NEW YORK -- Microsoft's popular Surface line of tablets is getting a major upgrade. Today, the company unveiled the Surface Pro 4, its next flagship tablet, which packs a number of improvements over its predecessor. There's a 12.3-inch display (up from 12 inches), an Intel 6th Generation Core series processor, an improved keyboard and touchpad and an optional fingerprint reader. Plus, there's finally a home for the pen.
The Surface will be available for pre-order with a starting price of $899 and an estimated ship date of October 26th. We went hands-on with Microsoft's new device, and it looks like the 2-in-1 to beat. But there's a lot of competition on the way.
Microsoft has focused heavily on improving the touch and pen experience. The new pen supports up to 1,024 levels of pressure, adds an eraser and comes in five different colors with interchangeable tips for a different feel. During our hands-on time, we appreciated that the pen attached magnetically to the left side of the screen. We're not sure how secure the pen will stay in your bag, but it's better than a loop.
The screen combines an optical stack with a .4mm Gorilla Glass layer, a 1.1mm backlight a Photo aligned oxide display and a proprietary "G5" chipset that promises a more responsive inking experience. Up close, the 2736 x 1824-pixel screen looked very crisp, and we like that there's very little bezel around the screen.
Microsoft also unveiled a new version of the Type Cover, which it says is light, thinner and sturdier. Backward compaitble with the Surface Pro 3, the new cover has deeper keys with 1.3mm of travel, a 19mm pitch between keys and a 40 percent larger touchpad. In our hands-on time, the keyboard actually felt just as good as the Surface Book; it's just snappier than you'd expect from a cover.
On the inside, the Surface Pro 4 sports an Intel 6th Generation SkyLake processor, which Microsoft claims will allow it to be 50 percent faster than a MacBook AIr. You can also configure the new tablet with up to 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM.
The Surface Pro 4 will also feature Windows hello for easier logins and a sharp 8-MP camera. The company is also releasing a new Surface Dock for pairing the tablet with a monitor and desktop keyboard.
Microsoft says to expect up to 8 hours of battery life from the Surface Pro 4. That estimate is based on video playback.
We look forward to getting a closer look at this device when it gets closer to launch.