Surface Pro 4 review: Microsoft perfects the laptop/tablet hybrid formula

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With each iteration of Microsoft’s Surface, the company comes closer to mastering the laptop/tablet hybrid product category it created back in 2012.

Whether or not the Surface Pro 4 is for you will depend on whether you’re upgrading from a previous Surface, or if the inherent concept of a laptop/tablet hybrid appeals to you in the first place.

For three years, Microsoft has been trying to convince us the Surface is the best of both worlds. It’s a laptop and it’s a tablet. But from a practical perspective what has always held the product line back is that it has never been a very good laptop.

Last year’s Surface Pro 3 was a significant improvement over previous Surface models thanks to its 12-inch screen, but the device was still difficult to use on the go. But it showed us that if you’re willing to make compromises, mainly related to comfort, the Surface is a great portable computing device.

SurfacePro4-2Microsoft is clearly onto something with its Surface products and companies like HP, Dell, and even Apple with the iPad Pro, have launched similar devices.

But now that Microsoft has shown off its first laptop, the Surface Book, the company no longer needs to convince us its Surface Pro line is a laptop replacement. With the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft is finally admitting it has created a new product category and is relishing in this fact, content to no longer chase the laptop dream.

That’s what the Surface Book is for.

Now that Microsoft has accepted what the Surface has evolved into, what are the next steps? The answer to this question is refinement. The Surface Pro 4 is for people who already know what the Surface is, or for those who have bought into the laptop/tablet concept and have been waiting for the right opportunity to purchase a device.

Technical specifications

  • 12.3-inch (31 cm) 2736×1824 (267ppi) Pixel Sense display
  • M3: 766 grams (1.689 lb), i5: 786 grams (1.733 lb), 786 grams (1.733 lb
  • 128 GB 6th Generation Intel Core M3 with 4 GB of RAM
  • 128 GB/256 GB 6th Generation Intel Core i5 with 4 GB/8 GB of RAM
  • 256 GB/512 GB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 8 GB/16GB of RAM
  • M3: Intel HD graphics 515, i5: Intel Graphics 520, i7: Intel Iris 540 graphics
  • Windows 10

The design

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Left: Surface Pro 3, Right: Surface Pro 4

The Surface Pro 4 looks strikingly similar to the Surface Pro 3. Unless you’re a hardcore fan of the product line, the average person won’t be able to tell the difference between both devices. Of course, the same can be said about most modern tech products, especially smartphones. The tech industry is in an era of iterative updates and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 exemplifies this fact.

Microsoft’s latest hybrid device features almost the same form factor, magnesium construction, and adjustable kickstand that was an excellent addition to last year’s Surface Pro 3. While the Surface’s look isn’t yet as well-known as the MacBook, Microsoft has established a recognizable visual identity with the Surface line and the company clearly is not interested in losing this brand recognition.

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Top: Type Cover 3, Bottom: Type Cover 4

That’s not to say the Surface Pro 4 doesn’t feature hardware upgrades, because it does – the improvements are just more subtle than in previous versions of the product.

The Pro 4 is slightly thinner than the Surface Pro 3, measuring in at 8.5mm when compared to last year’s 9.1mm. The Pro 4 is also slightly lighter, at 776 grams (for the Core M model) or 786 grams (for the Core i5 and i7 models) compared to last year’s 798 grams. Its display has also been increased from 12-inches to 12.3-inches. While the size and weight alterations are welcome additions to the Surface Pro 4, the differences are negligible to last year’s version, but significant when compared to the original Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2.

There is one major upgrade worth noting: the Surface Pro 4’s 2736×1824 (267ppi) display is significantly better than Pro 3’s, which featured a less dense 2160×1440 (216ppi) panel. The benefits of the Pro 4’s 24 percent sharper screen are particularly apparent when using programs like Photoshop and playing games that support higher resolutions. The Surface Pro 4’s display is also a step above its predecessor in contrast and colour reproduction.

The Surface Pro 4’s subtle physical changes make using Microsoft’s laptop/tablet hybrid a more enjoyable experience but they are far from significant.

