Microsoft Surface Pro 4
There's a new reigning king of Windows tablets and its name is the Surface Pro 4. Building on everything the last iteration got right, this new slate introduces a larger screen more sensitive touchscreen perfected for everything from penning documents to painting images. Thanks to a newly redesigned island keyboard, tapping away on the Type Cover feels almost as good as a real laptop and the glass trackpad feels simply superb. Internally the Microsoft's latest also features a faster processor and storage, all in a shell that's actually lighter and thinner than the Surface Pro 3. Overall, these improvements make the Surface Pro 4 an affordable Windows tablet that really can replace your laptop.The Surface Pro 4 fits a larger screen with a higher resolution into a slightly slimmer body than last year's model. The pen and keyboard cover are also improved, and this is one of the first mobile systems shipping with Intel's latest processors. Design The Surface tablet line set out its basic design rules with the very first generation of products and has largely stuck to its guns since. What we've seen, instead of wholesale reimagining, is a steady march of improvements to the display and chassis, helping the product feel just a bit more premium with every generation.
The earliest Surface Pro models were 13mm thick, while last year's Surface Pro 3 shaved that down to 9.1mm. This year, we're down to 8.4mm, despite increasing the size of the screen. Both the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 are 1.7 pounds (771 grams) by themselves, or 2.5 pounds (1.13 kg) with their keyboard cover and stylus pens attached. One of the biggest improvements to last year's Surface Pro carries over here: the highly adjustable kickstand, which can be adjusted to nearly any angle between 22 and 150 degrees. The kickstand, which runs the entire width of the system, is stiff enough that it will stay where you put it, and hardly moves at all, even when using your fingers or the pen on the touchscreen.
Missing from the black bezel surrounding the screen this time around is the capacitive Windows logo touch button. In previous Surface models, this moved around from the long edge to the short edge of the system, but always served the same purpose: to take you back to the Windows 8 tile interface. As we're now operating in the Windows 10 world, having a physical home button isn't necessary, although the Windows 10 "tablet mode" is still very similar to what Window 8 looked like.
Performance Microsoft is offering the Surface Pro 4 in sixth-generation Intel Core M, Core i5 and Core i7 options. The M version comes with Intel HD graphics 515, while the i5 comes with slightly more powerful Intel HD graphics 520. The top i7 variant comes with Intel HD graphics 540. Adding further complexity to the mix, you can also load the Pro 4 with 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of RAM. I tested the Core i5 model with 8GB of RAM.
The model benchmarked fairly well. The Surface Pro 4 ran in with a 6,727 multi-core Geekbench score. On the graphics intensive 3DMark: Cloud Gate, it scored a solid 6,019. Neither scores are groundbreaking, but they put the Pro 4 on a par with most top-end 2015 convertible tablets and well above its 2014 predecessor. By comparison, the Surface Pro 3 scored 3,491 in Geekbench.
The benchmarks proved accurate with real-world use, and the Surface Pro 4 delivers solidly impressive performance. Using the unit as my primary tablet and laptop, I didn’t notice any serious performance jitters. The Surface loaded web pages instantly, ran applications smoothly, and proved capable of playing Steam games, such as Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion and Divinity Original Sin, chug free – if the graphics settings weren't maxed.
Battery life Microsoft touts a battery life
of up to nine hours of video playback – that's the same figure given for the Pro
3 so there's no official benefit on this front. We're still testing batter life
and will add our results very soon.
refuses to include the Type Cover keyboard by default, forcing a separate
purchase. Battery life still isn't enough for
a full day. The
Bottom Line A host of small refinements cements the Surface Pro 4's position as
the best-in-class Windows tablet -- so long as you're prepared to pay extra for
the required keyboard cover accessory. Spec sheet
- CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 3GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR3
- Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display (Contrast ratio: 1,300:1, 100% sRGB color, 10-point multi-touch, 3:2 aspect ratio)
- Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe 3.0)
- Ports: 1x USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader (UHS-I), headphone/mic jack
- Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2 x 2 MIMO), Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy)
- Cameras: 8MP rear-facing, auto-focus camera (1080p HD); 5MP front-facing, 1080p HD camera
- Weight: 1.73 pounds
- Size: 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36 inches (W x D x H)
· Price;$889.99 vs iPad Pro The iPad Pro is a much bigger device than the average tablet – with a 12.9-inch display, it's always going to be a bit hefty.The design language follows on strongly from the rest of the iPad family, with the same ceramic-like metal on the back, the curved edges and TouchID home button above the Lightning port.The new iPad Pro is the biggest and fastest Apple tablet to date. The pressure-sensitive Pencil stylus offers superior sketching and drawing, and the Pro's gorgeous giant screen and quad speakers are ideal for split-screen apps, multitasking and watching movies. PERFORMANCE: In terms of the engine Apple's stuck inside the iPad Pro, the company has gone all out here. The Pro features an A9X chip inside, coupled with 4GB of RAM (according to Geekbench, although Apple hasn't confirmed this).
This makes the iPad Pro easily the most powerful non-Mac device Apple's ever made by some distance. What that means in real life is two fold: you can execute multiple apps at once without a hint of slowdown, with heavy titles like Adobe Photoshop working in an instant and the ability to do many things at once a really slick experience.
The Split Screen mode of , introduced in June at WWDC 2015, seemed like an odd thing - the 9.7-inch size of the Air sort of made sense with two apps running at the same time, but now we've got this whopping screen to play with it makes a lot more sense.
If we're talking raw numbers, and I know that's why some of you cheeky people are here, then you're in for a treat. Using Geekbench 3 to test, the iPad Pro scores 5472, which is well ahead of the 4506 from the iPad Air 2 and the 4974 of the next-most powerful device, the Galaxy Note 5. That won't mean much in day to day use, but it gives the iPad Pro a massive boost in terms of future proofing it. The apps to come are going to make more and more of that impressive chipset running at the heart of the tablet, and having the raw grunt to keep up will mean that you're going to keep getting a decent performance for years to come.
The interface is nothing special though - I don't mean that critically, as the simplicity of iOS is something that's one of the selling points of Apple's devices. However, some people looking at the iPad Pro as a dedicated professional device will be a little disappointed as it still runs the same way as the iPad Air 2, albeit with a lot of accessories to play around with. The same grid of apps prevails, with the notifications shade above and the
Control below for
easy access to messages and commonly used actions. Center
The larger screen means you need to move your hand further to achieve these, but it's not like you're being asked to throw yourself over a waterfall in a barrel, just moving your finger a little further up and down.
However, it's worth noting as it is one of the drawbacks of having a larger device like this, and you'll need to be aware of them before purchase.
But,At launch, very few apps are currently optimized to take advantage of the iPad Pro's full potential. Its large size makes it less portable than other iPads. Once you've paid for the Pencil and keyboard peripherals, the iPad Pro costs as much as a good laptop, but lacks its flexibility.
The Bottom Line The iPad Pro is a dream machine for graphic designers and media mavens, but this elegant tablet needs more optimized apps and accessories before it can fully achieve laptop-killer status.
Key Features: 12.9-inch 2048 x 2732 screen; A9X 2.26GHz dual-core processor ; 4GB RAM; 8 megapixel rear camera; 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera; 4 stereo speakers; iOS 9