Microsoft launches Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2, a new Surface Dock and Surface Headphones 2

PCWorld|June 2020

Microsoft launches Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2, a new Surface Dock and Surface Headphones 2
Microsoft’s spring launch features updates of familiar Surface hardware.
MARK HACHMAN

Microsoft has launched a new generation of Surface devices that aims to offer something for everyone. Announced in early May, the devices include the new Surface Book 3, Surface Go 2, and Surface Dock 2. To help you stay focused, Microsoft will soon ship the Surface Earbuds, and— surprise!—the Surface Headphones 2.

While the Surface Book 3, Surface Go 2, and Surface Dock 2 were not unexpected, the breadth of Microsoft’s Surface-related hardware comes as a bit of a shock. Virtually all of the new Surfaces can be classified as refreshes. The Surface Book 3 adds new 10th-gen Ice Lake Core processors, as well as Nvidia GTX and Quadro RTX ray-tracing GPU options. The Surface Go 2, meanwhile, boasts 8th-gen Intel Core m chips.

Tying them to displays and other peripherals will be the Surface Dock 3 and the Microsoft USB-C Travel Hub. The real surprise is the Surface Headphones 2, now with a black option, a rotating earcup, and improved battery life. There’s more, too: Last year’s Surface Earbuds, plus a pair of new keyboards.

“As we continue to expand our Surface family of devices, our goal is to design a Surface for every person, every work style and every location, scaling from the most portable to the most performant,” Panos Panay, chief product officer of Windows + Devices, and Robin Seiler, corporate vice president of devices for Microsoft, said in a statement. The two said their goal was “to give you devices that can switch context as quickly as you do to take you from work to play to everything in between.”

SURFACE BOOK 3

Microsoft’s Surface Book has always been the company’s flagship 2-in-1, combining the power of a workstation with a unique design that marries a tablet with a traditional clamshell form factor. The Surface Book 3 won’t be cheap: Prices will start at $1,599. The Surface Book 3 will ship May 21, in both the 13.5-inch and 15-inch form factors of its predecessor, the Surface Book 2 (go. pcworld.com/sbk2).

For that price, Microsoft’s offering a premium, but not too premium, experience. Both the 13.5-inch and 15-inch Surface Book 3’s are based on Intel’s recent Ice Lake 10th-gen chips, both well-regarded mobile processors with integrated graphics (though AMD’s Ryzen Mobile 4000 chips [go. pcworld.com/rzm4] look even better). Because the cheapest Core i5 Surface Book 3 doesn’t use a dedicated GPU, it relies on Ice Lake’s graphics—meaning that Microsoft’s couldn’t go with the faster, CPU-only Comet Lake alternative (go.pcworld.com/clal).

Otherwise, the Core i5-1035G7 and Core i7-1065G7 options will be married to either an Nvidia GTX 1650 (Max-Q) or GTX 1660 Ti (Max-Q). At the high end, there will also be Nvidia Quadro RTX GPU options, too, for those seeking more traditional workstationlike performance. So yes, there will be support for ray tracing—even if the GPU is designed for creation, not gaming, and is a slower Max-Q option at that. It gets a little crazier in memory and storage: up to 32GB LPDDR4X memory, and a 2TB SSD option for United States customers.

A number of things have remained unchanged, for better or worse.

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June 2020