It has been around five years that Microsoft launched its first installment of Laptop PCs. The Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro were more than just an eye candy to all users alike. When Microsoft launch tablets in the consumer electronics market, a market already dominated by tech giants like Apple and Samsung, it quickly gained popularity and became a competitive brand.
For Microsoft, it was all about maintaining a gold standard and giving consumers more freedom on controlling the software and hardware aspects of their laptops or tablets. Looking back half a decade, the Microsoft Surface seems to be a low-end laptop. The newest version of the Microsoft Surface Pro launched in the first half of 2018. It offers a 2-in-1 experience, giving the user the freedom to use it as both, tablet and laptop.
Let us take a closer look at its features and what makes it worth a buy:
Build and design
It can be confusing to differentiate between the new Microsoft Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 4 as both have a similar look. However, a keen eye will notice that the Microsoft Surface Pro now comes with a magnesium-aluminum alloy frame with more dramatically rounded edges. The new Microsoft Surface Pro is 292mm long, 201mm wide, and a mere 8.4mm thick. Its 12.3-inch PixelSense touchscreen offers a vibrant 2736×1824-pixel resolution.
Drawing inspiration from their own arsenal of PCs, Microsoft Surface Pro offers a “studio mode” giving users a Surface Studio-like (Microsoft desktop) experience. The “studio mode” offers a 165-degree angle, allowing users to do much more than just doodling.
The keyboard or as the company fondly calls it, the “Type Cover,” is offered as an accessory. Which means you will have to pay extra to use the tablet as a laptop. This might not work well with consumers who are looking for a comprehensive solution. The “Type Cover” connects to the tablet magnetically. Although it adheres to the screen perfectly, the arrangement can be wobbly if you get too comfortable with it and use it on your lap. The keys are backlit which is helpful if you are using the laptop in a dark room. However, the layout is cramped if you are used to working on a full-size keyboard.
The following three variants are offered in Microsoft Surface Pro:
- Microsoft Surface Pro with Intel® Core™ m3 processor, 128GB SSD storage (Solid State Drive), and Intel® HD Graphics 615
- Intel® Core™ i5 processor with 128GB/256GB SSD storage powered by 4GB/8GB RAM and Intel® HD Graphics 620
- The most popular variant is equipped with an Intel® Core™ i7 processor with 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD storage powered by 8GB/16GB RAM and Intel® Iris Plus Graphics 640
All variants have a single USB 3.0 port for swift file transferring and a mini display port to cast Surface Pro on bigger screens and projectors. This can be handy for presentations or watching movies in a small room. It also houses a micro SDXC card reader, and a headphone/mic jack.
The battery life has always been an important component of a tech gadget as it powers all the components present in them. A RAM is only good enough until backed by an efficient battery. The official Microsoft website claims loftily that the Surface Pro’s 42 Wh (Watthour) can run a video playback straight for up to 12 hours.
Microsoft has tried to up the ante by making the Surface Pen more sensitive by increasing the pressure levels. This gives the users more control over the intensity and width of the lines in their illustrative drawings. They also offer Surface Pen Tip Kit which lets you select a tip based on size and level of friction. The Surface Pen tip kit is offered as an accessory, which is a down-low for users looking for a comprehensive solution.
Price and availability
The basic variant of the Surface Pro which has an Intel® Core™ m3 CPU paired with 128GB SSD storage and 4GB RAM costs approximately less than $800, but it just escalates from there. If your work involves using high-end editing and project-building software, you might have to go with techier and pricier variants. Microsoft Surface Pro with Intel Core i7 with 1TB SSD storage and 16GB RAM can go well over $2600. If compared with leading competitors, such as Apple, they might fall behind as Apple offers a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with 64GB SSD with Apple’s signature A10 X processor for approximately $650 while the most heavily-equipped Macbook (with 512GB and same CPU) costs around $950. Microsoft surpasses Apple given the technical specifications offered for the price.
Having said that, Apple outruns any other brand in terms of security. The curated app store is a boon for people who are in search of a failsafe OS. They have been able to thwart cyber threats in under a week. This gives them an edge over any other brand. However, when it comes to flexibility, Microsoft seems to be flexible in terms of an OS as it gives plenty of elbow room for apps. It gives the users more functionality as compared to iOS.
The new Microsoft Surface Pro is a good idea if you are planning to upgrade from the Surface Pro 4 as it comes with more variants and an enhanced battery performance. The Microsoft Surface Pro straddles the fine line between entertainment and productivity. Its 2-in-1 aspect is a sure seller, but it can be heavy on the pockets.