If you are in the market for a detachable PC, Microsoft's latest Surface Pro may be your best option. At a starting price of $799.00, Microsoft's tablet / 2-in-1 offers a sophisticated design, a near flawless display and solid performance across the board.
However, this popular slate is far from perfect and it doesn't come cheap. Here are five reasons to consider the Surface Pro and three reasons to go with something else.
The Surface Pro’s 12.3-inch multitouch display offers great screen real estate with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 2736 x 1824 resolution, while also supporting all 4,096 of the new Surface Pen’s pressure sensitivity points. It reached an impressive brightness of 396 nits and reproduced a vibrant 140 percent of the sRGB color gamut in our tests, which makes it a great option for everything from photo editing to watching the latest movies.
The Surface can be configured with up to an Kaby Lake i7 processor, 16GB RAM and a speedy 1TB SSD. Its multitasking and graphics benchmarks scores were top-notch on our tests, so it should be able to handle any task you throw at it. On top of all that, the Surface Pro kept cool throughout our review and never reached uncomfortable temperatures.
The Surface Pro’s magnesium alloy case now features curved edges and a svelte, .33-inch chassis, while weighing just over two pounds. Microsoft also added new levels of flexibility to the Surface Pro’s Kickstand, with an option to recline it 165 degrees into ‘Studio Mode’. There are few other detachable devices that offer this many usage options.
We don't expect high fidelity from a tablet, but the front-facing stereo speakers on the Surface Pro pushed out bright and accurate sound that exceeded expectations. It reached sufficient volume levels and was able to play our sample track without noticeable distortion or loss of detail.
The Alcantara-laden Type covers are extremely comfortable and offer a great typing experience with a decent 1.3mm of key travel and a pleasant actuation weight of 70 grams. These covers come in three distinct colors including Platinum, Cobalt Blue and Burgundy. The top of the keyboard also now includes stronger magnets to ensure a better connection to the device itself.
Microsoft chose not to include either a Type Cover or Pen with the new Surface Pro, so you’ll have to purchase both separately. The Type Cover costs $159.99 and the Surface Pen will run you $99.99, but if you intend to do a lot of productivity work or anything artistic, you’ll need to purchase at least one of them.
By not adding a Thunderbolt 3 or USB Type-C port, Microsoft missed an opportunity to future-proof its device. It claimed that users ”don't understand the value of the new port [USB Type-C],” but there are already tons of Type-C peripherals on the market, including a number of universal docking stations which charge your laptop.
The Surface Pro only managed to last seven hours and 30 minutes in our test (surfing over Wi-Fi), which is better than last year’s model, but still well below the runtimes of some competitors. For example, HP's Spectre x360 lasted two and a half hours longer a charge.