Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Microsoft refreshes tech in Surface Laptop 5, Pro 9

A big new Surface joins two more portable options, as Microsoft refreshes its range in the Laptop 5, Pro 9, and the Surface Studio 2+.

There’s big news if you like Microsoft’s portables, as two updates are on the way, plug a big desktop take on a Surface, announced alongside Microsoft’s jump into AI art and design.

First up it’s the Surface Laptop 5, which keeps with the formula of two sizes, covering both 13.5 and 15 inches, delivering a standard clamshell style laptop and yet keeping the touchscreen as part of the design.

New chips are rolling out to both, with support for Intel’s 12th-gen Core processors onboard, arriving with with either a Core i5 or Core i7 depending on your spec choices, and between 8GB and 32GB RAM, plus between 256GB and 1TB of storage.

The chip is primarily the new feature here, but Microsoft has also made changes to the battery life, with up to 17 hours possible in the 15 inch model and up to 18 in the Surface Laptop 5 13.5. It seems very much like a minor refresh on the Surface Laptop 4, and one that will chime in locally from $1699.

Next is the Surface Pro, which is now nine generations old, if you can believe it. Easily one of Microsoft’s more interesting products, we’ve seen the Surface shape a generation of tablets, and in version nine, the upgrades are more about mobility than ever.

Like the Surface Laptop 5, this generation will offer 12th-gen Intel Core chips with either a Core i5 or Core i7, but there will also be a Surface Pro 9 with 5G running from Microsoft’s SQ 3 processor, a chip based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon used in phones and tablets.

While regular Intel Surface Pro 9 models will work with WiFi, only the SQ 3 variant will support 5G in the tablet itself, and features a Neural Processing unit to deliver audio and camera enhancements for video chats, whether those chats are happening at home on WiFi or remote on 4G and 5G, the former of which supports up to 802.11ax WiFi 6E.

Microsoft has said the 5G Surface Pro 9 can support mmWave, though hasn’t said whether Australia will be seeing that model. Given mmWave isn’t widely supported locally, our guess is Australia will see the Sub-6 5G model only, but we’re checking.

Either model will come with the same screen, which is a 13 inch touchscreen running a resolution of 2880×1920 — Full HD+, basically — with support for Dolby Vision and Gorilla Glass 5 protecting things, not to mention a refresh rate of up to 120Hz for smooth animations.

The Pro 9 will keep the aluminium body we’ve seen on the Surface for some time, plus a hinge that offers quite a few angles up to 165 degrees, and the Microsoft magnetic keyboard attachment port, though the keyboard is optional, as is the Surface Pen.

Prices will differ between Intel Core and Microsoft SQ3 variants, but right now, Microsoft Australia is talking a starting price of $1649 locally.

It wasn’t just laptops that Microsoft launched, with a desktop change on the way, as well.

Specifically, it’s a big 28 inch all-in-one desktop, as Microsoft updates the Surface Studio in the Studio 2+, a large machine with a hinge that can lower the screen into a position made for artists to draw directly on the display, with some interesting updates to technology, as well.

The screen gets a massive 4500×3000 resolution and able to deliver up to 1 billion colours, with Dolby Vision HDR supported, DCI-P3 colour, and even Gorilla Glass 3, just in case you’re concerned you might scratch the thing.

Inside, it’ll sport 1TB of solid-state storage, a massive 32GB RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics chip, plus an Intel Core i7 processor, though it’s one of the older 11th-generation chips and not the 12th-gen stuff beginning to roll out in more computers. There’s also 802.11ax WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and three USB Type C ports running USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4, the latter of which can handle up to three 4K screens connected at 60Hz.

The overall gist of the Surface Studio 2+ seems skewed very much for content creators, and in a surprising touch, it will come with the Surface Pen in the box, one of those now optional accessories for Microsoft’s other touchscreen computers.

In Australia, the Surface Studio 2+ will command a fairly significant price, tipping the scales at over seven thousand dollars.

Specifically, this big screen Surface will cost $$7279 when it lands in Australia in early November, with the Surface Pro 9 arriving a week later on November 8, while the Surface Laptop 5 is set for the end of October, in stores from October 25.

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