Microsoft Surface Pro 4: An improved Surface variant, more suitable to the elitists
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, a relatively new entrant into the field of big tablets that do well to double up as a laptop in circumstances warranting more than usual work with the device, have also been seen by both loyalist as well as general users alike as a device capable enough of replacing laptops. The Surface Pro also falls into the category of 2-in-1 devices that are theoretically seen as a laptop-tablet hybrid.
With these being the factors, that also got us excited, we decided to personally procure a Surface Pro 4 and do some real world testing to analyze the performance of the device (an Intel Core i5 6th generation variant obtained via Amazon). Check out, how the hybrid performed, below:
Design and Display
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has thickness of approximately 8.5mm. The tablet looks thicker when held in the hand. However, it is thinner than its predecessor, the Surface Pro 3 which has overall thickness of more than 9mm.
The Surface Pro 4 is relatively easy to carry around as well, as it weighs in at less than 1 Kilogram (786 grams). On unwrapping and examining the device, the first thing that flashes is the location of the volume and power buttons which are at the top rear end of the device.
The Surface Pen also attaches itself more rigidly to the Surface Pro 4, in comparison to the Surface Pro 3; the Pen did not come off easily even when we placed the Surface Pro 4 quite firmly on the desk. Overall, the outer design impressed us, as Microsoft has seemingly worked on making the Surface Pro 4 a complete business device at least in terms of the design and look (and feel) point of view.
When we used a keyboard with the Surface Pro 4, we could type away (on the keyboard) with ease when kept on a desk; however, typing on the go was a challenge as the Surface Pro 4 (in combination with the keyboard) takes up a large area which could pose a potential challenge. The keyboard is to be purchased externally and does not come with the Surface Pro 4.
As far as the actual display is concerned, the Microsoft Surface Pro features a 12.3-inch screen having resolution of 1824 x 2736 pixels with pixel densities of 267 ppi. The display, here, supports 10-point multi-touch.
During our testing, we found the rendered images to be sharp and free from pixellation. Also, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 came across as a device custom-made for watching movies, as we had nothing negative to report about our experience. During movie/video watching, glare was minimized, even when there were a few due to the Surface Pro 4’s Gorilla Glass 4 glass outer casing.
Processor and Memory
For our testing, we chose the Intel Core i5 processor variant; other variants include the Intel Core M and the Core i7 editions. We could run multiple games and resort to multi-tasking in a scenario which involved working with multiple web browsers, working on MS office files and even video streaming at the same time, whilst not observing performance lags. As for memory, the Surface Pro 4 comes with 4 GB RAM with a 128 GB hard-disk drive. For our usage, we found the hard disk area offered more than sufficient to store movies, music and videos.
We shot images, of natural scenery and tried capturing wildlife, with the 8 MP primary camera of the tablet. These images were captured in full daylight conditions and we found these worthy enough for social sharing. The rendered photographs were also comparatively sharp. The 5 MP front camera does well for video calling, and is apt for business users preferring to use Instant Messengers such as Skype, Lync for business calls breaking all geographical barriers.
Nonetheless, Microsoft has incorporated the Windows Hello functionality with which it is possible to log-in to the Surface Pro 4 with just a touch or with a look of the eye. The retina/fingerprints are stored by the device internally. This feature, during our testing, functioned as per expectations albeit after taking significant amount of time.
Software and Battery Life
The Surface Pro 4 runs Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating platform straight out of the box. The OS and the hardware of the device seemed to synchronize perfectly. Overall performance, software-wise, was fairly good considering the fact that we could not encounter performance/UI lags, and multitasking also seemed to be a pleasure.
As far as the battery is concerned, the Surface Pro 4 offered a battery backup time of close to 8 hours, on a full charge, and while we performed tasks such as give presentations, browse the web, mild gaming (along with some video watching) and when logged onto to social networks.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro, packs in a punch, but qualifies more as an elitist device rather than catering to the needs of the general user preferring to replace his/her conventional laptop with a more mobile device. Performance-wise, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 does well.