Skip to main content

Microsoft Surface fall 2019 event: Everything announced

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Going into this year's Surface event, we expected it to be one of the biggest in years, and Microsoft delivered. Surface chief Panos Panay and team took to the stage to take the wraps off of not only yearly refreshes for the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop, also the new ARM-powered Surface Pro X and a peek at Surface Neo.

But, of course, there was much more than new Surfaces to gawk at.

If you weren't able to catch the stream, or just want to quickly recap what Microsoft announced, here's a look at everything debuted at the fall 2019 Surface event.

Surface Neo

The biggest star of the show today was the thing Microsoft saved for last: Surface Neo. Previously only known under the codename Centaurus, Surface Neo is Microsoft's upcoming foldable, dual-screen device. We only got a teaser on stage, but Microsoft is using Surface Neo to set the stage for what it sees as the next big innovation in PCs.

With each edge measuring in at 5.6mm thin, Microsoft says the screen packs the thinnest LCD seen on a computing device so far. There's a 360-degree hinge that uses micro-gears to rotate the two 9-inch screens around each other. The new Surface Slim Pen magnetically attaches to the back and charges at the same time.

For those worried about typing, a detachable keyboard magnetically seals to the back of the device and can be flipped on top of the bottom display at any time. The Surface Neo also includes an Intel Lakefield processor with a custom graphics engine. The chip allowed Microsoft to keep the Neo thing and light due to its size.

Surface Neo very much adheres to the aesthetic foundation the Microsoft has laid with the rest of the Surface lineup. However, from what we've seen so far, the device makes great use of its two displays, working much like a journal of sorts that's also a PC.

The Surface Neo will run a special version of Windows 10 called Windows 10X. The OS is built specifically for foldable PCs, which Microsoft is expecting to start hitting the market in the holiday 2020 timeframe from manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

Surface Duo

It finally happened: Microsoft is getting back in the phone game. The Surface Duo is a smaller version of the Surface Neo running Android. The design features the same sort of 360-degree hinge as the Surface Neo, but with smaller, 5.6-inch displays.

Microsoft is focusing firmly on productivity with the Surface Duo, with an emphasis on multitasking and blurring the line between your PC and phone. The phone runs Microsoft Launcher, and, of course, supports all of the apps available on Google Play.

Surface Duo is expected to release in the holiday 2020 timeframe.

Windows 10X

Surface Neo unveiling

Surface Neo unveiling (Image credit: Windows Central)

While we got a tease for the folding Surface Neo, Microsoft went into a bit more depth on Windows 10X. This special OS has been designed from the ground up for foldable devices, featuring a new UX, Start Menu, Taskbar, Action Center, and more. The design is also more consistent across the board with all of these elements.

Because it will be running on foldable devices, Windows 10X is highly adaptable and modular. The shell can adjust on the fly, which will be particularly important if you're moving from one orientation to another. Crucially, this isn't a separate OS, however. It's built on the same universal Windows Core OS foundation that powers things like Surface Hub 2X, and HoloLens 2.

Because of that shared foundation, you'll be able to run all of the same apps that you can on Windows 10, but Windows 10X handles things a little differently. Universal Windows Platform (UWP) from the Microsoft Store will work as you'd expect, but Windows 10X can also run Win32 apps. However, Microsoft has docoupled the components needed to run Win32 apps from the core system, which allows Windows 10X to tap into them only when needed and put them to sleep when not in use. This means you should see more consistent performance as the OS makes smarter use of what it needs whenit needs it.

Microsoft expects Windows 10X to launch alongside foldable PCs in the holiday 2020 timeframe. The company doesn't currently plan to offer the OS to devices that are already running Windows 10, so you'll have to purchase a new PC running it once it's available.

For more of an in-depth look at Windows 10X, check out our full dive into the OS.

Surface Pro X

The Surface Pro X is the first Surface to run Windows 10 on ARM. More importantly, it's the first drastic overhaul of the Surface Pro design that we've seen in some time.

The Surface Pro X features a slim, light design that's bolstered by a 13-inch screen that features slim bezels more akin to those on the latest iPad Pro. While the 2-in-1 tablet keeps some of the mainstay features of the Surface Pro 7, including the kickstand and detachable keyboard, its overall design is much sleeker than its beefier sibling.

