The fifth-generation Surface Pro 2-in-1 hit store shelves today. It sports the latest Intel processor, LTE, and over 13 hours of battery life, but no longer comes bundled with an active pen.
Microsoft unveiled the replacement for the Surface Pro 4 in Shanghai last month, but don’t call it the “Surface Pro 5”–a product number isn’t part of the name. This will require tech reporters and catalogs to refer to it as the “Surface Pro (2017)”.
Surface Pro 2017: Good News
The inclusion of Core m3, Core i5, and Core i7 chips from the 7th-generation “Kaby Lake” family of processors brings 12% to 19% improvements in real-world performance, according to Intel. Even better, they are power efficient enough that Microsoft is claiming the new Surface Pro will last up to 13.5 hours on a single charge, up from 9 hours in the model its replacing. No fan is required in the m3 and i5 versions, helping to save on power, and a larger battery across the board will help too.
Unlike any of its predecessors, built-in 4G LTE will be an option in this model. This won’t be available until later this year, however.
In addition, Microsoft improved the kickstand so this tablet can now lay back almost flat. And support for the Surface Dial has been added.
Most of the specifications of the fifth-gen model are the same as its predecessor: its display is 12.3-inches, 2736 by 1824, and 273 ppi, for example. Options for RAM will remain 4 GB, 8 GB, or 16 GB, and SSD storage will be either 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB.
Surface Pro 2017: Not as Good News
The Surface Pen also got some improvements: a new version supports 4096 levels of pressure and reduced latency. Tilt detection has also been added… but only when used with the Surface Pro (2017). The bad news is that this accessory is bundled with the tablet, but is rather a $99 optional extra. Despite pre-announcement rumors, the new Surface Pen can’t be charged from the computer.
Some will be disappointed to hear Microsoft continues to eschew USB-C in the entire Surface line. The latest entry is charged through the Surface connector, and includes a Mini DisplayPort, just like earlier ones.
Surface Pro 2017: Price and Availability
The fifth-generation Surface Pro is available now in 26 countries. Pricing starts at $799 for the version with a Core m3 processor. Choosing a faster chip, or adding additional RAM and storage capacity increases the cost significantly, of course.
Adding a Type Cover to turn the Surface Pro (2017) into a true 2-in-1 requires $129 more. A new version covered in Alcantara costs $159. There’s also a Surface Mouse coming.