The Microsoft Surface Pro is a Windows Tablet that is grounded on power, especially since it rocks a Kaby Lake chip CPU upgrade, which makes a big difference, but the competition, as they say, will always be breathing down its neck. It’s powerful, expensive, but still, a force to reckon.
At a glance
Armed to the teeth with an Intel Core i7 processing speed, 16 GB of random access memory, and 512 GB of storage capacity, the Surface Pro squarely puts itself a beat away from the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. But other than that, you cannot tell the two of them apart. From the dimensions to the weight, the two are virtually identical. The two of them have a kickstand that reclines further, and the weight and a few cosmetic changes are all the differences that distinguish them apart. And so it’s the internals of this Upgrade that is its selling point. The Upgrade made to the processing speed, and graphics ultimately puts it at the Apex of the 2 – in – 1 class.
The strength of the 7th gen Kaby Lake processor in the Surface Pro, coupled with an Iris Plus integrated graphics, really catapults the Tablet to new heights. Especially in graphics, the new Surface Pro almost gives out twice the performance of the two-year-old Surface Pro 4 and draws a line in the sand in a challenge to high-end laptops like the original Surface Book and 15-inch HP Spectre x360, both of which use a dedicated graphics chip.
And the Tablet does not come cheaply, No, it does not. The price you will fork out for this gadget is $2,199. Add to that the accessories like the fancy Alcantara – bound Signature Type Cover, which is sold separately, demands from your wallet $160 add to it another must-have accessory the sensitive Surface Pen priced at $100. But is there any other cheaper Tablet on the market that can pack the power and the majestic punch of the Microsoft Surface Pro, the answer is a simple yes, but a much heavier one.
What’s new on the Surface Pro
Looks can be deceptive, and just because the earlier version and the new one are almost like identical twins, most of the differences can only be seen with a keen eye. The front-facing camera tucked into the tablet bezel, and the Surface Pro features a softer, rounded profile. But to notice it, you have to be quite observant. The Surface Pro is also the first of Microsoft’s Surface to be released with windows 10 Creators Update.
The new Surface Pro measures 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches, the same as the Surface Pro 4, and weighs between 2.37 and 2.41 pounds. In the slim department, the Surface Pro 4 is 0.327 inches thin, while the Surface Pro is 0.345 inches thin. Another feature that sets the new Surface Pro apart from Surface Pro 4 is the cleaner exhaust grille.
The display on the two models is identical with a 12.3-inch Pixel Sense display and a resolution of 2,736×1, 824 (267 PPI). The difference on the display of the Surface Pro includes an enhanced color profile, like the Surface Studio, to the standard sRGB color display. During the Enhanced mode, the colors pop a bit more, while in sRGB, they appear a bit more washed-out. The Surface Studio has a vivid color mode, which, according to Microsoft, is different from the Enhanced mode.
The cameras of both the new Surface Pro and the older Surface Pro 4 appear identical (5MP on the front, 8MP on the rear), and an appropriate resolution for the form factor. The SP4’s rear-facing camera delivered more vibrant color, however, and camera fans should consider the 13MP camera within the Samsung Galaxy Book instead. Most importantly, the Surface Pro’s front-facing camera is Windows Hello-enabled and lightning-quick, thanks in part to a second front-facing sensor that isn’t present on the Surface Pro 4.
There are no significant changes to traditional Surface interfaces like the Surface connector, a mini Display Port connector, a full-sized USB-A connector and a micro SD card slot that holds its own under the kickstand, which is the same place you would find it on the earlier version. The Surface connector interfaces the peripherals that were on the earlier version, but are compatible with the new one like the standalone Surface Dock and charger. This is particularly encouraging, especially when you are used to traditional computing.
The Studio Mode
The main difference between the two Microsoft Tablets externally is that the kickstand on the new Surface Pro now folds back to 15 degrees off the horizontal, in what Microsoft has christened “Studio mode.” This refers to Microsoft’s Surface Studio, the all-in-one desktop whose touch display also reclines to just a slight angle. The Surface Dial on the new Surface Pro also allows you to use the device directly on the screen, something that had previously been reserved just for the Surface Studio.
The hinges on the new Surface Pro are strong enough to withstand the weight of your palm. That’s why it can recline further than the previous model. The Pen on the new model of Surface Pro uses the magnetic stripe on the side of the Pen to secure it instead of the earlier one, which had a pen clip that would secure it by clipping it in the pen loop. The Pen, which uses AAA batteries that can power it for about one year, works as well as the previous one, and yes, it still rocks the tilt support, which gives it a broader ink stroke. The stylus, just like the old model, can still erase digital ink. It also reduces inking latency to about 21 ms.
The new Microsoft Surface Pro is a powerful machine that displays high performance in every aspect of computing. But, with high-performance components on its system architecture, there are possibilities of overheating and downclocking. Which in turn, puts a spanner in the performance of a gadget. When the new Surface Pro is running under prolonged load, the fans turn on to cool down the system. Thus the performance is greatly hindered.
From a performance standpoint, then, upgrading from the Surface Pro 4 to the Surface Pro makes sense only if you plan to use the Surface Pro for games, image rendering, or similar tasks. Microsoft’s Surface Pro is powerful enough to play some older games smoothly, like still, the Surface Pro isn’t a machine that checks the boxes, using components with minimal performance in the service of merely filling out a spec sheet.
Though you might expect the Surface Book to top the list of Microsoft products, remember that the
Fantastic screen, Premium design, Solid power. The Surface Pro gets better performance and battery life from its CP U update, and most models are now fanless. The excellent kickstand is even more flexible.
The No micro SD slot or 4G model keyboard on the Surface Pro is heavy and costly too. But I have an issue with the gadget. It lucks the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports on its system architecture. The Stylus Pen is no longer included by default, and new keyboard covers are even more expensive than the earlier version. But with better battery life, the Surface Pro gets an extremely conservative update.
The new Surface Pro is a hair lighter, its fanless design minimizes a thin vent around the outer edge, and its optional keyboard cover is available with Alcantara fabric, similar to the covering found on the new Surface Laptop ($712 at Amazon).
There have been no significant changes in the Surface Pro’s basic aesthetic and other features of note since the Surface Pro 4 a year and a half later, but only slightly since the Surface Pro 3, which is where this product line finally came home. This is still the gold standard of Windows tablets, and it still feels modern and practical, despite only incremental changes.
If you are looking to upgrade from the surface Pro But anyone looking for a more significant, more dramatic change, or a reason to upgrade from an older Surface Pro, may feel a bit disappointed in this unadventurous update. The screen bezel could be thinner. The ports could be updated to include USB-C. The odd disconnect of forcing you to buy the Tablet and its keyboard cover separately could have been addressed by adding it in the box.
The new Surface Pro moves in the opposite direction, taking the Surface Pen stylus of the default loadout, and now selling it separately (the new Pen is $99, while most previous Surface Pros came bundled with the older model Pen, which is still available for around $60).
When you look at a Surface Pro, which starts at $799 (£799 or AU$1,199) for a Core m3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD, you have to think about what IT types call the TCO or total cost of ownership. Even the base model Surface Pro, when you add the Pen and a basic black keyboard cover, comes out to $1,027, which frankly is a lot for a Core m3 laptop (although, to be fair, less than Apple charges for its Core m3 MacBook)
Newer on the inside
But if you can get over the hurdle of buying all the required bits for the total Surface experience, this is still the tablet-style hybrid to beat for Windows users. It takes everything we liked about the Surface Pro 4, which was a lot, and makes a handful of subtle but significant improvements.