Microsoft introduced Thunderbolt ports Wednesday in its latest Surface computers, the first of its products to get the high-speed data transfer technology that's compatible with multiple docking stations.
Microsoft added the Thunderbolt 4 to the new Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro 8. The new port will replace the USB-C ports in previous Surface computers that supported only Microsoft's docking stations.
Microsoft long avoided making the transition to Thunderbolt, a bidirectional input/output data transfer technology. Most of its competitors, including Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo, feature the Thunderbolt port.
"My use case of [Thunderbolt] is one cable to provide data, power and display output for my laptop as a simplified docking station," said Otmane Fettal, DevOps engineer at Morocco-based FY COMPUTING.
Fettal said that he thought there was much promise to the USB-C alternative that Microsoft pitched, but he found it "super confusing" to use.
Thunderbolt was one of many advancements in the latest Surface hardware.
The Surface Laptop Studio, an all-new product, adds significant design changes to the portfolio. Users can prop the screen on the keyboard like a tablet on a stand and adjust it further to transform the laptop into a thicker tablet. But unlike the Surface Pro, the keyboard is not detachable.
Microsoft increased the battery life of the Surface Pro eight to 16 hours per charge and added 43% more computing power than the previous model and up to 1 TB of storage. The 2-in-1 tablet comes with the 11th-generation Intel Core processor. It magnetically stores the Surface Slim Pen 2, a writing utensil designed for the Surface touch screen.
Microsoft also redesigned its foldable smartphone. The Surface Duo 2 comes with a triple camera lens on the outside of the fold. It also features 5G and a mini screen on the outside that shows notifications.
The Surface Pro 8 starts at $1,100. The Surface Laptop Studio starts at $1,600 and the Surface Duo 2 at $1,500. All the new models are available for pre-order online and generally available Oct. 5.
Maxim Tamarov is a news writer covering mobile and end-user computing. He previously wrote for The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C., and the Sun Transcript in Winthrop, Mass. He graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @MaximTamarov.