Thinner, lighter and just a smidgen larger. Microsoft have taken their dabbling into the swollen tablet market and made good on their newest upgrade from their previous Surface Pro 3.
Now, if you have had a prior Surface tablet, a Pro 4 will be a familiar stride, but, if you have not been old enough to adapt to Windows on a touch screen, the Suface Pro 4 makes it as simplistic as possible.
Being stock standard with Windows 10 and coming with a Bluetooth connected Stylus (which is a necessity) it is fair to say that Windows as an operating system is not entirely finger friendly.
But, Microsoft have already thought this through and if you opt to use the tablet as a, well, tablet, not making use of the Stylus which functions as a mouse with the appropriate click buttons and pressure sensivity for a Right Click, Tablet mode will have you button mashing your Surafce’s screen instantly, and harkens back to the look andf feel of Windows 8.1.
The Surface Pro 4 comes in varying spec’s and is dependant on your budget. Beginning with the 128GB, m3 Intel model that has a low end 4GB RAM, it is similar to the Surface Pro R2. But unlike the R2 you are not fully restricted to installing Apps only from the Windows Store, providing that what you want to install can run on the lower specs of course.
The lower scale still has enough power under the hood to provide functionality for almost all everyday users, but for those that want some serious Pro ability and possibly replace the bulky laptop, there are the higher end ones; i5 through to i7, with varying 256 to 516 GB storage and up to 16GB of RAM.
Shane the Gamer was given an i5, 256 GB, 8GB RAM model with a flip keyboard cover to try out.
Of course we naturally put it through it’s gaming paces and more.
Probably the biggest benefit of a Surface tablet is having the USB 3.0 socket. Microsoft have this over any other tablet in the market. And while you can expand the storage via a microsd card (upto 128GB) being able to plug in a trusty USB drive certainly has its merits.
We kicked things off with an install of Steam and then kicked our game testing off with Borderlands 2. We knew this wouldn’t be too taxing and were aware that the model we had on hand was of mid specs.
Plugging in a Xbox 360 controller we were knee deep in FPS carnage without a hitch and while the battery did drain rather quickly and the device was warm to the touch there were no problems. So we gave Batman Arkham Knight a whirl.
The i5 processor was more than enough and asides from a bit of lag here and there (and, okay, it did crash on us once) the Dark Knight of Arkham was fully playable without the need of toning down shaders and tweaking graphic settings.
Now, if you are keen on one of these as a production device and not to play games on, Adobe Creative Suite 6 installed and did not complain about requiring more resources. Using the Quick Stand, flip keyboard cover and a bluetooth mouse ensured we had a fully functional production suite.
The Surface Pro 4 is your one stop device. As a laptop replacement and as a multimedia tablet.
However, not all is fantastic.
The starting model will set you back at close to $1,600 NZD through to the higher end Surface being a bank breaking $4K NZD.
Much like the Surface Book, which in our opinion is the better one to invest in, it’s pricing tier narrows it’s market. This is unfortunate as the Surface Pro 4 does have alot to offer for Students, home users through to Professionals.
Micrsoft’s Surface Pro 4 is similar to it’s predecessor (Surface Pro 3) in regards to usage and while it may not be the first device on a discerning tech consumers tablet buying list, it should not be overlooked.
If you have the cash, my recommendation is go for the higher end models. Do away with the clunky laptop and embrace an all in one with superior functional abilities; the Surface Pro 4.