Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Review

A litany of modest improvements come together to make a computer that's more than the sum of its parts.

Windows Central Recommended Award

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 (read our full review) will go down as the watershed moment for the company's efforts to refocus on consumer hardware. It was with that version of the Surface that Microsoft saw commercial success and even Apple fans began to take notice. The question is, what do you do to follow up such a device? Do you reinvent it yet again or stick with the same formula? Funny enough, Microsoft did both when the announced the Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4 in early October.

In my last review I asked "Does the Surface Pro 3 replace your laptop? Microsoft makes some bold moves with their new Surface design, but it remains to be seen if people will buy it." Well, it is clear people are buying them as the Surface business is now worth more than $3 billion for the year. It is still not clear if the Surface Pro can replace your laptop, but Microsoft is sticking to their guns.

As it turns out, the Surface Pro 4 is what it should be: an iterative update that refines and builds upon the success of the Surface Pro 3. Under the leadership of Panos Panay, the Surface team is delivering many substantial improvements to keep the Surface line fresh, yet they're not alienating Surface Pro 3 owners either.

So how is it? I have spent the last two weeks with the fourth iteration of the Surface and like the Pro 3, Microsoft has largely succeeded — assuming you like this form factor.

What's new in Surface Pro 4?

The big question for many consumers will be what is new and different about the Surface Pro 4 when compared to the previous versions and the new Surface Book. Let's break it down by the core specs.

Surface Pro 4 Specs

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CategorySpecification
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
CPU6th Generation Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 (Skylake)
Graphicsm3 Intel HD graphics 515, i5 Intel HD graphics 520, i7 Intel Iris 540 graphics
Display12.3-inch PixelSense Display at 2763 x 1824 (267 PPI)
Contrast ratio: 1300:1
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD options
RAM4GB, 8GB or 16GB
Rear Camera8MP
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Front Camera5MP
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Windows Hello-compatible
Dimensions11.50 x 7.93 x .33 in (292.10 x 201.42 x 8.45 mm)
Weighti5/i7: 1.73lbs (786g), m3: 1.69lbs (766g)
PortsFull-size USB 3.0, microSD card reader, 3.5mm headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Type Cover port, Surface Connect
WiFi802.11ac WiFi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
BatteryUp to 9 hours
PenSurface Pen
1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity
Magnetic storage
Power supply24W power supply (Intel Core m3)
36W Power supply with USB chargin port (Intel Core i5 and Core i7)
OtherStereo microphones, stereo speakers with Dolby audio, ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
In The BoxSurface Pro 4
Surface Pen
Power supply
Quick Start Guide
Safety and warranty documents

Here is how the new Surface Pro 4 stands against the Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, and new Surface Book.

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CategorySurface 3Surface Pro 3Surface Pro 4Surface Book
Display10.8 inches12 inches12.3 inches13.5 inches
Resolution1920x12802160x14402763x1824 PixelSense3000x2000 PixelSense
ProcessorIntel Atom x7Intel i3 / i5 / i7 (Haswell)Intel M3 / i5 / i7 (Skylake) 64 bitIntel i5 / i7 (Skylake)
GraphicsIntel HD (Broadwell)Intel HD 4200 / 4400 / 5000Intel HD 515 / 520 / Intel Iris 540Intel HD 520 / NVIDIA GeForce (Maxwell)
RAM2 or 4GB4 or 8GB4, 8 or 16GB8 or 16GB
BiometricsNoneNoneFacial recognitionFacial recognition
Internal Storage64GB / 128GB64GB /128GB/ 256GB / 512GB128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Storage TypemSATAmSATAPCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0
External Storagemicro SDmicro SDmicro SDFull-size SD card
PortsUSB 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
Headset jack
USB 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
Headset jack
USB 3.0
Headset jack
Mini DisplayPort
2x USB 3.0
Headset jack
Mini DisplayPort
Listed Battery Life10 hours9 hours9 hours12 Hours
Weight1.37 lbs (621g)1.76 lbs (798g)i5/i7: 1.73 lbs (786g)
m3: 1.69 lbs (766g)
3.48 lbs (1576 grams)

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

The big shifts for the Surface Pro 4 compared to Surface Pro 3 come down to these fundamental components and features:

  • New 6th gen Intel Skylake processors
  • Higher resolution display (2763x1824 vs. 2160x1440)
  • Slightly larger screen (12.3 inches vs. 12.0)
  • Less heavy (lighter by 0.03 lbs)
  • Increased levels of pressure sensitivity for Pen (1024 vs. 256)
  • Facial recognition camera for Windows Hello
  • Updated distributed cooling system
  • Maximum internal storage increase to a 1TB SSD
  • Shift from mSATA to high-performance PCIe 3.0 for storage
  • Maximum RAM configuration now up to 16GB
  • Higher starting price: $799 (now $699) versus $899

For the Surface Pro 3 user, it is obvious that the Surface Pro 4 offers modest improvements in many categories. That is where the Surface Pro 4's story becomes interesting. While performance differences between a the 5th-generation Broadwell Core i5 and the new 6th-generation Skylake chips are slight, when you add in all the other features the Surface Pro 4 feels like a leaner, meaner machine.

Perhaps the biggest change though is not the Surface itself, but rather the new Type Cover, which makes some momentous changes all in the right direction. These modifications are significant to Surface Pro 3 owners too, as the new Type Cover is backwards-compatible with that tablet as well. This option results in a $129.99 side-grade rather than purchasing a whole new Surface.

Let's talk more about that keyboard.

New Type Cover is the best Type Cover

Honestly, in using the Surface Pro 4 the most notable change is the keyboard. This experience should not be too surprising as nothing is more personal than typing on a computer. Indeed, this is a make or break area for many, and the previous Type Covers have all had a few drawbacks including the two-button trackpad being too small. Here are the noteworthy changes with this generation of the Type Cover:

  • Larger trackpad
  • New spread-out key design
  • New teal color option
  • Fingerprint ID version ($159.99)

Let's talk about typing. It's better. Much better. Although I had no real issues with the previous iteration of the Type Cover, the new design increases the space between the keys for an improved tactile feel. While the keys are slightly smaller to allow for that spacing, they're still large enough to type without looking, and the spacing only enhances that capacity. Size isn't everything, folks. The travel of the keys is also improved with the newer version, featuring a softer response along with a longer travel.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Type Cover

The top row of functions keys has also shifted around. Microsoft is ditching the dedicated Windows 8 function keys (e.g. Share, Search and Settings) but has added volume up/down and thankfully Print Screen and Insert. The result is a keyboard that feels more traditional for laptop users, rather than one focused on Windows 8.

The precision trackpad has also – once again – grown and is now super smooth glass. Third time's the charm, right? The new trackpad is significantly wider and taller. Now, I want to be clear that ideally it would still be even larger. However, like the Surface Pro 3, the trackpad is now at a tipping point: this is now good enough for most users. I would find it difficult to believe that most users would see this expanded trackpad as too small.

