This one really goes below the surface.
The new model looks exactly like the Surface Pro 4 in almost every way, but it has a wealth of new features under the hood. One of the most interesting upgrades has to do with the internal parts. According to one report, there are now over 800 new components used for the laptop, which also works as a tablet.
I’ve mentioned this before, but the Surface laptop (this is technically the fifth iteration, but they’ve dropped the numbering scheme) has started popping up at companies large and small. People seem to love the idea of taking notes with the pen at a meeting, then using one on an airplane like it’s a normal laptop. Microsoft says they’ve now made the Surface Pen (which costs an extra $99) more responsive and accurate.
The processor options are now more varied. There’s nimble Intel Core i7 model for fast processing, and lighter Intel M3 and i5 models that don’t use a fan inside the case. It means you can choose between more power or a lighter, quieter design.
Another major perk: The Surface Pro now lasts 13.5 hours on a charge. Seems like those 800 internal components have been fine-tuned for longevity, and that means the device could easily last two days of normal use in the office. It makes this laptop the best model they’ve ever made, base don the specs and battery life alone.
At CES 2017, I spent a full hour testing the new Surface Studio desktop with a Surface Dial that you can use for sketching ideas, editing documents in Word, and adjusting colors in apps like Adobe Photoshop. You place the dial directly on the screen and turn it to select options. The new Surface Pro also uses the dial, and the laptop uses a hinge that can help you position it like you’re using a drawing pad.
The Surface Pro is only .33-inches thin and weighs 1.7 pounds. Microsoft made a good point about the weight–it’s lighter than many laptop bags. With the Type Cover keyboard cover, which costs $129 extra, I could see grabbing this laptop for a meeting and skipping the laptop bag. I’ve tested every version of the Surface laptops and tablets, and they tend to match up nicely with the business mindset of portability and power–using real apps in Windows and not relying on an iPad or a Chromebook when you really need the full desktop version of Word, just like in the office.
Is there a dark cloud worth mentioning here? My only gripe, as usual, is about the price, $799 is a big drop in a bucket for any startups, especially when you multiply that figure by 20 employees or so. Apple recently lowered the price of the entry-level iPad to just $329, so you would spend half the amount deploying those. I recently bought two Lenovo laptops for my kids that were $400 each, use an Intel Core i5 processor, and have provided more than enough power and portability for any purpose in college.
What you get with the new Surface Pro is quality and power. This is a laptop that is made to take some abuse and last all day and more, so for any business user, that’s worth the extra expense. Going cheap with your primary productivity machine just doesn’t make sense if you can’t get your work done. It’s a remarkable new machine.