What do you think of the new hardware announced by Microsoft? Which product excites you most?