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Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover hits the street November 15 and costs $64.99

Surface Duo 2 with the Glacier White Pen Cover and Slim Pen.

More details about the hard-shell cover that recharges Surface Pen for Surface Duo 2 are slowly coming out.

What you need to know

  • The Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover has a landing spot at the Microsoft Store.
  • It has a "Coming soon" placeholder for now.
  • It comes in Glacier White or Obsidian black colorways and is in three parts.
  • It goes on sale on October 21 November 15 for $64.99.

Update: Windows Central has now heard that the release date for this cover is November 15 and not October 21 as originally reported to us by Microsoft.

One of the most intriguing accessories for Surface Duo 2 is the new Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover, but details, so far, have been thin. Luckily, we can see the cover listed on Microsoft's website, and the company has gotten back to us with pricing and availability.

The Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover clips to the front of Surface Duo 2 and lets you stick Surface Slim Pen 2 to the cover and wirelessly recharge the pen as well. Additionally, two "soft-touch" bumpers fit on the rear panel similar to existing Surface Bumpers.

Windows Central understands the Surface Bumper materials are stiffer and don't pick lint up as easily this time.

Microsoft has a store listing for the Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover, but it is just a placeholder until the company is ready to sell it. Microsoft confirms with Windows Central that the cover will cost $64.99 and be available the same day as Surface Duo 2 on October 21 November 15.

We can learn a few other things from the landing page. For one, the cover works with either the new Surface Slim Pen 2 or the older Surface Slim Pen. That should include charging as it is presumed both pens recharge similarly, but we're not 100 percent certain.

Surface Slim Pen 2 is not included with the cover either, so that users can buy it for extra protection. Microsoft could also release other colors later to help give a more custom feel to Surface Duo 2.

Surface Slim Pen 2 also brings haptic feedback to simulate writing on paper. That has been confirmed to work with Surface Pro 8 and the new Surface Laptop Studio so far. However, we have heard Surface Duo 2 may get an update to enable the haptics, although Microsoft has not publicly confirmed that information.

In our brief time with the Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover, we were impressed with it. It has a textured feel and seems more resistant to fingerprints (making it ideal for the Obsidian Surface Duo 2). When installed, it made Surface Duo 2 feel more substantial and easier to handle while also blending in nicely with the device's curves. The pen sticks very firmly to the cover, making it likely to survive being put into your pockets, which is ideal.

It should be noted you won't need the cover for the pen to stick to the Surface Duo 2, only to stick and recharge while offering more protection.

We'll have more on Surface Duo 2, Slim Pen 2, and this new Pen Cover closer to release in our forthcoming review. Stay tuned.

Super cover

Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover

$64.99 at Microsoft

Extra protection

The Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover is a hard-shell case that clips onto the device's front with smaller bumpers for the rear. Besides protection, it lets the Surface Slim Pen 2 stick to it and even recharge.

Surface Pro 8: Release date, specs, and everything you need to know

The all-new Microsoft Surface Pro 8.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 is arriving Oct. 5, 2021. Here's what we know about the iconic 2-in-1 PC.

Microsoft's line of Surface Pro 2-in-1 laptops is undoubtedly the most popular and well known of all the Surface PCs — after all, it is the original that started it all.

But Microsoft hasn't given the Surface Pro a significant makeover since 2015's Surface Pro 4 where it picked up Windows Hello, its 12.3-inch PixelSense display, improved pen, and more. And while Surface Pro 7+ is actually quite impressive, it's also aimed at enterprise and not consumers.

Announced on Sept. 22, 2021, Surface Pro 8 matches with our earlier reporting that the overall look and style of the device remains, but it has been updated with modern components, a larger display, new ports, and more.

Here's what we know about the all-new Surface Pro 8 for 2021.

Surface Pro 8: Release date and availability

Update Sept. 22, 2021: Microsoft has officially revealed Surface Pro 8 to the public.

Surface Pro 8 goes on sale in select markets on Oct. 5, 2021. Those markets are:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Japan

Due to an ongoing global chip and processor shortage that affects Microsoft quite substantially, some markets may not see Surface Pro 8 until early 2022, while others may see it in late 2021. Those markets include:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • The Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Surface Pro 8: What's new

Here are some of the significant changes in Surface Pro 8 (compared to Surface Pro 7):

  • New processors: Intel 11th Gen U-series
  • New Surface Type Cover: Matches Surface Pro X, including Surface Slim Pen dock
  • Refined hardware design that tappers more in the rear
  • Larger display: Surface Pro 8 gets a 120Hz 13-inch display with thinner bezels instead of a 12.3-inch 60Hz display with thick bezels
  • Removable SSD (following Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop designs)
  • No more 4GB RAM model
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Support for Surface Slim Pen 2 with haptics

Windows 11 also delivers some new hardware features that Microsoft could enable with Surface Pro 8, including:

  • Dynamic Refresh Rate: This feature enables a higher-refresh display of 120Hz instead of standard 60Hz, but only when scrolling or using the pen, thereby saving battery life. It sounds like Apple's ProMotion display technology. This feature is expected to launch late with Surface Pro 8. By default, Surface Pro 8 is 60Hz, but users can set it to 120Hz manually.