Microsoft finally nails the Type Cover

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With each Surface iteration, Microsoft edges increasingly closer to releasing the perfect Type Cover. While last year’s version came close to recreating the trackpad and typing experience present on high-end laptops or MacBooks, the Type Cover 4 actually achieves this ambition.

Microsoft’s latest portable keyboard features redesigned keys and a trackpad that is 40 percent larger than the third-generation model. The keys have been altered so they’re raised, separated, and significantly more solid, resulting in fewer accidental key presses – a common issue I experienced with the Type Cover 3. The off-putting ridge of fabric that circled the perimeter of the Surface Pro 3 has also been minimized, giving the Type Cover 4 a more refined feel.

SurfacePro4-5The additional trackpad size helps ensure the Type Cover 4’s experience is more comparable to a traditional laptop keyboard, with smoother and considerably more accurate touch response. My finger quickly glides across its surface with ease and the palm detecting that plagued past Type Covers is no longer and issue. This makes transitioning between using a standard laptop and the Surface Pro 4 an easier experience.

Sadly, the Type Cover 4 still isn’t included with the Surface Pro 4 and costs an additional $169 CAD. It’s important to note that the Type Cover 4 is also compatible with the Surface Pro 3 since it uses the same connection mechanism, so if you’re already a Pro 3 owner, this is another reason not to opt for a full hardware upgrade. Just purchase the Type Cover 4 instead.

Surface Pen improvements

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The new and improved Surface Pen offers a more accurate stylus experience and unlike previous Surface models.

While I discovered long ago that styluses aren’t for me, the Pro 4’s Surface Pen feels more like a traditional writing tool than previous Surface Pens thanks to its increased sensitivity, which totals 1,024 levels of pressure thanks to Microsoft’s new PixelSense touch technology.

Jotting down quick notes feels natural thanks to the stylus tip’s flat side, replicating the feel of a well-worn number two pencil. The Surface Pen is also expertly weighted making the stylus feel more like using a standard pen. Past version of the Surface Pen felt top heavy but this is no longer an issue in this latest revision.

surfacegifAnother interesting addition to the Surface Pen is the eraser on its top. It makes quickly removing basic errors when jotting down quick notes in OneNote an easy process and also helps ensure the Surface Pro 4’s writing experience more closely replicates the feeling of writing on actual paper. The eraser also doubles as a way to quickly launch Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-activated assistant, although I found I rarely used this feature.

The Surface Pen is simple to store thanks to a magnetic snap included in the side of the Pro 4’s body. This feature is great for storing the Surface Pen while the Surface Pro 4 is sitting on a desk, but if you intend to carry it around in a bag, the magnetic connection isn’t strong enough to prevent the pen from falling off. Many times, my best intentions resulted in brief moments of panic when I thought I’d permanently misplaced the Pro 4’s Pen, only to find it buried in the bottom of my backpack beside granola bar wrappers.

That said, the Surface Pro 4’s magnetic clip is a significant step above past Surface Pen storage options. While I didn’t get to test the feature, pen tips are now interchangeable too, which makes the stylus more useful to artists and professional photographers.

The lap conundrum still isn’t solved

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I’ve always enjoyed Microsoft’s Surface products, but given I’m the type of person who uses my laptop on the go, the fact that the Surface Pro 3 felt awkward in my lap was a deal breaker. Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 4 suffers from the same issue.

The Surface Pro 4 is great to use while at a desk but a chore when it’s sitting on your lap on a cramped bus or airplane. The orientation between the Surface Pro 4’s body and the Type Cover 4 still isn’t as solid as what is featured in a traditional laptop, even with a heavily customizable kickstand.

Microsoft will argue that this is a problem the Surface Book solves, and the company is largely correct. Still, this issue is another reminder of the compromises that must be made when using the Surface Pro 4, which is fundamentally a tablet, instead of a traditional laptop – and a lot of people won’t be willing to make this sacrifice.

