In the October 2 event, Microsoft unveiled their new Fall 2019 Surface products line-up. Some fans might be eyeing one of these new models for other reasons than Diablo Immortal, but in theory let's see how any of these three products might fare as a Diablo Immortal potential device if you don't have a phone (no pun); but you plan to upgrade an exisiting tablet or laptop, or just want to jump into the new Surface wave hype as a first-timer.
MICROSOFT SURFACE EVENT
SURFACE PRO X
The 13-inch 2-in-1 Tablet-to-Laptop touchscreen is an always connected device with blazing-fast LTE connectivity. It is powered by Qualcomm's new Microsoft SQ1 processor (said to have Snapdragon DNA). A 3 GHz ARM processor. Optimized for Office 365 and Adobe Fresco (which is surprisingly not iPad exclusive).
It has a 13" PixelSense Display at 2880 x 1920 (267ppi), 3:2 aspect ratio. 10 point multi-touch, and 450 nits brightness.
It runs Windows 10 Home, and this is what the main attractive point comes in. You not only have access to the Windows App ecosystem, but you can also play Android games in this device with BlueStacks. You can read my recent article on how you can play Android games on the PC/Mac with BlueStacks. I shared a video where I played a NetEase Android game on my Windows 10 PC, as proof.
A new port was added to the Surface Pro that wasn't in last year's model: Two USB-C ports.
These are the possible configurations:
Memory: 8GB / 16GB
The 8GB configuration has two options: 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD ($999) or 8GB RAM, 256GB ($1299).
The 16GB configuration has: 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD ($1499) or 16GB RAM, 512GB ($1799).
Conclusion: Personally, I find it pricey, and it is definitely not a strong product for video editing, and gaming. Or so I have heard in some reviews. I think I have cracked the reasoning for Microsoft to peddle out this new line. Not only are they aiming the low-production user who works with the Microsoft Office 365, and internet browsing/Netflix type; they likely want you to use the Azure-powered Microsoft XCloud.
If you don't know what that is, think Google Stadia. XCloud is a streaming game platform. That means that it doesn't matter how crappy the Microsoft Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7 are in terms of handling games, if the game is streamed... there is no need for huge graphic innovation in their Surface line; and they can keep the prices low without adding RTX or Vega graphics. That's my two cents point-of-view.
I mean, if you take a look at the xCloud streaming service's requirements: Android 6+, Bluetooth 4+, 5GHz WiFi (10Mbps download) against the Surface Pro X's Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac compatible and Bluetooth Wireless 5.0 features... well, kinda not rocket science. However, there is no release date for xCloud other than a generic 2020. Beta registration is open, and beta is set to start some time soon this Fall 2019.
Further Surface Pro X specs can be found here.
SURFACE PRO 7
The Surface Pro 7 is a 12.3 touchscreen tablet that now gets a feature high-sought by previous Surface tablet owners, and has now entered a bit late into a market that has had it now for a few years: the USB-C port. This tablet has an entry cost of $799, but that goes up depending the configuration chosen.
Like the PRO X, this tablet has a PixelSense Display, but smaller, at 2736x1824 (3:2 aspect ratio).
You can choose from 3 CPUs: Dual-core 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1, Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G4, or the Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7.
The tablet runs with Windows 10 Home, and has four SSD options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB.
In the graphics area, the i3 version has Intel UHD graphics; and the i5/i7 versions have the Intel Iris Plus Graphics.
Connections: one USB-C, one USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, a Surface Connect port, Surface Type cover port, and a MicroSDXC card reader.
Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0.
This tablet is an enigma to me in that when you compare the CPU clock speed of the Surface PRO 6 (last year's model) vs the Surface PRO 7... the PRO 7 is drastically slower. Doesn't seem much of a upgrade other than the USB-C port, and the 10nm architecture of 10th Gen Intel Core, WiFi-6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
Another thing to note about the Surface PRO 7 is that, again, it is not built for gaming in mind. Its main audience target is writing, internet browsing, and Netflix.
Once more, it's disappointing that the Xbox One and Windows 10 creator won't create tablets and laptops for the gaming audience. However, we'll have to wait and see what xCloud can bring to the table, and how these new Surface devices can handle game streaming from the Azure data centers where the horsepower computing is done rather than impacting your APU. Of course, you can choose Google Stadia instead of xCloud. It is a Windows 10 Home tablet after all.
You can play Android games on this device using BlueStacks 4, as well -- which means you can play Diablo Immortal on these new tablets.
I think Microsoft missed a great opportunity to PR these devices with an introductory 1-year free trial of xCloud to sell these Surface Pro tablets as a gaming device. Game streaming services might be the future, where you don't need to install a game client ever, no longer have to wait for 20GB game patches, or lag horribly due to high latency. Viewing these devices through the xCloud crystal, then the APU choices might make sense at an affordable price, because gaming is rendered at the Azure data centers and streamed to you.
SURFACE LAPTOP 3
The Surface Laptop 3 comes in two flavors: the 13-inch and 15-inch. The 15-inch option surprised the event attendees as Microsoft is adding an AMD Ryzen™ 5 3580U Mobile Processor with Radeon™ Vega 9 graphics; or an AMD Ryzen™ 7 3780U Mobile Processor with an AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics.
In terms of Wireless connections, Microsoft disappoints by their choices. The 15-inch version has a downgraded WiFi 5 while the 13-inch gets the WiFi 6. On the other hand, the 15-inch gets Bluetooth 5.0, but the 13-inch has none? Bad decision to gain something and lose something depending which version you choose.
Surface Laptop 3 13.5” Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax compatible
Surface Laptop 3 15” Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac compatible Bluetooth® Wireless 5.0 technology
The Surface Laptop 3 has one USB-C port, one USB-A port, a Surface Connect port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The two PixelSense displays have lower resolution than the Surface PRO 7 and Surface PRO X. As a laptop, I think Microsoft made a mistake not to improve the display resolution in the two Surface Laptop 3 models, especially when you put an AMD Ryzen with Vega on the 15-inch model.
Surface Laptop 3 13.5”
Screen: 13.5” PixelSense™ Display Resolution: 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI) Aspect ratio: 3:2 Surface Pen* enabled Touch: 10 point multi-touch
Surface Laptop 3 15”
Screen: 15” PixelSense™ Display Resolution: 2496 x 1664 (201 PPI) Aspect ratio: 3:2 Surface Pen* enabled Touch: 10 point multi-touch