Microsoft announced the latest update to its Surface Pro line, including a small, but significant, repositioning of the device.
When it launched Surface Pro 4 late in 2015, the company described it as “a tablet that can replace your laptop”. It describes the new version – which also loses the number to become simply Surface Pro – as “the most versatile laptop we’ve ever built”.
The new device delivers 13.5 hours of battery life – 50 per cent more than Surface Pro 4 and 35 per cent more than Apple’s iPad Pro. It is also 2.5 times faster than Surface Pro 3, with 1.7 times the compute of iPad Pro.
Devices powered by Intel Core m3 and i5 chips also do not have a fan, enabling them to make less noise. High-end versions are powered by i7 processors.
It also works with an improved Surface Pen stylus, said to be twice as accurate with 4 times more pressure sensitivity over the original. New “inking” features have been added to Microsoft Office apps, with more promised for the future – including a new Whiteboard app.
To get full laptop capabilities, Surface Pro has to be paired with a keyboard, with the company stating its new Signature Type Covers offer “the best Surface Pro keyboard ever”. The peripheral offers 1.3mm of key travel, and comes with a new Alacantara material covering.
Of course, the need to buy a costly peripheral in order to get what is a basic laptop functionality is something of a fly in the ointment for Microsoft’s new positioning of the device.
The 12.3-inch PixelSense display offers: “an impressive 50 per cent more pixels than a 12-inch MacBook”, Microsoft stated. It is powered by custom silicon, PixelSense Accelerator, “to really enhance colour”.
Other features include LTE-A compatability for units shipping later in 2017, with Microsoft stating: “this combination of performance, battery, sleek design and LTE has never been done before in this light and thin of a package”.
Various memory options are available. Pricing starts at $799 (Intel Core m3, 4GB RAM and 128GB storage), rising to $2,699 (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 1TB storage).
Surface Pro launches on 15 June 2017 in 25 markets.