This problem isn’t new to the Surface line, so current Surface users won’t feel it’s an issue, but if you’re thinking of picking up one of Microsoft’s laptop/tablet hybrids for the first time, this is something you should consider.

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s best operating system yet

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Windows 10 does a superb job of blending Windows 8’s tablet view and Metro tiles into a more traditional desktop experience, although longtime Windows users will likely experience a brief adjustment period. When using the Surface Pro 4 without the Type Cover 4 I rarely switched over to full tablet mode. To my surprise I found myself leaving the device in standard Windows and interacting with its touch screen, mostly while reading on my morning commute or doing some quick web browsing in bed.

This is because an increasing number of apps have been optimized for the Surface Pro 4’s resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, with touchscreens in mind, which makes the traditional Windows experience more usable than ever when the device is in tablet mode. How people end up using the Surface Pro 4 with Windows 10 will come down to personal preference.

However, some people will likely find the Surface Pro 4’s 12.3-inch form factor too large for tablet mode, although this is not an issue I experienced. Make no mistake – the Surface Pro 4 is a large tablet and can’t be used with one hand; this isn’t an iPad Mini.

As someone who spends a significant amount of their time gaming, I also appreciate Windows 10’s Xbox One streaming feature. The Surface Pro 4 is ideal for Xbox One game streaming and I’ve found myself playing Fallout 4 more on the Surface than on my actual television. Exploring Fallout 4’s wasteland from the comfortable confines of my warm bed is a great experience.

Microsoft has also dropped the Windows home button that was present in the Surface Pro 3. I found this doesn’t affect the device’s user experience but some people may take issue with its absence.

Iterative hardware improvements galore

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The Surface Pro 4 has received a number of iterative hardware improvements.

The base model $1,179 CAD Surface Pro 4 comes equipped with an Intel Core M3 processor – which is similar to the hardware featured in Apple’s new MacBook – 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The Pro 4’s more powerful Intel Core i5 counterpart, which features Intel’s latest sixth generation Silverlake architecture and 4GB of RAM, is priced at $1,279 CAD.  The high-end Intel Core i7 features 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage at a price point of $2,099 CAD. This version also comes equipped with Intel’s latest processor architecture.

The wide range of technical specifications available give people a variety of options when purchasing the Surface Pro 4. Those interested in gaming as well as high-end video editing, will need to opt for the more expensive Core i7 8GB Surface Pro 4. For everyone else the Intel Core i5 with 4GB of RAM is powerful enough to perform daily tasks, especially if the device is being used for work purposes. The Core M variant is better suited to more casual users only interested in browsing the web and is likely not worth its hefty price tag. The Surface Pro 4’s Skylake processors also give the device an advantage over most MacBook’s when it comes to hardware power.

SurfacePro4-8During my time with the Intel Core i5 Surface with 4GB of RAM, I ran into few difficulties while using the Surface Pro 4 to browse the web and perform basic photography/video editing tasks. I even jumped into a few games of Age of Empires II HD, which is 16 years old at this point and not exactly a great way to test a device’s hardware capabilities (it’s still a great game though).

In order to perform a more appropriate test, I played Battlefield 4 matches and and bounded between trees in Tomb Raider with graphical settings set to medium in both games. During the short period of time I spent gaming with the Surface Pro 4, I didn’t experience any issues, but the Core i5’s integrated Intel Graphics 520 GPU was certainly not designed with video games in mind.

Battery life with the Surface Pro 4 is comparable to what I experienced with the Pro 3, lasting approximately five to six hours between charges with heavy use, which disappointingly lags behind the eight to nine hours of battery life offered by most MacBooks and many Ultrabooks.

While Windows Hello’s face recognition software worked adequately 80 percent of the time I logged into the Surface Pro 4, I still ran into a number of difficulties when trying to use the Iris Scanner under low light conditions and while wearing glasses. This prompted me to eventually turn it off, opting to sign-in to the device with a standard password. Hopefully Windows Hello’s issues are solved in a future Windows 10 update.

Refinement incarnate

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The Surface Pro 4 is clearly an act of refinement for Microsoft. Now that company has worked out the basics, its efforts are focused on improving the Surface’s more subtle issues.