The drag coefficient (i.e. finger-on-glass friction) is also lower, leading to the new Type Cover trackpad being even smoother to the touch than its predecessor. It is a great experience.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Type Cover

Nonetheless, all is not perfect. I do wish there were more customizations with Microsoft's Precision Touchpad settings. Scrolling in Microsoft Edge feels nice, but the number of lines it scrolls in one swipe is not nearly enough for my usage. As a result, I feel like I have to work to browse a web page (or reduce the zoom to make items smaller). Likewise, for coasting scrolls, which requires a flick-like action and not the traditional method of coasting by inertia.

For some users, this is just a preference, or I might just be nitpicking, but I see it as a pain-point for Apple users looking to jump ship to a Surface. At the very least, Microsoft should offer a Synaptics-like control panel that lets you customize the trackpad at the nitty gritty level, even if that's something that most users won't ever touch.

Finally, there is the new Fingerprint ID version of the Type Cover in black for $159.99. For an extra $30 over the $129.99 version, you gain the ability to log into the Surface just by swiping your finger. Not only is that a great option but Surface Pro 3 users can also use it. That's a substantial option for Surface Pro 3 users with Windows 10. Microsoft has not forgotten about you. (The fingerprint-scanning version of the Type Cover was not available at the time of our review, but we will definitely check it out when it is.)

Windows Hello?

Speaking of biometric authentication let's talk about Windows Hello and facial recognition. I am a big fan of using facial recognition technology to log me into my computer. I've been using the Intel RealSense F200 developer camera for my PC since July and love the nascent security feature. Sure, typing in a PIN isn't exactly a chore, but by nature on a mobile device you are required to do it more often compared to a desktop.

Log me into my Surface with my face? Sign me up!

On the Surface Pro 4 (and Surface Book), Microsoft is introducing some new elements for the front-facing camera. Specifically, there is an IR diode and sensor that, in conjunction with the traditional 5MP RGB webcam, can identify your face for logging into the computer. It all works through Windows Hello in Windows 10 and augments the PIN and password systems. To be clear, this is not an Intel RealSense F200 setup but rather Microsoft's creation that is smaller and slimmer for the Surface Pro 4. Because of this difference it lacks a 3D camera, which would add bulks to the system.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Facial Recognition

While the idea is certainly neat – who doesn't want to auto-login by turning on the display? – Microsoft did not have the feature ready for our review unit at the time of our writing. Microsoft has informed us that Windows Hello facial recognition will be enabled by the time the Surface Pro 4 hits store shelves on October 26, at which point we will revisit the feature.

Dat Display

The Surface Pro 4 does a few things to the display when compared to the Surface Pro 3. It increases the size from 12 inches to 12.3-inches while maintaining the same overall device footprint, which was accomplished by narrowing the bezels. Likewise, the resolution increases from 2160x1440 to a more impressive 2763x1824 at 267ppi besting Apple's 227ppi in the MacBook Pro and the 216ppi in the Surface Pro 3. That resolution clocks in at over 5 million pixels. Additionally, Microsoft boasts that the new Surface Pro 4 display has 1300:1 contrast ratio and supports 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut.

The 5-million-pixel line will see some marketing use — it's easier to grok than the somewhat awkward 2763x1824 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Since these numbers are outside the boundary of normal consumer terms like HD or 4K, Microsoft's selling it as "5 million pixels". Most 4K displays start at the 3840x2160 (8.2 million pixels), so the Surface Pro 4 falls below that threshold. Still, it is a fairly high resolution for a display that's only 12.3 inches, resulting in that nice 267 pixels-per-inch measurement.

I never had any grievances about the Surface Pro 3's display quality but if Microsoft wants to make the pixels denser (and crisper with a better contrast ratio), I won't object. Indeed, the Surface Pro 4's display is noticeably better than the Surface Pro 3 when it comes to brightness and even reduced glare. While I would never suggest such additions are reason alone to upgrade a device, it is great to see Microsoft push the boundaries.

I'll touch upon battery life in a bit, but there is little doubt that having a brighter, higher-resolution display will put additional strain on the battery. Microsoft seems to have traded on that with the Intel Skylake processor's improved power management, making it a wash. So the Surface Pro 4 carries the same 9-hour battery life estimate as the previous Surface Pro 3.

Unfortunately, I did notice some severe light bleed from the lower right and left areas. I cannot say I perceived it in everyday usage, but only on the rare system boot when the display mostly black (or any other time the screen was full of darkened pixels). While this is surely a rare manufacturing flaw (it happens), I would hope that it's an exceedingly rare occurrence for such a premium device as it was quite bad. At least there were no dead pixels, which is a worse scenario.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Light Bleed

Additionally, there is now a dedicated processor for the 10-point multi-touch system. This custom processor aids in touch and more importantly pen usage with less latency when drawing or writing. More on inking in a bit.

Overall, the display on the Surface Pro 4 is a marvel. It's high resolution to the point you simply cannot see pixels anymore, the low reflectivity is ideal for working, and the reduced bezel makes it visually stunning. While I had no problems with the previous Surface's display, the Surface Pro 4 pushes the envelope with solid results.

Cameras

Microsoft has learned a lot regarding camera functionality on the Surface series. On the Surface Pro 3 there were ho-hum 5MP 1080P cameras on both the front and back. More egregious was the lack of proper autofocus for the rear world-facing camera. Fixed-focus cameras are acceptable for budget smartphones, not premium PCs.

Thankfully, Microsoft fixes these mistakes with the Surface Pro 4. With this generation, users can expect the following:

  • 8.0MP rear-facing auto-focus camera, with 1080p HD camera
  • 5.0MP front-facing 1080p HD camera

The rear camera is the same module found in the cheaper Surface 3, and I am glad to see it here. The addition of autofocus makes it useful and at 8MP it is quite good for a "tablet camera", more than you would expect. While I would never advocate shooting an event with this camera or simply a device of this size (please, don't ever be that person), for those in an enterprise or unique settings this is a solid camera for "utility" photography.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Camera

The front-camera is also quite solid at 5MP. It won't set any records, but for the occasional Skype video call it gets the job done.

There is also now the addition of a 'privacy light' on the front of the device. Simply put, it's an LED that turns on to let you know that the front camera is in use. Consider this a nice security feature so that you always know if you're being recorded. I'm a big fan of this addition, as it's a common feature with standalone webcams and many laptops. It also lets you know that Windows Hello is working (if you've enabled it) when you turn on the Surface Pro 4.

Pen inking

There's one reason why many prefer using Surfaces over more many other PCs: the Surface Pen. Although I don't use the pen all that often, even I have to admit that Microsoft is honing their digital pen system to near perfection. With the Surface Pro 4 there are a few important changes that boost the pen experience:

  • The Pen is magnetic and sticks to the left side of the Surface
  • The rear button is now an eraser
  • The rear button has three actions (hold for Cortana, double-click for screenshot, single click for OneNote)
  • There is only one button on the side of the pen (instead of two)
  • Pressure sensitivity has been increased from 256 levels to 1024
  • There's a dedicated G5 processor for touch and inking

Here is what this all means for the real world: the pen now has very minimal lag when drawing on the display. This lack of lag is super important for the illusion that this is a pen and paper and not digital. Indeed, the oddity in digital ink is the perceived delay between the action and visibility of the lines drawn.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Pen

The more you minimize this delay, the more effective the illusion. Computationally, this is not easy, which is why Microsoft is moving to a dedicated processor to make it happen.

