Hands-on with Surface Pro 6 (video)

As many expected, Microsoft this week unveiled the Surface Pro 6, a modest refresh that keeps the same aesthetics as the previous Surface Pro, but adds quite a bit of extra horsepower.

The biggest change here is that Microsoft has upgraded the processor to Intel's 8th Gen chips. It's a significant upgrade that pushes the Surface Pro 6 to be up to 65 percent faster than its predecessor, Microsoft says. Also new? That handsome matte black color option.

For more, check out our hands-on video above. If you're ready to pull the trigger on an upgrade, you can preorder the Surface Pro 6 starting at $899 now. (opens in new tab)

Everything Microsoft Announced at its October 2 Surface event

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • They must have gotten a really good deal on the Marvell WiFi chips to help using them this long. They're not terrible, especially after a lot of software fixes and they're way better than when I first got my pro 4, but they're certainly not the best there is.
  • Dan stated: "You still get the same ports: USB-A and a mini-DisplayPort..." You forgot to mention the most important port of all, Dan: Surface Connect, which allows for full desktop expansion (with Gigabit Ethernet, 4 USB-3.1 Gen 1 ports, two displays, audio, and charging, etc.) via a single wire. (And if you must use some third-party USB Type C 'dock' with all of the potential incompatibilities that may bring, there is the Surface Connect to USB-C adapter.) I know that you are aware of this Dan, but many people seem clueless that every Surface device already has the same expansion capabilities that USB-C offers (coupled with a superior zero-insertion force charging connector). When you omit mention of this, you foster this misunderstanding. In my opinion, way too much hash is being made over the physical USB connector. What people *really* should be clamoring for is increased USB bandwidth in the Surface devices themselves: either USB 3.1 Gen 2, or Thunderbolt 3, the later of which actually does require a USB Type C connector. Right now, no Surface device offers more than USB 3.0, and until they do, a Type C physical connector is just not that a big deal (and definitely increases the risk of faulty charging).
  • First of all, the de facto docking standard is Thunderbolt 3, which Surface is still incompatible with. The USB-C dongle doesn't help at all there. The company I work for and the business my family runs only have Thunderbolt 3 docking stations. Because the Thunderbolt 3 controller has been built into the Intel chipset for some time now, there is really zero excuse for Microsoft to exclude it. I could never buy a Surface because of this serious limitation. Besides that, no other PC can use a Surface dock. I'm not sure why anyone would want to lock themselves into this proprietary mess when the entire rest of the industry, Mac and Windows PC together, use Thunderbolt 3.
  • In the PC space, I think it's fair to say that Thunderbolt 3 is an "emerging" docking standard--ordinary USB Type A and C docks are far more common, and Surface is compatible with both already (via native ports or a Type C adapter). Surface Connect being "proprietary" is certainly accurate, though "mess" is subjective. And being proprietary doesn't change its utility. Regardless, you are missing my point. People are freaking out over the Type C connector without considering Thunderbolt 3. Just having the connector is meaningless (to me) without Thunderbolt, yet somehow people think the SB2 and Go are fine, while the SP6 and Laptop 2 are broken. You are I are in agreement about Thunderbolt 3. Unfortunately, USB Type C is a cluster of misinformation and partial understanding.
  • Here's why we like USB-C on the SB2 and the Surface Go: they work with all our other USB-C products without spending $80 on an extraordinarily clunky adapter. When my partner and I travel, we only need one charger for our USB-C phones, USB-C MacBook Pro, USB-C Dell XPS 13 DE, and USB-C Surface Go. At home, we have a monitor stand (Dell DS1000) that has a USB-C plug built into it so we can plug in any one of our devices and it docks to a keyboard, mouse, two monitors, Ethernet, printer, and wired Xbox controller. If we were to get a SP6, we would then have to spend an additional $80 on something that's useful for only one device (I get that it would work for the Surface Go as well, it would never be used for it since the Go already supports USB-C). Thunderbolt 3 isn't widespread, so it's fine for these products to omit it. However, USB-C is gaining traction, and for Microsoft to ignore it is a deal-breaker for those who like a simplified workflow, especially when there are products that work just like a Surface but support the features consumers want. Sure, the Surface Connect port might be better because it's magnetic, but it only works with a Surface, not everything. We want products that work with everything, not just a Surface. That's why we're "freaking out" over it.
  • Dusteater Are you saying Thunderbolt 3 is required for a PC to work with your company's USB-C dock? I am skeptical of this claim. Have you really tried to use a non-Thunderbolt 3 PC with USB-C with one of your docks? SilverSee I see what you mean and I largely agree. The problem is that only in recent months has the Surface Dock experience been anything better than crap. Before that it would crap out several times a day every day. You had to power cycle to get it to work again. Even today ethernet will randomly crap out once every couple of days for a couple seconds. So I can understand why some would really prefer a USB-C dock solution, besides the fact that it'll work with almost any other contemporary PC.
  • Andrew, there are docks that are Thunderbolt 3 only. A simple search on Amazon pulls up a plethora of them. These work only with Thunderbolt 3, as Thunderbolt has several other channels that regular USB-C doesn't have. The product description for them all say that they won't work with regular USB-C. I would assume that when Dusteater said Thunderbolt 3, not USB-C, he, and all the product manufacturers making Thunderbolt 3 docks, knew what they were talking about.
  • Since when was the docking standard Thunderbolt 3? While I want thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, it's definitely not the standard.
  • Windows Home really Microsoft? Maybe they should call it the Surface Home 6.
  • You're on insider anyway what does it matter.
  • ^ This...why a home licence on a pro device? I need and use remote desktop which isn't available on a home licence (unless something has changed recently)
  • It seems to me that the inclusion of USB-C on Surface Book 2 and Surface Go demonstrates that the Surface Team is quite aware of the advantages of USB-C. Of course they are, they are extremely competent people. It's also clear from these devices that you can have both USB-C and the proprietary Surface Connect. On Surface Pro you could just have changed the Display Port to USB-C and kept the Surface Connect and USB-A ports. Nobody would loose existing connections, everybody would gain added value of new connection possibilities. So why didn't they do the obvious thing? The only reason I can think of is cost: that it would have been quite costly to change the hardware. However, this also sounds strange. So I must admit that the lack of USB-C is both disapointing og puzzling. It does not mean that the Surface Pro 6 is a failure, of course not. In all other respects it remains the gold standard of 2-1 devices. It's 90 pct. perfection - but with USB C it would have been absolutely perfect!
  • I agree they should have changed the display port to Type-C, it's odd that the Surface Book 2, Surface Go, Studio 2 and the Surface Headphones have type-C but the Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 does not.... it's a very, very odd omission.
  • Hey Dan, great video! Is the black version likely to show silver scratches like the surface laptops?
  • Guess I will stick with my 16GB i7 SP4 another year. Battery life is terrible, but performance is good and this doesn't offer much in the way of any extra features. USB-C w/Thunderbolt, Windows 10 Pro, advanced Iris graphics would have sold me. I also hope when they do add Thunderbolt they can keep the Surface dock port for compatibility.
  • Microsoft shot themselves in foot by not including USB Type-C port!