More impressively, the Surface Pro X runs a custom Microsoft SQ1 mobile chipset, which is built on Qualcomm tech. Microsoft claimes this chip is three times more powerful per watt than the Surface Pro 6, and the company has integrated some impressive AI processing with the platform.

The detachable keyboard and Surface Pen have also seen significant changes. The new Surface Pen can be wirelessly charged, and there's now a dedicated cradle at the top of the keyboard that will hold the stylus on the go. Once you slot the Surface Pen into the cradle, you can fold the keyboard up against the display and keep it charged as you travel.

The device is also forward-thinking in terms of ports, with two USB-C ports tagging along. For charging, Microsoft has kept the Surface Connect port around, however.

The Surface Pro X may represent Microsoft's vision for the future of the Surface lineup, acting as a testbed for major design changes. More importantly, this is Microsoft throwing its weight behind Windows 10 on ARM, which may have an effect on the tepid response we've seen from PC manufacturers thus far if it garners a positive response.

The Surface Pro X is up for preorder today and is set to launch on November 5 and is available to preorder now starting at $999.

Surface Laptop 3

The Surface Laptop 3 is more of a gradual evolution of the Surface Laptop 2, but there's are some big new additions here as well. Most notably, you can now get the Surface Laptop 3 in two size: 13 inches or 15 inches.

The new, larger model is available without the Surface Laptop's signature Alcantara fabric covering, meaning you can now pick up the laptop in a a full-metal chassis. This has the effect of making it look more like other premium laptops on the market, but it's a solid change for those who may be worried about the wear and tear on the fabric over time. For the first time, Microsoft has tapped AMD to provide the CPUs in the 15-inch model as well.

The 13-inch Surface Laptop 3 still resembles the Surface Laptop 2, but with an upgrade to Intel's 10th Gen Core CPUs. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch variants now include replaceable storage drives, so you can swap the SSD out for more storage in the future. You'll now get a single USB-C port on Surface Laptop 3, in addition to a USB-A port.

Finally, there are now some new colors to get your hands on, including "Sandstone Yellow," "Poppy Red," and "Glacier Blue."

Surface Laptop 3 is up for preorder now and is expected to launch on October 22 starting at $999.

Surface Pro 7

The new Surface Pro 7 represents a much more modest refresh this year. There's no design overhaul, as seen with the Surface Pro X. Rather, the Surface Pro 7 carries forward the same design seen in the Surface Pro 6.

What is new is that Microsoft has swapped out a USB-A port for USB-C. Now you'll have one USB-C and one USB-A port to use. USB-C was something Surface fans have been clamoring for for some time, but it appears Microsoft isn't quite ready to go all-in on the port for its flagship Surface just yet.

The Surface Pro 7 now comes with Intel's 10th Gen Core CPUs, ranging from a Core i3 up to a Core i7. You'll also now get LPDDR4x RAM, which should make for a a noticeable improvement in performance over the LPDDR3 RAM in the Surface Pro 6.

Surface Pro 7 is up for preorder now and is expected to launch on October 22 starting at $750.

New Surface Slim Pen

The new Surface Slim Pen debuted alongside the Surface Pro X. The stylus now includes wireless charging, which is a change from the replaceable batteries on previous versions of the Surface Pen.

When paired with the Surface Pro X, you can stash the pen in a dedicated cradle at the top of the device's detachable keyboard. The new design allows you to stow the Surface Pen in the cradle and fold the keyboard up against the display. This allows the Pen to charge while you're on the go and will be the pen of choice with Surface Neo next year.

Microsoft says that the Surface Slim Pen is "compatible with a wide variety of Surface devices," but there's no concrete list available just yet.

Surface Earbuds

Last year, we got Surface Headphones. This year, Microsoft is tackling the earbud market.

The Surface Buds look a little odd, with a circular, white design the definitely stands out. However, inside, they're packing some of the same smarts that powered the Surface Headphones. You'll be able to communicate with Cortana with voice commands at any time, and that large circular exterior serves as a touch surface for issuing command like skipping songs or interacting with calls.

The Surface Earbuds feature 24-hour battery life, charge in a dedicated case, and work on all platforms. The touch features can also work hand-in-hand with Spotify, allowing you to start playing with a couple of taps. Amazingly, even Office is integrated, allowing you to do things like create captions in real-time during PowerPoint presentations.