I have to acknowledge that Microsoft and the Surface team have almost completely eliminated this delay in inking. It is still there, but it is reduced to such a minuscule delay that you can feel the lines between real and digital inking being blurred. It's quite the remarkable feat.

Pressure sensitivity also increased from 256 to 1024 levels, which is substantially nuanced. For those who draw with the Surface, you will gain a much finer control over line pressure when you press on the display. Once again, this increased sensitivity enhances the illusion that you are inking on paper and not just using a stylus.

While Microsoft can go further, in my opinion they are the threshold of making this digital ink technology a true replacement for analog systems. A lot of these improvements comes from the custom G5 chipset created by Microsoft. This processor handles many of the touch inputs for the pen and display and like all dedicated processors allow for more refined handling. This split in processing duty between the Microsoft G5 and Intel Core chips gives a more optimal experience all around.

Surface Pro 4 Fresh Paint

I am also pleased with the eraser functionality in the new pen. Ironically, Apple's pencil does not erase while Microsoft's pen does. The rear button on the Surface pen always felt like it was an eraser, but I am glad Microsoft completed the metaphor.

The new Surface Pro 4 pen also has an AAAA battery that reportedly lasts for a full year. This improvement is an increase from the three months of the previous generation. Compared to Apple's pencil, which reportedly needs frequent recharging (and does so by awkwardly plugging into the iPad Pro's charging port), the Surface Pro 4 pen is a big improvement.

The new pen takes alternative tips (or nubs) that can be purchased from Microsoft for a fair $10. These tips include a low-friction pen, one similar to a #2 pencil or a wide marker. Although note takers won't get too much benefit, it's a nice addition for artists and those looking for finer control.

I'm not a pen user and I'm still quite impressed with this pen. The ability to launch Cortana by holding down the rear button, doing a screenshot with the double-click, and the ability to stick the pen to the Surface on either side are all just whimsical.

But the best part of the new Surface Pen? Just about everything works with the Surface Pro 3 too, including the eraser and launching Cortana (you do give up the 1024 levels of pressure, however). Well, done, Microsoft.

Notable changes

There are many other smaller changes to the new Surface compared to the last iteration, including:

  • No more Windows button on the bezel
  • New Microsoft logo on the back instead of Surface name
  • Larger and louder front-facing speakers
  • Volume keys moved from the left side to the top (to accommodate the magnetic pen docking points)

The removal of the Windows button on the bezel is just another sign of Windows 8's demise. Additionally, this was a nod to artists who complained about hitting the button when resting their palm on the bezel, as well as the slimming of that bezel.

The improved front-facing speakers are the same ones found in the Surface 3, and delivering louder and crisper sound with on-board Dolby Audio. I have always liked the speakers on the Surface line, and this version is no different.

Performance and battery

For this review, I used a Core i5 version of the Surface Pro 4 with 256GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM (clocking in at $1,299.00). We ran both the Surface Pro 3 (Intel Core i5-4300U @ 1.86GHz) and Surface Pro 4 (Intel Core i5-6300U @ 2.5Ghz) through Geekbench 3.0 on 64-bit (higher scores are better).

Geekbench 3.0 Results

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CategorySurface Pro 3 Core i5Surface Pro 4 Core i5
Single-Core Score23633211
Multi-Core Score54766759

Geekbench 3.0 Memory Performance

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CategorySurface Pro 3 8GBSurface Pro 4 8GB
Single-Core Score25942704
Multi-Core Score35303737

The newer Surface Pro 4 (2.5 GHz) has a notable and substantial processing advantage over the older Surface Pro 3 at 1.86 GHz. Also, the Surface Pro 4 uses Toshiba NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSDs for storage, which greatly improve throughput for file access. When you combine them both, you get a very fast machine.

I am a fan of Intel's 6th gen Skylake processors. The lower heat, quieter fan and overall better performance make them a natural fit with Windows 10. There should no longer be any "hissing" from the fans during Windows updates. The Surface Pro 4 is stunningly better to use for everyday tasks with just a little more zip than the previous generation.

When it comes down to battery life, my off-the-cuff results suggest that it is nearly the same as the Surface Pro 3. Although 9 hours of video playback does not equal 9 hours of real world usage, the Surface Pro 4 should get most users through the day with ease. Any gains, however, from the new Intel chip are likely lost with the higher resolution and larger display.

The best Surface yet?

So, what to think of the Surface Pro 4? There are two ways to look at this device: you already have a previous-generation Surface, or you're considering a Surface for the first time.

If you're a Surface Pro 3 user, the gains in the Surface Pro 4 probably aren't worth the cost. But for $220 you can get both the new and improved Surface Pen (with included pen tips) and the new Type Cover with Fingerprint ID. Those upgrades will certainly improve your experience without breaking the bank.

If you are a serious Surface user who has the cash and the need (or the want), there are no downsides in upgrading to Surface Pro 4. Of course, you could always abate some of the cost by selling your Surface Pro 3 and putting the funds towards a Surface Pro 4. You get a larger, higher resolution display, new Windows Hello facial recognition, and a much faster system overall. The external difference may be minimal, but you'll reap in performance benefits.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Think of the Surface Pro 4 as the Surface Pro 3, but perfected. So if you love the Surface Pro 3, this next-generation Surface is a home run.

How to sell and prep your Surface Pro 3 for a Surface Pro 4

If you are considering the Pro 4 for your first Surface, you won't be disappointed. Microsoft has taken the already-winning formula of the Surface Pro 3 and improved on it in many different ways. It runs cooler, has a faster CPU, is slightly thinner and lighter, and has a bigger and better display.

The one downside is the cost. The Surface Pro 4 now starts $100 higher ($899) than what the Surface Pro 3 sold for on its release. But hey, this is a premium device and it's a reasonable cost for what you get. For those that aren't sticker-shock averse, you can spec out a Surface Pro 4 to a jaw-dropping $2700 with a Core i7 processor and a 1TB SSD. Microsoft will also continue to sell the Surface 3 ($499) and reduced-price Surface Pro 3 (now $699) for the foreseeable future.

So what's not to like about the Surface Pro 4? The same things as the Surface Pro 3, which includes that's sometimes awkward in your lap thanks to the reliance on the kickstand, it only has one USB port and it's not a future-proof Type-C port at that, and the high-price point comes with decent but not mind-blowing battery life. The magnetic pen solution is solid, but it will still come unfastened in your bag and not everyone is going to find a 12.3-inch display ideal. Finally, I did have some software glitches on occasions including a faulty display driver, although Microsoft assured me it would be fixed by the time the Surface Pro 4 ships. Finally, there is no LTE version for those who want to work on the go. Instead, you'll have to tether to your phone or grab the weaker Surface 3 LTE.

