Surface Pro 6 Hands-on: Serious Quad-Core Power, Sleek Black Finish

Welcome back, black.

Microsoft unveiled today the Surface Pro 6 at an event in New York City, and the highlight is a new black color variant. The newest edition to the company's popular detachable 2-in-1 lineup is more of a refresh than an overhaul, but Microsoft claims the new device will have an improved display, longer battery life, and substantial boosts in performance. 

Surface Pro 6 Summary: Pros and Cons


  • Quad-core 8th-gen processor should offer a 67 percent speed boost
  • Brilliant 12.3-inch display offers 5 million pixels and excellent contrast
  • Microsoft promises up to 13.5 hours of battery life
  • New black color is sleek


  • Still no USB-C/Thunderbolt 3
  • Keyboard still costs extra

While Microsoft didn't make any groundbreaking changes to the Surface Pro 6's design, it did bring back a suave black color scheme, which it hasn't offered since the Surface RT back in 2012. Yes, Windows users, stick this one to Apple fans who are still hoping for the return of a black MacBook. Up close, the black color scheme really helped the 12.3-inch display pop.

This particular new color option for the 1.7-pound Surface Pro features a matte black chassis and matching black fabric Type Cover. The Surface Pro 6 is also available in silver and the Type Covers come in blue, red and grey. 

The Surface Pro 6 will start at $899 and will be available on Oct 16. 

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Surface Pro 6
Display12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824 pixels
CPU8th Gen Intel Core i5, i7 (Quad-Core)
RAMup to 16GB
Storageup to 1TB
PortsUSB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, Surface Connector
ColorsMatte Black, Platinum
Size11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches
Weight1.7 pounds

Microsoft wasn't expected to do much with the design of the Surface Laptop, but most folks were hoping to at least see the adoption of USB-C. Unfortunately, Microsoft stuck with a USB 3.0 port and a mini DisplayPort on the right side of the laptop, and a Surface Connector, which offers power, video and data, on the left.

Improving on an already brilliant 12.3-inch display, the Surface Pro 6's panel has 5 million pixel for a ppi of 267. Better yet, the display is said to have the highest contrast ratio of any Surface device. Based on our brief hands-on impressions, the screen is very vibrant and colorful, so it should be among the best panels on a 2-in-1.

 The new Surface Pro 6 should provide a massive boost in performance when compared to its already speedy predecessor. That's thanks to an 8th Gen Quad-Core CPU, which Microsoft says is a resounding 67 percent more powerful than last year's edition. If that sounds aggressive, it's because the Surface Pro will be the first slim tablet-like device with a quad-core CPU.

In person, the Surface Pro 6 felt swift when opening and switching between apps, but we'll have to get this system in our labs for benchmarking when we do the full review.

To accommodate the extra heat produced by the more powerful components, the Surface Pro 6 sports a thermal cooling system. If you prefer a fanless design, you'll have to purchase the Core i5 version of the Surface Pro 6.

 The chips powering the new Surface Pro 6 should also be more efficient, and Microsoft claims the Surface Pro will last 13.5 hours on a charge. That is almost twice as long as the 2017 Surface Pro, which lasted 7 hours and 30 minutes in our Laptop Battery Test. We'll have to wait for a review unit of the Surface Pro 6 to get a better idea of its real-world endurance. 

Microsoft also took the wraps off the Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Studio 2, and announced the release of the October Windows 10 update. Stay tuned for our full review of the Surface Pro 6.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.