Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Everything Microsoft unveiled at its Surface and AI event this week

At a private NYC venue, Microsoft launched a duet of Surface laptops and all the AI features. Here's the low-down of everything announced.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor and  Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 colors
June Wan/ZDNET

Microsoft's private launch event in NYC happened earlier this week and ZDNET was on the show floor to cover every major news drop, from the latest Surface products to AI updates to new features coming to Windows 11.

Also: I went hands-on with Microsoft's new AI features, and these 5 are the most useful

This year's fall event saw Microsoft clearly positioning itself as the AI leader that it is, with a barrage of generative AI upgrades to Bing Chat, Windows Copilot, and more. Two new Surface models were introduced as well, which would further ingrain the company's AI efforts to the masses. Here's the full recap of what was announced on Thursday.

What's new with software and AI?


Microsoft Event - Copilot
June Wan/ZDNET

Copilot is becoming one of the core experiences running across Microsoft's most used applications and experiences including Windows, Edge, Teams, and more. It will anticipate your needs and seamlessly facilitate your workflow, according to Microsoft.

Copilot will be available on Windows 11 devices, across Microsoft 365 services including Powerpoint, Excel, and Teams, and on Microsoft Edge. Because Copilot builds on Bing Chat, it shares similar AI-powered features like the ability to summarize and pinpoint key information in bodies of text, from websites to text messages.

On September 26, Copilot will begin rollout as part of a new Windows 11 release, the most ambitious update to Windows 11 since it was first released, according to Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft. 

This is Microsoft's answer to Google's Duet AI, which is another generative AI assistant that works across the Google Workspace.

Windows 11 AI integration

Microsoft Event - Copilot on Windows
June Wan/ZDNET

As predicted by ZDNET, Windows 11 is being infused with generative features through the incorporation of Copilot, listed above.

With the AI integration across Windows 11 applications, the web, and even your connected devices, Copilot on Windows 11 can now assist with all of your actions, from browsing to playing music.

Also: Microsoft may soon give Windows 11 an AI revamp

Windows Ink Anywhere is another new Windows 11 feature that will work with Copilot to help solve math problems and more. For example, you can use your Surface Laptop pen to highlight a problem on the screen, and Copilot will help you solve it.

You can also use the pen within the Snipping Tool to copy and paste the equation into Copilot and have it solved. 

Copilot on Windows can also obtain information from your connected smartphone so that you can ask Copilot any questions about what's on-device, like text message summaries. An example that was demoed included the presenter asking Copilot about an upcoming flight. 

Bing Chat updates

The new AI-powered Bing on a screen
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

There have been over one billion chats on Bing Chat since its inception, according to Microsoft, and now it is getting new features that will improve the experience further. 

Bing Chat has two major updates: Personalized Answers and the integration of DALLE-3 into Bing's Image Creator. 

Also: OpenAI beefs up its image generating AI tool with DALL-E 3

With the Personalized Answers feature, Bing Chat will be able to refer to whatever content you have in your search history and use that information to provide context for your answer. This is especially useful because it helps avoid having to repeat yourself, and prompts can be less specific. 

For example, if you have previously told Bing Chat that you love to read romance novels, when you ask Bing Chat for a book suggestion, it will automatically look for books within that romance genre. 

Bing Image Creator is also getting an upgrade to the brand new DALL-E 3, which allows you to describe an image and get even quicker, more reliable generations. It is also easier to tweak the images to get the output you'd like with its better understanding of prompts. 

The overall quality of the image generations will significantly improve thanks to the DALL-E 3 integration. This will help address problems such as warped hands and blurry details that are often found in AI-generated images. 

Also: ChatGPT vs. Bing Chat: Which AI chatbot is better for you?

In a side-by-side demo of the original and updated Bing Image Generator, the latter produced significantly better results. Bing Image Generator will also now feature content credentials, which will have a tag that says "Generated with AI" to help users distinguish between AI and reality. 

Bing Chat will also support a new shopping experience called "Microsoft Shopping" that informs and educates users as they're about to make purchases online and also makes it easier to find the perfect product for your shopping needs. 

It basically acts as a personal shopper that asks you questions about what you are looking for to provide the best results and give you buying advice. Once you narrow your product choices to a handful, it can even generate a table with different specs and price comparisons to help you make your decision. 

Also: Have you used generative AI to shop? 17% of shoppers have

The Microsoft Shopping Experience will be a standalone site that can be accessed through any browser. It will also be integrated into Edge and Bing Chat. For the best shopping advice, users should use the feature within Edge because they will be able to access additional shopping tools such as price trends, coupons, and more when browsing, similar to the popular RetailMeNot and Honey browser extensions. 

