The first AI PCs from Microsoft are official: this is how the new Surface devices with a very special key are

Computers & Laptops | May 1, 2024

The first AI PCs from Microsoft are official: this is how the new Surface devices with a very special key are

Microsoft has presented its new laptops for professionals and businesses, which have greater integration with the company’s AI.

The year of the AI PC has begun. Personal computers are possibly facing a major revolution thanks to local Artificial Intelligence. Now, Microsoft has introduced its first devices based on this philosophy.

Specifically, the new Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 presented today are based on the latest generation of Intel Core Ultra processors. The key to these new chips lies in the presence of an NPU, a Neural Processing Unit, capable of running Artificial Intelligence locally and without the need to connect to an external server necessarily.

Not all AI features of Windows 11 can be executed in this way; Copilot still relies on Microsoft’s servers and the GPT language model, also used by ChatGPT. But some programs are already taking advantage of this ‘hardware’, which is now used in the new Surface devices.

The Copilot key arrives

Therefore, the main innovations of the new Surface devices lie in their ability to use these Artificial Intelligence features, starting with a very interesting detail: the new Copilot key. Indeed, one of the requirements for computers that want to be called “AI PC” is the presence of a dedicated key on the keyboard exclusively for accessing the Windows 11 Artificial Intelligence.

The new key is located right next to the second Alt key, a space that some keyboards already used as a secondary Windows key; so in that sense, it shouldn’t be difficult for manufacturers to adapt existing designs. In the new Surface devices, the key is present both on the laptop and on the keyboard cover.

Surface Laptop 6 - 01

An important detail to clarify is that the new Surface models presented today are aimed at professionals and businesses; therefore, they will not be available for the average user, who will have to wait at least until May, when the new devices for consumers are expected to be launched. That’s why these devices have the added “for Business” in their name.

This explains why the new Surface devices are very similar to the models launched last year and the year before; they are designs with proven efficiency that don’t reinvent the wheel, but that’s exactly what a SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) would ask for when renewing their computers, for example.

These are the new Surface devices:

The Surface Pro 10 for Business demonstrates this, with a design identical to the Surface Pro 9 launched last year; and it also doesn’t meet the rumors that Microsoft was going to use an OLED screen, which is likely reserved for the consumer model. At least, there are improvements in the 13-inch screen, with a 33% higher brightness and a new anti-glare coating.

Internally, you can choose between an Intel Core Ultra 6 135U and a Core Ultra 7 165U, with RAM options ranging from 8 GB to 64 GB, and storage starting from 256 GB up to 1 TB. The integrated battery is 48 WHr, and the webcam reaches a resolution of 1440p and is compatible with facial recognition with Windows Hello. The Surface Pro 10 for Business has a starting price of 1,399 euros and will be available starting from April 9th.

Surface Pro 10

On the other hand, the Surface Laptop 6 for Business is also similar to the Surface Laptop 5, but in this case, Microsoft claims that it has been redesigned from the inside to adapt to the new hardware. In the case of this model, it can be equipped with a Core Ultra 5 135H or a Core Ultra 7 165H, which already represents a significant difference compared to the Surface Pro, thanks to the inclusion of an Intel Arc graphics card that should offer superior performance in 3D tasks and even some games.

These chips are accompanied by between 8 GB and 64 GB of RAM and up to 1 TB of storage. This model is intended for those who truly prefer the traditional design of a laptop, or need the additional power of its processors and GPUs.

Surface Laptop 6 - 02

Although the design changes are few, they do exist. The main one is the addition of another Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, which will be very helpful in many situations; and the same can be said for the SD card reader, although it will be an option that we will have to choose when configuring the laptop. The Surface Laptop 6 for Business has a starting price of 1,399 euros for the 13.5-inch version, and 1,639 euros for the 15-inch version; they will be availablen starting from April 9th.

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