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Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

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The Surface Pro 4 was followed up by two other devices: first, the Surface Pro 2017, and then the Surface Pro6. It’s worth considering. The reason is that the Surface Pro 4 was hailed as the natural evolution of the Surface Pro’s reign almost four years ago. It’s clear to see how it influenced the Surface Pro 4 today.

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The Surface Pro 4 runs on Windows 10 from the box, unlike the Surface Pro 3. This is a huge win for the Surface Pro 4 and a large part of why it remains an outstanding device four years later.

It is easy to see how much effort Microsoft has put into improving this tablet rather than dramatically changing the formula. The design is the same as the Surface Pro 3 but it has been refined and improved. The chassis has been shaved by more than half an inch and a chrome-laden Microsoft Logo.

This is more than a simple design. Surface Pro 4 comes with a new Surface Pen, which has more pressure sensitivity than the previous models. There are also additional hardware buttons. The Type Cover is also heavier and more comfortable to touch. Additionally, the screen has a higher resolution at 2,736×1,824 – a display of 216ppi.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Who is it for? Do I need it?

The Surface Pro 4 is a great alternative to the Surface Book 2. It’s also an excellent choice for creative professionals who are on the move. The Surface Pro 4 is also significantly cheaper than the Surface Pro 6 if it’s refurbished or used. However, it’s not impossible to find it new these day.

The Surface Pro 4 is not without its flaws, especially in terms of battery life. It is still a product we can recommend for Windows tablets veterans and newcomers alike. The Surface Pro 4 is a ‘Pro” device that ships with Windows 10 Pro preinstalled (a $199/PS219/AU$339 price).

The Surface Pro 4 display is also worth mentioning. It’s crystal clear when compared to its predecessor. Although the Type Cover is unfortunately sold separately, it feels comfortable typing on.

As we said, the battery life is only 3 hours and 15 minutes with PCMark. Although it is not the most efficient, it does provide a lot of power to compensate for the constant need to recharge.

The Surface Pro 4’s significantly lower price will ensure that it has a loyal following well into the future.

Surface Pro 4 is significantly cheaper than comparable ARM-based tablets. You can see HP’s Envy. It may seem more affordable than Microsoft’s tablets due to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chips used in many Android devices. This is not the case. The Envy x2 is actually much more expensive.

If you are looking for LTE functionality at an affordable price, the NovaGo is the best option. The Surface Pro 4 is $50 cheaper than the NovaGo and has twice as much storage and better innards.

Surface Pro 4 uses the same unibody, all-magnesium casing.

Design and display

Spec Sheet

This is the Surface Pro 4 configuration that TechRadar received for review.

CPU: Intel Core i5-6300U 2.4GHz (dual-core with 3MB cache and Turbo Boost up to 3GHz)

Graphics Intel HD Graphics 552


Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display (Contrast ratio: 1,300:1, 100% sRGB color, 10-point multi-touch, 3:2 aspect ratio)

Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe 3.0)

Ports: 1x USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader (UHS-I), headphone/mic jack

Connectivity 802.11ac WiFi (2 x MIMO), Bluetooth4.0 (Low Energie)

Cameras 8MP rear facing, auto-focus camera (1080pHD); 5MP front-facing camera (1080pHD); 1080p HD

Weight: 1.73 pounds (786g)

Size 11.5x793x0.36 inches (292.10×201.42×8.4mm; W.xD xH)

The same unibody, all-magnesium casing is used as last time. However, the ‘Surface logo has been replaced by Microsoft’s new logo, in chrome.

Microsoft increased the Surface Pro 4’s display size by a few sliver, from 12 inches down to 12.3 inches. However, this did not compromise the device’s footprint. The company actually reduced the device’s thickness by more than half a meter, from 9.1mm down to 8.4mm, while still fitting it with full-fat U-series mobile chips.

How was this possible? The device said goodbye to the capacitive Windows button, which accounts both for the extra space and the three-tenths inch display.

Microsoft also brought the screen’s optical stack, which is a series of sensors, diodes, and pixels under the glass, closer to the screen. This is a key feature of Microsoft’s PixelSense screen technology.

The touch response of the display is exceptional. The screen can sense 1,024 levels pressure even with a single stroke.

Microsoft raised the resolution of Surface Pro 4 to 2,736×1,824.

Let’s now take a closer look at the resolution. The resolution of the Surface Pro 4 has been increased by Microsoft to 2,160×1,440 (216 pixels per inch), to 2,736×1,824. This gives the Surface Pro 4 a staggering 267 ppi, which is more than the MacBook Air 2017 (128 pixels per inch) and barely beats the first-generation iPad Pro 12.9 inches at 264ppi.

The new screen is also brighter and more accurate than the Surface Pro 3 at all brightness levels. This will be an obvious upgrade for artists and designers who have used the Wacom tablet with calibrated monitor combination.

This new screen is both brighter and more accurate in color.

