Buying a new laptop can be tricky – there are so many options out there. Do you invest more and get the best processor you can afford? Do you want a touchscreen? Maybe you just want something to work on the train with, or perhaps – just perhaps – you don’t want a laptop at all; you want a tablet.
Tablets, as you know, are no longer simply big smartphones. With detachable keyboards, high-res displays, incredible audio, fantastic drawing functionality and sooooo much more, as included in the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, you could essentially have all the all the best bits of a traditional laptop combined with the tablet’s innovations and improvements.
Not yet convinced? And why should you be? Plenty of people ask us: “Why should I get a Surface Pro 4 – is it a good alternative to my laptop?” The short answer is yes: it can be. The long answer is: it depends which features are important to you. To help you make up your mind, we’ve compared a few key technical specifications:
Size is everything
These days, it’s all about the thickness – the thinner the better. The Surface Pro 4 measures just 0.33 inches thick – it’s incredibly thin and weighs just 1.69lbs. It’s the screen size that reviewers have been raving about. Microsoft has managed to magically increase the display size without increasing the physical screen at all – from 12 inches to 12.3 inches. The touchscreen with PixelSense™ display has a 2736 x 1824 resolution, producing clean and crisp images.
Laptops have been getting smaller, too, of course – especially if you’re going for a convertible, such as the HP Spectre Pro with its 360° hinge movement. However, at 0.60 inches, it’s almost twice as thick as the Pro 4. The display too has shrunk by comparison with older models, measuring 13.3 inches, boasting a PSR WLED BrightView resolution of 2560 x 1440.
Naturally, a small screen isn’t everyone’s preference; perhaps you want the 15.6-inch display of the Lenovo Thinkpad B50-80 or the positively humungous 17.3-inch screen on the MSI GS70 Stealth Pro.
The Pro 4 is available with 6th Generation Intel © Core ™ m3, i5 or i7 processors – which you can find in any of the newer laptops. On that basis, you can expect performance to be comparable across the two types of device.
This varies from model to model, depending on the specification, performance and what you’ll be using the laptop for. For example, the Dell Vostro 15 3000 laptop boasts 6.5 hours of mobile productivity from its 4-cell battery, while the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon managed a whopping ten hours and 13 minutes in a Digital Trends review.
According to Microsoft, the Surface Pro 4 offers ‘up to nine hours of video playback’, which given the above, ought to be plenty. If you’ve read the reviews, you’ll know that the tech community wanted battery life to be extended with this fourth Surface Pro iteration. That said, a plethora of tests have put actual battery life at between five and ten hours.
Naturally, the more a device does, the more power it will use, so it could be argued that battery life is an inevitable sacrifice for a premium product.
Essential (or not so) extras
A sticking point for some making the decision between laptop and tablet might be a DVD drive. Manufacturers of thinner devices – in both categories – have long since abandoned this space waster in favour of slimming down their machines. And although an external DVD drive can easily be plugged in, it’s still a consideration.
Another is the keyboard. Laptops have keyboards fitted as standard, of course. The Pro 4 does not and while the Type Cover is clever and doesn’t hinder typing, it remains a separate purchase, no matter how much we all moan.
We have to mention the Surface Pen. This piece of technical brilliance allows you to draw, scribble, mark documents and write naturally, plus it can be used as a remote control to some extent. The Pro 4 has over 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity, meaning that you can draw or paint as though you were holding a real pencil. Microsoft has even launched a set of pen tips for artists. The downside is that the pen and nibs don’t come with the tablet either, but this is a feature that isn’t replicated on touchscreen laptops.
There’s surely not a device created today that doesn’t possess an in-built webcam, so the requirement for a camera won’t be an issue, no matter what you choose. Most are full HD, too.
Is the Surface Pro 4 a good alternative to your laptop?
Keep the laptop: if you are planning to write your novel and require a full sized keyboard at no extra cost; if you’re a serious gamer who wants a larger display; if you’re especially passionate about having a DVD drive, or if you are a bit heavy-handed.
Upgrade to the Surface Pro 4: if you’re looking for the flexibility that a two-in-one can offer combined with the standard features of a laptop but better; if you want to draw/create art; if you want a lightweight portable device which includes Microsoft’s latest improvements, or if money isn’t an issue.
That said, there’s no reason why you couldn’t try any device on a lease basis – as they say, you don’t know until you try; it might be that the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is precisely what you’re looking for, only you don’t know it yet.
To find out about leasing a Surface Pro 4, a convertible 2-in-1 or standard laptop, simply call on 0207 111 1643.