Now that Apple has joined the convertible don’t-call-it-a-laptop party with the iPad Pro, Microsoft is giving the Surface Pro a much-needed specs bump. Productivity has never been so competitive.
The Surface Pro 4 is a direct successor to the Pro 3 (duh), meaning it’s a fully fledged laptop replacement, with a beefy and capable processor. (That’s less true of the Surface 3, Microsoft’s cheaper, thinner and slower version of the Surface).
Specs include ‘up to’ 16GB of RAM and 1TB of solid-state storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a larger trackpad on the keyboard accessory. That’s a good change—I’ve always found the trackpad to be an afterthought on the Surface keyboards.
But the insides isn’t the most exciting thing about this new Surface: that would be those bezels, which barely even exist. The Pro 4 has a 12.3-inch screen, but it’s the same size as its 12-inch predecessor.
While things are being shrunk, let’s talk about the body: thanks to a new cooling system, it’s a little thinner: 8.4mm vs 9.1mm for the Pro 3.
The screen has a resolution of 267ppi. That’s exactly three pixels per inch more than the iPad Pro, by the way. Also, the Gorilla Glass is the thinnest ever on a tablet, at 0.4 inches. Thinner glass is almost always a good thing, because the thinner the glass, the better the touch (and digital pen!) experience.
Speaking of the pen: Microsoft’s going all-out with its stylus on this edition of the Surface. The new pen has all-year battery life, interchangeable tips with different feel and sensitivity. Want a stylus that feels like a pencil, or a felt tip, or a ballpoint? Microsoft has you covered. Oh, and finally, there’s a magnetic dock for the pen.
Another new accessory is the Surface Pro docking station. It connects with a cable, and pumps out four USB 3.0 ports, two 4K DisplayPort connectors, and Ethernet as well. (Yes, it is backwards-compatible with the Pro 3.)
In case you needed more new accessories: the Surface keyboard cover is getting an update. It’s the same fabric-style, magnetic-connecting keyboard, but now with a backlit keyboard with deeper key travel. Oh, and because it’s 2015, you get a fingerprint reader.
Pricing starts at $900 in the US (presumably without accessories) and full rollout is on October 26.