Here’s Microsoft’s hardware announcement in a (bloody big) nutshell

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There was an awful lot on show at Microsoft’s New York event last night, with an actual surprise making itself known. There was also a fair amount of the purely expected but it’s always nice to have some confirmation instead of supply-chain chatter and sneaky photographs.

This is a highlight reel of Microsoft’s Windows 10 hardware reveal, just in case you were too busy at work to catch the live-stream.

Meet The New Lumias – The 950, 950 XL and 550

Lumia 950 PairMicrosoft have confirmed their pair of Windows 10 Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones, which have an availability date in the States of… right now. The Lumia 950 is the smaller of the pair, with a Snapdragon 808, 3GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch QHD screen and a 20MP rear camera. There’s a 6MP front-facer and USB-C. 32GB of storage and microSD access are also options. The 950XL sports the same camera kit, but the processor is scaled up to a Snapdragon 810. The 3GB of RAM sticks around, as does the storage. Ditto the QHD screen but it undergoes a size increase to 5.7-inches. The battery?  A 3,340mAh removable affair.

The 950 XL handset will set buyers in the States back $650 (R8,770), the 950 will cost $550 (R7,400 or so). Local pricing isn’t going to be available for some time.

Lumia 550Microsoft didn’t actually give it any stage time but the Windows 10 Lumia 550 is also now a thing. All of the details have rocked up on Microsoft’s website and the specs for the new mid-range Lumia match up to the earlier leaks. We can’t say we weren’t expecting it.

Hololens! (Yay!) For Developers Only! (Aww!)

HololensWe were kinda expecting Hololens to make an appearance, for the news-making potential if nothing else. We didn’t expect Microsoft’s presentation of Hololens and Project X-Ray, a new AR game that sees monsters popping out of the walls – which you can shoot at using your hand – to end the way that it did. With a notification on when developers will be able to buy an early Hololens and how much it’ll cost. Devs will get their hardware in the first quarter of 2016 but they’ll fork out $3,000 (a little over R40,000) for the privilege. So… not for public consumption just yet, then.

The Microsoft Band gets an update, with a whack of new sensors

This was almost inevitable, what with the leaks and all, but Microsoft have made the Band update (known as the New Microsoft Band, we guess) official. We’re quite glad that all of the details were kept under wraps and that only the look of the thing leaked out because Microsoft have done some quite impressive things here.

The Band can do a few new things – like chat to Cortana if you have it paired with a Windows Phone – but there’s more to it than better first-party support. It’ll keep tabs on your golf swing if you have one, will track your VO2 max levels and has a barometer capable of telling your altitude too. Android, Windows Phone and iOS are supported and the new curved OLED screen should make the Band easier to wear as well.

The Surface Pro 4 Was Announced, Of Course

Surface Pro 4Microsoft managed to keep the Surface Pro 4 mostly under wraps until the day but it was there, front and centre, just as everyone thought it would be. It wouldn’t be an upgrade over last year’s super-powered tablet/notebook without a couple of specification changes and Microsoft haven’t pulled many punches here.

The Surface Pro 4 getting a slightly bigger screen, a 12.3-inch display (up from 12 inches) but the real change comes in with the other internals. Microsoft are putting some Skylake processors, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage into their big-boy Surface Pro 4. You wouldn’t give these specs much thought normally but the Surface Pro 4 is putting them into a chassis that is just 8.5mm thick… There’s a new Surface Pen joining the party as well, which is getting interchangeable tips and a couple of other tweaked features. Plus, a magnet.

The Big Surprise Was The Surface Book

Surface BookAnd then there was the one that no-one saw coming – the Surface Book. Everything else on this list was at least predicted in one way or another, this came out of the blue. Microsoft have made their first ever laptop. Except that the Surface Book isn’t a laptop.

It’s a hybrid, featuring a display that can be disconnected from the main keyboard in order to function as a tablet. Or you could just overextend the hinge and flip the screen to the rear of the keyboard and use it as a tablet that way.

But Microsoft have given the Surface Book all of the processing. There’s set to be a Core i5 or Core i7 Skylake processor inside, 1TB of storage and 16GB of system memory. So far, so Surface Pro 4, but there’s also an Nvidia GPU making an appearance. The 13.5-inch display/tablet is going to look fantastic, we’re told, and Microsoft are also claiming 12 hours of battery life from this one.

About Apple having the perfect notebook…? We might have to rethink that one if Microsoft’s Surface Book pans out and all those claims are true. Except when it comes to price, the Surface Book will start at $1500 in the States – that’s over R20,000 before it has sales tax and a local markup.

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