We already knew that Microsoft’s Windows 10 hardware event would have its fair share of announcements and the company certainly did not disappoint. Even though its own event came after Apple and Google had their time in the spotlight, Microsoft had plenty of things to talk about today so let us take a look at the products the company unveiled today.
Lumia 950 + 950 XL
Microsoft has finally announced two flagship devices, the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL. Both devices have the same 2560 x 1440 AMOLED displays, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 20MP rear cameras with triple LED flashes and f/1.9 apertures along with 5MP shooters in the front, USB Type-C charging ports, Qi wireless charging, Qualcomm’s rapid charging system and microSD support for up to 2TB of expansion. The Lumia 950 has a 5.2-inch screen with a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and a 3,000mAh battery while the XL features a 5.7-inch screen with the octa-core, liquid-cooled Snapdragon 810 and a 3,300mAh battery to accommodate the larger screen. It is worth nothing that both batteries will be removable.
You may also be pleased to know that the rumored iris scanner is very real. Microsoft has opted out of fingerprint scanners and focused on facial recognition instead. The feature uses the same technology as Windows Hello which makes sense when you think about the connected ecosystem that the company is attempting to create with Windows 10. The design of the phones is really the only thing that may disappoint some users as Microsoft has abandoned the classic Lumia colors and materials to make the phones look like any other flagship out there.
Both phones will launch in November and will cost you a flagship amount of money. More specifically, you will be looking at $549 for the 950 and $649 for the 950 XL.
The flagship phones are fine and all but not everyone is willing to shell out that kind of cash for a new device. The Lumia 550 is the answer for anyone who wants an updated, budget-friendly Windows 10 Mobile device and its specs are not too bad for the price. The 550 has a 4.7-inch HD display, a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 210, 1GB of RAM, 5MP and 2MP cameras at the front and back respectively, 8GB of storage with microSD support, a 1,905mAh battery and support for LTE. The phone will launch in December for $139.
Microsoft Display Dock
Remember when Microsoft said that its Continuum features will let you connect your phone to a monitor and start using it as a Windows 10 PC? Well, the time for that is almost here as the company unveiled the Microsoft Display Dock, a device that lets you plug a monitor (via HDMI or DisplayPort) and up to three USB peripherals so that you can get a desktop-like experience from your phone. There are some caveats, of course. While the UI is almost identical to the desktop version, the device will only be able to run universal apps which means you may be locked out of your favorite apps. Still, this dock may be a fantastic product, as long as the price – which Microsoft has not yet announced – is not too high.
Surface Pro 4
The new entry to Microsoft’s Surface line is the company’s best model yet and has arrived just in time to compete with similar products such as Apple’s new iPad Pro and Lenovo’s Miix 700. The device looks almost the same as its predecessor but features a larger display due to the reduced bezel and a thinner body. Of course, the outside does not really matter as it is the new specs and the Windows 10 integration that make the Surface Pro 4 an attractive choice.
Starting with the display, Microsoft explained that the so-called PixelGlass technology allows the screen to present over 5 million pixels with over 267ppi while also supporting 1024 levels of pressure with the new magnetically attached pen. The device is ran by a 6th generation Core i7 Intel processor and 16GB of RAM which make it 30% faster than the Surface Pro 3 and 50% faster than the MacBook Air, according to Microsoft anyway.
The company has completely revamped the Type Cover which now features a better keyboard, a fingerprint sensor and a larger trackpad. If you prefer to log in with your eyes, the front camera supports Microsoft Hello and will scan faces at your command. Finally, Microsoft will launch a new dock with four USB 3.0 ports, two 4K display ports and one Ethernet port. Both new accessories will also be compatible with the Surface Pro 3.
The Surface Pro 4 begins at $899 and will become available on October 26 while pre-orders will start on October 7.
The biggest surprise of the event came in the form of the Surface Book, Microsoft’s first laptop. The Surface Book is a powerful convertible laptop with a 13-inch display that has a pixel density of 267 ppi. The laptop apparently has a battery life of 12 hours and comes in many configurations, all of which have an SSD and a 6th generation Intel Core processor. The base model starts at $1,499 and goes all the way up to $2,699 depending on the components that you want. The basic version comes with an 128GB SSD, an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and integrated Intel HD graphics. For $1,899, however, you can get a discreet NVIDIA GTX GPU that should allow for at least some gaming as evidenced by the demonstration that saw Microsoft’s Panos Panay play Gears of War on stage. Pre-orders for the device will start on October 7 and it is expected to hit the retail shelves on October 26.
Microsoft Band v2.0
The final product announcement concerned the successor to Microsoft’s wearable device, the Band. The original wearable was well-received but gathered plenty of criticism for its bulky design that made it uncomfortable to wear, at least for prolonged periods of time. The new Microsoft Band has a curved display and softer edges which directly address previous criticisms and a few upgrades such as a barometer and better software support. It will cost $249 and will launch on October 30 with pre-orders being available as early as today.