In the end, the Pro 4 is unlikely to create many converts. Microsoft has created a relatively unique value proposition with the Surface line and intends to steer the device in the same direction it has been headed over the last few years.

The Surface Pro 4 is for Surface fans.

It’s also important to note that the Surface Pro 4’s upgrades aren’t significant enough to make current Surface Pro 3 users feel the need to upgrade. But if you’re still clinging to the Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2, or have been thinking about purchasing a laptop/table hybrid, the Surface Pro 4 is definitely a worthy purchase.

Pros

  • Best Surface yet
  • Still the top/tablet hybrid device around
  • Windows 10 improves the Surface’s user experience significantly
  • Type Cover 4 is a huge improvement over the Type Cover 3

Cons

  • The Surface Pro 4 is an incremental upgrade over the Surface Pro 3
  • Still awkward to use on a lap
  • Battery life lags behinds MacBook and some ultrabook laptops.

Comments

  • Mr Bojangles

    An incremental upgrade over the SP3? You gotta be kidding. It’s a major upgrade in nearly every way. Heck, the graphics improvement alone is worth the switch but that said it’s still a far more productive device than any iPad could hope to be. As far as using the device on your lap it’s why I personally find the tablet mode more compelling but then again I’m not one who uses this on my lap while riding public transit. On an airplane there is plenty of room to mount this on a tray and work away.
    The only real drawback is the battery life which at roughly 7 hours isn’t much better than previous iterations. Pricing also could be more competitive but if you square a mid-range SP4 with an iPad Pro with all the trimmings the pricing does become more compelling without a doubt.

    • JTon

      I think calling the SP4 an incremental upgrade to the SP3 is one of the least controversial points in the article. Microsoft literally incremented last years product’s name to come up with this years product name. It’s an incremental update by definition. Should it be listed as a con? Probably not. But what I think Daniel is trying to highlight is it may not be worth the cash to upgrade from SP3 to SP4. Might make more sense to wait for the SP5.

    • Mr Bojangles

      It’s more likely in the eye of the beholder really. Many would argue the SP4 is a major upgrade over the SP3 but I can also see why some would downplay that and suggest it’s less the case.
      From my perspective this device is in a league entirely its own and can’t even compare against an iPad. I use both devices and I see many virtues with iPad but it’s not a device that is aimed towards productivity in my view and that isn’t changed even with the iPad Pro. Mobile OS never was and never will be comparable to the functionality of a desktop OS. I find that aspect of the comparison kinda ridiculous as is the complaint that the keyboard is still an extra cost here. It’s an extra cost over at Apple too along with the Pencil so that’s a cheap shot in my estimation.
      In any event once people get acquainted with Windows 10 they’ll see that it’s nowhere near as bad as the haters would have you believe and in fact quite a joy to use once after awhile.
      p.s. It was O’Rourke that wrote this review. Not Daniel.

    • mastjaso

      I agree with you on the productivity front, and Windows 10 being great, but don’t kid yourself, this is absolutely an incremental update. It’s a big increment due to numerous small improvements, but there’s no huge game changing difference between the 4 and 3. I’ve got the 3 and my coworker who sits next to me just got a 4. We’ve been contrasting and comparing and there really is not that huge of a difference, battery life is roughly equivalent, both displays are still gorgeous, and for 99% of uses there’s not a huge difference in power.

      That being said the two biggest improvements seem to be the Type Cover and Windows Hello. He’s had none of the iris recognition issues the reviewer mentions and it’s a pretty magical unlocking experience, but entering a 4 digit pin is not particularly cumbersome, it’s more of a minor convenience.

      The Type Cover is honestly hugely improved, but I just went out and bought one for my Pro 3 and our experiences are now largely similar except for logging in. In my mind at least the main characteristic of an incremental upgrade is if the owners of the previous generation should upgrade or feel the desire to. In terms of the Type Cover, yes, it’s absolutely worth upgrading to the Pro 4, but in terms of the device itself? I definitely would not upgrade from a Pro 3.

