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Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

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Core Tip:Key Features: Intel Core processor; Bundled Surface Pen; Optional Type Cover; 12.3-inch displayManufacturer: MicrosoftWh
Key Features: Intel Core processor; Bundled Surface Pen; Optional Type Cover; 12.3-inch display

Manufacturer: Microsoft

What is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4?

The Surface Pro 4 continues Microsoft’s quest to create the perfect all-in-one device that can function as both a tablet and laptop.

However, with its more expensive and powerful sibling the Surface Book expected to arrive imminently, and Apple’s iPad Pro hot on its tail, many buyers have justifiably wondered why they should bother checking out the Pro 4.

Watch our iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4 comparison video:

Related: Best tablets 2015

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – Design

The Surface Pro 4 doesn’t rework the wheel on the design front. The tablet section of the Surface Pro 4 looks almost identical to the Pro 3 from a distance. It has the same metallic-grey magnesium finish; the same adjustable kickstand; and only slightly more svelte 292 x 201 x 8.4mm dimensions.

Some will view the lack of immediately noticeable changes as a negative, but for me it’s no bad thing. The Surface Pro 3 breathed new life into the Microsoft series of devices when it replaced the boring, boxy black design of the Surface Pro 1 and 2 in 2014, and it remains one of the nicest-looking convertibles on the market.

The Surface Pro 4 Intel Core i5 model I reviewed was also suitably satchel-friendly, weighing a meagre 786g – the Intel Core M variant weighs an even more modest 766g. It also has the same USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort and microSD connection options as the Surface Pro 4, meaning that it will happily meet most users' connectivity needs.

If you take a more thorough look at the Surface Pro 4, however, you’ll realise that Microsoft has addressed several niggling issues with the design. The most obvious of these being the Surface Pen’s new docking mechanism.

Related: Best laptops 2015

image: http://img.tradeleo.com/img/201512/16/135106314.jpg

Surface Pro 4

In theory, the docking system works in the same way it did on the Surface Pro 3, using a magnetic lock to hold the stylus on the tablet’s short side. I wasn’t a fan of the system on the Pro 3, because the magnetic lock was quite weak and the pen would detach itself when met with even the slightest of nudges. The position of the lock itself was even more annoying, since it placed the pen over the tablet’s physical power and volume keys.

These flaws have been fixed in the Surface Pro 4 by first, moving the power and volumes keys to the tablet’s top, long edge; and second, by increasing the strength of the locking magnet. Using the Surface Pro 4 as my main laptop and tablet, the Surface Pen never once detached itself from the device, and proved capable of clinging to the tablet section even when the Pro 4 was thrown into a fairly full satchel and lugged around London.

You can pick up the Pro 4 with either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage. The wealth of cloud storage services available on Windows 10 means that running out of space won't be a concern for the majority of people.

These changes may sound insignificant, but it's systemic of Microsoft’s overall strategy with the Surface Pro 4. The company has made a series of subtle improvements that are small when viewed on their own, but add up to create a vastly improved user experience overall.


 

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