Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

A refined Surface Pro is as yet the lord of the tablet PC slope




The Good / The Surface Pro 4 fits a bigger screen with a higher determination into a somewhat slimmer body than a year ago’s model. The pen and console cover are likewise enhanced, and this is one of the main portable frameworks shipping with Intel’s most recent processors.

The Bad / Microsoft still declines to incorporate the Type Cover console as a matter of course, constraining a different buy. Battery life still isn’t sufficient for an entire day.

The Bottom Line / A large group of little refinements concretes the Surface Pro 4’s situation as the best-in-class Windows tablet – insofar as you’re set up to pay additional for the required console cover extra.

Editors’ note (June 29, 2017): Microsoft has divulged its followup to the acclaimed Surface Pro 4. Called, essentially the Surface Pro, the new form is fundamentally the same as its antecedent, looked into underneath. The unobtrusive upgrades incorporate incrementally better battery life, a more up to date processor and a calmer, fanless plan. On the drawback, the Surface Pen stylus that came packaged with past releases is never again included of course and the new console covers are more costly than any other time in recent memory. That prominent, the new $579.91 Surface Pro ($1,027 with the Surface Pen and essential dark console cover) remains the best quality level for Windows half breed PCs however it doesn’t warrant the redesign from current Surface Pro 4 proprietors.

Fall ’16 refresh

Following quite a while of improvement and a large number of promoting dollars spent to persuade us that a tablet could conceivably supplant a workstation, Microsoft at long last conveyed the merchandise with the Surface Pro 4. Outfitted with strong preparing power, a splendidly measured show and without flaw perspective proportion, and a couple of basic extra frill, the Pro 4 cemented the Surface’s situation as the highest quality level for Windows tablets. What’s more, with the entry of Windows 10 in July 2015, that which imperfect all past Surface models – an inelegant working framework – was at long last supplanted by a strong OS that could satisfy the capability of its shape factor.

Truth be told, the Surface line has progressed toward becoming something of a class pioneer. Macintosh’s iPad Pro and Google’s Pixel C have of late acquired envelope-pushing highlights like the Surface’s snap-on console and multitasking hacks. Meanwhile, Microsoft drew out its first-historically speaking PC, the equipped Surface Book, which it revived in October 2016, expanding the power and battery life (and cost) of the best level model (the $2,399 Surface Book i7).

Microsoft has likewise uncovered the $2,999 Surface Studio – a work area PC for specialists and fashioners needing top of the line drive and show – and the $100 Surface Dial embellishment, a touch-accommodating dial intended to sit close to your console for fine relevant controls in whatever program you’re utilizing. Unmistakably, Microsoft is on something of an advancement turn, and gossipy tidbits about the cutting edge Surface Pro keep on smoldering – yet don’t expect that unavoidable model until at some point in 2017.

Potential Surface clients who right now have Apple PCs should take note of Microsoft’s restricted time exchange bargain, which presents to $650 credit for MacBook proprietors hoping to move over to a Surface Pro.

Editors’ note: The first Microsoft Surface Pro 4 audit, distributed in October 2015, takes after.

The new Surface Pro 4 is Microsoft taking a triumph lap – and a merited one at that.

After three ages of pitching “a tablet that can supplant your workstation” – with blended achievement – the recipe has at long last clicked. The 2015 adaptation of Microsoft’s tablet includes the most recent Intel processors, a somewhat bigger screen (superbly measured at 12.3 creeps with a without flaw 3:2 viewpoint proportion), and a bunch of equipment and programming changes, however doesn’t profoundly change the DNA of its forerunner, 2014’s fantastic Surface Pro 3 . That is a shrewd move, in light of the fact that now, the Surface Pro line is less about pitching the simple idea of the tablet PC with a separable console to watchful customers, and more about perceiving how far it can go in refining the completed item.