    • Mr Bojangles

      Can’t say I’ve had any problems with Windows Hello except once in the dark. Otherwise you’re right. I use a PIN on my Lenovo Yoga and it’s a minor hiccup just as fast etc

    • thomas nguyen

      a bit upgrade which hasn’t been addressed is with the tasks that requires more processing power, there is less of a heat output with the SP4 compared to the SP3, and so you will noticed less throttling on the SP4

    • Vito R.

      I agree. Type Cover is great. How did you activate Windows Hello?

    • Vito R.

      Also, what does it being more productive than an iPad (agreed) have anything to do with it being an incremental improvement over the SP3? The original Surface Pro was more productive than an iPad haha. Testing it side-by-side with a Surface Pro 3 I didn’t see a noticeable difference in real world use (not talking about benchmark tests). I think the keyboard attachment is the biggest improvement to be honest. Because of that I’m thinking of getting a SP3 on sale on Black Friday and just using the new keyboard with it.

    • Vito R.

      Daniel usually reviews the cool stuff, you can see how he’s get that wrong 😉

      I have to disagree with your anti-iPad sentiment. I find the iPad Pro productivity more than sufficient for *my* needs. Is it as versatile as the Surface – no way – but it’s very good with that keyboard and split screen. I had no problem using it at home with Excel/Word/Skype/Safari. Split screen became second nature and I got the hang of it quick. For my needs I could totally get away with using either one, I still haven’t decided which one I would use more…

    • Mr Bojangles

      Split screen is something that has been in use in other devices, Android at least for some time if memory serves and not every application supports that feature whereas with Windows 10 EVERY application is supported by split screen.
      Apple is fundamentally way behind the curve on this score and what they have now, while an improvement, is not as versatile as the Surface.
      To each his own regarding productivity but I don’t care for a mobile OS on a 12 inch pad that confines me to what Apple thinks I can and should be able to do with the software/hardware. Heck you still can’t play a Youtube video or even a video out of a cloud service in the video overlay feature on an iPad yet which i think is pretty fundamental to enhancing the user experience. Have to wait and see if Google and MS in the case of OneDrive will update their apps to support that.

    • Vito R.

      I don’t disagree with any of that. I would only say that the iPad *is* a tablet as we’ve come to know it and it is sufficient for me to get the type of work done that I need to do at home. I wouldn’t use it as a work computing device just like I wouldn’t use a Surface as a home tablet.

    • That’s exactly what I’m saying. If you’ve been on the fence about the Surface now is the time to finally dive in. But if you already own a Surface Pro 3? It’s probably not worth it. What might seem like big upgrades to you aren’t that significant to me.

    • mastjaso

      I would agree. Though I would say the Type Cover is a huge improvement and absolutely worth upgrading if you own the Pro 3. I bought one for mine and it feels like a new machine.

    • Exactly. I’m actually thinking about picking up the Type Cover 4 for my Surface Pro 3.

    • mastjaso

      Honestly can’t recommend it enough. I think Ars Technica hit the nail on the head in their Surface Book review:

      >”My continued belief is that the most important characteristics of any laptop—any personal computer, really—are its screen, keyboard, and pointing device. Given the choice between a device with mediocre internals but top-notch human interface devices and one with the very fastest components but a crappy screen or keyboard, I’ll pick the former every time. These elements are make or break—get them right and nothing else really matters; get them wrong and your customers will curse you every single time they have to use one of your systems.”

      The SP3 screen is already great, and the new trackpad and keyboard are fantastic. Plus, the extra stiffness does help a bit with stability.

    • Brad

      Me too. I hate the trackpad on the Type Cover 3, and the keys are too closely spaced together.

      By the way, as someone who lives in a bilingual household, I love the fact that I can have two physical keyboards (one in French and one in English) for the same computer. If I ever have to sell it (I live in Quebec), it makes for a much bigger potential market.