For the rest of us, it means better movies and more vivid photos and games. This is despite thicker black bars securing your favourite films in 16/9 format – and even more for those in 21/9, widescreen format. The 3:2 aspect ratio has been preserved from the previous generation.

This is a concern for people who watch a lot of TV and movies on tablets. Do not worry workers. You are the reason Microsoft made this move. The 3:2 aspect ratio, which is somewhere in the middle of 16:9 or 4:3, is ideal for photo, design, and drafting work. 3:2 is more common than 3:2, and it is easier to do computations, due to the extra vertical space.

The Type Cover allows for more key travel and punchier feedback.

Surface Pen and Type Cover

The new Surface Pen, which comes with the Surface Pen, has been redesigned to feel like a pencil. The stylus is now flat on one side, just like a Number 2 pencil with all but two angles rounded off.

The Surface Pen’s unique design makes it even more comfortable than the previous version. Your index finger rests just above and to the right of the main function button at the flat end. The frame’s left side is coated with powerful, thin strip magnets that allow it to stick to the tablet’s side. The days of stylus loops are over.

Combining Microsoft’s PixelSense display and the Surface Pen creates the ultimate stylus experience.

The combination of the Surface Pen and Microsoft’s PixelSense display results in the most comfortable stylus experience on a tablet. This is for as little as it’s likely that we will actually use it. Although we aren’t artists or designers, the screen can detect palms and the Pen tracking is accurate and nuanced, giving us confidence in saying that the Surface Pro 4 has Microsoft’s best chance at luring that crowd.

Surface Pen, now included in the package, has been redesigned to feel more like an actual pencil.

This screen provides excellent palm detection

However, these enhancements do pale in comparison with Microsoft’s new-though-still-not-included Type Cover. Microsoft adopted the chiclet-style design this time, which makes it easier to keep track of which keys you are using and allows for the keys to be individually lit.

The Type Cover is thicker and more rigid than ever before. This allows for greater key travel and punchier feedback. It also provides a quieter, more stable surface to type on, which brings it closer to a real laptop keyboard. Microsoft also widened and coated the touchpad in glass, rather than plastic.

Although the new keyboard cover is only available in black it uses Windows Hello for login.

Microsoft offers a Type Cover that includes a biometric Fingerprint ID at $159 (PS149; AU$249). Although the new keyboard cover is only available in black it uses Windows Hello for login to Surface using a fingertip. It can be used with the Surface Pro 3 and can authorize app purchases from Windows Store.



Here’s what the Surface Pro 4 did in Our benchmark tests :

3DMark Cloud Gate : 5,873 Sky Diver : 3,673 Fire Strike : 856

Cinebench CPU: 305 points; Graphics: 37 fps

Geekbench 3 Single Core: 3,135; Multi-Core: 6,649

Home: 2,406

Battery Life: 3 Hours, 15 Minutes

Except for PCMark 8 Home and all other performance scores, there is a slight increase in the score from the original unit. This is a positive sign that the Surface Pro 4 was operating at its peak, with the exception of a battery issue.

Nearly every test showed that the Surface Pro 4 outperformed 2015 HP Spectre x360 by 25%. The 13-inch MacBook Air’s multi-core Geekbench 3 score, which primarily tests processors, is far lower than that of the Surface Pro 4.

The Surface Pro 4 runs Hearthstone, our de facto tablet gaming platform, at the highest settings and without any sweat. It even adjusts to automatically adaptive resolutions. The color-calibrated display makes Hearthstone’s play areas even more distracting.

The Surface Pro 4 is comparable to its competitors in everyday performance. Even though the MacBook Air has an even larger battery, the difference is not significant. The Surface Pro 4 has slightly better gaming performance than the 2015 Spectre x360. However, neither device is a gaming device.

The Surface Pro 4 was able to last for 3 hours and 15 mins in the PCMark 8 Home Battery Test.

Battery life

The Surface Pro 4’s battery life was much better than the original Surface Pro 4. We tested it on pre-production hardware. They are still far below Microsoft’s claims, not to mention what its top competitors can offer.

Fair enough, the Pro 4 lasted 3 hours and 15 mins in the PCMark 8 Home Battery battery test, which was a marked improvement of 50% from the previous. The Spectre x360 survived that test for 4 hours 38 minutes.

Surface Pro 4’s 8MP rear facing cam.

Microsoft’s tablet did better in our video playback test. It lasted 5 hours and 15 seconds. This is enough to get you through most US coast-to-coast flights.

Similar tests showed that the MacBook Air could stream 1080p video over Wi Fi for 13 hours and 24 mins. However, this is due to the MacBook Air’s lower resolution display and likely a larger-sized battery.

Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro 3 will play video for up to 9 hours, but these numbers aren’t even close. These figures are better than the Surface Pro 3 last year, despite the significant screen resolution bump. This should not be overlooked. They can’t match Apple’s top laptop or tablet, much less equivalent Windows hybrids.

The Surface Pro 4’s battery life is the main problem. The machine’s overall lasting power is below average.


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