Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Bigger Screen, Faster Guts

By Chris Mills on at

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).

Microsoft Surface Pro 4: A Little Bit Bigger, a Lot Faster

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.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Bigger Screen, Faster Guts

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.)

Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Bigger Screen, Faster Guts

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.