Surface Buds are expected to launch "later this year" starting at $250.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

38 Comments
  • Surface Neo is the perfect device. Keyboard was done perfectly. Surface Duo will be interesting to me, as a uwp dev, if it runs MS Store apps in addition to Play Store apps.
  • Surface Duo will be Android and run apps from Google Play Store. The whole point of the device is to not have to create a new mobile phone ecosystem.
  • In that case it does nothing for me. If anything it's a sad capitulation from MS that Android is the future. Hope they cancel it. This was no "one more thing" moment. I thought so at first. But it was a head fake. That's all.
  • Tbh depends on what you want. As a note user this could be the device that takes me away from it. Yes it's android but why start a new is with no apps again. Android is find for a phone is Microsoft have kind of out there own version of ui ect on it and it will come with Microsoft apps as default for me that's as close as we will ever get in terms of a all Microsoft phone.
  • Yeah, I understand you. I simply just can't decide whether this is a lame move or the most genius one there could be. I can't help but think this way; Microsoft is becoming an Android OEM here. They spread they hardware, and I, no matter how hard I try, cannot imagine a single reason why this thing couldn't run Windows 10 X if wanted to. Think about it this way. Microsoft is distributing a hardware that will be in the hands of many Android users, and switching them from Android to Windows 10 X could be done easily. Also one thing that I simply don't get, is why Windows 10 does not have a telephony stack in. Microsoft had been spreading all these always-connected devices with LTE and SIM slots and why not have a telephony stack in case one wants one. It's only software. Or wait. Yes, it's only software, ready to be armed (no pun intended) by an update. I start thinking these devices are the Infiltrator of Skynet waiting to be fired up. It is especially interesting now that Huawei is about to launch its own OS and Fuschia is around. I am really expecting the Android world to be torn apart within 5 years. If Microsoft is to bite a slice of that pie, it needs to move.
  • Some interesting products today. There was no mention of the Surface Book 2 though and if they will update it. I was hoping to order a Surface Book 3. Any ideas if it will come next year anyone?
  • maybe I didn't watch far enough.
  • Calm down :) This was a surface event.
  • Surface Duo it's only a matter of time before. Switch over to Windows 10 x
  • Why wasn't Surface Book 3 announced? Is the SB product line dead?
  • it was always done in later date ?
  • Windows 10X is so DoA. Nobody would make any dual-screen enabled apps for it because the other device runs Android.
  • Especially since Microsoft themselves is undermining Windows 10X development by releasing the Surface Duo running Android and, in the process, helping Google improve Android's dual-screen capabilities. It is a catastrophically stupid decision that will see Windows 10X see the same fate as Windows RT / 8/ 10 Mobile / 10 UWP. They never learn.
  • So no Intel based LTE Surface Pros?
  • Anyone know when the preorder links go live today?
  • I have lost faith with MS, they always over promise and under deliver. For starters, it about the ecosystem. An ecosystem that they destroyed when the gave up on windows phone. Secondly, regardless of of how hot MS new hardware is, they have shown an history of given up and abandoning many services and products........take MS music, or MS band for example.
  • Get over it! Neither of the devices/services you mentioned were actually successful so of course they were send to pasture.
  • What?! Microsoft got back in the phone game? Can't wait for Mr. Mobile's review. Iwonder what the price will be too.
  • In 13+ months, a lifetime in the tech world. Plus, the device is Android. Not really surprising, before MS killed Andromeda, the last rumors were that it would be an Android device.
  • One USB-A + One USB-C is [IMO] worse than 2 USB-A, unless the USB-C is Thunderbolt 3 (for eGPUs, etc.). I'd likely replace a machine like this before USB-C is ubiquitous enough across the industry to justify trading an A port for a C port. Additionally, USB-C ports and plugs tend to be a lot less sturdy than USB-A. They generally feel looser and pull out more easily, unless the machine has exceptional build quality (but that doesn't help with devices like USB Audio Interfaces, etc. which can come with awful USB-C ports). I'd just rather avoid them, for the time being. On most devices, they still feel "beta quality."
  • >Additionally, USB-C ports and plugs tend to be a lot less sturdy than USB-A.
    Garbage
  • I was disappointed when I saw the Neo. too big - not pocketable. But the Duo is exactly what I have been wanting. gonna be a long wait until Christmas 2020
