Fans Rejoice! Microsoft Has Reinvented The Surface Pro 4
Whether you’ll like what I have to say next will depend largely upon your expectations. After the immense hit that was the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, many expected the next installation in the franchise to be an equally mind-blowing, spine-chilling success. If that’s what you have come looking for, you will most certainly be disappointed. If, however, all you are looking for is a more streamlined version of the device, one that remedies its shortcomings and banks on its strengths, the New Surface Pro will be right up your alley.
The Microsoft Surface Pro, as it was announced at an event this year on May 23, is the latest addition to the Surface range of tablets, although it is no longer a tablet. Unlike its predecessor, which was marketed as a hybrid, the new Surface Pro is being announced as a full-on laptop with touchscreen support. The new device comes power-packed with a processor that is three times faster than its predecessor, along with better battery life, more performance and a slightly revamped design.
Mere days ago, my friend and colleague Gordon Kelly did a fantastic job covering the difference between the new Surface Pro and its predecessor in his article, New Surface Pro Vs Surface Pro 4: What’s The Difference?. I, however, am more interested in the qualitative nature of the announcement, and what it means for the company moving forward.
That Microsoft has chosen to ditch the numbering on its latest device in the range comes as no surprise, since the gear really does little to deserve the title of a proper successor to the stunning Surface Pro 4. However, what does this mean for the future of the flagship range? Will Microsoft just pick up with a new Surface Pro 5 next year, or will the Surface Pro remain the last device in the series, now and forever? Wired thinks it can go either way.
As is probably moot to reiterate, the Surface Pro 2017 does little in the way of overhauling the systems introduced by its predecessor. The most significant change yet is the introduction of the new Intel Kaby Lake processors, the m3-7Y30, the i5-7300U and the i7-7660U. Of these, the first two processors will come without fans and will, therefore, be absolutely silent. Since the i7 version packs more power into the package, it will come with fans attached, though the model will still be quieter than ever before.
With the introduction of the new Kaby Lake processors comes a huge upgrade in battery life, which, as anyone who has ever used a Surface Pro 4 will know, was a huge shortcoming with the older device. Microsoft has claimed that the new laptops will last up to 13.5 hours without needing a recharge, although that depends largely on the way you use it. That’s still a huge improvement from the nine hours on the older device, so that has me sold.
And with that goes the significant part of the story. Now let’s talk about what has not changed. The storage and internal memory options have not changed, the display quality and the size of the screen have not changed. The software has not changed (it’s still Windows 10, y’all!). Prices have not changed either, although the Surface Pen is no longer included in the package, so you might say that the prices have increased after all. The highly necessary type cover isn’t included either, so that, too, has not changed.
With so many not-changeds in the mix, it is hard to get excited about the new Surface Pro. And indeed, it is not exactly supposed to excite you either. It is just a handy upgrade that is meant to show us fans that Microsoft hasn’t entirely given up on its flagship. Surface Pro 4 users will probably want to ditch the upgrade and wait for the landscape to change before making a decision, although owners of the Surface Pro 3 or the older Macbook Pro may just be enticed into a purchase. While I don’t wish to overlook or underestimate Microsoft’s efforts, if the company wants to attract customers and get people excited about a new device, it will need to up its game.