Microsoft’s latest update to its Surface line of laptops includes a predictable spec bump for the Surface Laptop Go 3 line, a much fancier Surface Laptop Studio 2 and a lot of AI coming to its software very soon indeed.
Microsoft overnight announced refreshes to just a couple of its Surface laptop lines, focusing on its smallest device, the Surface Laptop Go 3 as well as one of its more expensive lines in the Surface Studio 2.
Surface Laptop Go 3: Bit more power, please
The Surface Laptop Go 3’s updates are mostly iterative, jumping up to Intel 12th Gen Core i5 processors, Intel Iris Xe GPU and either 8GB or 16GB of RAM. Visually there’s not much of a bump with a 12.4 inch “PixelSense” display with a 3:2 ratio and a claim of up to 15 hours of battery life. It’s available in Ice Blue, Sage, Sandstone or Platinum finishes, although you can’t quite get every colour in every configuration. A quick check of Microsoft Australia’s website suggests this is less limiting than in prior years; as far as I can discern the only model you can’t get in either configuration setting is the Sandstone model.
Australian Surface Laptop Go 3 pricing starts at $1,429 for a Core i5/8GB RAM/256GB model, or $1,729 for a Core i5/16GB RAM/256GB variant — but not in sandstone. They’ll be available in Australia from the 3rd of October 2023.
This is, indeed a spec bump in the very classic sense of the word, but it’s interesting to see Microsoft competing in this particular space still. Also quite important to remember when comparing laptops not to confuse the Surface Laptop Go 3 with the smaller and cheaper Surface Go 3.
Or indeed, the Surface Go 4… but unless you’re a business you won’t be able to get the Surface Go 4, as it was rather more quietly launched today by Microsoft for enterprise customers only. If you want one of those in Australia, you’ll need to go through a Surface reseller to get one, with no direct consumer availability — at least for now.
Surface Laptop Studio 2: MORE POWER
The other big refresh coming to Microsoft’s Surface lines is with the Surface Studio 2, Microsoft’s play for creative professionals with its rather interesting fold-down hinge that transforms it into a full touch tablet for those who need a more literal hands-on approach.
There’s an element of spec bump in here too, with a jump to Intel 13th Gen Core i7 H processors, a choice between Intel Iris Xe GPUs at the baseline or Nvidia RTX 4050/4060 GPUs at the upper tier. Microsoft’s claim here is that it’s packing double the power of its predecessor, which fits well within its pitch as a creative professional tool.
One of the more interesting aspects of its design is the trackpad. That’s usually a “Huh, yeah, it has a trackpad” style note in most reviews, but Microsoft’s claim is that it has the “most inclusive” trackpad of any laptop. What makes a trackpad “inclusive”? It’ll work using haptics to allow people with mobility challenges to use it; as per this Engadget interview if you’ve got issues with finger tracking on standard touchpads it should allow for more precise movements.
All of that power does come with some serious price points, however. The baseline Surface Studio 2 Laptop will run you $3,519 for a Core i7/16GB RAM/512GB/Iris Xe model, all the way up to $5,729 for a Core i7/64GB RAM/1TB/GeForce RTX 4060 model. Like the Surface Laptop Go 3, they’ll be available in Australia from the 3rd of October 2023.
An interesting device, albeit a pricey one. Naturally if you’re in those creative fields that may well be a price well worth paying if the Surface Laptop Studio 2 meets your professional needs well.
I do love the inclusion of adaptive features to assist those with disabilities too, though it’s a touch maddening to see them attached to such an expensive device; here’s to hoping that Microsoft can bring that to more devices at lower price points rather rapidly.
I never got to review the Surface Studio 1, but I’d definitely be keen to see what the Surface Studio can do.
Would you like some CoPilot with that? How about now? Hey, have you considered CoPilot?
Microsoft’s made no secret of its AI ambitions — and in the current technology climate it kind of has to — and so while its hardware announcements were limited to just the Surface Laptop Go 3, Surface Go 4 and Surface Studio 2 Laptop, it also pitched out a lot more information about where it’s integrating AI services into its Windows, Office and Bing products.
Basically, CoPilot, Microsoft’s AI next-gen version of Clippy (yes, I’m old, deal with it, it’s still relevant to me) is coming to… everything. It’ll be in Windows 11 from September 26th as a sidebar allowing you to access Windows features or ask questions of your laptop that will get fed through to Microsoft’s Bing, depending on need.
But hey, why stop with Windows 11? CoPilot will also fly into Outlook, the Edge browser, Bing, Office 365 — pretty much everything that Microsoft has that’s consumer-facing save for Blinx: The Time Sweeper… and that’s almost certainly only because Microsoft’s totally forgotten about poor Blinx.
This will be interesting see, but then that’s true across the entire “put AI into everything” space right now.
There’s obvious questions around accuracy and AI to be dealt with, but also ones around tracking and data security as we shift into an AI-context-led computing world. Can Microsoft make CoPilot more consumer-friendly than Clippy or Cortana were?
Also, I can’t help but note that the next major Windows update arrives on the exact same date as the next major macOS update on September 26th. All we’d need is a major Call of Duty update on the same day to effectively burn every Australian ISP’s data capacity to the ground, right?