Tech giant Microsoft was not considered a hardware company until it released the first version of the Xbox video game console in 2001. By the time Microsoft partnered with Nokia and introduced its Surface line of personal computing devices, the tech sector was still not convinced that the company would one day be as dedicated to hardware as its primary rival Apple.
With the new Surface Pro 4 hybrid tablet, Microsoft will certainly convince everyone that its hardware products deserve as much attention as an iPad, iPhone or MacBook. The Surface 4 Pro only features a handful of improvements over the Surface 3, but the verdict is clear: laptops belong in the past.
The Surface Pro 4 is a beautiful piece of hardware. There are not really any MacBook comparisons to be made from a visual point of view; however, this is the best looking Surface Pro released thus far, and that says a lot.
At 8.4 mm, the new Surface is extremely attractive and generous in terms of display real estate. The 12.3-inch touchscreen is a bit large for a tablet, which means that users are better off with the elegant Type Cover keyboard. This does not mean that the Surface has to always be attached to its keyboard case; in fact, graphic artists will be tempted by the high resolution and ultra-responsive touchscreen to constantly use it as a tablet.
With a 2,160 x 1,440 resolution, things look better, crisper and brighter on the Surface Pro 4 than they do on a MacBook or iPad. The included Surface pen is perfect for drawing, painting or even calligraphy; it even features a smart eraser. Equally smart is the Type Cover keyboard case, which offers biometric login functionality and illuminated keys that are very responsive. The large touchpad is a nice touch for traditionalists because the touchscreen offers a superior experience.
In terms of performance, the Intel Core processor does a very good job of handling Windows 10 as it should be handled. Battery life has not changed from the Surface 3, and this is one of the weaker points; web browsing will last longer than six hours, but the same cannot be said about streaming high resolution video, which can drain the battery considerably after one feature film.
Starting Price: $1,499