  • Neo was never supposed to be pocketable. Did you follow the rumors leading up to the event
  • No I didn't follow the rumors. But even if I had - my thought would have been the same. I am sure Neo is exactly what they wanted to be, but for me it is a non starter - if I need to carry it in a bag, I will just get a surface or some other 2 in 1. But the Duo is a different story.
  • Neo will fit in a coat pocket. A 2-in-1 normal Surface Pro won't
    Horses for courses
  • Hi Guys and Daniel, Here is my personal feedback on today's event. Overall it was an awesome event with some promising new devices coming in 2020. However, waiting that much is too long. 1. Microsoft did not upgrade Surface Go and Surface Book. Surface Go is an awesome device for travelers and I was really looking for a new design, LTE and battery life upgrades for this. Same with Surface Book, this device is great but its bulky(specially 15"), this should definitely be refined. 2. Surface X - again this is an awesome device, but if they make a smaller size also, that will solve many problems for travelers and mobile users i.e a screen size under 10". That will solve to not having SGO. 3. Surface Neo - this is the best thing coming BUT a phone support will be the best thing with it. 4. Surface Duo - No doubt this device is amazing BUT Android - I do not think Microsoft should go in this way and be dependent on Google for the OS. This way Microsoft will do less innovation in future in this device line as they will be dependent. But, if this is the way, I still think this is one of the best device which can replace your phone. I bet, Microsoft will optimize the office environment and couple of other important applications on this. This way. we can do more productivity. 5. Surface Earbuds - I loved the design and battery backup. Lets see the sound quality.
  • I just finished watching the livestream on YouTube. I haven't yet watched Windows Central's summary video, but I read the article above. The number of new devices is mind-boggling, so it's taking my brain some time to wrap itself around what these new devices are and the differences between them, and thinking about who each device might be targeted towards. So, here's my response: > Hi Guys and Daniel You think that Daniel isn't a guy? 😆 > waiting that much is too long. Maybe Microsoft wanted to reveal what it is working on a bit early, in order to rev up excitement for these devices and Windows 10 (and Windows 10X) so that Windows fans have something Windows-related to be excited about, since we've been chatting about Andromeda and Centarus for so long. Maybe these things haven't been far enough in development for Microsoft to show them to us until now, but we've been chatting about them for so long that Microsoft wanted to give us a demonstration of them so that we can get excited about them. > 1. Microsoft did not upgrade Surface Go and Surface Book. Surface Go is an awesome device for travelers and I was really looking for a new design, LTE and battery life upgrades for this. Same with Surface Book, this device is great but its bulky(specially 15"), this should definitely be refined.
    > 2. Surface X - again this is an awesome device, but if they make a smaller size also, that will solve many problems for travelers and mobile users i.e a screen size under 10". That will solve to not having SGO. Maybe the Surface Neo *is* the replacement for the Surface Go. > 3. Surface Neo - this is the best thing coming BUT a phone support will be the best thing with it. I hope that the Surface Neo has LTE (or possibly even 5G); Microsoft has been pushing "always connected" PCs and I can't imagine that they would release this without cellular data support. I was surprised to see that the CPU is manufactured by Intel and not Qualcomm, which suggests that it might be x86- or x64-based instead of ARM-based. I'd have to see its size and think about whether it would be too big to hold up to your ear before I decide whether I think it should have cellular voice.
    I am disappointed that Windows 10X might not have live tiles. > 4. Surface Duo It runs on Android. Perhaps Microsoft is doing this in order to get Samsung Galaxy Fold and Note buyers who wouldn't otherwise have bought a Surface to buy one--a Duo--so that afterwards, when they next need to replace their PCs, they'll say 'hmm, I love my Surface Duo, maybe I should buy another Surface.' The Surface Duo could also be Microsoft's way of hedging its bets--producing an Android device while producing a similar (and bigger) mobile Windows device.
    Part of me is disappointed in the Surface Duo. If it can only run Android, and can't run Android and Windows 10 simultaneously, then that feels like Microsoft is admitting defeat--for now--when it comes to phones.