  • Wake on touch: When Surface Pro 8 is in standby with the display off, users can turn on the device simply by tapping the screen, similar to how smartphones work (the Pro 8 can then auto-login to Windows using Windows Hello).

  • New Haptic Surface Pen: Windows 11 also supports smartpens with haptic feedback, which lets the pen simulate writing with different materials like pencil or pen on different types of paper. Customers need to purchase the new Surface Slim Pen 2 for these features.

Many more changes were detailed in a Microsoft Mechanics video, posted above. Those changes and improvements over Surface Pro 7 are:

  • Rounded chassis "compliments fluid UI design of Windows 11"
  • Thinner bezels expand the display real estate by 11%
  • Chassis is made from recycled anodized aluminum (vs. magnesium)
  • New ambient color sensor to dynamically adjust display colors based on room lighting
  • Display brightness peaks at 450 nits
  • 120Hz display makes pen latency "seemingly undetectable"
  • IR camera has been improved substantially for speed and accuracy
  • Microsoft's AI lets Windows Hello dynamically adapt to changes in your appearance (glasses and facial hair)
  • 5MP full HD RGB camera has larger 1.4-micron pixels for better low-light performance
  • The camera also has tuning optimizations to keep your face in focus
  • Dolby Vision (HDR) and Dolby Atmos (surround sound)
  • Surface Pro 8 supports up to 23-watt TDP for the 11th Gen Intel processor
  • You can get LTE in Core i3 and Core i7 models for the first time (commercial markets)
  • Battery has increased to 50.4WHr up from 43.2WHr
  • Uses new carbon composite thermal dissipation system
  • 46% faster compute and 75% boost to graphics processing compared to Surface Pro 7

It is safe to say that Surface Pro 8 is a complete redesign from the ground up compared to Surface Pro 4, Pro 5, Pro 6, and Pro 7.

With Thunderbolt 4, users can now plug Surface Pro 8 into an eGPU to provide even more graphics power for gaming or video editing, while also keeping the benefits of the magnetic Surface Connect port.

Surface Pro 8: Specs

Here are the current Surface Pro 8 specs as noted by Microsoft:

Category Surface Pro 8
OS Windows 11 Home
Windows 11 Pro (commercial)
Windows 10 Pro (commercial)
Processor Consumer:
11th Gen Intel
Core i5-1135G7
Core i7-1185G7
11th Gen Intel
Core i3-1115G4
Core i5-1145G7
Core i7-1185G7
RAM 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
Graphics Intel UHD (i3)
Intel Iris Xe (i5, i7)
Storage 128GB, 256GB SSD (Wi-Fi, LTE)
512GB, 1TB SSD (Wi-Fi)
Display 13 inches
267 PPI
3:2 aspect ratio
Up to 120Hz (60Hz default)
Ports Two Thunderbolt 4
Surface Connect
3.5mm audio
Audio Dual 2W stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos
Dual far-field studio mics
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
Snapdragon X20 LTE
eSIM support
Camera IR camera
Front-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 10MP (1080p, 4K)
Keyboard Surface Pro Signature keyboard
Not included
Touchpad Precision
Pen Surface Slim Pen 2
Not included
Security TPM 2.0
IR camera
Battery Up to 16 hours
Dimensions 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches
(287mm x 208.3mm x 9.4mm)
Weight 1.96 pounds (891g)
Color Platinum

In May 2021, Intel announced it had refreshed 11th Gen U-series processors, which bump existing clock and turbo speeds over earlier models. Those chips are not expected to ship until the fall, aligning with the Surface Pro 8 release.

While that extra 100MHz may not make a big difference compared to Surface Pro 7+, the consumer version of Surface Pro 7 only ships with 10th Gen chips, making it a much better upgrade.

There is no 5G option for Surface Pro 8, but there is for 4G LTE. However, those models are not expected to launch until later in 2021 (December) and may be for commercial markets. However, instead of LTE only being available in the Core i5 model, it will be an option for Core i3, i5, and i7 Surface Pro 8 SKUs.

While consumer editions of Surface Pro 8 all ship with Windows 11, commercial purchases will have an option for Windows 10 or Windows 11.

Surface Pro 8: Price

Surface Pro 8 pricing is mostly similar to Surface Pro 7 at launch. However, there are some subtle differences due to the availability of options for configurations at this time. Here is the current pricing at launch for Surface Pro 8:

SKU Price
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB Storage $1,099.99
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,199.99
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB Storage $1,399.99
Intel Core i5, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,399.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,599.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage $1,899.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage $2,199.99
Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB Storage $2,599.99

As always, these prices do not include the Surface Pen and Surface Type Cover. Those necessary accessories add between $100 and $230 extra to the cost.

Previously, Surface Pro 7 started at $749 for the Core i3 model to well over $2,000 for the Core i7 with maxed out RAM and 1TB of storage. Microsoft has not announced pricing or availability yet for the Surface Pro 8 Core i3 models, so the starting price seems higher at $1,099 (Core i5, 8GB, 128GB) instead of $749 (Core i3, 4GB, 128GB).

