Surface Pro with LTE Review Roundup: True Wireless Freedom

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Microsoft's Surface Pro with LTE is finally available for pre-order to the general public. But before you head out to a Microsoft Store or Best Buy to drop $1,149 on one, it's best to educate yourself.

While we're still waiting for this model to show up in the Laptop Mag labs, we've combed through the existing reviews to see how this Surface fares.

surface

Most reviewers agree that the new model is largely unchanged from the Surface Pro that already exists, so read our review of the most recent one here to learn about the hardware.

Here's what everyone thinks about the LTE:

ZDNet

ZDNet's Ed Bott said that the cellular connections were quick and efficient with SIM cards, though he couldn't test the embedded eSIM.

Pros: "The LTE modem connected quickly whenever I was out of Wi-Fi range, offering data speeds that were dramatically faster than the saturated public Wi-Fi signals normally available in my neighborhood coffee shop."

Cons: "Had I been able to make that [eSIM] connection, I would have paid dearly for the privilege: $4.99 for a one-day pass of up to 200 MB; $13.99 for a 1GB pass, good for 15 days; or $29.99 for a 3GB pass, valid for 30 days."

The Verge

Dan Seifert at The Verge called the experience "freeing," but also pointed out that you'll want to keep an eye out for data usage, since a full workload can go through gigabytes of data very quickly, which can lead to overages with your carrier.

Pros: "Getting online with the LTE Surface Pro is so easy that I never had to think about it. It’s a computer that gets out of my way and just lets me do the things I need to get done, instead of distracting me with network settings or other annoyances."

Cons: "In just a few days of exclusive LTE usage, I was able to burn through almost 4GB of data with just my daily workload... An unlimited data plan is probably the smart move if you’re using a computer like this."

Windows Central

At Windows Central, Daniel Rubino thinks the Surface with LTE is great for business travelers, but that the configurations are too limited.

Pros: "Dropping in a SIM to the Surface Pro is simple and does not require a restart of Windows 10. After a few seconds, the network is detected. The SIM does not even have to be on a data-only plan. Take your current SIM from your smartphone and drop it in and it'll work too."

Cons: "Many people who need a light computing, always-connected PC could get by with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but that is pushing it. The 8/256 option is the one to get to let the Surface Pro stretch its legs... Some users will also lament the lack of 16GB of RAM or a zippier option with a Core i7 processor."

CNET

CNET's Dan Ackerman points out that the Surface Pro still doesn't come with a keyboard by default, but at least it gets over 8 hours of battery life.

Pros: "Battery life was about the same whether we were running the system on Wi-Fi or LTE. Running our streaming video playback battery test over the LTE connection (which would also use a lot of data), the system ran for 8 hours, 40 minutes. Streaming via Wi-Fi, the system ran for 8 hours, 47 minutes."

Cons: 
"The keyboard cover and Surface Pen are still sold separately, adding at least $230 for a full-featured setup."

Author Bio
Andrew E. Freedman
Andrew E. Freedman,
Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE.
Andrew E. Freedman, on
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