News by Luke Jones on Wednesday October 07, 2015.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
Microsoft's tablet come laptop, the Surface Pro, has had its fourth iteration announced by the company, rocking the new Windows 10 platform. Arguably the best slate on the market, the Surface Pro 4 arrives loaded with impressive hardware, but honestly we still look at this product as an ultrabook more than we do a traditional tablet.Away from discussions over its product classification, the Surface Pro 4 delivers big time and is probably the definitive choice if you?re looking for a mega-portable computing solution. Design Aesthetically there is not a radical change in the Surface Pro 4 compared to the third version of the product, which is not exactly a bad thing. The Surface Pro has always oozed a premium quality and a level of build that is only rivalled by Apple's iPad. Made from aluminum alloy, the Surface Pro remains a high end treat in the hand in its fourth iteration, and in terms of Windows slates nothing else really gets close to this. Display The display on the Surface Pro 4 is likely to stand out as a fantastic panel, which has been the case with older models of this series. At 12.3-inches it hits a sweet spot we are becoming more accustomed to for productivity tablets, for example the iPad Pro sports a similarly sized display. As we mentioned, the Surface Pro 4 is probably more of a PC than it is a tablet, and its size matches up to comparable ultrabooks. We are thinking the likes of the Dell XPS 13. As for the raw details of that screen, it boasts a resolution of 2160 x 1440 for a pixel density of 267ppi, which is again on par with devices it is competing against. The Surface Pro 4 comes with a stylus, and the new screen can detect 1024 different levels of pressure from the peripheral. Hardware The reason we look at the Surface Pro has a laptop is because of hardware and software. We'll get to the latter shortly, but we'll start with the hardware, which is the kind of gear you would find in an ultrabook. This continues to really set the Surface Pro apart from rivals on the Android and iOS platforms, which are still very much built around mobile technology. The fact that Microsoft's product is a slate and a laptop could lead to some awkward compromises, but that is not the case and the Pro 4 really is capable of wearing both hats. There are different configurations available, but the processors can be chosen from Intel's latest Core M chipsets, and even the base Surface Pro 4 is going to deliver excellent performance. Microsoft says its pumps out 50% better 3D graphics, although don't get too excited about this as a mini gaming rig... it will plough through mobile games with stunning ease, but graphically intensive PC games will still only work on low settings, if at all in some cases. Anyway, this is marketed as a productivity powerhouse, so if you are coming to the Surface Pro 4 as a gamer you are making the mistake, not Microsoft. As for video output, the Surface Pro 4 promises decent performance, and far above what we could expect from rival high end tablets (again exposing the Pro as the ultrabook it really is). 4K video can be pushed out at a solid 60 frames per second, and the device can even manage to send 4K output to three screens simultaneously. RAM and storage are also configurable, with up to 16GB of memory available and up to 1TB of storage space. Software For our money, the main reason why the Surface Pro has always been a compelling option is because of its ability to run a full PC operating system. It can do anything the laptop this piece is currently being written on can, such as run multiple programs, use full PC suites, and all of the other benefits that a traditional PC brings to the table. In terms of multitasking and productivity, the iPad and any Android device simply cannot get close to this. In terms of the Surface Pro 4, the software in question is Microsoft?s Windows 10, which is infinitely better than Windows 8.1... it just is. Accessories If you are upgrading from the Surface Pro 3 then you can use your accessories from that product on this one, such as the type covers, charger, and docking station. It is more likely that you are coming to the Surface Pro 4 as a new consumer (the leap from the Pro 3 to Pro 4 is decent, but probably not enough to warrant an instant upgrade), which means you will be getting a new Microsoft Surface Pen. Microsoft says it has improved precision and endurance, with the Pen now able to boast a one year battery life, while it still nestles beautifully into the slate when not in use. The Surface Pen is available in numerous colors, including gold. The keyboard covers have not been upgraded much, save for one significant addition... the keys are now (thankfully) backlit. Price and Availability Never affordable, the biggest compromise for the Surface Pro has always been price and that obstacle will continue to be its main issue and will stop it becoming a sales sensation. Regardless, the Surface Pro 4 starts at $899 and will be available in the United States from October 26.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.