    • MassDeduction

      This is one of the reasons why I think it makes sense that the Type Covers don’t come with the device. More than a few people buying the Surface Pro 2 simply re-used the keyboard cover they had from their Surface Pro (or Surface RT). You’re now proposing to do the reverse, keep your existing Surface but replace the cover. Keeping them de-bundled makes ample sense from both directions (new device, or new cover). It also means we can get snazzy colours, as Microsoft would likely make them a neutral colour if they were bundled with the device.

    • Laer

      I’m waiting for the one with the biometrics. At that point my SP3 will be perfect.

      As a side note, I heard the magnets in the new type cover are notably stronger, did you notice this Patrick?

    • MassDeduction

      It’s important to remember in all this talk about “last year’s” Surface Pro, that while it was last year it was early 2014 vs. late 2015. The next Surface Pro is likely to be early 2017, as Microsoft has suggested they intend to eschew the yearly upgrade cycle of their competitors in favour of an 18 month cycle that’s timed to Intel’s “tick/tock” cycle. That way they’ll always be using the latest Intel Core processors, whenever a new Surface Pro comes out. So the Surface Pro 3 was technically last year, but describing it that way suggests a Surface Pro 5 might be out in 2016 and that’s not likely to be the case.

    • mrgerbik

      Literally? Lol stop please. You goddamn kids cant use english

    • Philosoraptor

      I love my SP3 and this certainly isn’t a major upgrade for me – and I have the i3 64 GB model. I really don’t need anything better for what I do.

    • Vito R.

      Below is just my observation…

      Thing is, most people can get buy just fine with the “cheapest” iPad Pro + keyboard where as to be performance competitive you’d need the most expensive Surface Pro – your only issue with the iPad would be storage as the iPad Pro doesn’t get faster as it goes up in price, it just adds storage while the Surface also gets faster.

      The same Excel spreadsheet open in a Surface Pro 4 (i5 w/4GB) and an iPad Pro is choppy while scrolling on the Surface and very smooth on the iPad. Granted, they are running different versions of Excel but that’s still does not seem right.

      I was told by someone more tuned into the Microsoft desktop support than I am that the SP4 is very glitchy and this is probably a software issue – but it is what it is.

    • Vito R.

      Also, what does it being more productive than an iPad (agreed) have anything to do with it being an incremental improvement over the SP3? The original Surface Pro was more productive than an iPad haha. Testing it side-by-side with a Surface Pro 3 I didn’t see a noticeable difference in real world use (not talking about benchmark tests). I think the keyboard attachment is the biggest improvement to be honest. Because of that I’m thinking of getting a SP3 on sale on Black Friday and just using the new keyboard with it.

  • Ken Hagen

    Pros: Windows 10 the Surface’s user experience significantly.
    Improves?

    • Fixed. Thanks!

    • MassDeduction

      On that topic, “Microsoft has also dropped the the Windows home button”. Note the doubling up of “the”.

  • Pigs Can Fly

    incremental? Going from an SP3 to SP4 you’ll notice the performance almost double, an i5 6300U from an i5 4300U is significant as well as a better iGPU. Also the screen seems to be a little better this time around and stylus response is quicker and accurate. Oh and the keyboard… lol it’s so much better than the SP2 and SP3’s.

    However if you have a SP3 and it does well for most of what you do and am happy with it, then yeah you don’t really need the SP4, but if you’re shopping for a new tablet/laptop then the SP4 over the SP3 even if you’d save money with the SP3. But you know… there are people that buys a new iPhone or iPad every year or such…

    • MobiDude

      There were 500 internal improvement. The author is a bit biased and wrote in another article that pro 2 to pro 3 was major update, but not pro 3 to pro 4.

      What he failed to read was, MS wanted pro 4 to be compatible with pro 3 accessories. They promised that last year. So no, they cannot go out and make everything changed.

      Meanwhile the pro 2 and pro 3 had same processor, most of the internals, minus dropping WACOM which was a rather downgrade for then pro 3 digitizer.

