Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 are back in black

Almost out of nowhere, Microsoft announced a couple new devices in its Surface range at a closed-door event today. The software-and-hardware giant has pulled back the curtain on the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2. Let's take a look at each of them in turn.

According to Engadget's live blog of the event, probably the biggest hardware change between the previous-generation devices is the upgrade to eighth-generation mobile Intel Core processors. Referring to the Surface Pro 6, Microsoft reportedly said that change alone nets the new device a 67% performance improvement over the outgoing model. Although Microsoft touts the devices' upgraded cooling systems, we figure that upgrade would have needed to take place anyway, given the demands of Intel's eighth-gen, quad-core U-series CPUs.

The generational CPU change also offers some gains in the battery life department, as the Surface Pro 6 ought to go for run for 13.5 hours between appointments with a wall socket. The maximum amount of RAM should now be 16 GB along with an option for 1 TB of solid-state storage. The display apparently retains the same 2736×1824 resolution as before, but it's also been the subject of some tweaks as Microsoft reportedly says it has the "highest-ever" contrast ratio—presumably among Surface Pro devices. 

Engadget says the new devices weigh the same as their predecessors at 1.7 lb (770 g) without the Type Cover. According to The Verge, the Suface Pro 6 offers the same I/O port selection as the previous model, meaning it still doesn't have a much-requested USB Type-C port.

Along with the CPU upgrade, the new pricing is probably Microsoft's gutsiest play for the Surface Pro 6. The base model is now fitted with a Core i5 processor and will start at $899. Devices are expected in stores on October 16 clad in matte black, blue, red, and grey.

As for the Surface Laptop 2, Microsoft apparently didn't say much about it other than it too has eighth-gen Intel Core CPUs and an improved display with a 1500:1 contrast ratio. According to Engadget, the company did remark that the keyboard offers "quieter typing." The Surface Laptop 2 should start at $999 and will also be available on October 16.

Editorializing a little, I'm a Surface Pro fan myself but I felt the 2017 devices were overpriced and that the Core m3-powered model shouldn't have existed in the first place. I'm glad to see the price and model changes, and only the missing USB Type-C port gives me pause.

Comments closed
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 1 year ago

    usb c is a right next to micros SD for a real computer requirement at this point.

      • End User
      • 1 year ago

      I have a T480. If a laptop does not have a proper RJ45 port it’s not a “Pro” device. 😛

      • MOSFET
      • 1 year ago

      as in neither is required at all? I can believe that. My desktop have neither and work great!

    • cynan
    • 1 year ago

    Is it ironic that MS’s new [url=https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/2/17929972/microsoft-surface-headphones-announced-specs-noise-cancelling<]Surface Headphones[/url<] have USB-C but not the actual Surface computing devices?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      Just another example of groups within Microsoft that don’t talk to each other.

    • cynan
    • 1 year ago

    No USB-C + no sign of a Ryzen 25/2700 option in the Surface Pro = no rush to purchase

    • Peter.Parker
    • 1 year ago

    [quote<]...the Surface Pro 6 ought to go for run for 13.5 hours [b<]between appointments with a wall socket[/b<][/quote<] You silver tongued devil, you!

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    Things a mobile device, especially one with business aspirations, NEEDS in 2018:

    USB A
    USB C
    HDMI, as easily as possible.

      • Kretschmer
      • 1 year ago

      -SSD
      -1080 Max-Q (this is business, not a gaming laptop with a fancy 2080)

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    I mean, will we get USB C device saturation before you replace this laptop? I’m not sure at this point. I own one USB C device (my phone) and zero C-to-C cables. If my laptop had one less C and one more 3.1 A it would be more useful.

      • cygnus1
      • 1 year ago

      And yet I own several. It really depends on where you are on the device updating curve. Both personal laptops (mine and my wife’s) and my work phone all charge via Type C, great to have sharable chargers for those. And I’ve got several Type C accessories for my laptop. Both the laptops, from 2016, are multiple years old at this point. And the phone is almost 2 years old. It really is inexcusable for a device released now and expected to last for several years to not have at least one Type C port. And honestly, for a device as premium as the Surface Pro’s, they absolutely should have Thunderbolt. Hell, my 2 year old Spectre X360 (small touchscreen convertible) wasn’t much over $1000 and has TWO Thunderbolt ports…

      I stopped recommending Surface Pro’s to people when the 4 came out honestly. It’s been outdated since that model.

    • End User
    • 1 year ago

    Complete idiots.