There is also a suite of new tools coming to Bing Chat Enterprise including the incorporation with mobile. Bing Chat Enterprise also supports images within the enterprise with multimodal search powered by GPT-4 and Bing Image Generator. 

Microsoft 365 Copilot and Microsoft 365 Chat

Microsoft 365 Copilot AI
June Wan/ZDNET

Microsoft 365 Copilot, first unveiled in March, will finally get general availability for enterprise customers on November 1. 

Office tools, such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and Teams, are a cornerstone of many professionals' workflows, and with Microsoft 365 Copilot, they are going to get the same generative AI upgrades mentioned above.

The tech giant is also introducing Microsoft 365 Chat, a chat assistant that has a deep contextual understanding of you, your role, and your organization to help ease work tasks and management.

For example, a user can ask Microsoft 365 Chat, "What's hot in my inbox?" to start their day and get a concise yet accurate summary of their emails. 

Also: Windows 11: Not ready to upgrade? Do this instead

Users would also be able to ask the chat for assistance with work tasks such as market research, where it could scour the web, crunch numbers, and even generate a table with its findings for you. 

Because of its robust capabilities, there is a plethora of other tasks that Chat can help with, such as solving problems, conducting analytical thinking, and providing advice upon request.

Microsoft Designer will also be integrated into Microsoft 365 Copilot to help generate visuals across different platforms, including Word, where it will use the document's context to propose visuals. 

Microsoft 365 Copilot is currently in preview with a select number of users and small businesses. 

What's new with hardware?

Surface Laptop Go 3

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 colors
June Wan/ZDNET

Arguably Microsoft's most accessible laptop, the Surface Laptop Go, is finally getting a successor. The new model is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor with up to 16GB of RAM and 256GB.

Other new additions include iCloud Photos Integration and Clipchamp on Windows 11, allowing users to sync image and video assets from their iCloud-supported devices to their Surface. In a live demo, the Laptop Go 3 was able to download and edit a vertical video in a matter of seconds (versus minutes of the previous generation).

Also: The best Windows laptops: Expert tested and reviewed

As far as hardware and design go, the Surface Laptop Go 3 looks just about, if not the same, as the previous version, meaning you're still getting a sleek, portable form factor that's ultralight (just under 2.5 pounds) with a 12.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen at the helm.

The laptop will start at $799 and be available in four colors, including Ice Blue, Sage, Sandstone, and Platinum.

Surface Laptop Studio 2

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2
June Wan/ZDNET

Microsoft claims the new Surface Laptop Studio 2 is twice as fast as its predecessor, thanks to the latest Intel 13th Gen i7 H and Nvidia RTX 4050/4060 processors. Intel NPU on Windows is also present, bringing support for Windows studio effects, including the ability to produce a bokeh effect when users are on video calls and more.

A 14.4-inch screen is at the center of the Laptop Studio 2, with omnidirectional speakers surrounding the sides. It's a similar tilting-screen design as the previous model, which is timeless enough to still be relevant today.

In terms of RAM and storage, the Laptop Studio 2 can be configured with up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage.

Also: I demoed Microsoft's Surface Laptop Studio 2 and was left all kinds of jealous

The Laptop Studio 2 also features a new haptic touchpad with a "perfect-feeling click," Microsoft touts. In fact, the company claims it's "the most inclusive touchpad on any laptop today". With Adaptive Touch turned on, the touchpad gets a boost of sensitivity that allows users with disabilities to interact with the device.

Microsoft is also introducing adaptive pen tips, adding to the accessibility tools that were introduced last year for Surface laptops.

Preorders start today for the Laptop Studio 2, which starts at $1,999, and Surface Laptop Go 3, and both devices will be available on October 3.

Surface Hub 3

Microsoft Surface Hub 3 rotating
June Wan/ZDNET

What didn't make the live keynote but was also unveiled by Microsoft today is the Surface Hub 3, a follow-up to the company's for-business collaboration device.

The Surface Hub 3 is now available in two sizes, the familiar 85-inch model and a new 50-inch model that can be rotated from portrait to landscape orientations. Microsoft says the new hardware will allow users to have a more adaptive meeting experience, whether it's a group call or a one-on-one.

Also: Microsoft quietly announced two products today that business users will love

The Surface Hub 3 is also more capable, with a 60% boost in CPU performance and 160% GPU graphics performance, Microsoft touts.

AI is also integrated with the Surface Hub 3. In a post-event demo, a Microsoft representative showed how the service Cloud IntelliFrame creates a smart video feed to display all the members in a Teams meeting room, automatically removing each person's background and positioning them as if they're directly facing the camera.

Editorial standards