  • Ken Wiebe

    Finally ditched the NotePro 12.2 in favour of my new SP4 and couldn’t be happier. I suppose if you are a short person or have short legs, the lap usage could be a little tricky, though I have no problems at all using my SP4 on my lap. The performance of the SP4 is really quite something and being able to install many of my standard desktop applications is a huge bonus. Boot-up time is crazy fast (10 seconds and you are ready to do some work).

    This little unit compliments my numerous work stations and I love being able to have a portable full-blown PC when I’m out with clients. Excellent job Microsoft!

  • D.L

    I’m sorry to say, but my experience with the SP4 has been a complete disaster. The device is plagued with hardware and software issues including (but not limited to) screen light bleed, loose buttons, uneven kickstand, lifted display, screen flickering, constant bsod, DPI scale issues, unresponsive touch screen, graphic card crashes – just browse through the Surface subreddit if you don’t believe me.
    After exchanging my unit 3 times, I finally called it quits. I’m no Apple fan but I think I’ll wait to spend my hard earned cash on the next update of the Macbook Pro.

    • Croc Ography

      Calling B.S. on this post.

    • D.L

      I have no qualms if you don’t believe me. Just check the Reddit site if you absolutely need proof.
      I’m just trying to inform people before they rush out to buy one based on reviews alone, especially since this is not a cheap device.
      I admit, the SP4 (in theory) is absolutely amazing. If Microsoft had, well, not been so Microsofty, I would be using it at this moment to type this.

    • Brad

      Even the people who run the “Love My Surface” blog had to return their SP4 for a new one; it had many of the same issues that D.L. reports above. I think they had a bad production run; presumably they’ve ironed out the kinks and the ones coming off the line now are better.

    • thomas nguyen

      not B.S. there has been a high amount of reports regarding BSOD, DPI scale issues, unresponsiveness, but that has been slowly fixed through the monthly updates. this should have been addressed for release, but at least they are doing it now.

    • Vito R.

      I like Apple hardware and I’ve had no problem with my SP4 except for choppiness in Excel.

    • Pigs Can Fly

      Either you got a lemon, got one that’s been opened and tampered with or you’re BS’ing. I used two different SP4’s over the past month and the only issue I had was not waking from sleep a few times, but hey my laptop has that same problem which is also running Windows 10 so it’s probably a Windows thing.

  • Philosoraptor

    “The new and improved Surface Pen offers a more accurate stylus experience and unlike previous Surface models, it’s actually included in the box with the Surface Pro 4.”

    Umm, what? My SP3 came included in the box.

    • ksoze

      Yep. Same with Surface Pro 1 and 2 – albeit with a different digitizer, but still included. Not sure where they got that misinformation.

  • Mr_Smoosh

    The biggest surprise for me is how well manicured Patrick’s hands are.

    • Ken Wiebe

      My Word…I never caught that. For his sake, that better be his wife in the pics!

    • robinottawa

      You’re so…2014.

    • Similar to my last review, my girlfriend will be pleased to know you like her nail
      polish.

  • Adam Watts

    Still no built in LTE. Microsoft messed up again.

    • Mr Bojangles

      Who cares about that. Tether your device to your phone. There are also tons of Wi-Fi spots out there to connect to.

    • Ken Wiebe

      Not sure if “messed up” would be the best statement. Yes, an LTE option may be fine…but I’m sure that for the vast majority of SP users, it would be a $100-$150 option of little value. With WiFi available in so many locations including offices, hotels, restaurants etc., I’m not sure how many people would choose to eat-up their data plan. Just tether if you run into a spot with no WiFi.

    • thomas nguyen

      I had a LTE ipad, it was great at the start, but I find myself using wifi at home where I use the ipad the most, when I’m out, it’s not as great as I thought it would be, considering I pay x amount per month for the tablet only plan.
      BUT… to each their own

    • I’ve never seen the appeal of devices with built-in LTE. Just tether to your smartphone?

    • MassDeduction

      The appeal is better battery life on the phone, not having to keep your smartphone plugged in to avoid battery life issues while tethering, some plans in the U.S. (such as Cricket’s) don’t allow tethering or charge a premium for tethering, etc.. And, believe it or not, I know at least one person with a feature phone but who has a tablet so that person can’t tether.

