Featured image via Andrew White for Wired.
Think of Microsoft’s Surface range and you probably immediately visualise the bright, fun design, the clip on Type Cover keyboard, and the joyful user experience. You may also have preconceptions about the price (ranging from around £400 – £2,200 depending on the model).
Since its inception, the range has earned much respect from the tech community and consumers alike; many of whom praise the hardware and display, and even say it can replace your laptop. It’s also received favourable comparisons against its Apple rival – the iPad Pro.
The latest member of this family, the Surface Pro 4, was introduced in October 2015 and has started to gain a foothold in the market, so we thought we’d see how it’s been received.
What the tech reviewers said
It’s official, the Surface Pro 4 is a hit. Okay, not entirely; of course there are a few moans here and there. Predominantly that the Type Cover remains a separate purchase (most reviewers mentioned this) and that the battery life hasn’t been sufficiently extended. However, there was plenty for the experts to get excited about.
Joe Osborne, writing for TechRadar, hailed the tablet’s sharper, larger screen, the much improved backlit Type Cover and the Surface Pen (with its additional nibs). Despite criticising the ‘entry level’ Intel Core m3, he concluded that the Surface Pro 4 is a tablet that’s ‘as close as it’s going to get’ to replacing a laptop. “Microsoft seems to have captured and applied the best definition of ‘iteration’ to almost every end of the Surface Pro 4,” he said, “making it well worth the wait for creative professionals, students and everyday folks alike.”
PC Advisor’s Chris Martin also defends the cost of the Pro 4 (which starts at £740), highlighting the many improvements and updates on what’s gone before – such as having a thinner and larger screen without, incredibly, increasing the overall size of the device (from 12 inches to 12.3 inches). Resolution too has increased to 2736 x 1824, creating a ‘crisp and clear pixel density’. He believes that it really could replace the laptop, but at a higher price.
Forbes’ Ewan Spence praised Microsoft’s innovation, calling the Pro 4 ‘a winner’ and adding that ‘a Windows user would not go wrong in purchasing [it]’. He partially explains the high price tag as ‘Microsoft’s high-end approach to consumer retail devices’. He sums up: “I think the Surface Pro 4 has the right balance of specifications against portability. It looks the part, it’s snappy in operation and it’s a great all-rounder”.
Cnet’s Dan Ackerman agrees that this tablet could replace the laptop, stating that the Pro 4 is ‘Microsoft taking a [well-deserved] victory lap’. His biggest complaint is the exclusion of the Type Cover and the battery which doesn’t see out one full day. However, he loves the bigger screen, the higher resolution and the latest Intel processors. In short, he believes this device is the “best-in-class Windows tablet”.
Tips and tricks
So you’re thinking of getting your hands on a Surface Pro 4? Brilliant! Here are a few hints that might make your life a little easier:
- To save battery life:
the Surface Pro 4’s new and improved display assumes a lot of power and therefore uses up that battery life. Some tricks to preserve it include adjusting screen brightness manually, electing Battery Saver mode and, some say, disabling Windows Hello.
- Use the Surface Pen like a remote:
this helpful tip from GottaBeMobile is simple but oh-so effective. The Surface Pen can be used like a wireless remote control. OneNote opens when you click the top once, twice and it takes a screenshot to send to OneNote and if you’re lost, holding the pen top down will open up Cortana. There’s also a ‘hidden’ button on the pen itself, which acts as a mouse click.
- Rent, don’t buy
: one of the biggest reasons people don’t opt for the Surface range at all is the cost. However, who said you needed to buy one outright? Many people have discovered that they can have the very latest technology through leasing a Surface Pro 4 – you could even have the swanky Core i7 for less than £12 per week. Add the Type Cover for pennies extra.
- Use Hello:
if you’re not bothered about battery life, then use the facial recognition feature, Hello. This offers incredible security and means you don’t have to worry about recalling a password each time.
- Adjust the Surface Pen’s sensitivity
: with over 1,000 levels of pressure, you are bound to find that what you want for drawing isn’t what you need for writing notes. However, you can easily change the pressure in the Surface app, as WinBeta explains. There’s a Pen Slider Sensitivity option under the Pen category, where you can adjust the pressure and try it out before saving. Genius!
Lastly, we couldn’t go without sharing this tweet we stumbled across. It seems that some people take their familial responsibilities very seriously, especially when it comes to recommending tablets to other generations:
I talked my Dad into getting a Surface Pro 4 instead of an iPad Pro yesterday. I feel like I have done my duties as his son.
— Chris Fisher (@GingerJabba) October 31, 2015
To find out how you could lease a Surface Pro 4, please get in touch or call us on 0207 111 1643.