The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is finally here. I say finally because this is actually the first Surface to hit the surface in India, just over three years after the first of these devices was announced. The Surface Pro 4 has come in time to take on the Apple iPad Pro, both of which will try and woo those people who want to do more with their computing devices, but will be really bothered by the extra kilo or so a powerful PC or Mac will add to the mix.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
The Surface Pro 4 is a really stylish device, though not exactly a run-off-the-mill tablet. I say this because there are these vents on the sides which are not common in tablets. It is easy to grip and use. The size is not awkward, though its large. The kickstand at the bottom is really practical and along with the full-size keyboard, it works like a full computer.
Specs: 12.3-inch (2732x1824p, ~267ppi) LED-backlit widescreen | Windows 10 Pro | Intel Core i5 | Intel HD Graphics 520 | 8GB DDR3 SDRAM | 128 SSD storage | VGA | HDMI | RJ-45 | USB x3 | DVD RW | 4-cell 44 Whrs battery | 2.40 kg
Price: Rs 89,990
What is good?
The Surface offers a clear edge when it comes to accessories. I like the fact that the slim keyboard offers a trackpad too, as I can’t resist the temptation of using one with a large screen despite the touch screen. The keyboard offers the right amount of travel making is good for those who want to write.
Similarly, the Surface Pen feels like a proper pen and comes with a magnetic strip that makes it stick to the Surface thus reducing the chances of you forgetting where it is. Also, the pen comes with a clicker on top that lets you open OneNote or even take a screenshot. Good.
This is my first long stint with Hello. And I must tell you it works like a charm. But, it has to be faster and less of a song and dance. I think in a year or so it will unlock computers immediately instead of telling you it is searching, verifying etc. It is a great start nonetheless. This is how technology should be: seamless and natural.
With Windows 10, Microsoft has finally rolled out Cortana in India. It is a worthy personal assistant, one that is aware that she is in India and we speak English with an accent that might be unfamiliar for her. The success rate is quite high and that is good those who are lazy enough to type a query. Also, Microsoft has integrated it well by giving the ability to summon her with just a long press on the pen’s top clicker.
I am convinced that if you are invested in the Windows ecosystem and need a good mobile device, then the Surface Pro 4 is a better bet than buying a regular expensive laptop. That is because, if the need arises this can a handy tablet device too. I have seen very few portable devices that are really this good with full-blown Windows programmes. The Surface Pro 4 runs all your programmes without a stutter and that would include something as resource intensive as Adobe Photoshop. And that is where this device will have an edge over something like the iPad Pro. But look for good photo editing apps that you would want to use on the fly without yoking a keyboard and mouse and you will struggle.
What is not that good?
The Surface Pro 4 is a computer in every sense and not really a tablet. And whatever Microsoft might say, Windows 10 is still not a mobile-first OS. The entire operating system will have to think differently to get to that level. Just making people wait for a minute to wake up the device from sleep defeats the purpose.
The setup is rather long. It took me close to 30 minutes to get to the point where I was actually using the device. Then, when I finally wiped the devices after the review the reinstall took all of two hours. And that is a not a very tablety feature to have. It is very PC. Very Windows.
Some Windows 10 apps might require an upgrade to start working properly. They worked fine after I downloaded the apps again, but this will be very frustrating for someone who has to spend so much on a new device.
Ultrabooks traditionally give you at least six hours of battery life, and I have used ultrabooks almost as thin as the Surface Pro 4 at least three years ago. On the Surface Pro 4, a full battery gives you about four hours of juice, if you have the battery saver switched on. And there is something really wrong with figure. I would say given the size of the device, this figure should be at least double.
So, should you buy?
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a good computing device by all means. Of course, it is expensive and not meant for everyone. Also, let’s not think of it as a large, powerful tablet. This is actually a thinner, lighter, sexier Ultrabook if anyone cares for that term these days. It is a full-blown PC that can do almost all the tasks it is asked to but is not exactly a mobile-first device in the true sense.
There is a very PC heart at the soul of this device and that does come through at a time. And that is not a bad thing. Buy this as a notebook replacement or as your second laptop and you will love every bit of it. It might not be able to replace a desktop just yet.