There a many traditional notebooks out there is market which gives you top-end specifications and that too with higher portability option. The recently launched Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 is a tablet/laptop which is launched by the company in order to compete with the likes of the other leading ultrabook manufacturer such as HP, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and Apple. The SP4 comes in the same design as of the previous versions of the notebook. The big changes come in the stunning 12.3-inch Pixel-Sense display, more sensitive stylus, new 6th-gen Intel processors, and wider range of memory and storage options. This makes the SP4 faster and more useful than any Surface ever before. So, here is our review on one of the best hybrid device in the market.
The Surface Pro 4 looks almost similar to last year’s model. The magnesium body feels solid, as does the friction-hinged kickstand, which rotates back with a stiff but secure-feeling action. There’s a thin vent that runs part of the way around the edge that keeps the system cool. A new and shiny Microsoft badge on the back. The angled edges are sharp without being painful, and, as before, the Type Cover flips around and lies flat against the back when you put the device in tablet mode.
On Surface Pro 4, you get a proprietary magnetic-charging port, one USB 3.0 port and a mini Display-Port on the right, a combo headphone/mic jack on the left, and a micro-SD card reader hiding behind the kickstand in back. Though, an additional USB-C port somewhere on the system would be appreciated. It measures 11.50 x 7.93-inches and weighs 1.73 ponds. When you add on the Type Cover, the full dimensions are 11.50 x 7.93 x 0.43-inches and 2.37 pounds.
The front camera features the same 5-megapixel resolution as on the Surface Pro 3, but now has Windows Hello facial recognition and the rear camera has been upgraded to 8 MP. Both cameras are capped at full-HD for recording videos.
Compared to more-traditional notebooks and 2-in-1, the Surface Pro 4 is smaller. HP’s 13-inch Spectre x360 13t and Toshiba’s Satellite Radius 12 are both bigger and heavier, at 12.79 x 8.6 x 0.6 and 3.26 pounds and 11.8 x 8.2 x 0.61 and 2.9 pounds, respectively. Even the mighty MacBook Air seems portly, at 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.11-0.68 inches and 2.96 pounds.
Type Cover and Stylus Pen
Earlier, Microsoft Surface 3 and Surface 3 Pro had over-sized 14 x 14 mm keys that were bigger than what you’d get on a typical laptop or desktop keyboard. This made it easy to hit multiple keys at the same time resulting in unnecessary typos. But, for the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft has reduced the keys to a standard 12 x 12 mm size and switched over to a more well-spaced, Chiclet-style layout, which is much more comfortable for typing.
The reduced key size makes for more real estate below the keyboard, which let Microsoft expand the touch-pad to 4 x 2-inches on the Surface Pro 4, up from 3.5 x 1.7-inches on the Surface Pro 3. That means there’s now even more room to luxuriate in the soft-touch surface when mousing around and using gestures.
The new eraser on the Surface Pro 4’s Stylus is a simple improvement with a big impact. You can still push it down to open One-Note, but when you actually get to writing, the eraser makes it easier and more natural to fix a stray stroke or errant effort.
The new Pixel-Sense display on the Surface Pro 4 is stunning. The 2736 x 1824, 12.3-inch screen is bright, colorful and seems wonderful to look at. With an average screen brightness of 382 nits, the Surface Pro 4 is brighter than any Surface yet, and more luminous than its competition. The Spectre x360 (339 nits), Satellite Radius 12 (338 nits) and the 13-inch MacBook (334 nits) were close, but still noticeably dimmer.
The Surface Pro 4’s color accuracy is almost perfect, achieving a Delta-E rating of 0.35 (numbers closer to zero are better). The Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 and HP Spectre x360 were less accurate, but close, with Delta-E ratings of 0.6 and 1.25. The MacBook was a good deal worse, with a rating of 4.3.
Editing photos is a pleasure with a color range that almost perfectly covers the sRGB spectrum (99.7 percent). HP’s x360 has a slightly wider color range, at 103.2 percent, while Toshiba’s Radius 12 was almost identical, at 100 percent. The 13-inch MacBook Air was much more limited, at 65.8 percent.
Graphics and Audio
The Surface Pro 4 comes with an Intel HD graphics 520 which is a significant upgrade from previous integrated solutions. That doesn’t mean every game is going to do well at its native resolution of 2736 x 1824. In 3DMark’s Fire Strike graphics test, the Surface Pro 4 scored 843, which was about the same as Toshiba’s Satellite Radius 12 and better than the HP Spectre x360 (710).
Surface Pro 4’s dual front-facing speakers positioned on either side of the screen project audio toward your ears, instead of to the sides or into a desk like some other systems do. The speakers aren’t loud, but they can fill a medium-sized room pretty well, and there’s almost no distortion. Though the bass is very less, but the audio balancing is pretty good.
The Surface Pro 4 is powered by a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5-6300U CPU that comes with 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD storage. The notebook has enough oomph to deal with pretty much any non-3D-intensive application. Even with streaming multiple 1080p videos and multiple Google Chrome tabs, the device faces no problems or lags.
The Surface Pro 4 scored an impressive 6,811 on Geekbench 3 test. That’s better than systems with older Core i5 CPUs, such as the 13-inch MacBook Air (5,783) and HP Spectre x360 (4,037), and even new Core-i7 PCs such as Toshiba’s Satellite Radius 12 (5,779).
The 256 GB SSD is also blazing fast that gives you a transfer speed of 318.1 Mbps. That’s two times faster than the Satellite Radius 12 (141.4 Mbps) and the Spectre X360 (141.4 Mbps), although just a bit slower than the MacBook Air (358.4 Mbps).
One of the drawback of the Surface Pro 4 is its heating problem. As per the Laptop Mag‘s heat test, the Surface Pro 4 reached 101 (Fahrenheit) degrees. In back, the left side of the tablet measured 100 degrees, while the right was slightly cooler, at 96 degrees. Overall, temps aren’t high enough to be painful, but may cause some sweaty palms if you’re using the device as a tablet.
The other low point of the Surface Pro 4 is its battery back-up. On Laptop Mag‘s Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits), the notebook lasted only 6 hours and 5 minutes. That’s better than the Toshiba Radius 12’s 5:17, but an hour and a half less than last year’s Surface Pro 3 (7:42). HP’s Spectre x360 was even better (9:28), and MacBook Air 13 more than doubled the Surface Pro 4, at 14 hours flat.
The Microsoft Surface Pro starts at $899 (approx INR 61,000) (without a Type Cover) for an Intel Core M3 CPU with 4 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD, and can cost up to $2,699 (approx INR 1,80,000) for an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD. The 512 GB SSD option requires at least an i5 CPU, while the 1 TB edition is only available along with an i7 chip and 16 GB RAM. But really, unless you like to have a lot of processing you’ll never use, then the i5, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD unit is perfect in terms of price and performance, at $1,429 (approx INR 95,000) with a Type Cover.
Overall, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is an absolute superb device. The Pixel-density display and the new 6th Gen Intel processor makes the Surface Pro 4 good for glory. However, there are certain lows for the device such as the battery backup and its heating problem, but that’s not deal breaking points as these points are only for the intense users. So, if you are looking for a powerful and good looking hybrid laptop, you can surely count in Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4.