That said, the entry-level Core i5 model is $100 more with Surface Pro 8 compared to Surface Pro 7, but all other models are priced the same as Surface Pro 7 when it launched. Indeed, Surface Pro 7 with i7/16/1TB launched at $2,299, but the same Pro 8 model is $100 less at $2,199.

New for Surface Pro 8 is a higher top-tier model with 32GB of RAM instead of 16GB, along with a Core i7 and 1TB SSD, which is priced at $2,599.

Classic 2-in-1

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft

Updated design, same 2-in-1 form factor

The Surface Pro 8 finally adopts the modern design that Microsoft first introduced with Surface Pro X, now with two USB-C ports that are Thunderbolt 4 enabled, an upgraded 13-inch display with a high-refresh rate of 120Hz, and support for the Surface Pro X style Type Covers with the Slim Pen charging cradle.

Surface Pro 8 latest news

Surface Duo 2 actually has some basic water protection with IPX1 rating

Well, it's better than nothing!

What you need to know

  • Surface Duo 2 does have some very modest water protection.
  • The Microsoft Surface Twitter account confirms the IPX1 rating for Surface Duo 2.
  • It should be protected in some light rain, so long as it is not too windy.

One of the challenges with new form factors is catching up to existing standards for current devices like IPX ratings for dust and water protection. It took Samsung three versions to get any Ingress Protection (IPX) rating with its Galaxy Z Fold 3 (it finally got IPX8), which then makes you wonder about Microsoft's new Surface Duo 2.

While we all thought it simply didn't have any IPX rating, as it turns out, it actually does — it's just not very impressive.

According to the official Microsoft Surface Twitter account, Surface Duo 2 gets a massive IPX1 rating. That translates to "dripping water with vertically falling drops ... when mounted in an upright position onto a turntable and rotated at 1 RPM" for 10 minutes. The amount of water equals 1mm of rainfall per minute.

Surface Duo 2 is rated with IPX1, so dripping water (vertically falling drops) should have no harmful effect. Learn more here:

— Microsoft Surface (@surface) September 23, 2021

That's not amazing, but it is something. It's basically rain coming down vertically at a rate of 2.3-inches per hour (which is a lot). But IPX2 is the same, but with a 15-degree angle (so, windy rain), IPX3 is a water spray, and the scale goes up from there.

While you may want to avoid using Surface Duo 2 while it is storming, at least for long durations, you should be OK for some basic rain situations.

I have used my Surface Duo briefly in the rain (I had to relaunch the Tesla app to open my car!), and I never had an issue with water or damage. At least now, Surface Duo 2 gets a bit more protection than before, which is nice to know.

Thanks, Javid M., for the tip!

A real phone

Surface Duo 2

From $1,499 at Microsoft From $1,499 at Best Buy

Upgraded in almost every way

Surface Duo 2 is a major upgrade for the dual-screen form factor, featuring larger 90Hz displays that curve down the middle, the latest Snapdragon 888 processor with 5G, 8GB RAM, NFC and can even charge the Surface Slim Pen via an optional case accessory.

New video breaks down all the small changes for the bigger Surface Pro 8

The latest Microsoft Mechanics deep dive video sheds light on many of the smaller improvements to Surface Pro 8.

What you need to know

  • The Surface Pro 8 gets a breakdown in the latest Microsoft Mechanics video.
  • Faster Windows Hello, new ambient color sensor, 23-watt TDP, and more were revealed.
  • Surface Pro 8 also switches from magnesium to anodized recycled aluminum for the chassis.
  • There's also a new carbon composite thermal dissipation system.

The all-new Surface Pro 8 is the first major overhaul to the Surface Pro line since 2014's Surface Pro 3. Besides thinner bezels, Thunderbolt 4, a larger display, and 11th Gen CPU, there are many other more minor changes that weren't mentioned in the press release or product specs announcement.

The latest Microsoft Mechanics video spends a good seven minutes breaking down what's new, and as it turns out, there is quite a lot that you may not have known about.

We've summarized the main points below, but it's worth watching the video yourself to have it all explained:

  • Modern, rounded chassis "compliments the fluid UI design of Windows 11"
  • The thinner bezels expand the display real estate by 11%
  • The chassis is made from recycled aluminum instead of magnesium
  • Both "classic" Platinum and Graphite Pro colorways are anodized
  • First Surface display with ambient color sensor to dynamically adjust display colors based on room lighting
  • Display brightness peaks at 450 nits and goes down to just two nits
  • 120Hz display makes pen latency "seemingly undetectable"
  • The IR camera has been improved "substantially" in terms of speed and accuracy
  • Microsoft's AI platform lets Windows Hello dynamically adapts to changes in your appearance with glasses or changes in facial hair
  • The 5MP full HD RGB camera has larger 1.4-micron pixels for better low-light performance
  • The camera also has tuning optimizations to keep your face in focus and lighting exposure more consistent
  • Dolby Vision (HDR) and Dolby Atmos (surround sound) enhance the multimedia experience
  • Surface Pro 8 supports up to 23-watt TDP for the 11th Gen Intel processor, a "first for the Pro line"
  • You can get LTE in Core i3 and Core i7 models for the first time (Commercial markets)
  • Battery has increased to 50.4 WHr up from 43.2 WHr (Surface Pro 7+ is also 50.4WHr, but Surface Pro 7 is 43.2)
  • Uses new carbon composite thermal dissipation system: Vapor chamber, three heat pipes, and three graphite spreaders
  • Improved perimeter venting
  • 46% faster compute and 75% boost to graphics processing compared to Surface Pro 7

That's a lot of stuff for Surface Pro 8, which goes to show you that what makes a PC "great" is more than just the name on the processor.