If you were unconvinced by the Surface Pro 3's design, then the Surface Pro 4 won't change any of that.

Perhaps the bigger question looming is the Surface Book. I think this is an easy answer, assuming money is less of a concern. If you are a diehard laptop user and not huge on tablets, the Surface Book may be your best bet. If you want something small, light, portable, and unique, then you should consider the Surface Pro 4. This distinction is not trivial. As much as adore all the changes to the Surface Pro 4, I think the Surface Book will be the device that best fits my needs.

The Surface Pro 4 is the best tablet that can be your laptop, but it's not the best laptop that can be a tablet. Nonetheless, remember that Surface Book is a first-generation product and there may be growing pains — some of which might not be addressed until the next version is unveiled.

In the end, the Surface Pro 4 is by far the best Surface yet. It may have taken three generations to get there, but the Surface Pro 4 is Microsoft hitting their stride with confidence.

Pricing and Availability

Starting at $899, the new 12.3-inch Surface Pro 4's base model features 128GB of storage, an Intel Core m3 chip, and 4GB of RAM. There are 8GB and 16GB versions to consider before jumping to the ultimate 1TB, Intel Core i7 model.

The Surface Pro 4 runs Windows 10 Pro and includes the new Surface Pen. Type Cover sold separately and is available in five colors including black, blue, bright blue, red, or teal for $129.99. The Fingerprint ID Type Cover comes only in Onyx, sells for $159.99 and works with existing Surface Pro 3s as well.

Order Surface Pro 4 Accessories from Microsoft (opens in new tab)

The Surface Pro 4 is expected to ship on October 26th in the US, and November 12th in the UK. Availability in other countries will pick up later in the year or early 2016.

  • 128 GB SSD / Intel Core m3 / 4 GB RAM - $899
  • 128 GB SSD / Intel Core i5 / 4 GB RAM - $999
  • 256 GB SSD / Intel Core i5 / 8 GB RAM - $1,299
  • 256 GB SSD / Intel Core i5 / 16 GB RAM - $1,499
  • 256 GB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 8 GB RAM - $1,599
  • 256 GB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 16 GB RAM - $1,799
  • 512 GB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 16 GB RAM - $2,199
  • 1 TB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 16 GB RAM - $2,699

Pre-order from Microsoft (opens in new tab)

More Information

Need help? Jump into our help and how-to forums for more information on the Surface Pro 4, or choose the topic page for all our news coverage!

