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Microsoft Surface Pro review: Performance and battery up, but the stylus and keyboard lag behind

The newest addition to Microsoft’s Surface Pro line is in and, well, they’ve really delivered the goods on this one, taking another step towards their ever-improving quest to create the most versatile device on the market.

Like any Techly review, we’ll take a gander at the look, feel and, of course, performance aspects of the Surface Pro.

How does it look and feel?

It has a sleek new design, and while that’s a pretty stock standard line for new models of anything, this one feels like it carries distinct differences to previous versions, most importantly, they are positive differences.

Rounded edges, ladies and gents!

For anyone who has owned previous versions and has clipped their hands on the corners while unfolding the keyboard, or just handling it at all for that matter, this aspect alone will sell it. The keyboard has a pretty slick Alcantara cover that gives it a fancy suede look. It’s much softer on the eyes and the fingers than previous models and it makes more of a difference than you’d first think.

In saying that, it does have a slight Macbook-y feel about it at first glance, with its very fine silver finish and thin design. That thin design is barely a negative though, moving towards the light and manoeuvrable facets of the machine, which I’ll get to later.

The display remains the same at 31.2cm but Microsoft has found a very good ratio with that aspect and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them stick with that for the foreseeable future.

I did enjoy the noticeable lack of kickstand on it as well. The laptop style it takes on is a nice comfortable touch for positioning and placement when not at a desk.

Overall, it all looks a bit slimmer, a bit sleeker, a bit lighter and more compact which is a huge selling point with so many people jumping on board the most aesthetically pleasing machine they see in a lot of markets.

How does performance stack up?

There are a few things that Microsoft have yet to answer from their previous Surface Pro models so we’ll get those out of the way first.

The keyboard and Surface Pen (stylus) are separate to the machine, meaning you’ll need to fork out extra dosh to get those. While the re-designed Pen and keyboards are indeed quite good, with improved touch sensitivity, reaction times and usability on the pen and touchpad alike, throwing extra cash around isn’t something people get behind easily.

There’s also no thunderbolt or USB-C either, with just the one USB 3.0 port, which has been another point of contention in the past.

Batteries and performance

The battery life has jumped to the highest point in Surface Pro’s short history. They’ve jumped up to a 45Wh pack, giving the newest edition in the line a huge boost. I found the battery life improved by at least two-thirds when under constant use in a regular work day from the Surface Pro 4, which became fairly renowned for its short life. You can take it somewhere without needing to lug along the charger for a day, which is a big improvement.

It carries Intel’s seventh-gen CPU with Core i5 processor, which is – get this – fanless! No sound while in full flight. It won’t sound like your computer is trying to take off when you’ve got a bevvy of programs or tabs open, which is a beautiful thing.

It starts up and gets mowing along very quickly, the improvement in power and speed is one of the most notable and it makes the whole thing so much nicer.

The thin design of it makes it pretty easy to work with and Microsoft are getting closer and closer to that perfect hybrid tablet-laptop they are after.

If there is one issue that I just can’t get around… it’s the name. Microsoft have continued their trend of illogical numbering schemes for their products, using the same name as the original Surface Pro that was released in early 2013.

Despite it being the fifth instalment and following the Surface Pro 4, they decided against the chronological naming of their newest machine, much in the same way Microsoft named their third gaming console rendition the Xbox One.

Summary

Overall, a nice step up from the fourth edition without setting the world alight. The speed and battery life are big bonuses on this one and make an instantly noticeable difference in general use and productivity.

The lack of extras is always going to push people the wrong way and I think they’ve lost a bit of faith by removing the Pen and failing to reduce keyboard prices.

If you’re a dedicated Surface Pro fan, then you’ll like this one and it’s a strong step up in the line.

If you’re looking to jump in from the outside, this one will be a bit of money to pull in, but it’s one of the most versatile and workable tablet-hybrids you will find on the market.

Get all the pricing info here.

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