Microsoft introduced the new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop a few weeks ago. But so far, both novelties have been available in the US and Asia (?). Since June 15, 2017, new Microsoft products will appear in Europe. We visited the event Surface Family in Berlin, where we were able to get acquainted with the novelties. And we hasten to share our impressions with our readers.
The name Surface is firmly attached to the concept of transformable tablets. Not surprisingly, Microsoft does not throw a very important line for the company and continues to present new models. But there is no change in form factor or basic concept. And the successful prescription of predecessors was preserved. Interesting and new name. Instead of the expected Surface Pro 5 model, we get just a Surface Pro tablet. At first it can cause confusion, but eventually the new name will surely get accustomed, even in the form of Surface Pro (2017), for example.
Externally, the Surface Pro tablet is almost indistinguishable from the predecessor Surface Pro 4 . Microsoft not only installed new Intel processors inside it, but also modified the case a little. The edges are now slightly rounded, so the Surface Pro tablet is more comfortable in your hand than the angular predecessor. The folding stand gives a larger tilt angle to 165 degrees (the so-called Studio mode, casting an analogy with Surface Studio), which will provide support for a larger number of usage scenarios.
Also, the new Surface Pro tablet has new Keyboard-covers for Signature Type Cover called Alcantara. It has a polyurethane coating with imitation textiles. But the surface can be wiped with a damp cloth. Covers Signature Type Cover are available in different colors, which allows you to personalize the tablet to the preferences of the user. The first time will be available options Burgundy red, cobalt blue and platinum. But the old Cover is also compatible. Interestingly, the new covers of Signature Type Cover can be used with old tablets.
The second typical accessory for Surface Pro is the Surface Pen stylus. In the new edition (which is easy to determine by the lack of attachment), the pen recognizes 4.096 gradations of depression. Upgrading the hardware platform allowed to reduce delays, the sensation stylus really works very sensitively and responsively. Drawing or writing with a pen now gets even more natural than before. In addition, the stylus is now recognizable slope, so in compatible applications, hatching is supported. Finally, Surface Pen can also be purchased in different colors.
Inside the new Surface Pro are used different processors of the seventh generation Intel Core. Microsoft indicates a 20% increase in productivity. Interestingly, the battery life increased by 50% to 13.5 hours. It’s not worth worrying about the noise level, because even for Core i5 processors you do not need active cooling, the tablet works noiselessly. Hybrid cooler is used only in case of Core i7.
With Surface Book, Microsoft has already mastered the form factor of laptops. But with a removable display, the notebook was still a hybrid solution. However, Surface Laptop can already be called a real laptop. The first announcement was controversial, since Microsoft announced a full-time installation on a laptop Windows 10S . This operating system is aimed at the educational segment. For security reasons, the user will not be able to install any Windows applications, the software is only available through the Windows Store. But towards the end of the year there will be a possibility of moving Windows 10S to regular Windows 10. We were able to see how easy this transition is. It is a semblance of a normal average Windows upgrade. And after reboot, you get a full Windows 10.
Therefore Surface Laptop will be of interest to ordinary users. It’s good, because Surface Laptop is a very attractive alternative to the lightweight MacBook and premium ultrabooks of the Windows world.
13.5 inch laptop can not be called record-thin or light, but Microsoft managed to achieve a reasonable balance between the weight of 1.25 kg, the strength of the case and the time of battery life.However, we still have tests to verify in practice the claimed 14.5 hours. The thickness of the case is from 9.9 to 14.5 mm, it is quite durable.The display cover slightly bends, but for this class it is quite normal.
With the touch input, the display bends slightly backward, but the resistance is still greater than that of the Surface Book. At the same time, opening a Surface Laptop with one hand is problematic, which is probably more worrisome for some users. And the angular design of the body does not add comfort. But Surface Laptop can not be confused with competitors from outside. Microsoft itself claims that this approach was chosen intentionally, so that the case seemed cast. But the friendliness to the user does not benefit from this.
But it’s worth discovering the laptop, how the impression is changing, because instead of hard metal we get a soft tissue material. A special feature of Surface Laptop is the Alcantara coating around the keyboard. Which may not like everyone, there are also doubts about its longevity. I wonder how the coating will look after several years of operation? But in the case of new laptops, soft fabric is very pleasant to the touch. In addition, buyers will have the opportunity to choose different colors. At the time the sales start, only plain platinum gray is available. But later colors of red, cobalt blue and graphite gold will be available.
As the short test showed, Surface Laptop fully meets the criterion of high-end notebooks. Typing on the keyboard is convenient due to a decent stroke of 1.5 mm. Is that somewhat embarrassing the power button, which Microsoft has integrated into the upper row. But this solution does not violate the appearance. A large touch pad works just like a touch screen (with which you can also use the stylus). The display has its advantages: it is bright and contrasting, with rich color reproduction. In addition, the typical 3: 2 format for Surface provides more room for height. Which is very useful if you use the tablet to work. Unfortunately, the interfaces will have to compromise. Yet many users will miss the “interface of the future” USB Type C.
The advancement of the first monoblock Microsoft is not easy, and there are a lot of problems, as the tests show. But, nevertheless, Surface Studio enters the European market. The monoblock is presented under the slogan “ideas without borders”, except for the usual desktop mode, a 28-inch monitor with a resolution of 4.5K supports and Studio mode. In it, it is almost flat, at an angle of 20 degrees – here Microsoft was clearly inspired by the idea of the drawing table.
Change the angle of the display is very easy, despite the large size. 28-inch display with a resolution of 4.5K provides a significant space for creative work, in no small part and thanks to the 3: 2 format. Yes, and in office scenarios, we have significant advantages, because you can place two A4-size sheets next to each other.
Microsoft does not plan to target Surface products to the mass market. They are positioned as flagship solutions, which can be used by many Microsoft partners. Actually, it is perfectly visible and at prices Surface Pro and Surface Laptop. Surface Pro will have to pay at least 949 euros, even in the initial configuration (Core m3, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD). As for Surface Laptop, here you can join the world of premium Microsoft ultrabooks at a price of 1.149 euros (Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD). And we brought prices only initial configurations, as the hardware components increase, they increase. Both devices in the recommended configuration with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD will cost as low as 1.449 euros.
And the Surface Pro tablet comes in pure form. For cover-type keyboard Cover and stylus will have to pay extra separately. The new Surface Pro Signature Type Cover will be available from June 30 at a price of 179.99 euros . A bit later this year will be presented LTE-version of the tablet, but prices have not yet been provided. In the case of a monoblock Surface Studio, prices start at 3.549 euros , which limits the target audience to users with a large budget.