Taking a gander at the finely cleaned Pro 4, it merits recollecting the unassuming beginnings of the Surface line . Appearing in 2012, Microsoft’s line of tablets were, if not by and large ridiculed, at that point cursed by black out acclaim, best case scenario: an exceed by a product and-administrations organization into the unpleasant and-tumble universe of PC equipment; a Hail Mary reaction to the megasuccess of Apple’s iPad the earlier year. Any outline advancements – the snap-on console, the overlay out kickstand – felt overpowered by characteristics and bargains. Not the slightest of which was the decision of working framework: either the much-insulted Windows 8, or the seriously restricted (and now deservedly wiped out) Windows RT . In those early days, the Surface was looking less like a Xbox-style grand slam for Microsoft, and progressively a Zune – like disaster.

Be that as it may, as an extremely refined item, the Surface Pro 4 isn’t cheap. The wide assortment of arrangement alternatives and extras imply that its beginning cost of $899, £749 or AU$1,349 isn’t exceptionally reasonable. At that section cost, you get a Surface Pro tablet with an Intel Core M3 CPU, 128GB of strong state stockpiling and 4GB of RAM, in addition to a touchscreen stylus that attractively appends to the side of the screen.

From the bunch of frameworks we’ve tried with before Core M processors from Intel, it’s simply not what you’re searching for from a full-time, throughout the day, regular PC. The most recent variants might be better, however we presently can’t seem to benchmark them in a purchaser workstation or tablet. A more appropriate decision for most will be the standard Intel Core i5.  Twofold the capacity to 256GB and the RAM to 8GB, and you’re at $1,299 (and that is the particular setup tried here). You could spend more than $2,000 for a significantly speedier Core i7 processor and greater hard drive.

In any case, regardless of the amount you spend on a Surface Pro 4, when you open the case and set it up, there will be one imperative missing fixing. The Type Cover, a thin console and screen defender in one, is as yet sold independently, regardless of which Surface Pro 4 design you purchase. From the most punctual long stretches of the Surface, that console cover has appropriately been gotten out as a great designing accomplishment, and the most recent form even enhances that. It presently includes broadly dispersed island-style keys (like those found on essentially every PC), and a bigger touchpad with a superior touch surface.

Like the past Type Covers, it interfaces by means of an attractive pivot along the base of the tablet, and folds close finished the cover for simple transport. Additionally like past Type Covers, it costs an additional $129, £109 or AU$199. We infrequently observe a Surface in Microsoft’s promoting materials or press sneak peaks without the console cover appended, yet for reasons unknown, the organization still won’t pack the most imperative piece of the Surface biological community into the container. For such an excellent item, it’s an exclusion that keeps on bewildering.

In any event the touchscreen stylus – enhanced over a year ago’s form, and attractively appendable to the tablet’s edge – is incorporated as a matter of course. In like manner, the show is a smidgen bigger (12.3 inches askew versus 12), without growing the general size of the tablet.

when the console is joined, its back kickstand functions admirably on a tabletop – however writing on your lap or in a swarmed carrier situate remains a strategic test. Rather, Microsoft has tended to this issue with a radical new sister item, the Surface Book . Charged as “a definitive PC,” it takes a portion of the Surface Pro’s plan signals (separable screen, noteworthy console) and creases them into a more conventional scratch pad style item with a solid pivot that shields it from tipping back. The Surface Book is cool, and accessible in considerably more great setups – yet it does not have the Pro 4’s lighter weight and better compactness.

Similarly as the Surface Pro is a full-time tablet and low maintenance workstation, the Surface Book is a full-time PC and low maintenance tablet, and might be what somebody searching for a blend of PC and tablet highlights is extremely searching for. Isolates from their separate consoles, the two screens are hard to recognize at even a couple of feet away, and it makes one think about whether the up and coming age of these items won’t be a solitary elite tablet that joins with your decision of a clamshell workstation base or a compact console cover. Presently, that would be something that could genuinely be a no-trade off tablet and PC in the meantime.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Plan and highlights

The Surface tablet line set out its fundamental outline rules with the specific original of items and has generally adhered to its firearms since. What we’ve seen, rather than discount rethinking, is a relentless walk of changes to the show and undercarriage, helping the item feel slightly more premium with each age.

The most punctual Surface Pro models were 13mm thick, while a year ago’s Surface Pro 3 shaved that down to 9.1mm. This year, we’re down to 8.4mm, notwithstanding expanding the measure of the screen. Both the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 are 1.7 pounds (771 grams) independent from anyone else, or 2.5 pounds (1.13 kg) with their console cover and stylus pens connected.

