Hardware Windows Windows 11

Microsoft’s PC Health Check App is back

After removing their health check app which allows you to see if your PC will run Windows 11, Microsoft have made it available again.

This time it gives you more information about why your device won’t run Windows 11, if it won’t.

I’m hoping they have a last-minute change of heart and open more CPUs because, as you can see, my Surface with a Core i7 7660U with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD won’t cut it. SMH.

Even though, well:

If you want to be disappointed you can download the PC Health Check App from Microsoft’s Windows 11 page.

Computers Hardware

Microsoft announce Surface Laptop 4 with choice of Intel or AMD processors

Microsoft has today announced Surface Laptop 4, with a refreshed range of CPUs and, for the first time, a choice of Intel or AMD processors across the 13.5 and 15-inch models. Intel Surface Laptop 4s ship with Intel’s latest 11th gen processors while their AMD cousins contain Ryzen 4000 series chips which isn’t the latest CPU from AMD.

Whilst it’s a little disappointing we don’t have the latest AMD CPU in Surface Laptop 4, the benefit is quite a big price difference – the starting price for the AMD model is $999, whilst for the Intel version it’s $1,299.

Microsoft claims a 70% performance boost over Surface Laptop 3 and battery-life improvements. Both Intel versions will ship with their latest graphic processors – Iris Xe. Like Surface Laptop 3, the 15-inch model is all aluminium whilst its smaller counterpart has an Alcantra keyboard surface in the same choice of colours plus a new ‘ice blue’ colour. A metal matte black is also available in the 13.5 model.

Microsoft Mechanics on YouTube

Shipping begins on the 15th of June in the US and all models are available to pre-order now in the US and the UK. If you pre-order on Microsoft’s site (or BestBuy in the US) then you’ll receive a free pair of Surface Earbuds with your laptop.

Hardware Microsoft Teams

Microsoft announce new ‘Certified for Teams’ hardware

The rumours were true and today Microsoft has announced a raft of new ‘Certified for Teams’ hardware, available from June in the US.

Microsoft Modern Webcam

Source: Microsoft

The new camera is certified for Teams and includes high-quality, HDR 1080p video with a 78-degree field of view. It has a privacy shutter and includes a Teams LED to show when it’s in use (It isn’t clear yet if the LED only works when you’re using it in Teams or when the camera is in use with other apps.

Other features include ‘True Look’ which delivers facial retouch, fixed light adjustment and auto focus.

Price: $69.99

Microsoft Modern USB-C Speaker

Source: Microsoft

A new USB-C speaker which can connect to your computer to offer hands-free, high-quality audio for better Microsoft Teams meetings, calls and listening to music.

The speaker includes a dedicated Teams button, status lights and mute control to see easily if you can be heard during meetings. The speakers in the device have been optimised for voice but will sound great if you’re listening to your Spotify playlist through it. The Microsoft is omni-directional, with background noise-reducing technology built in.

Price: TBC

Microsoft Modern Wireless Headset

Source: Microsoft

The new wireless headset includes a background noise-reducing microphone which includes flip-to-mute and a status light that shows whether you can be heard or not. The headset includes on-ear call controls including volume up/down and a Microsoft Teams button. The headset includes a USB dongle (which Microsoft says is required for Teams certification and is used to connect to your computer). The dongle is a bit of a disappointment as it likely means this headset isn’t Bluetooth, and we need less dongles in the world. Microsoft state 50-hours of music listening time or 30 hours of talk time.

Price: TBC

Microsoft Modern USB Headset

Source: Microsoft

Finally, we have the Modern USB Headset. A wired headset with inline controls for mute, volume up/down, call answer and a dedicated Teams button. As with the Modern Wireless Headset, their wired sibling is designed for all-day use and have a background noise-reducing microphone and stereo speakers optimised for voice.

The dedicated Teams button allows you to join meetings and provide easy setup and management.

