The latest version of the Microsoft Pro series has finally surfaced. The new Surface Pro has just been released and is ready for purchase. It includes a few changes and nice updates from the popular Surface Pro 4.
First though is the name. Those expecting Surface Pro 5 can keep waiting. Microsoft has gotten rid of any sequential number. Now it’s just Surface Pro, period.
The Surface Pro is best known for its versatility and can be used in laptop mode, studio mode, or tablet mode. The new model adds a little more functionality.
You can open the kickstand and add the signature cover for laptop use or lower the kickstand for studio use. A new hinge drops the machine down to 165 degrees from the previous 150 degree mark. Drop the kickstand and cover and you have a stand-alone tablet.
This follow-up model features a slightly thinner and lighter body. It has rounder edges. It is about 8.55 mm thick and around 1.7 pounds.
Screen size remains the same with a 12.3 inch “PixelSense” display.
Processors have been upgraded. The newer Intel seventh generation line provides Core m3, Core i5, and Core i7 U-series options. Look for a fan-less design with the Core m3 and Core i5 versions.
A key component for Surface Pro users is the Stylus pen. Microsoft is adding extra features for stylus use but unfortunately the pen no longer comes in the box. One must be had separately for $99. Still Microsoft has increased the pen’s sensitive pressure. It goes from 1024 pounds to 4096. This will be needed with more pen-centric features with Office.
One of those Office features is the Draw Tab from Microsoft's OneNote note-taking app. It will be available shortly to use with PowerPoint, Word and Excel. Users get a very stylus-friendly set of basic drawing tools, including brush types and sizes, colors, and the ability to save favorite and frequently used combinations.
Microsoft is beta testing these pen upgrades now. They should be included when the company releases a product update later this spring.
The keyboard cover still remains an option. If you have a Surface Pro 4 version you can still use it on the new device. Separately the price runs about $130. Fabric covered colored models can also be had for a slightly higher premium. One in platinum, cobalt or burgundy blue will set you back $169.
Users can expect the device to work harder and longer. Microsoft is promising some 13.5 hours of battery life, up 50% over Surface Pro 4.
Connections include the one Full-size USB 3.0 plug-in, an SDXC card reader and headphone port. Front and rear cameras both provide 1080p HD video. You can record with dual microphones and play-back in Dolby Audio Premium sound.
Pricing is set to begin around the $800 mark. That is for the device alone. Adding a pen and basic keyboard cover can you take over the $1,000 threshold.
The new Surface Pro is part of Microsoft’s growing array of PC products running alongside the Surface Book and Surface Laptop
Overall the device is hard to beat. Few rise to the level of the Surface. Though modestly updated by most standards it still dominates the pool when it comes to a high-powered Windows two-in-one machine.
Based on some key upgrades and longer battery life, fans of the Surface Pro series could find the new device well worth the plunge.