We'll keep all these changes in mind when we do our Surface Pro 8 review sometime in October to see how much of a difference it really makes. You can get more of an idea of how Surface Pro 8 compares to Surface Pro 7 to hold you over for now or go deeper on those new 11th Gen processors.

SKU Price
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB Storage $1,099.99
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,199.99
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB Storage $1,399.99
Intel Core i5, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,399.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,599.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage $1,899.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage $2,199.99
Intel Core i7, 32GBR AM, 1TB Storage $2,599.99

Surface Pro 8 is expected to begin shipping on October 5 in the following markets:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Japan

Classic 2-in-1

Surface Pro 8

From $1,099 at Microsoft Store

Updated design, same 2-in-1 form factor.

The Surface Pro 8 finally adopts the modern design that Microsoft first introduced with Surface Pro X, now with two USB-C ports that are Thunderbolt 4 enabled, an upgraded 13-inch display with a high-refresh rate of 120Hz, and support for the Surface Pro X style Type Covers with the Slim Pen charging cradle.

Microsoft engineers walk you through the wonders of Surface Laptop Studio

A new Microsoft Mechanics video dives deep into the tech behind the latest Surface 2-in-1 laptop.

What you need to know

  • The Surface Laptop Studio gets a breakdown in the latest Microsoft Mechanics video.
  • The Intel H35 CPU can reportedly boost to 64 watts of power when needed.
  • The SSD is replaceable, though Microsoft says technically you need a tech to do it.
  • Display brightness peaks at 500 nits.

The Surface Laptop Studio is making the news today for a good reason. The creative design merges the best of Surface Pro with Surface Laptop into one innovative and powerful Surface. Its announcement was undoubtedly one of the most interesting of for the event.

The latest six-minute Microsoft Mechanics video sheds some details on Surface Laptop Studio, which we'll summarize here, as some of it has not been answered before until now:

  • Laptop Studio uses dual fans with heat pipes that go across the CPU and GPU to maximize and share cooling.
  • The Intel H35 CPU can boost up to 64 watts of power when needed.
  • You can remove the bottom panel of the Laptop Studio to access the SSD, although Microsoft says only authorized technicians should do so.
  • Display brightness peaks at 500 nits and go all the way down to 2 nits, which is very good (most laptops hover around 400 nits).
  • The full HD camera uses AI face detection and has a larger sensor resulting in more consistent lighting and focusing than regular webcams.
  • Quad audio speakers, hidden, of course, use adaptive equalization for "fuller and richer" sound adjusting automatically as you increase volume.

The Intel Core i5-11300H and Core i7-11370H processors are unique as they can have TDP configured for 28 or 35 average watts (from 3.0 to 3.3 GHz in the i7 model), but can draw more power when needed, which is why it can Turbo to 4.8GHz for short durations.

We grabbed some early benchmarks from those processors and compared them to current Surface devices and PCs. Our bet is Microsoft's thermals and TDP tuning will likely beat the recent averages, but we'll have to wait until our review to find out.

Although not surprising, the removable SSD is also a friendly nod as Microsoft has been doing that for all its recent Surface releases, including Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 7+, and Surface Laptop 4. While Microsoft only wants authorized technicians to do so, anyone with the right tools could upgrade the CPU with not much work.

There are many other tidbits in the video that make it worth watching, including a discussion around how the hinge works.

Here is my surface laptop studio stacked on top of my surface book 3

— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) September 22, 2021

Related to all of this, Microsoft's Scott Hanselman posted a picture of Surface Laptop Studio compared to his Surface Book 15-inch. You can see just how compact the Laptop Studio is with its design compared to the older Surface Book.

Likewise, you can read more about Surface Laptop Studio and everything else in my hands-on roundup.

Bye-bye Book

Surface Laptop Studio

From $1,599 at Microsoft From $1,599 at Best Buy

The 2-in-1 gets weirder

Microsoft's new Surface Laptop Studio delivers an interesting take on the 2-in-1 form factor. Instead of being a tablet with a detachable keyboard, the display is no longer detachable and can instead be pulled forward and laid flat over the keyboard. It also has a new Precision Haptic touchpad, a 120Hz 14-inch display, and powerful Intel and NVIDIA chips.

Hands-on impressions of Surface Duo 2, Surface Laptop Studio, and more

I spent some time with Microsoft's latest Surface hardware — here's what I love and what I think was missing.