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

168 Comments
  • Wow, that was quick. Didn't expect the review before October 26th when the device is released
  • Better early than never.
  • Today appears to be the day the review embargo was lifted, judging by the number of reviews popping up everywhere.
  • Still thinking between pro 4 vs surface book. Perhaps your detailed review would help. My only gripe with pro 3 was that it always ran hot and that annoying noise of the fan kicking in.
  • The hot/fan thing is definitely gone in the Surface Pro 4, at least I never heard it. The heat is now very evenly distributed, so while the back may get warm all over, it never gets hot in a particular spot. Now, I did not game on a Core i7 version, so maybe things will change there, but for everyday usage it was a nice improvement.
  • Thanks Dan for the clarification. Appreciate it.
  • I've preordered the i7, will let you know if its any different than what we currently expect. So far, it looks like they've finally nipped the hotspot gripe (although it never really bothered me with the SP3 i5)
  • I've had sp3 overheat on me and shuts down. Hoping that wont happen on sp4, then again I abuse the software. I run apps and programs I dont use.
  • My SP3 i5 has never overheated, and I've played games on it (and I live in a hot, tropical country).
  • Sounds to me like you've got a defective unit. My wife and I, as well as several friends, all have SP3's, and not one of us has ever had that happen. I've never even heard anyone I know with a Pro 3 complain it got hot *at all*. I've seen a few people claim that online, but nobody I know in person who owns one.
  • Good review! Would like to see a battery life comparison on the core m3 vs core i5/i7. There must be a some difference since the core i (u series) uses 15w vs 4.5w for the core m. In addition, the core m surface pro 4 is fanless.
  • Microsoft informed me that they all get the same battery life. There is no battery benefit to the m3, believe it or not.
  • Thanks, I was wondering about that. It seems logical that there should be a benifit (assuming same memory/storage configuration) but I know there are a lot of other factors... with all the other components being the same, I guess the fanless m3 doesn't make a difference.
  • Microsoft just uses 1 workload standardized test to quote the battery life. But I think in certain workloads the m3 should have longer battery life. We don't know until someone hopefully can test this...
  • Yes, hopefully someone will do an independent test on battery life and performance on the m3 vs. i5 versions. I've already pre-ordered some i5 and i7 SP4s and am not planning to purchase any m3 but I'm still just curious... besides saving a measly hundred bucks, why would anyone buy a m3 instead of i5 (sacrificing performance?) unless there was a significant battery life gain.
  • I'm wondering how the Core i5 and i7 versions will fare with using the Surface Pro 4 for video production and Autodesk?
  • Should be fine. I use my Pro 3 with Premiere CC 2015 and edit 1080p and occasionally 4k video with no problem. Since Pro 4 has faster processors, memory and SSD's, there's nothing to make me think it'd fair anything but better.
  • I use my i7 Surface Pro 3 for AutoCAD work and it does so with ease. It occasionally gets hot whilst rendering but nothing to get concerned about. So the Pro 4 should be able to do it with ease. I would say that, unless you definitely have to have the newest model, go for a discounted Surface Pro 3. It does 98% of what the Pro 4 does only a tad slower and you'll save some money.
  • I currently have the HP Elitebook 2760p with 16GB RAM and Core i5. I does throttle at times and doesn't run as well but the Surface Pro 4 finally got 16GB RAM so I'm going with that. Overall, like all you guys and girls, I'm also excited for these new devices. Now time to apply for a job and make some $$$
  • What are you doing with your Pro 3 that it runs hot? I've had the Pro 3 i5 256GB since launch and it's never once gotten hot, no matter what I'm doing.
  • Do you know availability of surface devices around the globe? If yes then please mention here.
  • As usual US, and UK get first dibs. Then the rest of the world gets it. Finally certain places like India, South America, and Tibet will get it next year :P
  • Microsoft keeping up the American end of the 'special relationship'.
    Cushty
  • It looks like I'm wrong. Canada, India, US, Bangladesh, Iran, UK, and Germany will get same release day
  • Lol what? My Pro 3 pen lasts WAY LONG than a few months, and I'm a student that uses every day of the week. Also, the Pro 3 doesn't get the increased levels of Pen pressure sensitivy (says so right on the Pen store page, or a Surface page on MS's site) so it techinically doesn't get "all" of the features.
  • Same here. I use my pen almost daily and I'm still on the factory battery, which I've had in it since launch.
  • how long did you have it for?
  • its so good you gotta wear shades.....lol
  • So ​the stylus works with the S3 atom. Does it have the same effects? Or does the S3 only support the lower amount of pressure levels? Just ordered the S3 and didn't decide which pen to take...
  • You won't get the 1024 pressure levels, just 256 with the new Pen and older Surface.
  • Wow... Thank you Microsoft support for wrong information. He said I should wait for this pen because of the levels... Thanks Daniel!
  • so the pressure leves are a display thing. not actually a pen thing? or a combination of both? because you said in the review, that people will get the 1024 pressure levels on the surface pro 3, if they use the new pen     edit: i would also like to see some ssd benchmark comparison between sp3 and 4
    the demo in the stage was impressive, but i would like some hard numbers :)
  • It is the display technology that when the new Surface Pen is used with the Surface Pro 4 = 1024 pressure levels. New Surface Pen + Surface Pro 3 = 256 pressure levels
  • Since the pen only has one button (other than the eraser), I would no longer be able to do a right mouse click? That's a pretty big deal as I do it a lot...
  • No, the one button is the right mouse click I believe. The eraser button became flipping the pen over. But I'm 99% sure there's still a right click button where it used to be. Built into the magnet I think. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You're correct. the bottom portion of the magnet is a button, it just doesn't look like one.
  • why did the Surface Pro 3 pen have 2 buttons?
  • I believe it will be a similar experience as with the first surface pen, when you flip it over, it could automatically erase without pressing any button, so it´s a huge improvement under my opinion to those who use pen very often like me :DDD I think I will honestly stay with the SP3 just buying the cover and the pen, and wait for the Surface Book. Nice review, and huge information Dan, thanks a lot
  • So why did the Surface Pro 3 pen have 2 buttons?
  • It had 3: Right click, Left Click and the eraser nub on top for OneNote. Two of those buttons for right/left mouse click would be the reason why SP3 has it. Not sure why it's missing in SP4.
  • Just an FYI, tried the NEW pen at the store and experienced some lag when using it on the S3. That being said it was a much better experience that with the original pen on the S3, will definitely get the new pen by Monday.
  • As an owner of a Surface Pro 3 I think this is the device that we will always rember for turning Microsofts COnsumer facing fortunes around but The Pro 4 is what they dreamed the Surface could be. The Pro 3 was almost perfect for the form factor, but the Type Cover, Pen and Security upgrades make the 4 the ultimate Two-in-one device. I use the Surface Pro Line daily for Software development and it really can replace your laptop. I wish Microsoft would migrate the touch experience on 8.1 over to Windows 10. I split my time with my Pro 3 using it as a laptop and tablet. 8.1's gestures and touch first approach make it hard to leave when you use a tablet as your primary device. All seems quiet on Touch experience enhancements.   Daniel, have you heard anything regarding Microsofts plans for the touch experience moving forward in Windows 10. It seems pretty bare bones at the moment compared to 8.1.
  • Windows 10 "tablet mode" seems pretty much the same as using Windows 8.1. I dont see the difference actually or what you would be missing
  • One thing I'm certainly missing is gesture navigation.
  • yeah Windows 7 had some great pen and touch gestures
  • It lacks in some areas, for example opening a new app when you have two snapped side-by-side clears the snapping configuration and you have to snap the apps again. The November update will fix this, though.
  • Yep, this is the one big thing that annoys me the most - opening a new app, or switching between apps, breaks the snap. Win 8.1 had this right. Looking forward to this being fixed. The other big thing is setting the top pen button to open OneNote Desktop version, rather than the default modern version. This was easy to set in Win8.1, now in Win10, it is not possible. ​      
  • Just read the last part, but yeah this is completely resolved in the preview. I think for release they wanted to nail desktop usage.
  • Try swiping to go back and forth in the Edge brower.
  • This!!! I want MS to bring back left and right swiping to move backwards and forward!! So convenient!
