Those who thought that the Surface Book was really the main star of the show and that the Surface Pro 4 didn’t matter as much will be pleasantly surprised. Those expecting a MacBook Pro killer will surely want to look at the Surface Book. However, those looking for something better than the MacBook Air or iPad Pro that approaches the MacBook Pro, look no more — the Surface Pro 4 is here.
The most noticeable change between the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 is the Type Cover. This time, it is actually useful to the point where you don’t have to carry a mouse with the Surface Pro wherever it goes. The Type Cover for the Surface Pro 3 allowed a decent typing experience, but the erratic trackpad, according to many, made the Type Cover almost impossible to use without an external mouse.
The keys are better spaced on the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover. It doesn’t look like there is much tactile feedback with the keys, but you’ll be comfortable typing once you start. Most importantly, there is a much bigger glass trackpad that actually operates the way a trackpad is supposed to. Because of this, the Surface Pro 4 will be more comfortable to use on your lap, even though it’s not really designed for the lap like the more expensive and larger Surface Book.
Then, you will notice the 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI) pixel resolution screen. Even though the PPI increase from the Surface Pro 3 isn’t a huge leap, the screen looks noticeably crisper and the colors appear more saturated. It isn’t the 4K screen that many thought Microsoft would provide for the Surface Pro 4, but it comes very close. Watching a 4K video of Costa Rica on the Surface Pro 4 makes you feel almost like you can jump into the screen.
The Surface Pro 4’s Surface Pen now has an eraser. [Photo by Daryl Deino]Then, there is the updated Surface Pen, which now has an eraser. Some reports say there is a big improvement in the Surface Pen when compared to the one provided by the Surface Pro 3, but that’s not really true. Besides, the Surface Pen on the Pro 3 was already excellent, even if N-Trig technology doesn’t allow as smooth handwriting as Wacom stylus devices. Using OneNote felt even more like writing on a notebook pad than it did on the Surface Pro 3, since the Pro 4 is slightly thinner and slightly lighter.
The biggest change inside is the use of Microsoft’s new Skylake Intel Core processor (the unit used for this review had the Intel Core i7 chip), which makes the Pro 4 noticeably faster than the Pro 3 with the i7 chip. It feels like one can do 4K video editing if they want, although the Surface Book is the one to buy for that.
Still, the Surface Pro 4 offers more than what 90 percent of consumers need. Those who think they want the Surface Book more than the Surface Pro 4 may find themselves in a dilemma after putting their hands and feasting their eyes on the latest Surface Pro. At last, Microsoft has conquered the tablet world. From here on, the iPad Pro will look like one big joke.