Microsoft Surface Pro Review
Microsoft Surface Pro
- Hugely improved battery life
- Brilliant PixelSense display
- Simple, elegant design
- Excellent kickstand
- Only Core i7 can challenge A10X
- No USB-C
- Type Cover and Pen sold separately
Microsoft Surface Pro – Uncompromising mobility
Better than ever, the new Surface Pro gives you a best-in-class laptop, plus the versatility of a studio and tablet. The stunning PixelSense Display supports Surface Pen and touch, while up to 13.5 hours of battery life gives you plenty of juice to work all day and play all night.
Surface Pro delivers even more speed and performance thanks to a powerful Intel Core processor that runs full desktop apps with ease—plus 50% more battery life than Surface Pro 4 and 2.5x more performance than Surface Pro 3. Bring your ideas to life in brilliant color on the high-resolution PixelSense Display with a stunning screen that responds to your touch.
main competitors: Apple iPad Pro
|Disclaimer||If you see any error or incomplete data, please Contact Us.|
|Dimensions||11.50 x 7.93 x 0.33 in (292.10 x 201.42 x 8.5 mm)|
|Weight||m3: 1.69 lbs (768 g)|
i5: 1.70 lbs (770 g)
i7: 1.73 lbs (784 g)
|Display||12.3" PixelSense Display|
|2736 x 1824 (267 PPI)|
|3:2 Aspect Ratio|
|CPU||Intel 7th Gen Core m3, i5, i7|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 615 (m3)|
Intel HD Graphics 620 (i5)
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 (i7)
|Memory||Solid state drive (SSD) options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB|
4GB, 8GB, 16GB RAM
|Primary Camera||8.0MP rear-facing autofocus|
|Video||1080p HD video|
|Secondary Camera||5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video|
|Loudspeaker||Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium|
|Ports||Full-size USB 3.0, microSD card reader, Surface Connect, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi: 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n compatible|
|Sensors||Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope|
|Battery||Up to 13.5 hours video playback|
While it should come as no surprise, to just the extent of how deeply improved this Surface Pro is over the previous model and how it maintains its lead over competing 2-in-1 laptops or tablets is worth reiterating. From the accessories designed to make Surface Pro feel like an even more worthy laptop-and-tablet replacement to its improved battery life, every one of our concerns have been addressed.
That said, Microsoft has again stumbled on the Surface Pro’s value proposition by pulling out parts of the deal. Microsoft didn’t manage to make its case any stronger with the Surface Pro, but rather weaker by removing the new Surface Pen from every box. Again, it’s not very consumer-friendly and only makes arriving at the decision to buy more difficult for would-be Surface owners.
In short, if you’re willing to pay a bit more for the latest accessories than even before, the new Surface Pro remains the ultimate 2-in-1 laptop and productivity tablet. So much so that, despite Microsoft’s decision to pull the Surface Pen from the box, it remains worthy of our Recommended award.
Other detachables simply can’t match the Surface Pro’s brilliant PixelSense display, simple but dynamic design and world-class inking experience. Then, you add in a pen with four times more pressure sensitivity than before and the best detachable keyboard on the market, and you’ve got a recipe for success. On high-specced models like our review unit, the Surface Pro’s blazing performance is a huge boon to power users.
However, I think Microsoft is still playing it a bit too safe in a few areas. While improved, the Surface Pro’s battery life still lags behind those of other ultraportable laptops, and the lack of a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 port are strange omissions for a premium flagship device. And after three years in which the Surface Pro has had essentially the same aesthetics, I find myself wanting a bit more excitement out of this machine’s design. But if you want the best detachable out there, the Surface Pro is still the one to get.
We’ve got a solid set of upgrades to an excellent product, but a lot has happened in the roughly 19 months since the Surface Pro 4. Apple has continued to push its iPad Pro and 12-inch MacBook lines as smaller-screen alternatives to midsize laptops; hybrids like the Samsung Galaxy Book and thehave made inroads into the hybrid game; and Microsoft itself has muddied the waters with its new Surface Laptop, a traditional high-end clamshell PC.
It’s that Surface Laptop, also covered with Alcantara fabric, that highlights one of the bigger pain points I’ve seen reported about the Surface Pro. For a device Microsoft insists can replace your laptop, the Surface Pro is still not very lap-friendly. Its kickstand is great for an office desk or coffee table, but doesn’t actually line up with human knees.
As that keyboard-first customer, I’m enamored with the Surface Laptop. For a more portable, tablet-first design, the Surface Pro remains the best-case scenario, but I’m also getting pretty itchy for something newer, a more in-depth redesign worthy of being called a Surface Pro 5.
