Hands on: Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review

This flagship tablet is better in black

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is all about performance improvements tied with a shiny new color scheme. Beyond that, not much – if anything – has changed.

For

  • Improved processors
  • Gorgeous new black color

Against

  • Still no Thunderbolt 3
  • Type Cover still sold separately

Microsoft has at last pulled the curtain back on its sixth Surface Pro 2-in-1 Windows tablet, simply dubbed the Surface Pro 6. For all intents and purposes, this is the same Surface Pro you know, only more powerful and available in a new, all-black color scheme.

Editor's Note: This is a TechRadar flash hands-on review, focused on getting you the essential details and images as quickly as possible. Stay tuned in the coming hours as these first impressions get more fleshed out.

While you'll notice by the images throughout that Microsoft has done little to tangibly change the Surface Pro on the outside, most of the marquee changes are, like last year, on the inside. This year, the Surface Pro is updated with 8th-generation (Kaby Lake Refresh), quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

Surface Pro 6

Backing that up is 8GB to 16GB of DDR3 memory and anywhere from 128GB to 1TB of SSD storage – all behind the same display as last year. Even the claimed battery life of 13.5 hours remains the same, as do all of the hard connectivity options – so, no USB-C this year, folks.

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This all comes in a package that measures just 8.5mm thin and weighs a mere 1.7 pounds – again, the same as last year's edition. Of course, the major difference about this package is that it comes in a slick, matte black aluminum shell as well as the standard silver option.

Surface Pro 6

And, boy, does that make this tablet look sharp. Of course, Microsoft is also now offering all-black Surface Pen and Alcantara fabric Type Cover accessories to match, the latter of which is still sold separately ... to our frustration.

Surface Pro 6

This about wraps up the Surface Pro 6, which you can pre-order now for $899 (AU$1,349, about £690) to receive on October 16, the same day it hits shelves. Eagle-eyed fans will notice an uptick in that starting price to the tune of 100 bucks or quid: that's because the Intel Core m3 option is no more.

Keep it locked here for more in-depth impressions of how this year's Surface Pro feels to use and analysis regarding its potential benefits and improvements.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.