Microsoft held its now annual hardware event this week. It unveiled one of its most extensive updates to the Surface line since 2015 — Surface Duo 2, Surface Pro 8, Surface Go 3, updates to Surface Pro X, and the star of the show, Surface Laptop Studio.

Media got a bit of a hands-on with the new devices this week, and I was able to talk to the people who worked on the products about what's new, how they did things, and lots of other little interesting tidbits. While we'll all undoubtedly learn more in the coming weeks — especially with full reviews likely around release time — here's a good primer of things that were not in the press release.

Surface Duo 2: A whole new device

Microsoft's original Surface Duo is intriguing and frustrating, as our Senior Windows Editor Zac Bowden recently opined.

Surface Duo 2 is a whole new beast, a fact that the announcement revealed. It has been redesigned from the ground up with 2021-era smartphone features in mind instead of the original concept behind Surface Duo, which was a pocketable Surface with Windows.

The hardware feels much more substantial now and not nearly as delicate as the first version, which I think required the bumper case to feel secure in your hand. I didn't feel that way with Surface Duo 2, likely because it's slightly thicker now (5.5mm opened instead of 4.8mm). But the hinge is also redesigned. It's a bit stiffer and feels … better. It's hard to describe.

Check out the 20-image gallery below:

Microsoft wasn't shy about showing off the new cameras. From what we have heard, the company outsourced some of the computational algorithms for the camera to a Japanese company which is why it can do well in low-light situations. We'll have to test it, of course, but so far, it easily looks to be upper mid-tier in 2021.

Fun things I learned:

  • The snap-on case is like a hard shell with some texture (not a rubber TPU like the bumper). It felt fantastic.
  • You don't need that case to stick the Surface Slim Pen to the front cover; you just need it to charge the pen wirelessly.
  • The Slim pen really sticks to Surface Duo 2 hard, which is what I was hoping for. It's like a rubber fridge magnet strong, so you'll have to really pull it to get it off. That means, yeah, it should be fine in your pocket.
  • Top bezels are still a bit thick but razor-thin on the sides, and the curved inner display is a beautiful effect.
  • Microsoft Start (its new News app) now spans, thank God.
  • Gameloft optimized three games for on-screen controls, including Asphalt 9. Microsoft is pushing gaming on this thing with Game Pass (they demoed Sea of Thieves on it).
  • On the right is your live image, on the left is your camera roll.
  • The new camera app spans and is really lovely. Editing is also dual-screen with tons of features, sliders, inking abilities, and more. It's well thought out and purposeful.
  • Yes, Microsoft reinforced the entire chassis, so the Type-C port should not crack. And with Gorilla Glass Invictus and that hardcover, Surface Duo 2 feels very sturdy.
  • Using Surface Duo 2 one-handed is fiiiiiiine. Yes, it's not entirely flat (it wasn't either on Surface Duo 1 with the bumper), but it felt perfectly OK. Microsoft insists it's very strong, durable. The cover never hits the camera lenses, either. Even with the Surface Slim Pen, cover case, and reverse folded, it's thick, but it was easy to handle.
  • Microsoft Launcher is updated. The news/widget feed resembles Windows 11 now. The notification panel has sliders for volume and brightness, so you can adjust them in any posture where the buttons may be blocked. It's also wider now and looks much better.
  • The new black colorway looks excellent.
  • Screen rotation is very fast, as is the device's overall performance thanks to that Snapdragon 888.
  • It has a new digitizer, so touch input/response should be better this time.
  • Android 12 should come much quicker than Android 11 for Surface Duo 1.
  • The Glance Bar is very cool to see in action.

Look, we need to properly test Surface Duo 2 to know how good it is. Still, between NFC, the new cameras, the processor, new screen materials, 90Hz refresh, curved inner display, and support for Surface Slim Pen, I (along with other present media) was impressed.

Cons: It's still crazy expensive and has an uphill battle to win converts. But this is a massive step in the right direction.

Surface Duo 2

From $1,499 at Microsoft Store From $1,499 at Best Buy

The Surface Duo 2 is set to improve upon its predecessor in a whole host of meaningful ways. If you've been waiting for the ideal Duo experience, it might finally be here.

Surface Laptop Studio: "The most powerful Surface ever"

As we told you, Microsoft did make a bring-it-forward design for an all-new device: Surface Laptop Studio, which was just announced.

In my review of the HP Elite Folio, I said that design is the way 2-in-1 laptops should go — not the 360-hinge stuff. Microsoft thought the same as this is a very similar design, but it is executed entirely differently from HP.

At first glance? It's like you merged Surface Pro 8 with Surface Laptop 4 and then added a weird bottom to it. It's both familiar and different, redefining what a laptop could be, which I love.