Price: TBC

Availability and wrap-up

Microsoft have stated that all the above hardware will be available in the US from the end of June and availability in other regions will be announced later.

You can read the full announcement on Microsoft’s website.

Hardware Mobile phones

Surface Duo now available in the UK

As promised, Surface Duo is now available in the UK with a starting price of £1349 for the 128GB version, and £1449 for the 256GB

Microsoft are offering a trade-in deal which includes Samsung and iPhone devices.

If you have £1500 burning a hole in your pocket, you can order Surface Duo here. It’s also available from Currys PC World here.

Computers Hardware Windows

Windows 10X demo video

Windows Central has added a great run-through video of Windows 10X, Microsoft’s all-new version of Windows 10 designed for dual-screen small screen, low-cost devices:

Source: Windows Central via YouTube

Windows 10X was originally slated for dual-screen devices but Microsoft pivoted in 2020 and we’ll now see it first in devices designed to compete with Chromebook.

What do you think of Windows 10X? Let us know in the comments.

Computers Hardware

Microsoft announce Surface Pro 7 Plus

Microsoft announced on Monday 11th January a ‘new’ Surface Pro. The new Surface Pro 7 Plus includes Intel’s latest 11th gen processor and in an overhaul of the device’s internals, an improved battery, removable SSD and LTE connectivity.

Source: The Verge

The internals of the new Surface Pro 7 Plus have been reworked to improve the thermal design model (TDM). Unfortunately, there’s no 5G connectivity here, you’ll need to make do with 4G and it’s only available to enterprise and education so don’t expect this to pop up on Amazon anytime soon.

The Surface Pro 7 Plus is available for pre-order now, starting at $899 (£699 or AU$1170) or $1149 for the LTE version.

Hardware Microsoft Teams Monitors

Dell launching Teams monitors

As reported by The Verge, Dell are launching three monitors which include a dedicated Teams button to launch the app, making it easy to answer and make calls or just get to Teams quicker.

All three monitors also support Windows Hello facial recognition and hands-free commands using Cortana.

Image courtesy of Dell

All these monitors will be available next month in 24”, 27” and curved 34” sizes. UK prices haven’t been announced yet.

Computers Hardware Microsoft 365

Office 365 apps Universal Support for M1 Macs now available

As part of Apple’s move away from Intel CPUs to their own processors based on ARM, the M1 CPU is the first Apple Silicon and available now in Mac mini, MacBook Air and 13” MacBook Pro.

Apple Silicon hardware is still able to run software designed to run on Intel silicon thanks to Rosetta 2 which translates the app on its first run.

Microsoft have announced today that the core Microsoft 365 apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote) now work natively on Apple Silicon.

The apps are actually Universal so the same installer will identify the processor family and install the correct version accordingly.

You may have noticed the Teams app, Microsoft’s darling at the moment, missing from the list of Universal apps. They’ve confirmed that work on making Teams a Universal app will be announced shortly.

Do you use Microsoft 365 on a Mac? Are you using a new Apple Silicon device or will this tempt you to move over to a Mac running on Apple Silicon?

Let us know in the comments.

Hardware Mobile phones Uncategorized

Surface Duo is coming to the UK in early 2021

Microsoft have announced today in a blog post that in early 2021 Surface Duo is heading to the UK and a number of other countries.

Surface Duo is Microsoft’s re-entry to the smartphone market with a new type of device which has dual screens – similar but different to the current trend of large screen devices that uses flexible screens.

And, shockingly for some, runs Android as its operating system.

Reviews have been mixed about the Duo, especially on its release as the software was buggy and there aren’t many apps available today support the ability to use both screens. Part of the announcement includes an announcement that TikTok’s new app will support a dual screen layout.

Despite the lack of app support, Surface Duo allows you to use two apps at the same time, one on each screen and other features.

Naturally Microsoft 365 apps support the full screen/dual screen experience.

Will you be getting Surface Duo when it’s available in the UK? Let us know in the comments.