  • Windows 10 Tablet mode works but not as enjoyable or have a same touch experience feel as Windows 8.1 does (which is designed more for tablet). There are some areas that Windows 10 feels less of a tablet, one common example is lack of gesture actions on Edge which is enjoyable on Metro IE in Windows 8.1, even other tablet/mobile OS already got gestures for their native browsers. Multitasking on the other hand seems good but awkward interaction because of the choice of animations. Swiping from the left edge triggers Task View which is nice, but that's less ergonomic than Windows 8.1 multitasking drag/flick gesture which is also great for snapping apps. Not to mention, the swipe/flick left gesture is awkward when used with Task View becuase of their stupid decision of using fade animation that feels disjoint with users fingers and "inertial" animation. Animations plays big important role on touch interaction and interface to feel natural and less artificial. Windows 10 should use at least the same flick gesture of Windows 8.1 while tapping Task View button will trigger Task View or another five finger pinch-out gesture. All Apps also lacks swipe gesture to open it directly, instead user forced to use the button to access it which isn't bad, but not consistent with W10M where user can open All Apps using gesture. Also animations is missing when opening All Apps from Hamburger Menu which gives a feel of desktop-like All Programs for the XP-era, a static feel which should not be expected with modern OS as Windows 10.  
  • You're kidding, right? The touch experience in Windows 10 is VASTLY inferior to that of Windows 8, particularly in regard to the number and usefulness of supported gestures using the touch screen in apps like internet explorer, among others. Windows 10 is astonishingly incomplete on the touch side of things.
  • I agree! I like many windows 8.1 features such as search everywhere, swiping top down etc. Windows 10 isn't great for tablet in my opinion. I disabled it.  I also moved the taskbar to the top - it is hard to touch the area near where the typecover is engged.
  • I am waiting for real improvement to tablet mode before upgrading my S3 to W10, as it stands the overal user experience is superior on W8.1 when using S3 as a tablet...
  • It really amazes me how they still not include a GPS sensor even in the 4th generation. For me, this is a base feature on a mobile device today.
  • GPS is added costs and always included with an LTE chipset. So the bigger complaint would be why there is no LTE option, which would solve that. Truth be told, even though I love built in GPS/LTE, it is very niche and the benefit of offering it vs. sales just may not be there.
  • Any chance Surface could get your postion from your phone's GPS? We just saw that you can send SMS from desktop W10 via the phone (W10 mobile), so maybe this inter-device cooperation will increase.
  • Valid points. I mean, of course they could do GPS without LTE, but without GPS-A, it's really not a good customer experience. So I see why this is not even an option. To the lack of customer demand, I think the reson might be (at least to some major extent) the lack of resonable support for this scenario for mobile operators. Contracts are expensive, and for a SIM card in a Surface, you would need a 2nd one beside that for your phone. At my operator, there is a multi-sim solution available, where you can get multiple SIM cards for one contract. But as far as I know, this is a very uncommon product globally, and if it exists, it is not much promoted (because operators of course want you to rather buy a 2nd contract). So, people of course will rather use tethering instead of buying into a 2nd contract for their Surface.
  • I have actually been experimenting with an Asus Vivotab 8 as my car's navigation system.  This particular device does have a GPS and does not require nor even have a slot for a SIM card.  I can say that Windows 10 works particularly well as an in-car navigation/entertainment system.  Windows 10 even natively sports Turn-By-Turn navigation via its maps app.  Only issues I've run into are device specific. With some success with my Asus, I did think it would be nice to have a GPS in my SP3.  However, I don't consider it a true mobile device.  Yeah, it's light but it's length and width don't excatly promote mobility whereas the Asus is essentially an oversized phone if you will. I do see value in a LTE as an option for sure.  There are many users who simply won't be able to tether and having that built in native connection can be a must-have.  
  • This is where it alwas comes to my mind where tablet can be used as a car navigation system but the lack of GPS for some reason prevents that use case. GPS doen't require LTE, it's just happens to have both especially on smartphones. GPS is already old technology that's even older than 2G cellular network But yeah the problem is that currently GPS usually included with LTE chip and not a seperate one. I realy wish that tablets and even laptops should have GPS built-in. There might be no demand for it but that's also because there isn't any choices to have one. Only with LTE devices that happens to come with GPS which we know few people use, not because they don't need GPS but because they don't need LTE.
  • USB GPS adapters are so small nowadays that I think it's reasonable workaround. Almost everyone has a smartphone so demand is very small but you can find still devices with GPS from other companies. I thought LTE GPS are typically just interpolation of LTE signals and not as good as dedicated GPS. Unless they truly come with dedicated GPS chips.
  • GPS modules are peanuts! It is a huge oversight on the part of all Windows device manufacturers to leave such things out.
    You'd be hard pressed to find a single Android tablet that doesn't have a GPS.
  • Wouldn't a LTE USB dongle work? This just reminds me of when laptops had radio card slots built in... after that flopped carriers began to sell USB dongles, now you can even get a portable hotspot, seems a lot better than an internal antenna that is radio band specific or even carrier specific. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm pretty sure you can buy a plug and play GPS USB dongle, that should do the trick. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Looking forward to the Surface Book review as well.  Will go a long way in determining which way I go in the future.  Microsoft has given us some tough choices with the incredible hardware they've been making. Thanks for the great review!
  • Daniel, great write-up However, I got confused by the listing of old/new like this: Higher resolution display (2160x1440 vs 2763x1824) Should you not better list the new first, then the old: Higher resolution display (2763x1824 vs 2160x1440) Same for the other items....
  • I had the same thought. It was a bit of an odd thing in a very well written analysis.
  • Good point, will fix.
  • Nice hair cut Dan!
  • $1,102 (keyboard+tax).. ouch thats how much it would cost me just for the base model (core M and min storage).. I can get a pretty good very light weight and slim laptops at that price point.. its a hard sell.. I hope they do well and it sells.. I am gonna have to pass
  • And there you have the advantage of Windows vs Apple. You can find machines at every price point beginning at around $170. You don't have to start really high and go up to ridiculously high.
  • The price premium is in its form factor. I have the SP3 256GB model and I've never paid that much for a computer before, but the ability to bring it with me anywhere, use it in very confined spaces, and versatility laptop/tablet has more than paid for itself in productivity. It became the main computer and it's very common for me to go back and forth between setting it up like a laptop for typing, flipping the keyboard to the back and touch up photos in tablet form with the pen or pushing the kickstand all the way back while working on images with access to the keyboard for shortcuts several times in a work session. No other slim laptop can do that and thus the premium in price is in the design. It is expensive upfront though, but very well worth it in my opinion.
  • Hi Dan, nice review! you mentioned the Surface Pro 4 uses Toshiba NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSDs for storage. Would it be M2 or mSATA form factor? Did you happen to use Atto Benchmark utility to find out the read and write speed of the SSD? Curious to know the results! Also it appears that MS also uses Samsung PCIe SSD on 128 GB SSD version. I looked that up in the MS Store. The Device Manager identified it as NVMe Samsung MZFLV128.
  • Pretty sure M2. Did not try Atto, but will look into it.
  • I am confused.  When I looked at the hard drive in the device manager it displayed as a Samsung NVME MZFLV256.  Are they using two different types of hard drives?​
  • 1.6 GB/s / 529 MB/s
  • Thanks. Since my message SP4 review went viral. Anandtech and Storagenewsletter report the SSD to be Toshiba NVMe XG3 with maximum sequential read speed of 2516 MB/s and maximum sequential write speed of 1572 MB/s. Unfortunately, it appears that MS has put a speed cap on the true speed of this SSD!!!
  • I NEED to get the new PEN!!! :D
  • This was an excellent review Dan. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Thank you. Definitely getting a Pro 4 now. The Surface Book is brilliant but the screen is too small for me & the 15W processor  while ample won't cut it for the kind of work I want to do so I'll get this & a Dell XPS 15 instead.