Some takeaways:

  • The hinge design is not the same as the patent from this summer, but maybe they'll do that in a few years.
  • Microsoft uses cloth on the inside to hide the wires. It doesn't stretch, is super strong, and goes into the display when you switch postures. Even the cables behind the display move as you switch postures. It's so overly mind-blowingly complicated on the inside but clean and simple on the outside: Pure Microsoft "hinge-engineering!"
  • Why not … 6- or 8-core CPU, or AMD, or higher resolution display, or …? No good answers besides balancing price, device and audience intention, thermals, and attaining good battery life.
  • The display is default 60Hz. Users can manually put it to 120Hz. A later update will enable Dynamic Refresh Rate in Windows 11.
  • Haptic trackpad! I've been pushing this tech hard in 2021, and Microsoft delivered. Microsoft made this one itself, although there may be more to this story: Stay tuned. It felt great, and it even has an adjustable slider for intensity. Loved it.
  • RIP Surface Book as Surface Laptop Studio replaces it.

Surface Laptop Studio looks like a killer laptop. The display is excellent, and the camera, GPU, and that design make it unique right now.

Cons? Microsoft is still not using anti-reflective displays. 🤦‍♂️ I'd also lament no LTE, but that's a very niche complaint.

Surface Laptop Studio

From $1,599 at Microsoft From $1,599 at Best Buy

The Surface Laptop Studio is taking the old 2-in-1 mindset in an interesting new direction. If you have $1,600 lying around, it's an exciting option.

Surface Pro 8: The sleeper hit

Surface Pro 8 is exactly what we anticipated, and frankly, wanted, from Microsoft: Take the design cues from Surface Pro X and put them into Surface Pro 8. Now add Thunderbolt 4.

And that's what Microsoft did with today's announcement.

Surface Pro 8 gets a 120Hz refresh (defaults at 60Hz), thinner bezels, support for Surface Slim Pen 2, two Thunderbolt 4 ports (no more Type-A), and LTE options for all models.

Some quick impressions:

  • It looks exactly like Surface Pro X. You can only tell the difference with the vents on the rear.
  • Going from 12.3-inch to 13.0 may not sound like a lot, but it makes a huge usability difference.
  • New 10MP camera on the rear with 4K video! Interesting.
  • Front-facing camera can now "face-lock" onto you, so if you move or take a drink of coffee, your face is always in focus. Subtle, but a nice feature.
  • Dolby Vision (HDR for video) and Dolby Atoms audio support! Very happy about that.
  • The chassis has a more aggressive tapper now; it looks and feels great.
  • Uses the same Surface Type Cover as Surface Pro X.

The Surface Pro line was basically perfect, but Microsoft sorely needed to update critical aspects. They did that with Surface Pro 8. It can connect to an eGPU now, the display looks much better, you get better performance, and many more minor tweaks make this Pro so good. I think this will be a massive winner in reviews.

Cons: No anti-reflective display, again. All models now have fans in them, which is interesting.

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft (preorder)

If you want the looks of Surface Pro X alongside Thunderbolt 4 and an assortment of other useful additions, the Surface Pro 8 is here for you.

Surface Slim Pen 2: Blew my mind

It's kind of hard to get excited about a pen — or is it? The haptics in Surface Slim Pen 2 changes everything, in my opinion.

The pen now has virtually no lag and requires almost no pressure to activate. But the haptics! You can make the pen feel like a pencil on paper. It truly tricks your brain into thinking you are using an analog device.

  • Only for Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop Studio.
  • Besides drawing, there is haptics for all sorts of things like resizing. Where there are touchpoints, the Surface Slim Pen 2 gives feedback, letting you know you can drag and resize a box. It makes things so much faster and more natural for photo editing work.

I'm very excited about Surface Slim Pen 2. It takes the concept of digital inking to a whole new level. It's so seamless to use but makes a huge difference in usage, whether for taking notes, drawing, or photo editing.

Cons: You'll need new Surface hardware to make use of that haptic ability.

Surface Slim Pen 2

$129.99 at Microsoft Store

Digital inking has new ceilings to break, if the Surface Slim Pen 2 has anything to say about it. So long as you have a Surface Pro 8 or Surface Laptop Studio, you'll get the best possible Slim Pen 2 experience.

Wrapping up

This was a great Microsoft Surface event. It delivered both what the market demands and what Surface fans have been clamoring for (Thunderboooooolt).

I didn't mention Surface Go 3 or Surface Pro X as those are pretty minor upgrades. Granted, those new processors for Surface Go 3 are welcomed, as there is no such thing as being too fast. We'll have to see how much of a difference it makes.

Surface Pro X just gets a Wi-Fi-only option (see announcement), which drops the entry price to $899. That's welcomed but disappointing for those who wanted a version 3. That said, we hear that Qualcomm is set to announce its Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 in December on a new Cortex base. That means we should get a "major" upgrade for Surface Pro X later in 2022.

I'm not sure which was my favorite of today's news. Surface Duo 2 is the most interesting because it has so much to prove this time. Can it do it? It's evident Microsoft is aware of that pressure. This version really seems like the one to get if you can afford it.

Surface Pro 8 is a slam dunk. I can't see how it doesn't sell exceptionally well and get excellent reviews. Surface Laptop Studio, I think, is also a hit along with that new Slim Pen 2 for both devices.

I'm glad Microsoft is going with this pull-it-forward design for Surface Laptop Studio. Same goes for taking the lead on haptic trackpads. That's the future of convertibles.

