What you need to know
- Microsoft launched its first Surface device eight years ago.
- The Surface lineup pushed computing form factors and inspired many devices.
- The Surface family now includes 2-in-1s, laptops, desktops, enterprise hubs, and a folding phone.
Microsoft unveiled the Surface lineup eight years ago. The big-bezelled original Surface devices launched with Windows 8 and came in a then at the time new form factor, a convertible 2-in-1. Since the initial Surface launch, Microsoft has refined the Surface 2-in-1 concept through 7 iterations, multiple size spinoffs, and the Surface family expanded to other device categories.
More than pen support, flipping around, or kickstands, the Surface lineup has always been about innovation. Microsoft's Surface family strives to push stagnant categories forward. The greatest influence of the Surface lineup is likely the influx of 2-in-1s that are now on the market. Once a novel idea, convertibles are now commonplace, and just about every major manufacturer has at least dipped their foot into the form factor.
Memes really do come true, which was evidenced by Apple's shift to have iPads become more and more like computers. In just a few short years, Apple shifted from the infamous "What's a computer" ad to its "Your next a computer is not a computer" ad. That shift is a microcosm of the push by Microsoft's Surface line. 2-in-1s haven't replaced laptops — and were probably never meant to — but they've become a viable category on their own.
Microsoft has also greatly expanded the Surface lineup. Since the early days of the Surface Pro and Surface RT, we've seen Microsoft release the Surface Book, Surface Laptop, Surface Studio, and Surface Go lines. While some pushed boundaries more than others, such as the Surface Book detaching its screen from its base, they all innovated in some way and drove manufacturers to step up their game.
Microsoft has also ventured into new categories and architectures to showcase how things can work. The Surface Pro X runs on a Snapdragon processor, and the Surface Duo delivers a dual-screen Android experience based on productivity.
Not every Surface device has been a success, but the family as a whole has grown rapidly over eight years, and people look forward to Microsoft's major events announcing more devices each year.
What's your favorite Surface device? Let us know in the comments below.
Better and faster than ever
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Type-C and 10th Gen Intel are game-changers
Microsoft has finally added a loaded-out USB Type-C port to the Surface Pro 7. When combined with Intel's 10th Gen processor and GPU, this year's Core i5 blows away last year's Core i7 all without a fan. Minor tweaks to the RAM, going to Intel for Wi-Fi 6, and Instant On ability make this Surface Pro 7 an absolute joy to use.
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