We're living in a pandemic-induced time of launch events without actual, proper events to attend – and Microsoft did just that with today's announcement of fresh Surface devices.
They're mostly upgrades, but ought to be meaningful ones: the Surface Go 2, Surface Book 3, and Surface Headphones 2 are all releasing soon, along with the previously-announced Surface Earbuds.
If you're fond of Microsoft's modern hardware, then here's everything you need to know about today's biggest announcements.
Surface Go 2
Microsoft's great Surface Go – a more compact alternative to the Pro models – finally gets a proper update with some slight upgrades in the mix.
It has a smidge larger touch display this time around, adding half an inch to the now 10.5 inch screen, plus has dual microphones for clearer voice pickup and background noise reduction. It also introduces 8th Gen Intel Core M processor options if you want to pump the thing up with more speed.
The Surface Go 2 seems to make a few small improvements to the already great and versatile original, and thankfully doesn't see much of a price boost: it starts at £399 and begins shipping on May 12.
Surface Book 3
The Surface Book 3 is billed as Microsoft's most powerful laptop to date – and given the 2.5-year gap since the last version, that makes a lot of sense.
It's quite a bit pricier than the more affordable Surface Laptop line, but that difference is made up with power and battery life. Microsoft says that the new Surface Book 3 models, available in 13in and 15in renditions, offer up to 50% more performance than before along with max battery life of 17.5 hours. Like most laptop battery promises, you can take that latter point with a grain of salt.
Still, with the option of GeForce GTX and Quadro RTX graphic card options, with the former capable of playing all of the top games on Xbox Game Pass at 60 frames per second, these are sure to be portable powerhouses. The Surface Book 3 rolls out on June 5, with the 13in version starting at £1,599 and the 15in model beginning at £2,199.
Microsoft's saucer-shaped competitor to the AirPods and Galaxy Buds was unveiled back in October, but they're finally rolling out on May 12. They'll also be cheaper than previously announced, shipping at £200.
The Surface Earbuds strike a distinctive look compared to the competition but seem about evenly matched when it comes to capabilities. Microsoft claims battery life of up to 8 hours on a single charge, with two additional charges in the carrying case, plus easy compatibility with software such as Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. There's no active noise cancelation here, however.
Surface Headphones 2
We liked the original Surface Headphones, but they were very expensive and didn't last as long as we'd hoped. Luckily, Microsoft seems to have sorted both complaints this time around.
The Surface Headphones 2 don't look strikingly different, but they offer improved sound quality and further control over the active noise cancelation. They'll also last for up to 20 hours on a charge this time around, and Microsoft has added a Black option in addition to Platinum.
Best of all, they're knocked down to £240, a savings of £90 over the launch price of the original. Look for these on June 5.