Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review: an almost perfect tablet-laptop hybrid

 
Steve Hogarty
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It's improved in almost every aspect from the Surface Pro 3

★★★★★

A laptop-tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro 4 compresses the full and unfettered desktop version of the Windows 10 operating system into a sleek and A4-sized touchscreen. That means it runs proper, grown up Windows applications. You know, your executables and the like, the sort of things you double click on and do actual work with.

That alone makes it a far more useful object than an iPad. Microsoft is positioning the Surface Pro as the tablet you could feasibly replace your laptop with, and with this iteration they’ve been almost entirely successful. Maybe too successful, as I’ve hardly used it as a regular tablet, instead opting to keep it bolted on to its optional keyboard.

Attach that board and flip out the kickstand, and not only does it resemble a laptop, but an attractive one at that. The pen magnetically snaps to the side of the screen with enough force to allow you to confidently chuck the thing in a backpack.

The keyboard snaps neatly into the tablet and features a smoother, glass-topped touchpad that’s pleasing to the fingertips. Better spaced keys push it much closer to a full laptop experience too, with the folding hinge creating a slight angle to allow for comfortable typing.

It was remarkable when Microsoft managed this feat of gadget-merging with the Surface Pro 3, and while the fourth device is no huge evolution of what came before, it’s improved things in almost every respect. The higher resolution screen is a hint of a whisker bigger, while the tablet is a fraction of a biscuit thinner.

Battery life is one area in which compromise has been made. The Surface Pro 4 chugs through charge in a matter of hours. And it’s not cheap either. One up from the slightly underpowered entry-level model at £749, you’ll find the better performing Core i5 version for £849. The keyboard, which is an essential accessory, will set you back another £109.

But what you get in return is a spectacular device, a real feat of engineering that offers a genuine and useful alternative to the convential laptop.

From £749, http://www.microsoftstore.com

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