Update: And, just like that, our review of the new Surface Pro is in, and we're very much impressed.
Microsoft hosted an event to show off new hardware on May 23, and it was there that it finally revealed the new Surface Pro. This follow up to the Surface Pro 4 didn’t come as too much of a surprise, with Microsoft itself teasing a look at the Surface Pro before the event.
While some people think that the Surface Pro is synonymous with the Surface Pro 5, we may still see a proper numbered sequel sometime in the future.
However, it’s the newly-announced Surface Pro that we’re interested with here, so let’s take a look at everything we know so far about Microsoft’s new Windows 10 tablet.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The new successor to the Surface Pro 4
- When is it out? Shipments begin now
- What will it cost? Starting at $799/£799/AU$1,119
Surface Pro release date
After the official reveal of the Surface Pro at Microsoft’s May 23 event in Shanghai, it was clear that eager Surface fans wouldn’t have to wait long to get their devices.
Pre-orders for the tablets are available now, with Microsoft advising customers that they will ship by June 15. So if it hasn’t shipped already, it will soon.
Surface Pro price
At the Shanghai event on May 23, the Surface Pro was revealed to come with a base model that’s priced at $799 in the US, £799 in the UK and AU$1119 in Australia. This model comes with a 128GB hard drive, Intel Core m3 processor and 4GB of RAM.
Now that the Surface Pro is available for pre-order, we have prices for the other configurations as well, with the key internal upgrades for each in italics.
For the Surface Pro with a 128GB hard drive, Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB RAM, the price is $999, £979 or AU$1,499.
The Surface Pro with a 256GB hard drive, Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM will cost $1,299, £1,249 or AU$1,999.
Next up is a version with a 256GB hard drive, Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM for $1,599, £1,549 or AU$2,499.
Then there’s the edition with 512GB hard drive, Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM for $2,199, £2,149 or AU$3,299.
Finally, the top-of-the-range version with a huge 1TB of storage, Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM will set you back $2,699, £2,699 or AU$3,999.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Microsoft is also offering reduced prices for all versions of the Surface Pro for students and teachers.
However, it's also worth keeping in mind that none of these prices include a Surface Pen or a Surface Keyboard, yet the prices remain unchanged from when the Surface Pro 4 – which included the Pen in the box – first released.
Surface Pro specs
Before the launch, Paul Thurrott, who often breaks Microsoft-related news, tweeted that sources have told him that the "Surface Pro 5" will indeed use an Intel 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor.
This is unsurprising for a device launched this far into 2017, though he also made a point to liken the upcoming tablet to a “Surface Pro 4.5” of sorts, leading us to believe his source wasn't talking of a true Surface Pro 5 at all – it’s likely they were talking about the Surface Pro.
At the launch of the Surface Pro, we learned more about the device, with Panos Panay, head of Microsoft’s Surface division, telling The Verge that “there are about 800 new custom parts in the new Pro.”
As we now know, the new Surface Pro will come with a range of seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors from Intel, including Core m3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors.
As Panay explained, “This isn’t just a processor change...We did take Kaby Lake, it’s the latest generation, of course. But it’s the integrated SSD on the motherboard. It’s the fundamental architecture changes that we do in Windows and Surface. It brings 13.5 hours of battery.”
The Surface Pro also comes in a range of RAM configurations, from 4GB up to a huge 16GB, which should be enough to run loads of apps and programs smoothly. The aforementioned integrated SSD also comes in a range of capacities, from 128GB up to a huge 1TB of space.
Microsoft has also claimed that the new Surface Pro will come with up to 13.5 hours of battery life – which is 50% longer than the Surface Pro 4, and 35% longer than the iPad Pro’s advertised battery life.
Microsoft also said that, thanks to the new high-end Intel Core i7 processor, the device is 2.5 times faster than the Surface Pro 3 and 1.7 times faster than the previous iPad Pro with its A9X chip built by Apple.
Lastly, for the first time ever, Microsoft is selling an LTE version of the Surface Pro, but that version won’t be out until later in the year. There’s no price or release date attached for this variant, but we do know that it will support both micro SIM and eSIM cards.
Surface Pro design
At the launch event, we got our best-ever views of the new Surface Pro. And, while it looks a lot like the Surface Pro 4 (as previous rumors had suggested), there are some noticeable improvements.
These include rounded edges, and less bulk – this is the lightest model of the hybrid yet at 770g (and 8.5mm thin) for the Core m3 version. The Core m3 and Core i5 versions of the new Surface Pro are fan-less designs, which means not only are they quieter, they are lighter as well.
However, the most radical change to the design is with an improved hinge, meaning the kickstand can bend much further back to an almost flat position, which puts the tablet into what Microsoft is calling "Studio Mode."
Speaking of the pen, this is also revamped and now boasts 4,096 levels of pressure, tilt sensitivity, and an improved 21ms latency, with Microsoft promising to deliver the "best writing experience" so far.
Sadly there are no USB Type-C ports included in the Surface Pro’s body, just a plain Type-A port, mini-DisplayPort and audio jack like before.
This is a missed opportunity for Microsoft, although according to The Verge, the company is releasing a dongle for those eager to connect and charge their USB-C devices on a Surface Pro. The dongle will attach to the Surface connector port, and it even lets users transfer data to and from USB-C accessories.
Microsoft also showed off enhanced Type Cover keyboards of the Alcantara (fabric) variety – first found on the new Surface Laptop – were also revealed alongside the Surface Pro.