      In general, I agree. I find WiFi pretty much everywhere I go, and can tether in the rare circumstances that it’s not so. But there are going to be exceptions.

  • alphaswift

    has anyone found the Type Cover with Fingerprint ID in Canada?

    • Ryan

      My understanding is that was only sold in the US. But the good news is Windows Hello camera works great!

    • I found Windows Hello really underwhelming. I’m hoping the facial recognition improves in subsequent updates.

    • Ryan

      I found that you need to take multiple angles, which you can do in settings. Take one in low light, take one lying in bed, take one holding the tablet in front of you etc. Makes it much more reliable.

    • Hmm. I’ll have to give that a try. I took an image from two different angles. Maybe that wasn’t enough?

  • Vito R.

    I really like my Surface Pro 4. The only time I find it awkward to use on my lap is if I don’t have my feet on the ground with my knees together – it would be cumbersome to use if you were sitting cross legged for example.

    I think the keyboard (and touchpad!) is fantastic.

    • MassDeduction

      I’m relatively tall (6’1″) with relatively long legs (the leg length on my pants is 34″). So I have no trouble using my Surface Pro 3 in my lap. Looking at the pic of Patrick’s partner, though, I can see how someone shorter-legged than me could!

  • marshallpower

    I don’t know why MS feels obligated to write every time that the iPad Pro is “similar”. Oh wait…

    • J.S.Bach

      You can’t really compare the two. Surface is a real PC that you can take to the office, connect to your domain, share network resources and do real work on whereas an iPad Big is still just a consumer device.

    • marshallpower

      I know…and if my utlrabook was older, I would get one right away. Even the cheaper model was really fast at Best Buy! The 950XL is very tempting too with the free dock…and the amazing camera!

    • MassDeduction

      That comment was so confusing to me as “Microsoft” is often shortened to “MS”, and this is a review of a Microsoft product. It took me a moment to realize you meant “Mobilesyrup” when you typed “MS”. 🙂

    • Pigs Can Fly

      “MS” as in Microsoft? Oh Mobilesyrup.

      iPad Pro isn’t very business orientated, that’s where Apple went wrong with marketing it as one.

  • J.S.Bach

    I got a Surface Pro 3 and it was the best decision ever. I never use it as a tablet but it’s size and weight make a huge difference when I take it out to clients. An extra USB port would be darn handy and using something other than a AAAA battery for the pen but otherwise you can’t go wrong with a Surface Pro.

  • cartfan88

    Good review. Covered a lot of bases.

  • Connor

    The SP4 type cover has a *print screen* button (although it’s just a Fn+* thing)? GG, there goes any reason to save cash by buying the legacy SP3 type cover.

    • Brad

      Hit the Windows key and the S key simultaneously to get the ability to custom-select the screen area you want to capture, assuming you have OneNote installed. You can save it to the clipboard for pasting.

      Also, Windows key plus the “volume down” key should do the same thing that “print screen” did.

    • Pigs Can Fly

      Win+S = search

    • Brad

      Ah, it looks like this changed in Windows 10. On my Windows 7 machine, with OneNote installed, Win+S brings up a cursor that you can use to select an area for a screen shot. I use it all the time; not sure whether there’s a way to do the same in Windows 10.

  • Laer

    Patrick. I finally understand! You complained about the pro 3’s lapability before and I just didn’t get it. I’ve always found it very comfy.

    And then I saw your side profile image above. Apparently you have stubby legs because that looks awful cramped.

    Now now, don’t get short with me, just a simple observation. :op

  • gabby ybanez

    I love your wallpaper choice!

  • Dennis Deveaux

    I’m almost certain all Surface Pro tablets have included the pen – it’s the Surface 3 that doesn’t.

    • Tronix666

      Surface 3 pro comes with the pen. Why would it be the only release that didn’t include one? That just doesn’t make sense.

  • AmarCheema

    i love this surface pro … dammm i need it for my work. but too expensive its been 2 moths and still saving lol… will get it 🙂

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