Microsoft Surface Pro 2017 review – TWEAKED, pinched, squished, refined and now in its fifth iteration, the new Microsoft Surface Pro is here and after a few weeks of using it as a primary device, we’re impressed all over again.
The Surface Pro builds on all the successes and failures of Surfaces that came before it, this time delivering the best battery life and performance we’ve seen to date.
You’d certainly expect incredible performance given the asking price of this thing: £799 for the Intel Core m3 version right through to £2,699 for the Core i7 variant with 16GB RAM. Couple that with the fact it doesn’t ship with the essential £149.99 keyboard, the optional £99 Surface Pen or Office 365 and that’s over £3,000 for a kitted out laptop in tablet’s clothing.
Worth the outlay? Keep reading to find out.
The Surface Pro’s design is the epitome of refinement. Sure, every Surface we’ve reviewed has looked excellent, but this one looks better. It’s all about attention to detail here, with the Surface Pro packing colour-matched hinges and ports that make the whole aesthetic that bit more seamless.
It’s thin too. Despite packing better battery than its predecessor, it’s roughly the same thickness at 8.5mm while shrinking the surface area slightly to deliver an ever so slightly better screen to bezel ratio.
Made of a rich, matte metal, it feels solid and soft at the same time while keeping fingerprints at bay. Our review device, the i7 variant weighs 784g and given the fact it was still manageable one-handed, this bodes well for the i5 and m3 variants, both of which are approximately 15g lighter.
Ports are predictably poor, as is the case on all slender, handsome Windows tablets. On the right is a proprietary charging connector, one full-sized USB 3 port and one display port. To the left you’ll find a headphone jack, while the side is also magnetic, adhering the optional Surface Pen to it relatively securely.
The sides also play home to stereo speakers, up top are the buttons and at the base is the magnetic keyboard connector.
A key area Surface devices have excelled in the past is hinge-amazingness, and there is no tablet hinge more amazing than that on the new Surface Pro. Supporting the tablet from virtually upright right through to nigh-on flat, the Surface Pro’s hinge is firmly fixed throughout a 165-degree range of motion. It’s incredibly solid and incredibly satisfying – excellent engineering Microsoft.
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The 12.3in PixelSense displays on Surfaces have always looked incredible and it’s very much a case of history repeating itself here. The 3:2 aspect ratio is novel in a world of widescreen laptops while the Gorilla Glass 3 is rich to the touch and offers more protection than we’ve seen on past Surface devices.
Sure, 3:2 screens mean borders up top and below when watching films, and is it’s reflective, but those are the only two negatives here.
Clarity is on-point with a resolution of 2736×1824, resulting in a pixel density of 267 pixels-per-inch. That’s sharper than pretty much every laptop around and most tablets – so however you want to watch the Surface, it’ll look excellent.
As for the tech at work, it’s IPS LCD, loaded up with an N-Trig digitiser. This means that when the Surface Pro is combined with a shiny new Surface Pen, it has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Pair that with the extent to which this thing folds flat and the Surface Pro is the best illustration tool to come out of Microsoft to date, other than the Surface Studio, of course.
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