You are here: Home » Technology » News » Mobiles & Tablets
Business Standard

Microsoft Surface Pro (2018) review: This is a polished, versatile tablet

The new Surface Pro is quite impressive and surely a great upgrade over predecessors, especially in accessories

Aparna Banerjea  |  New Delhi 

Microsoft Surface Pro

The new Surface Pro is clearly setting the benchmark for the world’s tablet market, doing a great job with every improved version. If you are looking for a light, all-purpose and portable computer for use on the go, the new Pro fits just right for you. What’s more, the Surface Type keyboard cover, which easily sticks to the tab’s base as a magnetic attachment, converts it into a laptop within seconds. Unfortunately, the Type Cover does not come bundled with the device.

The price of the Pro models ranges from Rs 64,999 to Rs 182,999, depending on the specifications. The new Surface Pro is available in India since 22 February 2018.

The device is definitely giving a tough competition to Apples's iPad Pro and is attracting a number of consumers seeking a versatile laptop. We reviewed the Intel Core i5 processor variant of the new Surface Pro with 8 GB of RAM. Here’s a look at what we found:

Design

The tab looks gorgeous and polished. It has a 12.3-inch PixelSense touchscreen with a 2,736 x 1,824-pixel resolution. At first glance, the new Surface Pro does not show radical design changes over the Surface Pro 4. And that is only good as the design did not really need any changes. The look and feel are very similar, except that the edges in the new model are softer and rounder. The camera easily fades into the bezel.

At 8.5mm thin and weighing 767 g, the new Surface Pro comes with a magnetic connector at the base to attach the Surface Type keyboard cover. On the left-top rests the 3.5 mm audio jack while the power standby and volume buttons are placed on the top edge.

claims that the new Surface Pro delivers the 'versatility of a laptop and a creative studio'. This can be justified with the impressive hinge for better 'Studio mode'. It bends as much as 165 degrees, giving a perfect stand for drawing. Once placed at a particular angle, the kickstand is sturdy and gives proper support. The mechanism behind the hinge is amazing and deserves all the praise.

Surface Pen, mouse and keyboard

The new Surface Pen comes with an eraser on top and an easy grip of the pen gives a smooth experience of writing, almost like using a real pen on paper. Available in silver and charcoal, the new pro pen has a clip button that can be used as an eraser for the surface pro device, and also be assigned a few gestures. For instance, a single click can open the OneNote application on the device and a double-click takes a screenshot. Apart from that, there are other features like tilt for shading, better sensitivity to movements across the device, which artists would love. However, there are rare instances of the pen showing a lag of a few seconds or so.

Microsoft Surface Pro

The 4,096 pressure points on the pen respond to the lightest touch and make it far easier to sketch, shade and paint. The Surface Pro Device comes with the Sketchbook app on which the new pen works smoothly, giving each design and drawing an artist's precision.

The new Surface Pen is also quite responsive to writing on the device. It is very handy for students taking notes or for those who simply like to scribble on the surface pro device with the pen, maintaining their journal, highlighting points, etc. The pen seems to work effortlessly on every application. Available for Rs 7,999, the new pen has a Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and weighs around 20 g.

Coming to the surface Type Cover Keyboard, it is a bit sad that does not bundle the keyboard with the new Surface Pro. The user has to shell out a lot on accessories, even the keyboard, which costs at least Rs 10,999. But the experience the versatility, the soft velvet coating and the true 2-in-1 potential of the tablet are truly remarkable. If you choose the soft-touch fabric-coated Signature Type Cover, you'll be spending Rs 12,999.

The keyboard is designed skilfully to make typing comfortable. With magnetic attachments to the tablet, it easily snaps to the device and stays firm. It can be placed flat on any surface and does not bend. The keys are well placed, not too protruding from the panel and the layout is decent. The trackpad is smooth, large and quick to respond, but its click sounds are too loud.

The keyboard comes with three layers of backlight that work in favour of the accessory. It is easy to type in dimly lit areas with the backlight feature. But that drains the battery much faster.

Apart from these two, the arc mouse – again sold separately, priced at Rs 6,399 – is definitely not a necessity for users. It has a sleek design, but you can easily make use of any cheaper Bluetooth mouse with the tab. It rests flat on the surface and has two different arc angles for you to get adjusted to it. The surface of the mouse has a rubbery coating and there's a single physical button used for multi-tasking – scrolling, right-click, etc. It somewhat resembles the Apple Magic Mouse due to similar gestures.

Display

The new Microsoft Surface has a high-quality display, with great viewing angles. The 12.3-inch PixelSense display, with a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels, makes colours vibrant on the screen. In keeping with the promise of providing users the 'creative studio' experience, the IPS LCD display has soothing colours – not too saturated – unlike AMOLED displays.

Overall, the brightness of the screen is not too harsh on your eye and you can easily enjoy movies with better precision. The thick bezels on the side are definitely a turn-off. The tablet also comes in 3:2 aspect ratio.

Performance and battery

The new Surface Pro is a delight to work on and comes with enough power to take you through the day while performing common tasks. I was able to perform a couple of simultaneous tasks like writing a report, browsing the internet with several tabs open in the browser, streaming online music, and yet there was no lag in performance.

The Intel Corei5, 256 GB SSD, 8GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 620 variant used in this review came pre-installed with the latest version of Windows 10 Pro. With such powerful specifications, the new Surface Pro can easily compete with high-end laptops like those of Dell, Asus and Acer, without being as bulky and huge, especially the new Acer Swift 5 that comes with 8th Gen core i5.

Coming to graphics, multitasking on the tab works like butter. However, it is not a great option for high-end gaming. The HD resolution is great: I tried my hand on Skyrim and although it worked well and gave around 20 fps on HD resolution, it seemed uncomfortable on the tablet. Plus, the keyboard of a tablet is always more delicate than a laptop's study keyboard.

A major chunk of the performance also relies on the battery. The Microsoft Surface Pro claims a great battery life of up to 13.5 hours at a stretch. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly works a good 10 hours on full charge, and more when performing lighter tasks. I was able to get through a full workday with a lot of browsing, typing, and some video streaming.

Verdict

The new Surface Pro is quite impressive and surely a great upgrade over predecessors, especially on accessories. The Surface Pro pen is a must with the tablet and lets you create a more innovative space with its artistic touch to mundane tasks. Too bad that the pen does not come bundled with the tablet.

However, even with a few flaws and an expensive price tag, the Surface Pro is a marvellous piece of design and performance. Overall, the device is a workhorse in the true sense of the word. Apart from occasional lags, the tablet almost never breaks a sweat.

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 21:28 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU