New Microsoft Surfaces and HP PCs Show Continuous PC Innovation

Why is it important: PCs have become more important devices for a wide variety of people than ever before. The requirements for new PCs have also changed, especially when it comes to communication and collaboration. Fortunately, many PC makers have taken these trends to heart, and starting this fall, we’ll see some of the first new computers developed since the pandemic. Considering the fact that these new PCs were built with Windows 11 in mind, there’s a lot to expect.

Starting off as a business, HP and Microsoft have unveiled a range of creative new PC designs that emphasize that despite the age of this category, innovation in the PC world is still alive and well.

HP has unveiled PCs in several different form factors – from tablet to convertible 2-in-1 to huge widescreen all-in-one, as well as new monitors and software tools. The software is designed to improve the PC experience on these new PCs and to expand its capabilities across multiple screens.

HP 11-inch Tablet PC offers a very portable and inexpensive ($ 599 with keyboard, $ 499 without) option for people looking for a lightweight touch device with a high-definition (13MP) rotating camera, detachable keyboard, and built-in stand that supports both landscape. and portrait modes. The idea is to offer a Windows 11 option for those looking for a modern tablet design.

In a transformable space, the new 16-inch HP Specter x360 is based on a 2-in-1 lineup with a larger display with higher resolution (3K +), a 5-megapixel IR camera for Windows Hello and the latest Intel Evo. platform with 11th Gen Core i7 processor and optional RTX 3050 discrete GPU. Other advanced technologies include dual Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports (plus USB-A, HDMI and headphones), built-in Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connections, and 32GB Intel Optane memory.

The latest Specter x360, which starts at $ 1,639, is built from both recycled aluminum and plastic and includes the new HP Tilt Pen and protective case in the box. On the software side, the company’s new GlamCam app adjusts the light sensitivity of the built-in camera and offers beauty filters that can enhance your appearance during video calls, no matter the environment in which you make them.

For many people now comfortable working from home, desktops have gained new relevance and importance during the pandemic, especially when connected to large displays. Addressing both of these issues, the HP Envy 34 AIO PC starts at $ 1999 and includes a large 34-inch 5K ultra-wide display and offers both top-end 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processors and an option for the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU.

The default configuration includes Core i7 and GeForce RTX 1650 with Max-Q to save space and power. As a longtime user of large ultra-wide displays, I can honestly believe that once you try one, there will be no turning back. Interestingly, the Envy 34 also comes with a detachable 16MP magnetic camera that you can easily connect to anywhere on your monitor.

HP also unveiled a new standalone 34-inch curved M34d monitor priced at $ 529 and a new 32-inch 4K HDR monitor called the U32 (priced at $ 499) that can be connected to these and any existing PCs. In addition, on the software side, HP has combined the Duet for HP app, which allows you to expand your screen to other nearby devices, with the 11 Tablet.

As expected, Microsoft also refreshed a significant portion of the Surface product lineup this week and a very visible and powerful addition in the form of the Surface Studio Laptop, a new design that develops the Surface Laptop with a convertible screen similar to the Surface Studio desktop PC.

The latest Surface Go 3 ($ 399) upgrades the processor to a 10th Gen Intel Pentium and offers a Core i3 variant, making it a more viable option for those looking for a lightweight Windows 11 machine with reasonable performance. The company also lowered the price of the 4G LTE version to $ 499, making it one of the cheapest cellular tablets / PCs on the market.

In another price change, Microsoft is offering a Qualcomm-based version of the Surface Pro X for $ 899, but it’s a Wi-Fi-only version. As a big proponent of the value of cellular PCs and seeing mobile broadband as one of the big benefits of the Arm-based Qualcomm versions of the Surface, I have to admit to scratching my head a bit. This. However, Microsoft has assured me that customers interested in a Surface with an Arm processor are asking for this option, so I’ll leave them the right to hesitate.

Unfortunately, the latest Surface Pro X has no changes or improvements to this Qualcomm processor – we’ll obviously have to wait until next year to improve there.

This time around, the Surface Pro 8 and accompanying peripherals include several important improvements. Notably, the screen has grown to 13 inches, shrinking the bezel around the display in the process, and the screen refresh rate has been increased to 120Hz for super-smooth scrolling.

The processors are upgrading to 11th Gen Core chips and (finally!) Microsoft has added two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4. The design is more reminiscent of the Surface Pro X, and last but not least, the new Surface Pro 8, which starts at $ 1,099. Got the cool keyboard design with built-in pen storage (and charging) that Microsoft first debuted on the Surface Pro X.

By the way, the new Surface Pro 8 keyboards have a stiffer but lighter design thanks to the use of carbon fiber. The new $ 129 Surface Slim Pen 2 that fits into the keyboard has tactile feedback, thanks in part to Microsoft’s new customizable G6 chip and sharper design, which is supposed to give a more realistic pen-on-paper experience.

The real star of the show (at least on the PC side – the latest Surface Duo 2 phone is also a big step forward) is the Surface Laptop Studio, which starts at $ 1,699. Quite frankly, this is like the Surface device I’ve always wanted, and I expect it to be the new fan favorite.

It starts with a powerful set of performance and connectivity features. Traditional laptop design features a large 14.4-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 2400 x 1600 pixel display, an extra-large tactile touchpad, two built-in USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, 11th Gen Core processors, Smart camera AI and optional Nvidia discrete graphics (RTX 3050 Ti for consumer and Quadro A2000 with equivalent power for enterprises). In addition, there is a magnetic spot under the front edge of the device that allows you to store and charge Slim Pen 2.

What sets the Surface Laptop Studio apart from the others is the new convertible screen that can be moved to two main positions or modes (in addition to the normal laptop mode). Pulling it all the way forward and sliding it down gives you the full-screen tablet you’ve come to expect from Surface devices through what Microsoft calls Studio Mode. In the middle is a new tilting screen scene mode that allows you to easily view content such as streaming video, participating in video calls, giving presentations, and more.

As with most Surface designs, Microsoft has thought of important details for usability and for this new design. First, there is a magnetic screen lock just behind the keyboard, which makes it easy to put Laptop Studio into scene mode (and exit). Second, you can also flip the screen in this mode (or laptop mode) to show others in front of you. The real test here will be the extended hands-on experience, but it’s definitely a great new way to improve your PC’s efficiency and performance.

Overall, these new developments from HP and Microsoft are excellent examples of the ongoing innovation that continues to occur in this nearly 40-year-old product category. By taking advantage of some of the new features built into Windows 11, such as Snap windows, among others, the new designs bring more features to the PC just when you need them most.

Bob O’Donnell – Founder and Principal Analyst TECHnalysis Research, LLC a technology consulting company that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the high-tech industry and the professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech

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