  • I have a Surface Pro 3 and by far it is the best computer I have ever had! The one thing I like about the Pro 4 is the 16 GB of ram. However, I am not ready to change for just that reason! I was hoping there would be a 14' inch screen on the Pro 4.
    I know they came out with the book in stead. But, I have gotten spoiled by the table being a laptop -desktop and table!
  • As a SP3 owner, the SP4 is absolutely NOT worth the upgrade. However, I'm definitely going to pick a new type cover. The re-adding of volume up and down was enough justification for me, as it was one of the things I've missed the most since the original Surface type cover. Now, all I need is for Microsoft here to offer the teal colour instead of just the black and the two blue ones. (Oh and they cost 160€ here for some reason...which means if the fingerprint enabled one ever comes it'll be around 200€...which I'm definitely not paying for a Surface keyboard).
  • Ditto on getting one for the return of the volume keys.  Also extremely happy that the Fn key is a toggle now, like Caps Lock, as being a frequent function key user, it's a hassle always having to hold the Fn key down.
  • I agree what owning an SP3 it would be hard to justify upgrading to an SP4. Unless you just have tons of money in hiwch case there is no need to justify anything and you just buy whatever you want.   In my case, I owned an SP3 too but returned it because the fan drove me nuts! I patiently waited, and waited, AND WAITED.... And now I get to enjoy this beauty. I pre-ordered the SP4 i7/16GB... Too bad shipping is not until November 20th!!   As far as the new type cover... Believe or not but the thing I like the most is that the brought back insert. FREAKING INSERT! Hehehe, as a developer that works in vim very often that key is extremely important to me and in previous iteration had me bumping my head agaisnt a wall!! :D
  • It really annoys me that Microsoft continually iterates the Surface Pro and continually refuses to make a slot for the damn pen! I'd really love to upgrade my original Surface Pro but man the cost of these things is outrageous and just keep getting worse. With no slot for the pen and the extra cost of the keyboard I'd rather Microsoft include the type cover and make the pen an extra purchase.   This would be a better use of my money and entice me to buy a Surface Pro.  Until that happens I sit and wait.
  • I'm glad they DON'T have a slot for the pen.  I don't really even see that being feasible.  The chassis is already so thin that a slot would probably make it very weak.  There also isn't any room to spare so they would have to make the device bigger.  They gave the SP4 a magnetic docking point for the pen (similar to SP1 and SP2) and that is a good solution in my opinion. The cost has been fairly consistent for each generation of the Surface Pro series.  It's also fairly competitive with other devices with similar specs/features. 
  • do you know if it is the same wifi adapter as surface p3?
  • My surface pro 3 has a privacy led for the front facing camera.
  • What is that exactly? SP3 owner and not heard of this.......did I miss something?
  • It's an LED that lights up whenever the camera is in use - figured it was pretty much a given in any laptop with a front facing camera. (ok, the Surface Pro isn't technically a "laptop" but you know what I mean) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yeah, know what you mean now. Have seen this, thanks.
  • Ditto; the SP3's privacy LED is just to the right of the ffc.  Daniel oops'ed on that.  
  • There is also now the addition of a 'privacy light' on the front of the device.
    Surface Pro 3 already has light on front and back so this is not new to Pro 4. 
  • I was hoping for better battery in this version, my only wish really as I am overwhelmingly happy with the form factor, as someone who works a great deal in my truck with the device hanging by the kickstand over the steering wheel with the keyboard propped up with a toilet paper roll. :) ONE question, is the keyboard any quieter? When I am banging away, its not unusual to get some looks from folks because you can definately hear it. Regardless I will be getting one, but not until after the dang phone first.    
  • Keyboard is quieter.
  • From testing one at a Microsoft Store, the keys are quieter, but it still makes the drumming sound when typing on it while it's in the angled, propped up mode, unfortunately.
  • Great review by the way.
    So the display is better than surface pro 3. Is it comparable to macbook 2015 and surface book? Posted via moto x play
  • I know it may be a very basic question, but are the new Intel processors in the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book dual or quad-core? Thanks in advance to anyone that takes a little time to answer this :)
  • Just dual, no quads at all.
  • Thanks for the reply Daniel :)  
  • Hey Dan, Great review. Far more detailed than the one I read on theverge (I don't care about people's biases as some commenters do). One thing I noticed missing is docking - looking to dock and connect two 4K monitors or if possible one 4K and one 5K monitor. Did you try that out? When I spoke to the MS guys at the devicenight, they were confident about 4K but were not sure about 5K (granted Dell is the only major shipping one right now with HP coming in soon. I get a Dell corp discount btw :))
  • Thanks. Unfortunately, we did not have the dock to test for the review. Will try to do a follow up.
  • Just fyi, you can change how many lines the trackpad scrolls in settings. I have my surface 3 almost maxed on lines per scroll because the trackpad is so small. 
  • I see it for mouse, not for trackpad.
  • When you do I'd also like you to see if you can connect 3 monitors, 3x 2460x1440. I know it got two ports but there is this thing called daisy chaining. If that don't work, the SP3 could do this by using the mini DP on the tablet, as well as those on the dock to run 3 monitors. Can this be done on the SF 4? Also, same goes for the SF Book. I need to be able to run atleast 3 monitors, and those should if possible all be connected to the dock.    
  • USB Type-C being absent from the Surface Pro 4 made many spec warriors sad.. I am one of them!! I am still waiting what explanation MS is going to give about that !!
  • Especially since Panos said that the only reason the SP4 isn't thinner is because of the full size USB.  If this was replaced by a USB type-C than the device can be thinner. But then... you'll hear people complain about no full size USB ports.
  • Basically we are not asking MS to put something bigger than full size USB :) When you spend more than a grand out of your pocket in 2015 it has to be future proof for sometime. USB Type-C has a lot of potential and MS can't have us wait one more year to get it on SP 5.
  • My first lap top had USB ports, at the time every one was "wow, great, future proof...etc.". I never had a device that actually used USB to attach to it though.  I did not use a USB port until I got a new PC several years later.  All the things I had to attach to it had older style connectors.  There are so many USB devices about now I think that a type C connector would just annoy lots of people.  I think the best solution would be a full size on and a type C.  But I suspect it will be a few years before there are actually many type C devices about.  I dont think I have seen any.
  • Great review Dan!  I hope there will be a comparison between the m3 and i5 at least, as saving $400 would be great if the performance on the m3 is good enough.
  • Plus I wonder about battery life and fanless design impact. Will it get hotter for example? The m3 has some extra CPU TDP features to lower it so in theory it should get better battery life under certain circumstances.
  • Could we use the old Type covers of the Surface Pro 3 / Surface 3 for the Surface Pro 4? Does that work ?
  • yeah, it works
  • I don't see why not.
  • TEAL KEYBOARD TO GO WITH MY WINDOWS ACCENT. FINALLY. I'M SOLD, THAT'S IT.
  • i do not know if this is premature or if i havent noticed but will there be a surface 4 (non pro version that is) in a few months. the hardware on this is great but a bit expensive for my needs
  • Doubtful. The Surface 3 is only 5 months old and the processors it uses are still current generation.
  • which processor to choose - m3 or i5, real difference ?  i like the idea of noiseless, long lasting sp4, but i am worried to order core m version, any help ?
  • The M3 couldn't be any worse than the Atom processor in my S3.  I notice some lag but it's not been too bad.  I guess it depends on what you plan on using the Surface for.
  • for germany its november 12th too. Will you compare the m3 vs i5 ?
  • I don't really care about the speaker on SP4  but i would like to know if it's good enough. how is the speaker in SP4?
  • I notice the add showing the finger print scanner has text saying "USA Only" - anyone know what this means? Like US only for all time or initially? I would like this function (UK) but will it be available here????
  • anyone know if i can order sp4 on amazon and walk into a ms store to pick up the microsoft complete coverage?  I get 3% off on amazon where I would get 1% on my amex.
  • Time frame on the fingerprint sensor keyboard review on an SP3?  Curious on its speed, and whether it'd be faster or slower than manually entering a PIN. So disappointed it's only coming in black... the colors of the Surface keyboards were always one of their main style features and selling points.
  • Has it been revealed whether the RAM is DDR3 or DDR4?
     
