The new Microsoft smartphones could change the travel-gadgets game.

By Samantha Shankman
October 08, 2015
Credit: Courtesy of Microsoft

Pop quiz: Which tech company is making the most packable productivity gadget? Not Apple or Google (or even Samsung). Business travelers should have their eyes on Microsoft. The company's new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL smartphones, which it unveiled this week New York, might even persuade you to leave your PC at home.

Like every phone to hit the market lately, these models have big screens—5.2 inches and 5.7 inches, respectively. But the Lumias are also intended to serve as mini-computers. Connect one to a monitor via the new Microsoft Display Dock and you get a Windows desktop with access to all your files from programs like Word and Outlook. You can give a presentation, work from another office or even do light computing work on your hotel-room television without lugging around a laptop.

The photo power in the smartphones is impressive, too. The 20-megapixel camera snaps high-res photos, captures 4K video, and includes a RGB flash that automatically corrects colors. Infrared iris scanners let you let you unlock the devices with a glance—no need to fumble with PINs or even thumbs. The phones will be available in November, and start at $549

Courtesy of Microsoft

If you’re a tablet addict, the Surface Pro 4 gives you more screen with less weight than the old version. The display is a centimeter larger, but the device is slightly thinner (by 0.03 inches) and lighter (by 0.07 pounds). It’s also more powerful than previous models, offering 16GB of RAM, and it comes with a better keyboard and a new magnetically-attached Surface Pen with built-in eraser. It’s available October 26, starting at $899.

Credit: Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft also introduced the Surface Book, the laptop equivalent of its tablet. It has a 13.5-inch screen, and comes with a real keyboard and increased graphics horsepower. At 3.34 pounds, it is considerably heavier than the Surface Pro 4, which weighs 1.69 pounds. But the battery also offers 12 hours of video playback versus the Pro’s 9 hours—enough to get you through that very long flight.