Microsoft unveiled the follow-up to its hybrid tablet/ultrabook on Tuesday: the Surface Pro 4, a lightweight alternative to a traditional laptop.
The company showed off the Surface Pro 4 at a press event held in New York City a device that is 50% lighter and 30% faster than the previous model. Not surprisingly, Microsoft compared its new device to the MacBook Air, claiming it runs 50% faster than the competing product.
The Surface Pro 4, which is priced at $899, will be available for pre-orders starting Oct. 7 and hit stores on Oct. 26.
In a surprise move, the company also introduced the Surface Pro 4 laptop, which looks very similar to the Surface Pro 4 with a built-in keyboard. But tablet hybrids and laptops weren’t the only products discussed: We also saw two Lumia 950 smartphones — one with a 5.2-inch display (the Lumia 950) and a larger one at 5.7 inches (the Lumia 950 XL) — and learned more about its augmented reality HoloLens device. The HoloLens for developers starts shipping in the first quarter of 2016 and will be available for $3,000.
But let’s talk about the Surface Pro 4. To start, Microsoft expanded the device from 12 inches to 12.3 inches in the diagonal to give more real estate for Windows 10. It comes with 267 ppi, which is more than 5 million pixels on the screen, to make what’s on the screen look real. It’s also made of Gorilla Glass for durability.
The latest model is slimmer, too: it dropped 9.1mm to 8.4mm. Although the company said it could have made the Surface Pro 4 even slimmer, it wanted to make sure it could support a full-sized USB port.
Microsoft also gave its stylus a solid upgrade. Now available in five colors, it comes with its own chipset — the G5PixleSense technology — features a tail eraser, 1,024 levels of pressure and touts “all-year” battery life. Microsoft also built in a handy new spot for users to store the pen too; it nicely attaches via magnets to the top of the device.
Microsoft’s Surface lineup has been widely adopted by businesses and students over the years and has subsequently ignited a trend
Microsoft’s Surface lineup has been widely adopted by businesses and students over the years and has subsequently ignited a trend among competitors like Google and Apple to launch similar products. Most recently, Apple announced the iPad Pro, a device which doubles as a tablet and a laptop, and comes with a pencil.
“You may have noticed… our competitors are chasing it; it’s pretty cool,” Panos Panay, Microsoft’s head of Windows devices, said. “Do you double down and bring the thunder?”
The Microsoft Surface Pro is so powerful, the company said on Tuesday, that its workers back at its Redmond, Washington-based headquarters are currently working on the next-generation version of the product by using, of course, a Microsoft Surface Pro.
The company also debuted a new Surface Pro Type Cover, which will work with both the latest device and the Surface Pro 3. It comes with a backlit keyboard, a scissor design and a precision glass trackpad, which clocks in at 40% bigger. Like the stylus, there are five color options.
In July, Microsoft rolled out its Windows 10 operating system, and more than 110 million devices are currently using the software. The update re-introduced the Start menu, which was removed from Windows 8, rolled out the new browser Microsoft Edge, put its digital voice assistant Cortana into the platform, Continuum — allowing users to switch between device interfaces — and Task View, a way to navigate through open apps.