  • Looking at AnandTech review: 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB Dual-Channel DDR3L-1600  
  • thank you!
  • great review  
  • Thanks for the excellent review. Totally agree with the comments above about the Verge review. The SP3 had a pen problem. Slowly drawing diagonal lines yeilded a very obvious jittery line. Fast strokes were basically fine. You can test by choosing a thin pen line setting and using a ruler on the screen.
    If it's still there, how bad is it compared to the SP3? Another was with very light pen strokes. These wouldn't take unless you used a good amount of pressure to start with.
    Is that any better?
  • I can't find any reviews on tis m3 processor they mention in the base config. Anyone know how it compares with i3, i5 processors?
  • That was nice review but cant believe u didnt do some heavy gaming on it !! When you are going to review Surface Book and lumia 950 and 950 xl !!    
  • Can you detach the Type Cover from the Surface Pro 4 and continue typing on OneNote, etc?.
  • For me, the new pen is great EXCEPT that it doesn't have a second button? How will I be able to pull up context sensitive menus?
  • Daniel, nice review. Thank you. I guess we have a different definition of the word "iteration" however. In my definition, Surface Pro 1 to 2 was an iteration; essentially the same device with a newer processor. Surface Pro 2 to 3 was a revolution. Surface Pro 3 to 4 was an evolution, but a big one. Your own list of the changes between the 3 and the 4 makes that clear. I'm not a fan of Apple-style hyperbole about new features but calling the Surface Pro 4 an major evolutionary change from the 3 would an understandable and accurate description.
  • If the 9 hours claim holds true for the i5 version, what should we expect from core m3? Now I'm curious...
  • I don't think the S3 has mSATA storage, it's quite a bit slower than SP3.  
  • What can you do on a surface pro 4 that the surface pro 3 can't manage? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • As a dual SP1 & Lenovo X220 (2011) user, I am completely sold to it. I can finally replace my laptop that is always docked to my external screen/mouse/keyboard with the SP4 with dock. I finally can marry the 2 devices into 1. The Surface Book wouldn't work too much for me since the screen will mostly be closed anyway and it is still a version 1.0 device. As a software develper, I just need to get the fastest one, no big storage needed since my data is mostly server/cloud based. Thanks Dan for the honest review of this unit.
  • Dan, digging the new Windows Central Choice Award! Good stuff! Kind of brings a new swag to the site, and because of the thoroughness of your reviews, it brings a feel of assurance when considering a product.
  • Surface Pro 4 is gorgeous BUT fails to justify that price with three minor omissions if I'm to call it a sweet perfection (small details that desperately needed an upgrade): weight - fanless model should be 50g less USB type C - instead of the DisplayPort battery life - alleged 10h would mean I could expect to push up to 8h of usage and I would gladly sacrifice the display and be satisfied with 2300x1500 resolution      
  • Price didn't really increase if you consider it has now min. 128 GB (+64) GB larger HDD (and bit faster). Plus several other improvements... Actually video playback improved to over 9 hours (looking at AnandTech battery tests). So in some scenario's it will have longer battery life. I doubt slightly lower resolution would make any difference especially with the updated faster GPU. I'm happy they are waiting with USB type C since few people really have a device that works with that so instead need another adapter ..
  • Loving the entry level device with m3, but how does that stand against Surface 3? Besides, being fanless I assume its thinner, right? I'm about to buy a Surface 3 as a companion device and would be sold if either had USB Type-C.
  • Not sure how useful USB type-C yet is? I could see benefit for Surface 3 for faster charging but otherwise you probably end up having to use an adapter for quite a while. Bit different otherwise because of screen size and CPU. Some comparisons: Surface 3 - SP4 m3: 10.8" - 12.3" 622 g - 766 g 267 x 187 x 8.7 mm -  292 x 201 x 8.45 mm Battery 10 hours - 9 hours (but will vary obviously depending on scenario) x7-8700 - m3.  SP4 can drive 4K output with the new GPU eMMC - SSD drive Available LTE for Surface 3 only The SP4 should be bit faster overall. Certainly GPU. Also new accessories like new Type cover and pen is better on SP4. Price difference for base model is $400 however if you would choose same HDD size and add pen it's only $250. 
  • Yeah, agreed. I'd get more of a computer overall on SP4-base model than with S3. USB Type-C would be nice for faster charging (heard some rumors about really long charging times on regular USB on S3) and for compatibility with Lumias 950 and 950XL. I do like S3 screen size. But then you got me on the "driving 4K output part" :-)
  • If you use the Pro 4's new pen on a Pro 3, does it get the added 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity?  Im at artist and 256 is not useable.  If the Pro 3 can get 1024 with the new pen, then its a consideration since I know some people will be upgrading to a SP4 and I can get a good deal on an SP3.
  • "So the Surface Pro 4 carries the same 9-hour battery life estimate as the previous Surface Pro 3." Not entirely correct. SP3 had 9 hours of web surfing, SP4 is 9 hours of video playback. Different metrics and the SP4 should therefore have better battery life (video drains more power)
  • When we compare SP4 & SP3 128GB model differences it begins to get weird. A better processor (M3 vs i5 1.9Ghz ?), bigger display and improved camera (I assume they're bundling the old pen with Pro 3) hardly makes it a significant upgrade after all those months. Now I really want to know how large is the new trackpad in TypeCover (real dimensions in inches or mm please).
  • So what's the experience like of not having the physical Windows button on the bezel anymore? Do you just use the charms bar or the start button on the task bar?
  • Finnally Print Screen. Time for me to upgrade the keyboard on Surface Pro 3.
  • Thank you Dan, great review. Can the new pen be magnetically attached to the SP3?
  • Yes
  • Why no built-in bluetooth keyboard? Perhaps it'd be a power drain, but i almost never use my convertible HP Envy X2 w/ the keyboard attached. So nice to put the tablet up nearby, and type away on my lap without worrying about balancing the entire thing. And, it fits as a cover and recharges when attached.
  • Has anyone used an M3 model? I'm curious how it performs. Thinking about getting one of those for my mom.
  • I used an SP4 and Surface Book in the MS store and I'm a little disappointed that there is still pen lag. It's definitely nice that the nib touches the screen in same place it draws, but the lag feels unpleasant and seems to lose part of my letters when I write fast. Maybe I would get used to it but it's definitely a step down from the Wacom digitizer in my SP2 and even my 4-year-old samsung series 7 slate, neither of which has any pen lag. I'd still upgrade to the new surface, but it's a little disappointing that they can't get rid of the lag in their pen technology. I wonder if it's a tradeoff they made for better nib accuracy or a problem with this technology in general.
  • They nailed the cooling this time!
  • Wait. You say that the SP4's pen lasts a year, which is "an increase from the 3 months of the previous generation". Except, this isn't true. I got my SP3 the week it launched. I use the stylus almost *daily*, and I STILL have the factory default battery in it. So does my wife in hers, and she uses hers all the time for digital illustration (you can see some of her work at fandango, in fact :)  
  • Point is Microsoft is saying this battery lasts even longer.
  • Finger print reader only available in the US? Goddamnit Microsoft! Seriously? What the hell? Anybody in the US want to ship me a finger print reader keyboard???
  • Hey, I'm considering grabbing the i5 8gb 256gb sp4 with a Dell 24 4k monitor apple mouse and keyboard and the surface dock and keyboard. What cable would be best for connecting the sp4 to the monitor? Can the sp4 screen be turned off with the monitor on??
  • Best yet? Isn't that the point?
  • Thanks for the review Dan. And mostly, thank you for your intellectually curiosity and honest approach to a technical review. It is a major departure from the Say Yes, to The Dress type reviews on other sites about a piece of hardware. Good job man.
  • Thanks for the review. Can I clarify please, does the new pen have 1024 sensitivity only on the SP4 or will it also have the same pressure sensitivity on the SP3? Many thanks
  • Question from a potential Surface Pro 4 owner here. Does the type cover leave marks on the screen? How is it in SP3? If yes, then is screen protector necessary?
  • So far my SP3 has no marks from using the cover.
  • Sweet. Thanks man.
  • Excellent review!  I am new to  windows so I appreciate all these comparisons. I know I want to try Windows 10, I just have to narrow  it down to the actual device I will buy.
  • Excellent review
  • The big question is If Surface pro is a tablet or laptop. I personally prefer Lonovo Yoga Pro 3 
  • I've had the SP4 for almost a year and it's perfect. Use it every day for most of the day and hasn't disappointed me yet.