Microsoft Surface Pro: Promises versatility but with a heavy price tag

October 26 2012: Microsoft launches their first ever laptop-tablet hybrid – The Microsoft Surface. Fast forward to almost 5 years, they present us with the Microsoft Surface Pro – their fifth take on the breed of laptops they themselves pioneered. Funny enough, they’re not calling it the Surface 5 or anything like that. Just Surface Pro. Messing with the product numbering – classic Microsoft. But now, the market is just flooded with fresh breed of hybrid laptops and many devices like the Huawei Matebook, Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S ,  Lenovo Miix and of course the newly launched – Eve V  are really giving Microsoft a run for their money. But can Microsoft really hold up against them in spite of the heavy price tag? The Surface Pro does come in with some cool new features but still has a few kinks like the previous models. Let’s check em out!

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What’s New:

The Processor:

Obviously. The Surface Pro comes with three CPU options – Core m3, Core i5 & Core i7(All Kaby Lake Chipsets). What’s new is the cooling solutions for these processors. The Core m3 and i5 models are completely fanless, making them extremely quiet. This also means no fan vents on the device, which just adds to the beauty.The Core i7 model comes with a hybrid cooling system. While the core m3 and Core i5 come with Intel HD Graphics, the i7 comes with Intel Iris Graphics which would help a great deal for editing, multitasking & productivity tasks and dare I say even some light gaming!

The Design:

No huge changes in the design department. And I’m not even complaining. The Surface Pro is very easily one of the most well crafted “laptops” in the world. But now, the new Surface Pro has slightly rounded edges, taking down the boxy feel a notch. pcw-surface-pro-hub-100723810-origIt also comes with an all new 165-degree hinge which goes all the way down for what Microsoft calls “Creator’s Mode”, similar to the one found on the  Surface Studio.

Surface Dial and Pen:

The Microsoft Surface Pro comes with support for the Microsoft Surface Dial out of the box. The Dial, aided by the 165-degree hinge is targeted towards to the content creators who constitute a large chunk of the Surface users. Remember, the Surface Dial doesn’t come along with the Surface Pro. You’ve gotta shell down an extra $100 for it.Surface_H_Brightblue_FrontView_HeroPdp_Panel_V2  Microsoft also stated that the Surface Pro 4 would also be able to support the Surface Dial after a firmware update which would roll down later this year.

Microsoft also launched the new Surface Pen. The pen has 4,096 pressure points. It also has a new “tilt” functionality by which it accurately shades based on the pen’s tilt. microsoftsurfacedial-0041024The top of the pen also acts like an eraser. Neat. The pen is more responsive than ever and Microsoft has claimed to have reduced the input lag with this new pen. The Surface Pen is a must have if you’re an artist buying this device.  

LTE support:

Microsoft mentioned that later this year, the Surface Pro would come with LTE support too. This is the first Surface device to do so. Definitely you’ll pay extra for the slot. But at least it supports 5G Network which is good.

Battery :

One of Microsoft’s biggest selling points for this device is the incredible new battery. Microsoft claims this device should give 13.5 hrs of battery life which is just amazing. In comparison, the earlier model- The Surface Pro 4 gave just 9 hrs of battery life. 4 ½ hrs (50%) increase in battery life is quite commendable. Since, the Surface Pro in its purest form is actually a tablet, a 13.5 hrs of battery life would be great for media consumption.

Keyboard:

This is not exactly part of the Surface Pro since it doesn’t come with the device just like its predecessors (not so new). You’ve gotta spend at least $130 more to get yourself the keyboard. But, then again this is one of the MOST ESSENTIAL things you’ll need to call it a “laptop”.dsc00143-2-100723326-orig Most of the competitors like Samsung and Eve V provide the keyboard with the laptop.

Anyways, taking a look at the keyboard, this thing is very easily one of the most beautiful pieces of tech. It looks absolutely gorgeous! This is made from what Microsoft calls Alcantara material. It really does impart a luxurious look. It’s not all looks, Microsoft nails the mechanics too. The keys are evenly spaced, have good key travel and the keys are back-lit. This keyboard would be an absolute delight to someone who types a lot. But one major issue though, since this is made out of fabric it might be more prone to wear & tear than other standard keyboards. Only time will tell. The other issue like I mentioned is the $130-160 price you gotta pay.Surface_C_5_FeaturePanel_V2

Also, this Keyboard doubles up as a cover for the device and is connected to the Surface via the Surface Connector pins.

What’s Not So New:

Lousy Ports Selection:

Microsoft continues its poor run in the ports department with the Surface Pro. It almost looks as if it’s taking inspiration from Apple. You just get a USB 3.0 port, Mini Display Port, Micro SD slot,3.5 mm headphone/microphone jack and the cover port. It’s 2017 and it’s extremely shocking to see that Microsoft hasn’t included a single USB type-C port given the premium price tag.  If you’re the kinda guy who keeps various devices connected to your laptop then this device isn’t for you.  

The Display:

Microsoft is sticking to the same 12.3 inch  screen. But this device comes with Pixel Sense display technology. It also has the same screen resolution of  2736 x 1824 (267 PPI) and the same 3:2 aspect ratio. Surface_J_Overview_12_MultiFeaturePivotCenteralign_Image1_V2_editedThis is not exactly a bad thing, in fact it’s a great display but it looks like we’ll have to wait for a few more years to get a 4K Surface device.

Pricing and Same Configurations:

Microsoft isn’t planning to sell this device at any lowered rates. The prices are high with this device. It starts at $799 for the under-powered Core m3 model. A $200 dollars extra would get you an i5 model(best option for students, imo) and goes all the way up to a whopping $2,700!! This comes with a Core  i7 and maxed out storage and RAM. And remember, you’ll still have to pay extra for the keyboard. At Least Microsoft gives around $100 discount for students.  

Here are all the various configurations:

Price     (In USD) Processor RAM Storage
799 Core m3 4 GB 128 GB
999 Core i5 4 GB 128 GB
1.299 Core i5 8 GB 256 GB
1599 Core i7 8 GB 256 GB
2199 Core i7 16 GB 512 GB
2699 Core i7 16 GB    1 TB

Verdict:

The Microsoft Surface Pro is not everyone’s cup of tea. While some just don’t need a touch-screen laptop, it’s quite an essential for some. If you really need the kind of portability or the premium experience that Microsoft promises, and you have the cash for it, then this is the absolute best your money can buy. But if availability of ports is a deal breaker for you…… bad news. Also, if you’re on a budget, you might wanna consider its alternatives like I mentioned earlier. But if you ignore the price, this beautifully crafted piece of tech is a very powerful and a versatile laptop. Looks like this should seat Microsoft at the top of the category for a while now. 

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