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What to expect from Microsoft’s Surface event

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A new Surface Pro and a redesigned Surface Book are on the way

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Microsoft is holding a Surface event on September 22nd, where “the company will talk about devices and Windows 11.” With Windows 11 set to debut on October 5th, we’re expecting to see four new Surface devices showcasing all the latest software features in the new OS. It won’t be all Windows 11, though. Microsoft will also launch a second version of its Surface Duo Android-powered foldable device next week.

The Verge will be covering all of Microsoft’s Surface hardware announcements starting at 11AM ET / 8AM PT on September 22nd, and here’s what to expect.

We’re expecting a new Surface Pro for Windows 11.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Surface Pro 8

The Surface Pro is the main flagship Surface device, and one that has existed since the launch of Windows 8 in 2012. Microsoft is now planning to launch a new Surface Pro 8 ready for Windows 11.

We’re not expecting any huge design changes on the Surface Pro 8, simply because Microsoft has already made it clear to businesses that it will maintain the Surface port connectivity and overall hardware design to keep it compatible with docks and accessories.

That said, a source familiar with Microsoft’s plans tells The Verge the company is planning to ship a larger display on the Surface Pro 8 with smaller bezels. We also understand Microsoft will move to support Thunderbolt on at least one Surface Pro 8 model. This is the first time Microsoft has supported Thunderbolt on any Surface device, after concerns around security. Microsoft is also planning to drop USB-A ports on at least one Surface Pro 8 model, combined with this Thunderbolt support.

Microsoft will also ship its Surface Pro 8 with Intel’s latest 11th Gen chips and support for removable SSDs just like the Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 4.

Surface Book 4

Microsoft will also debut its big Surface Book design next week. It’s a significant design change that will involve ditching the detachable display in favor of a display that pulls forward to convert between tablet and laptop form factors much like the HP Elite Folio. Windows Central first reported these details last month.

This new design also allows Microsoft to upgrade the display on the Surface Book 4. We understand Microsoft will opt for a high refresh rate display on the Surface Book 4, possibly up to as high as 120Hz to support a new Windows 11 Dynamic Refresh Rate feature. This will allow the Surface Book 4 to include smooth scrolling, and then switch down to standard 60Hz modes to save battery life.

This dynamic refresh rate will also help improve inking on the Surface Book 4, as inking will switch to high refresh rates. Microsoft is also improving the Surface Pen that works with the Surface Book 4 to include haptic feedback. It will also snap to the side of the Book 4 and support charging when it’s there.

Microsoft will have a new Surface Pro X ready for Windows 11.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Surface Pro X

Microsoft is also expected to launch a new Surface Pro X model next week. While there won’t be any major design changes, we’re expecting a chip upgrade inside and possibly even a high refresh rate display. We’ve heard Microsoft has been testing high refresh rate displays on the Surface Pro or Surface Pro X line, and we’ll find out next week if Microsoft has managed to upgrade its displays on the Surface Pro lineups.

Surface Go 3

The final Windows-powered Surface device we’re expecting next week is the Surface Go 3. This smaller Surface will maintain the same smaller footprint design but with a big upgrade inside. We’re told at least one model will ship with Intel’s Core i3 processor, offering better performance for this smaller Surface than the existing Pentium Gold processor models.

We’re also hoping to see Microsoft move away from models with 4GB of RAM and the slower eMMC storage on base models. The Surface Go 3 looks like a modest upgrade in time for Windows 11.

The Surface Duo 2 leak.
Image: Tech Rat (YouTube)

Surface Duo 2

Microsoft also looks set to debut its next Surface phone. The successor to the Surface Duo has already leaked online, offering an early glimpse at what to expect. The biggest hardware upgrade will be a triple-camera system that includes ultrawide, telephoto, and standard camera lenses.

The triple-camera system will add a camera bump to the rear of the device, as seen in the leaked photos earlier this year. The Surface Duo 2 should also ship with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 processor, with 5G support and an NFC reader, both of which were missing from the first generation.

Microsoft is also making some other minor changes to the hardware on the Surface Duo 2, including moving its fingerprint reader into the power button on the Duo 2 and centering the USB-C port on the right-hand side.

The real questions around the Surface Duo 2 will be its software changes. The original Surface Duo has struggled with its software support for dual displays, and the successor is expected to ship with Android 11. This should help with some dual-screen support, but Microsoft will also have to offer far better software support to make the Surface Duo 2 successful.

The Verge will be covering all of Microsoft’s Surface hardware announcements on September 22nd. The event kicks off at 11AM ET / 8AM PT, so stay tuned for all the latest Surface news.