The new Surface Pro from Microsoft is a great improvement on its predecessor. Here’s why
A sleek and powerful two-in-one computer with good battery life, Microsoft’s new Surface Pro is available in several options tailored to what its owner needs to do.
For example, students or individuals after a super skinny tablet or notebook suitable for doing homework, browsing the web or making video calls can go for the entry-level Surface Pro, which is powered by Intel Core m3 processor and is equipped with 4 gigabytes of RAM or working memory. It’s priced at Bt30,900.
Business executives who need to work on business applications like Microsoft 365 while travelling would be better opting for the configuration that is powered by Intel Core i5 with 8 GB RAM and retails for Bt49,900.
Computer designers or graphic artists, meanwhile, would probably prefer the configuration that is powered by Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of RAM. There are two versions of the Core i7-based Surface Pro: the 512 GB SSD storage version retails for Bt82,900 and with 1 terabyte SSD storage costs Bt101,900.
I was given the Core i5 version with 256 GB SSD drive and 8 GB RAM that uses the Intel HD Graphics 620 graphic adapter and was suitably impressed. It ran business applications like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel smoothly and video clips also played without any snags.
Its 12.3-inch PixelSense Display with 2,736x1,824 pixels and which supports the 10-point multi-touch functions of Windows 10 is very good for watching HD video clips and for viewing high-resolution photos. The tablet is just 8.5mm thick and weighs less than 800 grams. The Core m3 weighs in at 768g, the Core i5 at 770g and at Core i7 784g.
The tablet’s body is made of magnesium and it has a kickstand on its back with a full-function multi position hinge that tilts to 165 degrees. The hinge is one of the major improvements to the new Surface Pro and allows the tablet to be used in Studio Mode in an optimal position to write or sketch with the Surface Pen.
The new Surface Pro has in fact been redesigned from the inside out to give more performance and provide 50 per cent more battery life than its predecessor. Also the models lower than the Core i7 have no fan so the tablet is very quiet.
Businessmen will like the fact that the battery now lasts up to 13.5 hours, making it perfect for PowerPoint slide presentations on the go. Moreover, the new Surface Pro has a full-sized USB 3.0 for connecting to a thumb drive or an external hard drive so business presentation projects can be easily accessed and used.
The tablet also has a Wi-Fi 802.11 ac connection for fast Internet access when connected to a router that supports the protocol. I tested it with the Linksys EA8500 router and confirm that it lives up to its advertising.
Microsoft provides optional gadgets to turn the tablet into a versatile notebook computer, among them the Surface Pro Type Cover, Surface Pen and a new Surface Arc Mouse.
The new Surface Pro Signature Type Cover is magnetically connected to the port on the tablet, turning it into a laptop computer in a snap. It is made with Alcantara, a luxury material sourced in Italy that makes it elegant and durable as well as easy to clean.
The Surface Pro Signature Type Cover has LED backlighting and optimum key spacing for fast, fluid typing and a large glass trackpad with improved gesture support and accuracy for precise control and navigation.
During the test, I found the keyboard was really comfortable to type on and trackpad was effective in controlling and navigating the functions of the computer and its applications.
Those who prefer an addition to the trackpad can opt for the Surface Arc Mouse.
The mouse is connected to Surface Pro using Bluetooth connection and I found the control both effective and accurate during my test.
The new Surface Pen turns the computer into portable studio tool. The high-resolution 12.3-inch PixelSense Display is engineered to work with the new Surface pen to deliver an impressive digital inking experience.
The new Surface Pen is twice as responsive as the previous version and now has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity for increased accuracy and responsiveness. It comes with tilt functionality that detects the angle of the Surface Pro to enable more natural shading.
The new Surface Pen comes with three different tips, allowing the pen to function like a graphite pencil to shade your sketches. The pen has low-latency inking and improved pressure sensitivity for better note taking in Microsoft Office 365.
The Surface Pen looks and feels like a real pen and comes in two choices of colours – Platinum and Black.
The pen uses one AAAA battery installed inside with oneyear battery life. It is about 145mm long and has 9.5mm diameter.
The new Microsoft Surface Pro’s prices range from Bt30,900 to Bt101,900. The normal Surface Pro Type Cover (available in black) retails for Bt5,190, and the Surface Pen for Bt3,900.
- OS: Windows 10 with Microsoft Office 30-day trial
- Display: 12.3-inch PixelSense Display with 2736x1824 pixels
- Processor: 7th Generation Intel Core m3 7Y30 to Core i77660U
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615, 620, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
- Memory: 4GB/8GB/16GB 1866 MHz DDR3 RAM
- Storage: 128/256/512 GB or 1TB PCIe SSD drive
- Network: Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1
- Cameras: Windows Hello face signin 5.0MP frontfacing camera, 8MP rear camera
- Ports: Full-sized USB 3.0, microSDXC card reader, Surface Connect, 35mm headphone jack, mini DisplayPort, Cover port
- Battery: Up to 13.5 hours of battery life
- Dimensions: 292x201x8.5mm
- Weight: 768 to 784g