    • FireGryphon
    • 1 year ago

    Except for the peripheral ports, these look like great machines. It seems silly to be stuck with the old ports, so this isn’t enough to make me buy.

    How much money do you think they saved by keeping the ports the same? Maybe it was done as a planned obsolescence thing?

    • sweatshopking
    • 1 year ago

    Lack of USB c seems odd given that the surface headphones use USB c

    • siberx
    • 1 year ago

    Absolutely incredible to me that they still don’t have a type C port on this thing. The [b<]Surface Go[/b<] has one (in addition to the magnetic surface connector), so why wouldn't this newer, substantially higher end device? Just replace the miniDP with a type C and support the DP alternate mode through it - no lost functionality, and everybody has to use a dongle on the miniDP [i<]anyway[/i<] so no loss there either. Incomprehensible.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 1 year ago

      MiniDP cables have been around a long time.

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        And yet the most common connectivity standard is not MiniDP, but HDMI, which (incidentally) is no physically taller than an mDP connector.

        How many projectors, HDTVs, monitors, or large format presentation displays natively use mDP? Exactly.

        Displayport may be the technically superior port, but it’s absolute overkill in these and a pretty glaring, inconvenient oversight for the target market.

          • psuedonymous
          • 1 year ago

          DispalyPort (and mDP) connectors can output electrically both DisplayPort and HDMI (DP++). HDMI connectors can only output HDMI. No device that is not an AV receiver or TV should ever feature a hardware HDMI port if it can host a DP port, as doing so means you lose one output for no gain whatsoever.

            • Chrispy_
            • 1 year ago

            I know this, but mDP means you need a dongle.

            How many places have you been to present, or hook up to an extra monitor and been passed an mDP cable?

            Finally about 15 years too late, IMO, most venues are using HDMI instead of VGA D-Sub. If they’re going to provide a display port at all, I’m with siberx on this; [b<]DP over USB-C[/b<] or HDMI if you're going to deviate from USB.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            The logic that “nothing but a receiver or TV should have HDMI” is pretty flawed for the reasons you mentioned. And those venues are standardizing on HDMI instead of DisplayPort why? Because HDMI is present on a huge class of business and consumer notebooks because people want to hook them up to TVs, which only have HDMI ports.

      • EzioAs
      • 1 year ago

      Inconceivable!

        • K-L-Waster
        • 1 year ago

        That word you keep using…

    • DancinJack
    • 1 year ago

    Someone from MS needs, needs to explain why there are zero USB-C ports on these. It’s nearly 2019 and they just can’t bring themselves to put USB-C on their flagship device? C’mon.

    • WhiteDesertSun
    • 1 year ago

    Sigh, still not Type C.
    Microsoft plz

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    Some of the pricing on this thing (edit: Surface Pro 6, I mean) makes no sense, even compared to Apple’s exaggerated upgrade pricing.

    The Core i5 / 8 GB / 128 GB model is $899. To upgrade to a 256 GB SSD costs an additional THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. I could see bumping it up to $999, but not $1,199. And then to take that from a Core i5 to a Core i7 is ANOTHER THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. That’ll be $1,499 and you still only have 8 GB of system memory.

      • Voldenuit
      • 1 year ago

      Microsoft’s production plans means that if you specify a higher tier SKU, an orphan in China is dispatched to the Fire Mountain to bring back a flaming ember, which is then used to melt the glue on the base SKU and install the offending RAM/SSD.

      Many orphans are lost to the firebeasts each year.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        Oh! Well. Since you put it that way, I guess MS NEEDS those upcharges.

        • Redocbew
        • 1 year ago

        I’m not sure that’s the direction they should be headed when they said they needed to improve execution.

        • Star Brood
        • 1 year ago

        I logged in just to give your your well-deserved thumb’s up! Now don’t spend it all in one place.

        • Wirko
        • 1 year ago

        Those that are not lost to firebeasts get paid $0.50.

      • DavidC1
      • 1 year ago

      I think the reason they do that is because the $899 model is priced lower than they’d like to sell the device at. “Starting at $899” is a great marketing point. And when you go to a store, or go to their website, you’d have options to upgrade. So while getting extra 128GB of storage may only cost $100, they are trying to make up(and do more than that of course) by having a low priced model.

      $899 – To get return on investments. Maybe priced low enough to make little money.
      Above $899 – To get profit.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        Maybe, but I feel like this is more to keep their hardware partners happy. Building stuff and pricing so they don’t compete with them.

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