Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Launch

Microsoft yesterday announced the retail availability of Surface Pro 4 in Singapore, the latest in Microsoft’s tablet lineup. The Surface Pro 4 is designed to be the ultimate two-in-one device and aimed at replacing your notebook. Where the Surface Pro 3 falls short, the new Surface Pro 4 makes subtle improvements that come together to offer a compelling alternative to your notebook.

The Surface Pro 4 may be tablet-sized, but it packs power that can competently challenge many current notebooks. Here we have a tablet that’s only 8.4 mm thin, but packing 6th generation Intel Core m, Core i5, and Core i7 processors, with up to 256 GB of storage and 16 GB of RAM, you can go from casual web browsing to heavy Adobe Premiere editing with no trouble.

The Surface Pro 4 looks pretty much the same as the Surface Pro 3. But there are small improvements all around. The display, for example, has been upgraded from 12 inches to 12.3 inches, but not changing the tablet’s footprint. The tablet has gotten slimmer from the 9.1 mm from last year.

One of the defining features of the Surface Pro 4 is its new Surface Pen. It has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and includes a magnetic storage attachment so that you can simply clip it to the side of the Surface Pro 4. While I might still worry that the pen might come loose in a bag stuffed with other gear, the magnet is strong enough that the Surface Pen should not just fall off on its own.

The Surface Pen is a really important accessory. It’s how it turns the Surface Pro 4 into an instant writing pad for jotting down notes. The Surface Pen instantly activates OneNote, and you can just write, draw, and erase, just as if you had a real pen and paper. Erasing is actually perfectly natural too, because the “eraser tip” on the other end of the pen works to erase what you’ve inked down. Suddenly I feel like using a pen again!

If pens are serious tools for you, Microsoft offers a separate Surface Pen with Pen Tip Kit, available at S$94. It comes with four tips: 2H, H, HB and B. The pen is available in Charcoal, blue, red and silver.

The new Type Cover is pretty cool too. There’s more space between keys now, compared with last year’s version, and unfortunately just slightly thicker, but for a good thing, to allow for deeper key travel and better tactile feedback. The Type Cover is also now sturdier, and includes a glass touchpad that is 40% larger than before.

While the Surface Pen is included with the tablet, the Type Cover is still a separate purchase, at S$199. It’s available in black, blue and light blue colours.

Back to the Surface Pro 4 tablet itself, this is one complete notebook in capabilities. The 12.3 inch display offers 2736 x 1824 resolution (3:2 aspect ratio) with 1300:1 contrast ratio and 10-point multitouch. In the networking department, the tablet offers 802.11ac with 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE support. There is a 8 MP rear facing camera, 5 MP front facing camera, and separate front-facing Windows Hello face authentication camera.

There’s a respectable complement of ports: full-size USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, microSD card slot, headset port, Type Cover port and Surface Connect port for power and docking. New devices launched this year are starting to sport the new USB Type-C port. The Surface Pro 4, however, has chosen not to go with Type-C.

Battery life is rated for 9 hours with video playback.

A docking station, Surface Dock, is available separately at S$314. It provides 2 mini DisplayPorts, 1 Gigabit Ethernet port, 4 USB 3.0 ports, and 1 audio out.

The Surface Pro 4 is available in four configurations in Singapore:

  • Core M3, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB storage: S$1,399
  • Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB storage: S$1,599
  • Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage: S$1,999
  • Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage: S$2,499
  • Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB storage: S$2,799
  • Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 Gb storage: S$3,399

It starts out cheap to compete as a tablet, but once you deck it out with notebook type hardware specifications, the Surface Pro 4 does cost quite a bit. Don’t forget to add the Type Cover’s cost if you expect to use it like a notebook!

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