The 2017 Microsoft surface pro is the spiritual successor to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. The device is just an incremental upgrade over the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 featuring just some minor hardware upgrades. These small upgrades, however, go a long way in improving the user experience. The hybrid now finally feels like a complete device.
Though some may still question that why Microsoft only brought minor changes in this refresh even though the Surface Pro 4 is more than 1 and a half years old now. Still, why change what works? For years, Surface has been the benchmark platform for hybrids that many others have tried and failed to replicate.
Let us now take a closer look at this hybrid to see if it is worth the hype or not.
Design and Build Quality
From a distance, one cannot distinguish between the new Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 4. It is only when you hold it that you start to feel the change. The rounded edges make it much more comfortable to hold, the redesigned vents look much sleeker giving it an overall smoothed out look. Apart from the in–hand feel, not much has changed.
The device measures the same at 7.9 by 11.5 by 0.33 inches and has the same weight as its predecessor as well at 1.7 pounds. The slim metallic casing also makes a return, the device looks and feels premium. Another area that features an upgrade is the kickstand. The kickstand can now be lowered to about 165 degrees making it ideal for artists to draw on the go.
The device features an overall clean and minimalistic design. The front-end features the gorgeous 12.3in Display, the rear only has a Microsoft Logo and camera.
On one side, you can find the headphone jack along with power and volume keys while on the other you can find the connectivity options. These include a mini display port, a full–sized USB port, and surface connector. On the bottom, you can find the connector for the type cover. The SD card slot is tucked away behind the kickstand.
A beautiful 12.3-inch screen that comes with a resolution of 2,736-by-1,824 and pixel density of 267ppi dominates the front end of the device. The screen features a 3:2 aspect ratio. This results in sharp and smooth images, the screen overall is a joy to use. The 0.26cd/m2 black levels and 324.70 cd/m2 white level give the screen a solid 1243:1 contrast ratio. An enhanced display option is also available that according to the manufacturer can make the colours pop a bit more than the default.
The large bezels on the front do look a bit dated when compared to hybrid offerings from HP and Dells’ camps. The brightness levels are quite good for the category. Lack of HDR and poor Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage may be worrying for some, but despite all that, the display still looks quite good.
Performance and Battery life
The Microsoft Surface Pro makes use of the latest and greatest technology. It comes with Intel’s 7th generation processors bundled with ample amount of RAM and storage. This upgrade makes it faster than its predecessor, another interesting thing here is the fan-less nature of the i5 variant. The i5 variant of the 2017 surface pro just like the base M3 variant is fan-less, even under heavy stress the device stays silent.
The performance is much better than most of the hybrid competition and on par with even most ultrabooks on the market. This is quite an achievement for a hybrid laptop. You are getting full PC performance in a sleek and stylish package.
The device is available in multiple variants starting from the base core m3 variant that comes with Intel HD 615, 4GB RAM and 128GB storage to the top of the line Core i7 variant that comes with 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and Intel Iris plus 640 graphics.
Battery life is the biggest plus point of this device, according to the manufacturer it can last upwards of 13 hours of video playback. This is about 4 hours more than its predecessor’s numbers and almost twice as much as some of the competitors. Even under heavy loads, the surface pro will last upwards of 9 hours, which is a very respectable number taking into account the screen and processing power that it has to take care of.
Keyboard and Pen
The Surface Pro just like its predecessors is essentially a tablet computer that can be transformed into a laptop by making use of the keyboard accessories. The thing that is still bugging most buyers is the price of the keyboard dock, aside from the price of the surface, you will have to pay an extra €130-€160 for the keyboard dock. The keyboard is of great quality, the keys feel sturdy and the trackpad has a nice feel to it, but for €160, we expect nothing less.
Another key accessory for the surface pro just like its predecessors is the Surface Pen. The Surface Pro makes use of a new pen that features 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, this makes it great for artists as it allows for more precise control, you can also tilt it now to perform actions such as shading of drawings. The pen feels much sturdier than the ones that came before it. It also features a stronger magnet for attaching it to the Surface. All these additions have forced Microsoft to increase the price of the Surface Pen to €100.
The Surface Pro 2017 is a great hybrid that bridges the gap between hybrids and ultrabooks. It offers full PC level performance in a sleek, stylish and small body. The excellent battery life, improved kickstand, vibrant display, and blazing fast performance make it a well-rounded package.
This may not be a great upgrade for someone who already owns a surface pro 4, but for those who are looking to get a versatile hybrid that offers great battery and is capable of handling even heavy tasks, this is a great buy.