Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) Review: Still Setting The Bar For 2-In-1s

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Final Thoughs On The Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)

Performance Summary: Microsoft no longer seems interested in referring to the Surface Pro as a tablet-hybrid, and that is fair when you consider its performance. Armed with a 2-core/4-thread Core i5-7300U processor based on Intel's 7th generation Kaby Lake Core CPU series, 8GB of RAM, and a speedy M.2 NVMe solid state drive, the Surface Pro is a nimble 2-in-1 detachable capable of heavier-duty workloads. And though Microsoft does not want to call it a tablet, referring to the Surface Pro as such is more of a compliment to the Surface Pro engineering team. The device offers similar portability to a tablet and is completely silent due to its fanless design, yet it muscled through our gamut of benchmarks with the pace of a heftier laptop.

Capping off its solid performance in PCMark 8, 3DMark, and other benchmarks is the Surface Pro's battery life. This is the longest-lasting Surface Pro yet, and depending on how you use it, you can reasonably expect it to last most of, if not all of a typical work day. In our home-brewed video loop test, for example, the Surface Pro lasted a little over 6 and a half hours before calling it quits. That is 70 minutes longer than Samsung's competing Galaxy Book 12 lasted in the same battery test.

Microsoft Surface Pro Angled

In case it is not evident, we are impressed with the latest generation Surface Pro (this would be the Surface Pro 5 if Microsoft kept to its numerical naming scheme). The high-resolution display is bright and vibrant, with hardware underneath the hood that does it justice. And somehow or another, Microsoft figured out a way to keep it cool without active airflow. Toss Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) into the mix and you have a tablet that packs a productivity punch that other slates do not match (we are looking at you, Apple iPad Pro).

Of course, Microsoft wants you to think of the Surface Pro as a laptop. We would fully back that notion if not for the fact that a keyboard is essential to the notebook experience, and the Surface Pro does not come with one. You have to purchase a keyboard on your own. The Surface Pro is built to accommodate Microsoft's own Type Covers starting at $140, with the Signature Type Cover included with our review unit costing $144 currently. That is more than most mechanical gaming keyboards.

As configured here, this particular Surface Pro with Signature Type Cover and Surface Pen runs $1,510, which includes $144 for the keyboard case and $100 for the stylus (current Amazon pricing). Take the stylus out of the equation and you are looking at $1,410. As much as we like the Surface Pro, Microsoft's pricing is a little out of line compared to better-equipped laptops that are perhaps not quite as portable, but may offer even more performance and a greater selection of ports than the Surface Pro. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that Microsoft often runs sales on its Surface Pro line.

Even with the pricing premium, the Surface Pro is a compelling option. It is especially ideal for creative professionals and college students who could put the optional Surface Pen and Dial to use, whether it is for taking handwritten notes in class or creating artwork. Of course, even outside of those demographics, anyone looking for a hybrid, detachable laptop might want to give the Microsoft Surface Pro serious consideration as well.

HotHardware Recommended

  • Superb display
  • Solid all-around system performance
  • Fanless and silent
  • Improved, more flexible kickstand
  • Excellent battery life
  • Tablet-like portability
  • Surface Pen rocks
  • Keyboard still costs extra despite marketing the Surface Pro as the ultimate laptop
  • Subpar camera performance
  • Limited port selection

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