  • I have an Xbox One S, a 2017 Surface Pro, and an iPhone 7 Plus; before I had my iPhone, I used a Windows phone, but now I can run iOS apps that aren't available for Windows. One of the first things that I did after setting up my iPhone was download several Microsoft apps (such as Edge and OneNote) and put them on my home screen where their Apple equivalents would normally be. If I had an Android phone I'd probably use those same Microsoft apps instead of their Google equivalents. So, it makes sense that Microsoft would make an Android phone, one which ships with Microsoft apps and services preinstalled (perhaps instead of their Google equivalents), since from what I have vaguely heard, Microsoft apps and services are popular on iOS and on Android (don't quote me on that).
  • While live tiles were great. Android widgets tend to work just as well...
  • Okay so the "drug" of Panos is wearing off. Time for reality check... - Surface Laptop 3 - Fairly cool though modest refresh.
    - Surface Pro 7 - No burning reason to upgrade
    - Surface earbuds - Unsure if one should wear those in public
    - Surface Pro X - Cool indeed. But foolish to charge extra for the pen. The pen's the coolest thing about it!
    - Surface Neo - The darling of the show... pretty much so everything many of us want in a tablet... but a year off. And will probably be $2000!
    - Surface Duo - A slap in the face to Windows developers, who've just now come to terms with there being no pocketable device to target... only to be told that holy canoli there is a pocketable device!!!... but wait... psych... NOPE!.... the future is Android after all. Go ahead and gloat @bleached. You deserve the win!
  • Not sure how Duo is a slap in the face.
    If I build a phone app, I build a phone app and target the main phone OS, being Android and iOS.
    If I build a windows app, I now target everything from Xbox over Hub to laptops down to Neo.
    That's one heck of a product range to address with a windows app.
    As a windows developer, I see this as quite exciting, really.
  • Perhaps I'm holding on to the "universal" dream too tightly, the one where MS Store apps are more than just core video games, photo editors, and Office 365... but to me Duo made the following statement loud and clear (as aptly phrased by fellow developer @Eingoluq)... Microsoft: "We want developers to make apps for our windows based dual screen device running our dual screen platform."
    Also Microsoft: "Releases smaller android dual screen device, encouraging developers to ignore their dual screen platform." Seriously. If MS doesn't want us building mobile apps, then stay the hell out of the phone business entirely! I applauded Ford's recent admission that it doesn't make good Sedans. Fine. So it's focusing on their F150s. That's one thing. But for Ford to slap a round oval on a Toyota Prius or a Chevy Volt? Cowardly. Have some self respect for Pete's sake.
  • Microsoft has been making services available on all platforms, this device that uses Android doesn't necessarily deviate from that strategy. They've tried the walled garden strategy which didn't work, and so far only Apple is able to do it successfully. I use almost all of Microsoft's services including on my Pixel 3xl (Microsoft launcher, word, outlook, OneNote, to do, etc). Another android device being out there won't make me leave the ecosystem or do anything different than what I've already been doing. I use similar if not the same apps/software/websites on my pc and phone. If anything, it makes me interested in buying the device because it comes from Microsoft. Does that mean I don't wish for a dedicated Microsoft made device including the software? Of course not, but that's not realistic, at least not right now given the domination of Android and iOS in the mobile space.
  • I'm super excited for the surface lineup. I hope the devices live up to what was said at the presentation, but the thought of having high end and serviceable hardware is just a dream. I may be overreacting (cause I was pumped at the 950/950xl presentation too) but I'm super hopeful for what this lineup is going to bring for the consumer.
  • Isn't the Surface Duo running Windows Core OS but works with Android apps?
  • I really would like to know this.
  • I'm ready to replace my Surface Pro. Pro 7 is nice, but i think going to X, i would be Neo but 😒 i can't wait till next year.
  • I've got some questions for the writer.
    Surface Pro 7: Earlier it was mentioned that Wi-Fi 6 was included, is this no longer thought to be the case since it doesn't say in the article? You also fell into the "trap" of making it sound like Surface Earbuds have 24-hour battery life on their own, which is not the case according to Microsofts website. They have 8*, but can last up to 24 hours by recharging them from the power in the case, before the case itself needs to recharge :) * https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
    "8 hours of continuous listening time on a single charge, plus another two 8-hour charges with the charging case"