One of the greatest upgrades to a year ago’s Surface Pro persists here: the very movable kickstand, which can be changed in accordance with about any edge in the vicinity of 22 and 150 degrees. The kickstand, which runs the whole width of the framework, is sufficiently hardened that it will stay where you put it, and scarcely moves by any stretch of the imagination, notwithstanding when utilizing your fingers or the pen on the touchscreen.

Missing from the dark bezel encompassing the screen this time around is the capacitive Windows logo contact catch. In past Surface models, this moved around from the long edge to the short edge of the framework, however dependably filled a similar need: to take you back to the Windows 8 tile interface. As we’re presently working in the Windows 10 world, having a physical home catch isn’t essential, in spite of the fact that the Windows 10 “tablet mode” is still fundamentally the same as what Window 8 resembled.

The pen, relatively culminated

Likewise absent is the ungainly plastic circle that used to tie the included stylus (Microsoft calls it a pen) to the console cover. The new pen adornment is somewhat bigger than the past model, and has a level edge along one side. This enables it to safely associate with the left or right edge of the tablet by means of a genuinely solid attractive association. While it might appear to be dodgy in the event that you anticipate circling throughout the day with your tablet, embeddings and expelling it from a knapsack or shoulder pack, I found that the pen remained safely joined, even in my sack – despite the fact that I’d prescribe doing incessant spot-checks to ensure it hasn’t flown off.

Tapping the eraser-like catch on the back of the pen consequently raises OneNote, Microsoft’s favored application for pen input. On the off chance that you have all your Microsoft cloud benefits legitimately setup, your OneNote records can adjust to different gadgets, for example, your telephone or tablet (with cross-stage bolster on Android and iOS gadgets) or workstation (Windows or Mac).

I likewise utilized the pen with an assortment of different applications, incorporating the implicit Fresh Paint, for drawing and portraying, and the New York Times crossword astound application, which took pen input and changed over it to printed characters. You can likewise tap the pen on most content fields, even in a Web program, and a fly up box will grasp transcribed information and change over it to content for Web seeks, filling in structures or creating email.

Microsoft says the new pen offers diminished inertness, and 1,024 weight levels. It’s superb general, and a change over a year ago’s variant. Secondary selling swappable tips for the pen should interest craftsmen searching for a particular vibe and size.

Be that as it may, don’t trust me. We could urge comic book essayist and craftsman Dan Parent, best known for his work on “Archie” funnies, to test drive both the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book. As an artist who works both on paper and in projects, for example, Photoshop, he was awed by the vibe of the Surface Pen and particularly its eraser. You can see a greater amount of his responses and a live attracting demo our video.

The Type Cover is as yet an unquestionable requirement purchase add-on

Taking a gander at the Surface Pro 4 alongside past models, the most evident age over-age contrast might be the console cover. In spite of the fact that sold independently, it’s as yet a necessary piece of the Surface biological system, and it’s difficult to envision anybody would buy a Surface Pro without befuddling up the additional $129, £109 or AU$199 for the console extra.

The new form rolls out a noteworthy improvement to the console itself, dropping the wide-colored, firmly stuffed keys of the past Type Covers, and supplanting them with generally divided, island-style keys that copy the look and feel of for all intents and purposes each buyer workstation at a bargain today. In useful terms, it implies composing has to a lesser extent an expectation to absorb information, and I was writing precisely on the Surface Pro 4 console immediately. On past variants there was dependably an alteration period, and it never felt totally regular.

Likewise redid is the touchpad incorporated with the cover. Touchpads on most cross breeds are an all in or all out issue, and keeping in mind that it was extraordinary to have one incorporated with past Surface spreads, it was never more than scarcely satisfactory. The new form is somewhat bigger, however more essentially, has a more responsive feel, and a surface covering that feels more like a top of the line touchpad, where a year ago’s had an unmistakable plastic feel. It’s still not as responsive as the touchpad on a MacBook, however it’s another positive development.

This new console cover holds a year ago’s other huge expansion, an optional pivot close to the best edge that you can crease the cover along. This lifts the back up to hold it against the body by means of an attractive association and gives a more characteristic composing edge.