The new iteration of the Microsoft Surface Pro is a performance-oriented laptop replacement that impresses with close to 14 hours of battery life, a brilliant higher-than-full-HD screen, top-notch benchmark results, and excellent build quality. You’ll need to budget for the Type Cover and Surface Pen, and, admittedly, that’s a pricey proposition. Still, the as-tested Core i7 power, 16GB of RAM, and 512 GB SSD are justifiable upgrades for artists who need that power for photography, 3D rendering, and video tasks. Since Surface tablets just keep getting better, this one replaces the Surface Pro 4 as our Editors’ Choice for high-end Windows tablets.
All of this sameness makes it really hard to see the work that Microsoft says it put into the new Surface Pro. You’ll only notice when you use it and it lasts a couple hours longer without the fans spinning up. That’s not to say the new Pro doesn’t work — it’s just as capable as the Pro 4 and is an excellent computer for travel. But even within the frames of this design, I’d have liked to see a little more forward progress, such as a larger screen with smaller bezels, some more modern ports, or a larger trackpad on the Type Cover. Even the most conservative laptop makers make these kinds of updates when they refresh their product lines.
Still, the Surface Pro is the best execution on this style of computer: it has the power of a full-fledged laptop and the full support of Windows 10 Pro, while still maintaining a very light and portable package. And now it lasts longer away from the wall outlet and goes about its business silently. Elsewhere, Apple’s iPad Pro is still struggling to make iOS work in a highly productive environment, and other PC makers are busy copying Microsoft’s ideas, instead of besting them.
There’s another thing about predictability that I haven’t mentioned: it means something is ready for the mainstream, that it’s no longer a fringe or niche device for only those willing to deal with its eccentricities. Between its battery life improvements and the enhancements to the pen experience that have been added to Windows 10, the new Surface Pro is ready for the mainstream.
With all of its improvements, the Surface Pro sits atop the heap of hybrid laptops out there. But I can’t help but feel like Microsoft missed an opportunity to show the competition how it’s done. It’s pricier than it needs to be, and it doesn’t make any design leaps over previous generations.
As it stands, the Surface Pro is a fantastic machine, but it’s not enough of an improvement for Surface Pro 4 owners to upgrade. Perhaps Microsoft was more focused on the Surface Laptop this year, but hopefully we’ll see bigger changes with the next Surface Pro.
The most noticeable difference between the old Surface Pro 4 and the new Surface Pro 2017 is the latter’s improved battery life: more than 12 instead of 7 hours in our Wi-Fi test. No other contestant was able to get even close.
The fanless Core i5-7300U is capable of running at peak performance for short bursts thanks to vapor-chamber cooling. After a short while, the CPU starts to throttle. Power users are thus better off with the Dell Latitude 12 5285 (i7-7600U, 10% performance loss in our Cinebench loop) or the IdeaPad Miix 720 (i7-7500U, 9% performance loss). While they do suffer from throttling as well, it is not as bad as on the Surface Pro 2017 (33%)
This means that one of the Surface Pro 2017’s proclaimed main benefits – fanless laptop performance – vanished into thin air. Performance is not half bad, but it is not permanent. In addition, we failed to verify the 50% performance gain over its immediate predecessor that Microsoft promises. It also lacks USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3, which would have made the Surface Pro much more future-proof.
On the plus side, it has decent cameras that support Windows Hello, a very good microphone, and a bright display with decent sRGB coverage. All this can be had for $1299. We consider the tablet to be overpriced, especially since the price includes nothing but the tablet and a charger.
The Surface Pro isn’t a groundbreaking device. Outside of improved battery life and a moderately tweaked design it’s all but identical to its predecessor. As a result, if you’ve already shelled out for a Surface Pro 4 then I wouldn’t recommend bothering with an upgrade. Given how old the SP4 is, this is a bit disappointing.
The lack of significant changes also makes the Surface Pro 4, which has since dropped in price, a compelling option for buyers on a budget while it remains on sale.
But for everyone else the new Surface Pro is a fantastic device. Thanks to the upgrade to Kaby Lake, the Surface has one of the best-performing batteries I’ve seen in a Windows 10 convertible and offers fantastic performance that will meet 99% of people’s needs.
My only serious issue is that Microsoft is still selling the Type Cover and Surface Pen stylus, required to make the most of the device, as expensive add-ons.
Considering the Surface Pro is already expensive, it makes the new Pro feel far worse value for money than competing devices such as the incoming Huawei MateBook E or 2016 Asus Transformer Pro 3, which come with one, if not both, of those accessories in the box.