Microsoft’s new Surface hardware is a big bet on AI and ARM

Surface Laptop and Surface Pro Copilot Plus
Pictured: Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Laptop Copilot Plus PCs
// Microsoft is ready to pick up where the Surface Pro X left off.
Fergus Halliday
May 21, 2024
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After expanding its Copilot AI to a dedicated spot on the keyboard of Windows laptops late last year, Microsoft is going all-in on AI with its new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro 2-in-1 tablet.

The new Microsoft Surface Laptop features a familiar design and comes in two sizes (13.8 inches and 15 inches), up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage. The new Surface Pro comes in one 13-inch size and the same storage configurations but is available with either an LCD or OLED display and the option of 5G connectivity.

Since this year's update to Microsoft's signature line of PCs is its first to be billed as Copilot Plus PCs, it's little surprise that AI apps are a big part of the selling point here. The headliner is a new Replay feature, which promises to allow you to "scroll across time to find the content you need" across any applications, documents and websites your PC has used.

According to Microsoft's consumer chief marketing officer Yusuf Mehdi, the new PCs are the "fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built."

"We have completely reimagined the entirety of the PC – from silicon to the operating system, the application layer to the cloud – with AI at the center, marking the most significant change to the Window platform in decades," he said.
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Of course, this emphasis on NPU performance and AI-powered productivity hacks is only half the story.

The other big part of the sell here is that both these new Surface PCs (and the glut of other Copilot Plus laptops announced overnight) are built on Snapdragon's new ARM processors. This isn't Microsoft's first go-around with alternatives to the traditional x86 architecture but previous efforts like the Surface Pro X have failed to offer the same gains in performance and battery life that MacOS users have enjoyed since Apple made its switch to ARM.

Both the new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro come kitted out with the new Snapdragon X Plus and Snapdragon X Elite processors. Microsoft claims that this new hardware will allow its Copilot Plus PCs to offer up to a twenty-fold increase in performance when it comes to AI workloads and outpace Apple's MacBook Air on both battery life and multi-threaded performance. 

We'll have to wait and see whether those lofty claims translate into reality but if you can't then Microsoft is happy to take your money anyway. In Australia, both the new Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Laptop start at $1899 with orders due to ship out on 18 June 2024.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.