Few were expecting the Surface Pro 4 to have significant hardware revisions, particularly as Microsoft confirmed it would have compatibility with existing Surface Pro 3 accessories, like the docking station. The Redmond giant did have some surprises in store for Surface fans, though, outlined in further detail below.
The Surface Pro 4 comes in several configurations, just like its Pro 3 predecessor. Its headline feature, arguably, is the inclusion of Intel's fresh Skylake CPU. The 6th generation processor boasts increased efficiency and large gains for integrated graphics, particularly when compared to the Surface Pro 3's Haswell setup.
|Windows 10 Pro
|6th Generation Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 (Skylake)
|m3 Intel HD graphics 515, i5 Intel HD graphics 520, i7 Intel Iris 540 graphics
|12.3-inch PixelSense Display at 2763 x 1824 (267 PPI)
Contrast ratio: 1300:1
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
|128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD options
|4GB, 8GB or 16GB
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
|11.50 x 7.93 x .33 in (292.10 x 201.42 x 8.45 mm)
|i5/i7: 1.73lbs (786g), m3: 1.69lbs (766g)
|Full-size USB 3.0, microSD card reader, 3.5mm headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Type Cover port, Surface Connect
|802.11ac WiFi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
|Up to 9 hours
1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity
|24W power supply (Intel Core m3)
36W Power supply with USB chargin port (Intel Core i5 and Core i7)
|Stereo microphones, stereo speakers with Dolby audio, ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
|In The Box
|Surface Pro 4
Quick Start Guide
Safety and warranty documents
Overall it seems that the Surface Pro 4 is a solid iteration on the Pro 3, touted as 30% faster during the event.
The optional Intel Iris 540, i7 Skylake CPU and 16 GB RAM for the higher tier configurations will boost the Surface Pro line's capabilities significantly.
While Intel's Iris 540 tech won't run the latest games on the highest settings, they'll provide a welcome improvement over the Surface Pro 3's most powerful spec option. The Iris 540 supersedes the Iris 6100, which could run modern games fairly adequately on mid to low settings.
One of the primary drawbacks of the Surface Pro 3, particularly for heavy users, is the heat generation. In certain situations the SP3 could overheat, and throttle the processor to compensate. To remedy this, the Intel i5 and i7 Surface Pro 4's have 'hybrid cooling' systems, which distributes heat more evenly using phase changing liquid that travels around the components in metal tubes. The Intel m3 Surface is reportedly fanless, but retains the vents seen in the models demonstrated during the events.
The Surface Pro family certainly isn't intended for gaming, though. The inclusion of the Iris 540 is primarily intended to help the SP4 power external 4K monitors, utilizing the new Surface dock, as well as perform intensive tasks like video rendering.
Speaking of visuals, Surface inventor Panos Panay noted that they shrunk the SP4's bezel to pack even more pixels into the screen. Thanks to a technology Microsoft are calling PixelSense, the SP4 rocks over 5 million pixels in what they describe one of the brightest and most accurate displays the devices team has ever made.
Microsoft also unveiled a brand new Surface Pen, which has an eraser-like material on the reverse end and interchangeable nibs to simulate different types of physical inputs. The new Pen boasts 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and now includes a magnetic region to attach it to the tablet itself. Say goodbye to flimsy pen loops.
There's also a brand new Type Cover, which sports various usability improvements, a 40% larger trackpad made of glass, and an optional fingerprint reader.
The Surface Pro 4 has improvements all-around over the previous version, which missed out on Intel's delayed Broadwell chipset, aging fairly quickly in the process.
Still, the SP4 is very familiar when compared to its predecessor at face value. Discussing diminishing returns, Panos Panay noted that the only reason they couldn't get the SP4 any thinner was because they wanted to ensure it still supported a full-size USB port. As someone who's been using Surface Pro devices as their sole computing solution for the last three years, I was more than happy with what Microsoft had to offer.
That's not all, though. Panos Panay shocked the tech industry by closing the presentation with the unveiling of the Surface Book, a beastly MacBook Pro competitor with a unique 2-in-1 design. The Surface Book wields a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GPU in the base, which is also detachable, supporting multiple positioning configurations. Be sure to check out more on that over here.
We certainly haven't seen the last of the Microsoft Devices team, as noted by Panos Panay himself. The future of Microsoft hardware is certainly looking bright.
Pricing and availability
You can customize your Surface Pro 4 spec at the checkout on the Microsoft Store, but it also comes with some pre-defined configurations with fixed price tiers. If you want the Core i7 version with Intel Iris graphics, you have to hit the "Customize" button on the US product website. For UK readers, Microsoft announced that pre-orders will go live on October 7th, with prices starting at £859.99. Listings have appeared for other European territories, such as France and Germany, with pricing starting at €999,00.
The Surface Pro 4 is expected to ship on October 26th in the US, and November 12th in the UK.
- 128 GB SSD / Intel Core m3 / 4 GB RAM - $899.00
- 128 GB SSD / Intel Core i5 / 4 GB RAM - $999.0
- 256 GB SSD / Intel Core i5 / 8 GB RAM - $1,299.00
- 256 GB SSD / Intel Core i5 / 16 GB RAM - $1,499.00
- 256 GB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 8 GB RAM - $1,599.00
- 256 GB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 16 GB RAM - $1,799.00
- 512 GB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 16 GB RAM - $2,199.00
- 1 TB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 16 GB RAM - $2,699.00 (Listed as coming soon, as of writing)
We have Dan and Mark on the ground at NYC, so keep your eyes on Windows Central for all the latest and greatest on Microsoft's brand new devices.
For the rest of our NYC #Windows10Devices coverage head here:
- Lumia 950
- Lumia 950 XL
- Surface Pro 4
- Surface Book
- Microsoft Band 2
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!