We will, of course, have much more coverage of all these devices in the coming weeks.

Let me know what you liked the most and what you found the most disappointing!

Move over Surface Go, HP's 11-inch Tablet PC with 13MP webcam is here

HP is getting creative with its $599 11-inch Tablet PC with a unique portrait orientation and a jaw-dropping 13MP camera that flips from back to front.

What you need to know

  • HP's new 11-inch Tablet PC looks like a Surface Go at first but brings quite a few unique features that make it stand out.
  • The HP 11-inch Tablet PC features a unique vertical orientation with a matching keyboard.
  • A 13MP rotatable camera can flip from back to front and scan your desktop for online collaboration.
  • Pricing starts at $599 (with keyboard) and will be available this December with Windows 11 in S mode.

So far, only Microsoft has sought to compete in the 11-inch range of tablet PCs with its famous Surface Go. But HP is now entering the fray with its new HP 11-inch Table PC that brings some innovative and unique features starting this December.

At first glance, it's easy to dismiss the 11-inch Tablet PC (we'll forgive HP for the rather generic name) as just a Surface Go clone, but it's far from it as two features make it very different:

  1. Besides normal landscape usage, the tablet is meant to be used vertically with the keyboard mounting in either position magnetically.
  2. A massive 13MP camera flips from the back to the front with the ability to live-share your desktop during collaboration conference calls.

The keyboard optionally attaches vertically is also very different and something we're excited to try out. Choice is good, right?

HP is using a tablet vertically because Windows 11 now allows the snapping of two apps in that orientation. Additionally, the posture lets that 13MP camera rotates down to see your desktop letting you live-share with colleagues during a video call (the image is auto rotated).

The camera scanning is all reminiscent of the HP Sprout that could 3D scan objects but for updated 2021's shift to work-from-home environments. HP also makes use of the concept in its just-announced HP ENVY 34 all-in-one PC.

Indeed, the 11-inch Tablet PC can be thought of as a companion device to that ENVY 34. With HP Duet, you can use the tablet as a wireless extension of the ENVY 34 (like Apple's Sidecar). Other collaborative tools like HP Palette (smart photo searching between devices), HP QuickDrop for instant file sharing, and the app Concepts make it even more seamless for sketching and doodling on 11-inch Table PC and going deeper with the ENVY 34.

Category HP 11-inch tablet
OS Windows 11 Home in S mode
Processor Intel Pentium Silver N6000
Four cores
Graphics Intel UHD
Storage 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Display 11 inches
2160x1440 (2K)
Touch, IPS
400 nits, 100% sRGB
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
84.6% screen to body ratio
Ports USB-C
microSD card reader
Audio Three speakers
Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Bluetooth 5
Camera 13MP rotatable
Keyboard Detachable
Touchpad Precision
Security Fingerprint reader
Battery 32.2Wh
30W AC adapter
Dimensions Tablet:
9.94 x 6.95 x 0.32 inches
(253mm x 177mm x 8mm)
9.94 x 7.09 x 0.18 inches
(253mm x 180mm x 5mm)
Weight Tablet:
1.45 pounds (0.66kg)
0.54 pounds (0.24kg)
Color Natural silver

Specs-wise, the HP 11-inch Tablet is respectable, especially for $499 (without keyboard; $599 with).

The CPU is a 2021 quad-core Intel Pentium Silver N6000. Compared to the entry-level Intel Pentium 6500Y expected in Surface Go 3 the N6000 is 10nm (vs. 14nm) with the same 1.1GHz base frequency (3.3GHz burst), but a slightly higher 6W TDP (instead of 5), faster LDDR4 RAM, and more powerful UHD Graphics. But the Pentium Gold features 3.4GHz Intel Turbo Boost, Intel Hyper-Threading, and is a smaller overall package size.

Interestingly, the HP 11-inch Tablet 11 has a larger 32.2WHr battery than Surface Go's 27WHr one, which bodes well for battery life. The chassis and matching keyboard cover features a unique cloth-like material as well. That may explain why the HP 11-inch Tablet PC weighs 1.99lbs (903g) with a keyboard compared to Surface Go at just 1.71lbs (771g) with a keyboard.

Storage is 128GB, but it is faster PCIe format than slower eMMC found in the 64GB entry-level Surface Go.

The 11-inch display is also very good with a 2160x1440 resolution resulting in 231 pixels-per-inch (PPI) compared to Surface Go's 10.5-inch 1800 x 1200resolution at just 217 PPI. It also hits 400 nits of brightness (a solid number) with 100% sRGB making it ideal for photos and colorwork.

Ports are highly minimal, with just one Type-C that does it all, including 5Gbps data, Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4, and charging. There is also a microSD card reader for media.

Overall, the HP 11-inch Tablet PC is an intriguing value, especially if you're interested in the HP ENVY 34 or any other HP PC or you want a small Windows tablet PC with a really good webcam and distinctive vertical orientation. and Best Buy will both be selling it later in December, with the overall price being $599 with the keyboard. Best Buy will also have it without the keyboard for $499.