A greater, better screen

One territory we never had an issue with in past Surface tablets was with the show. In the course of recent years, the screen determination and size has developed, most as of late going from 12 to 12.3 inches, with a little determination knock too, to 2,736×1,824 pixels from 2,160×1,440. The perspective proportion is 3:2, the same as a standard bit of A4 paper, which makes the Surface Pro 4 particularly helpful for perusing ebooks and PDFs, or taking a shot at plans and designs planned for possible paper utilize.

The show looks extraordinary, even from far side points, and the higher determination ensures you won’t see singular pixels, notwithstanding when perusing plain dark content on a white foundation. Apple calls this sort of high determination “retina,” and has moved it out crosswise over a lot of its product offering. Microsoft calls it “PixelSense,” however it’s basically a similar idea.

Ports and associations

Associations and execution

When you have a half breed that is generally workstation however with a removable screen, for example, the Surface Book, there’s typically a lot of space for ports and associations. At the point when it’s a half breed that is fundamentally a tablet, your choices abruptly tight. The Surface Pro 4 fits in a solitary USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort for video, a microSD card space, and a sound jack, which is basically an indistinguishable setup from a year ago’s Surface Pro 3. By method for correlation, the Surface Book includes a second USB 3.0 port and has a full-measure SD card opening.

Inside, you can look over Intel Core M, Core i5 or Core i7 processors, all from the most recent Skylake age of chips simply hitting items now. Both our Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 audit units had the same Intel Core i5 processor, and the same 8GB of RAM.

Of course, in our benchmark tests, those two units performed almost indistinguishably, and somewhat quicker than a year ago’s one-age behind Surface Pro 3. The Core i5 will be your standard decision, and with it, the Surface Pro 4 could juggle different programs, HD media gushing, office applications and that’s just the beginning, with no stoppage. Utilizing Photoshop on high-determination pictures was comparatively inconvenience free. Fundamental recreations ran fine too, despite the fact that without a committed illustrations chip, you’re confined to just the most easygoing of amusements.

As a tablet, you’d expect the Surface Pro 4 to run throughout the day, however neither the more established Surfaces nor this new one are at the front line with regards to battery life. Truth be told, the current year’s Surface Pro 4 kept running for less time in our standard battery deplete test than the Surface Pro 3, at 6 hours 32 minutes for the Pro 4 versus 7 hours 46 minutes for a year ago’s Pro 3. This specific test can pummel a few frameworks, and since a year ago, we’ve additionally had a noteworthy OS hop, from Windows 8 to Windows 10.

We returned and re-tried the Surface Pro 3, and after more multi year of direct utilize, and with a Windows 10 redesign, it presently keeps running for 6 hour 19 minutes on a similar test. Any of these scores ought to be fine for direct use through a large portion of the day, however not at all like the new Surface Book, there’s no additional battery shrouded away in the console dock.


Microsoft dependably called the Surface Pro the tablet that could supplant your PC. And afterward the organization went and made its own particular workstation, the driven new Surface Book. That is fine, in light of the fact that the Surface Pro was never extremely a workstation at any rate. It’s an amped up iPad (or iPad Pro), that can likewise run any Windows programming you require, yet especially exceeds expectations at drawing and outlining applications, and is incredible for perusing and video seeing.

It’s lightweight and sufficiently convenient to run around with you anyplace, and the pivot and console cover give bunches of adaptability to setting up in conceivably clumsy spots, despite the fact that regardless it doesn’t feel very appropriate on your lap.

A similar protest comes up again and again, that the console cover is excluded, and an average setup costs well finished the $899 beginning value (the equipment we tried is $1,428, £1,188 or AU$2,198 out and out). However, past that, the Surface Pro 4 adds some extremely significant refinement to a year ago’s as of now amazing Surface Pro 3, and its solitary genuine rivalry as a masterpiece premium separable half and half is the still-embryonic Surface Book.

Interactive media Multitasking Test 3.0

NOTE: Shorter bars show better execution (like a flash)


Adobe Photoshop CS5 picture handling test

NOTE: Shorter bars demonstrate better execution (in a moment or two)


Video playback battery deplete test

NOTE: Longer bars demonstrate better execution (in minutes)


Framework Configurations


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