Surface Pro 4 review round-up - It's the best Surface yet

Earlier this morning, our site and many others reviewed the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. We like to think that our review, which you can find here was very even-handed, but in case you have not read all the other reviews out there, we figured we would round those up too.

Additionally, I'll add a few notes at the end about what it all means.

Brett Howse, Anandtech

"If you are looking for a workhorse tablet that you can be productive on, I don't think anyone else offers the build quality, performance, and accessories, compared to Surface. There have been some other devices recently announced in the PC space which are very similar to the Surface, but with Surface Pro 4, Microsoft has raised the bar again."

Devindra Hardawar, Engadget

"The Surface Pro 3 was a sign that Microsoft's crazy hybrid tablet experiment might actually have legs. The Surface Pro 4, on the other hand, is the company's Surface dream made real. Everything Microsoft promised at that surprise Surface unveiling in 2012 is here today with the Pro 4. Future models might eventually fix the battery life issue and add faster hardware, but we'll likely remember the Surface Pro 4 as the turning point for Microsoft."

Dan Seifert, The Verge

"If the Surface Pro 3 was Microsoft's best idea for the tablet that can replace your laptop, the Pro 4 is the best execution on that idea. It's still not the computer for everyone, but for the Surface believers, it's the best yet."

Peter Bright, Ars Technica

"After the reworking of the Surface Pro concept in the Pro 3, the Pro 4 is a solid refinement. It's easily the best implementation of the concept that Microsoft has put together so far; lighter, thinner, faster, with more storage, more memory, and a better screen, keyboard, and touchpad than it's ever had before. The only complication preventing an unambiguous recommendation is that the Surface Pro 4 will imminently have some competition."

Michael Hession, Gizmodo

"The Surface may go toe-to-toe with a Macbook Air but its real strength is in out iPad-ing the iPad. It's a great second device to take anywhere and do some fun half-productivity, half-creative work. I enjoyed the device most when just putzing around the internet, reading news sites, taking notes, and watching movies. If refinements were made to make Windows 10 just a bit more touch-friendly and allow the hardware to hum smoothly, it would be an amazing machine for those things—a true laptop killer. But for hard work, I (and probably you) need more."

Christopher Null, Wired

"The tablet still has some growing pains to overcome, though hopefully these will be resolved in the course of regular patches. In a few days of testing, I experienced a handful of abruptly crashing apps and, more problematic, the touchpad on the keyboard failing after the keyboard was disconnected and then reconnected. Only a reboot got things working again.""Ultimately these are fairly minor hiccups in what is—finally—shaping up to be a quite capable computing system. The Pro 4 doesn't reinvent the Pro 3 in any meaningful way, but it does offer thoughtful and useful refinements. That's probably as good a sign as any that Microsoft has a solid handle on what it's doing."

Dan Ackerman, CNET

"It's lightweight and portable enough to go around with you anywhere, and the hinge and keyboard cover provide lots of flexibility for setting up in potentially awkward spots, although it still doesn't feel quite right on your lap.""The same complaint comes up over and over again, that the keyboard cover isn't included, and a decent configuration costs well over the $899 starting price (the hardware we tested is $1,428, £1,188 or AU$2,198 altogether). But beyond that, the Surface Pro 4 adds some very valuable refinement to last year's already excellent Surface Pro 3, and its only real competition as a showpiece premium detachable hybrid is the still-embryonic Surface Book."

Pete Pachal, Mashable Choice Mashable

"The Surface Pro 4 did an outstanding job as my primary machine. With Intel's 6th-generation Skylake processors on board, it could handle running all my apps, multiple browser windows and more. And because it's so light (1.69 pounds, or 2.37 with the Type Cover), I never dreaded unhooking the device from my workstation so I could take it to a conference room or train ride home."Something unexpected happened along the ride: I all but forgot the Surface Pro 4 was a tablet. Instead, I got down to business...The Surface Pro 4 took it all with processing power to spare. Battery life wasn't that impressive – I never got even close to the 9 hours promised on the spec sheet – but you have to compromise something if you want a machine so light that you're constantly checking your bag to make sure it's still in there."

Paul Thurrott,

"That Surface Pro 4 is, in many ways, so completely lacking in surprise is what makes it so surprising. It is just a steady drone of refinement hitting critical mass, the culmination of a history of listening to what people want and then just delivering it again and again until there is nothing left to complain about. Anyone who has gazed longingly at previous Surface Pro devices and found them lacking in some way will be hard pressed to mount much of a defense this time around. With Surface Pro 4, this form factor has in effect been perfected. So what's it really like? Duh. It's awesome."

Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch

"Iterative improvements are hard to describe without personal hands-on time. Still, the Surface Pro 4 is a fine device, and one that I would cycle into my daily computing life if not for the Surface Book. Power is my favorite, and the Book has more of it… Regardless, it's the best Surface Pro yet. Do what you will."


In reading through all the reviews there does seem to be a consensus. The Surface Pro 4 is the best Surface yet and most reviewers were impressed with the device. They also agree that it is a refinement of the Surface Pro 3 with many smaller improvements that add up to a better experience.

Mediocre battery life, some design awkwardness and increasing competition are brought up as the most common concerns.

Interestingly, I think the Surface Pro 4 is the first Surface to be reviewed as itself as opposed to the concept behind it. Most of the Surface Pro 3 reviews relentlessly questioned the need for the Surface and whether the category could even succeed for Microsoft instead of being some wacky experiment.

Fast forward 18 months and $4 billion later and the conversation has shifted. Not only is Surface a thing for Microsoft, their OEM partners and even Apple are jumping on the hybrid device craze too.

That shift in tone is the real win for Microsoft. It is a validation of their vision. This device category is here to stay, and the Surface Pro 4 is going to carry on that revolution.

Which review did you like the most? Do you think the Surface Pro 4 will be a hit even with the Surface Book? Let us know!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the 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 watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. 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.