In addition to this tablet, HP announced the ARM-based HP 14-inch Laptop PC, ENVY 34 AIO with 5K display, and Spectre x360 16 laptop.

HP 11-inch Tablet PC

Coming Soon

This tiny tablet packs a better display than Surface Go with a unique vertical orientation and a 13MP camera that flips positions. Use it on its own or as a companion device for a bigger HP desktop PC.

The new HP ENVY 34 with 5K display and 16MP webcam is truly outrageous

Made for creators, HP's new all-in-one desktop PC features insane specs but also an excellent starting price.

What you need to know

  • The HP ENVY 34 inch All-in-One Desktop 34 features a 5K display, user-upgradeable storage, and memory.
  • It can be configured up to an Intel Core i9-11900, 2TB SSD, 128GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU.
  • The ENVY 32 also has a massive 16MP IR privacy camera that attaches magnetically in various positions.
  • Starting price for the Core i7 model and GTX 1650 graphics is $1,999.

HP knows a thing or two about all-in-one (AIO) desktop PCs. In early 2020, I reviewed the HP ENVY 32 and called it the best AIO PC on the market.

However, that crown may be challenged by HP's latest AIO — the new ENVY 34. It takes things in a new direction with a wider 21:9 34-inch 5K display instead of the 16:9 4K found in the ENVY 32.

Category HP Envy 34 AiO
OS Windows 11 Home
Processor 11th Gen Inte Core i7-11700 to Core i9-11900
RAM Up to 128GB DDR4-2400 (user accessible)
Graphics Up to NVIDIA RTX 3080 Laptop
Storage Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (user accessible)
Display 34 inches
5120x2160 (5K)
IPS, anti-reflective
500 nits, 98% DCI-P3
Ports Six USB-A
Two Thunderbolt 4
SD card reader
3.5mm audio
Audio 2x Bang & Olufsen tuning
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Camera Front-facing 16MP
IR camera
Keyboard Included
Mouse Included
Security IR camera
Dimensions 32.17 x 8.78 x 14.50 inches
(81.7cm x 22.3cm x 36.8cm)
Weight 24.36 pounds (11.05kg)
Color Turbo silver
Extras Qi wireless charging

The $2,000 model comes with a 65-watt Core i7-11700, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, 512GB of PCIe storage, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, which should all easily handle the massive 34-inch 5120x2160 non-touch display.

Of course, HP lets you preconfigure it with much higher specs, including up to a 5.1GHz Intel Core i9-11900, 2TB SSD, 128GB RAM, and a beefy NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (laptop) GPU, which is quite insane for an AIO these days.

Qi icharging built-in to the base.

But unlike many AIOs, this one is user-upgradeable with HP's toolless back door letting users manually add more RAM (up to 128GB, 4 DIMMS) and more storage (2 PCIe slots) to their liking.

That 5K display features 500 nits of brightness, is anti-reflective, and hits 98% DCI-P3, making it ideal for hours of graphics work and video editing without straining your eyes.

And while that 5K screen lacks touch (and inking), the new HP 11-inch Tablet PC goes very well with this desktop PC in offering touch, inking, and even HP Duet letting you use the tablet as a wireless secondary display.

And due to the new work-from-home push, web cameras have become exceptionally important for daily use. HP has an answer there too with its new "HP True Vision 16MP binning IR privacy camera with integrated dual array digital microphones and magnetic stick, 2 μm camera sensor."

HP's new 16MP mag camera can mount in 7 spots on the ENVY 34.

While that is a mouthful, this camera has no wires and has eight connection points on the ENVY 34, letting you put it on top (3 spots), on either side and the bottom (3 places). The camera fully tilts down, allowing you to photograph your desktop and scan it into the ENVY 34 for quick collaboration reminiscent of the HP Sprout from four years ago.

By comparison, the HP ENVY 32 had just a 5MP IR camera.

There's no shortage of ports, either with two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C, four Type-A, HDMI out (to power two external 4K monitors), headphone jack, and Ethernet all in the rear. HP adds even more on the neck for the stand (so you don't need to reach behind the PC) with two Type-A, one Type-C, and a full SD card slot. A clip-on that stand, which has a 100mm adjustment range, lets you wrangle your cables too.

Plenty of ports on the ENVY 34 including the stand itself.

At the base of that stand is a 15-watt Qi charger for your phone. HP also throws in its 915 black wireless keyboard and mouse combo completing the package.

The HP ENVY 34 to hit the market starting in October from and various resellers after that. It ships with Windows 11 Home.

Look for our hands-on sneak-peek with this juggernaut of a PC later this week! For now, if you have questions, ask them in the comments, and we'll answer them in that article.

In addition to this PC, HP announced the ARM-based HP 14-inch Laptop PC, 11-inch Tablet PC, and Spectre x360 16 laptop.

HP ENVY 34 All-in-One Desktop

Coming Soon

HP's latest all-in-one desktop PC is made for creators, video editors, and anyone who needs power and a 34-inch 5K display. The 16MP IR webcam, dual Thunderbolt 4, and up to Core i9, 128GB of RAM, and RTX 3080 make this one elegant, but potent, Windows 11 PC.