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Surface Pro, Surface Laptop Updates Leak, Still Lack USB-C

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Microsoft’s next-generation Surface Pro and Surface Laptop are both expected to be announced tomorrow, but the size of the update may disappoint those who were hoping for more than a minor refresh. Having been criticized roundly in 2017 for offering a minor update to the Surface Pro 4 with the Surface Pro (2017), Microsoft is more-or-less doing exactly the same thing again, at least as far as the physical chassis and design are concerned. Happily, internal hardware will be getting a performance nudge.

Externally, the only difference, according to WinFuture, is the addition of a new black model to the Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Pro 6 — which I suppose means we’re back to model numbers? The Surface Laptop is receiving two important performance tweaks that should make it more attractive — a Core i5-8250U quad-core SoC will replace the Core m3-7Y30 that formerly dropped into the bottom-end SKU, while RAM will get a bump from 4GB to 8GB. The machine will remain under-provisioned in terms of SSD storage, however, with just 128GB.

This is undeniably an improvement to the baseline model, which was previously a terrible deal, but the impact on price is unknown. Right now at Microsoft, the only Surface Laptop models you can order are the Core i5-equipped machines with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $1,299.

Surface-Laptop

Hopefully, this simply means that Microsoft has pulled the older model but won’t update the stack with new pricing until tomorrow. The alternative suggests that either the new Surface Laptops will cost more than $999 for the base unit or that MS is going to charge one heck of a premium to move from 128GB to 256GB of storage. Given the degree to which the company now pumps its own cloud storage offerings, either is possible — Microsoft would much rather sell you a reoccurring subscription to its own services than sell you an SSD you won’t pay for in perpetuity. Hopefully, however, this is all prelude to some price cuts that bring the Surface Laptop down to a price worth paying for.

The Surface Pro 6 reportedly retains the Core M option, but swaps in 8th generation cores up the stack as well. This move would give the new Pro a bit more oomph at every level — the new Core m3-8100Y offers a maximum turbo clock of 3.4GHz as opposed to the 2.6GHz on the older m3-7Y30, while the 8th Gen Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs typically offered higher core counts than the 7th Generation CPUs the Surface Pro 2017 relied on.

Still No USB-C

If the hardware upgrades are good news, the ongoing lack of any kind of USB-C support on either system is, well, less-good news. Both systems reportedly retain the same port configurations: 1x USB-A 3.0 port, microSD card reader, mini-Display Port, and the proprietary Surface Connect port for the Surface Pro, with just a USB-A port, mini-DisplayPort, and Surface Connect for the Surface Laptop. Both also feature a headset jack.

The lack of ports is something you’re either willing to live with or not, but the ongoing lack of USB-C support is just laziness at this point. There’s nothing stopping Microsoft from offering a USB-C port and a USB-A port, thereby giving users to use either standard. It wouldn’t even need to take up more room — not if the company ditched the Surface Connect port.

Then again, ditching the Surface Connect port wouldn’t let MS sell the giant adapter version of a USB-C to Surface Connect port for $80, which probably explains why the system hasn’t changed. Overall, we’re glad to see the internal improvements, but some connectivity enhancements wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Now Read: Microsoft Surface Go Review Roundup: A Mixed Bag, Microsoft Surface Pro LTE (2018) Review Roundup: Flexible, Expensive, and Microsoft Unveils Its Second-Generation Surface Hub 2


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