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Microsoft refreshes Surface Pro, Signature Type Cover and Pen; LTE models later this year

Microsoft has launched a new Surface Pro that succeeds the Surface Pro 4. However, instead of calling the new laptop Surface Pro 5, it is being referred to simply as the Surface Pro. It’s similar to Apple’s move to call its latest iPad as just the iPad Pro, a tablet that the latest Surface competes with.

Launched at an event in Shanghai, China, Microsoft claimed the new Surface Pro comes with several improvements over its predecessor even though the exterior looks almost the same. “It’s a meaningful change,” explains Microsoft’s Surface chief, Panos Panay, in an interview with The Verge. “There are about 800 new custom parts in the new Pro.” Among the noticeable changes includes new Intel’s Kaby Lake processors across the product line.

The Core m3 and i5 models incorporate a fan less architecture, which even means silent operations. However, the top-end model with Intel Core i7 still needs a fan though Microsoft said a new hybrid cooling system is being used for efficient heat dissipation. Another USP of the new Surface Pro is its battery life, which has bumped up to 13.5 hours. That makes for a considerable jump over the nearly 9 hours that the Surface Pro 4 was capable of.

Microsoft attributed the increase in battery life to some subtle tweaks in Windows 10, along with of course the adoption of the new 7th gen Intel Kaby Lake chips. The SSD too has now been integrated into the motherboard, which not only allows for faster processing but ensures better battery utilization as well. The sleep functionality has also been optimized in the new Surface Pro, which, Microsoft claimed, contributed to the battery life.

Microsoft is claiming the top-end Core i7 Surface Pro is now 1.7 times faster than the iPad Pro equipped with the Apple A9X chip. The same also makes for 2.5 times performance improvement over the Surface Pro 3. Plus, there is going to be an LTE version as well.

Microsoft didn’t specify any specific launch schedule, except that it will come with embedded micro SIM and eSim slots. More details on the LTE version of the Surface Pro is awaited.

Coming to specs, the range starts with the Core m3 model featuring 128GB of SSD, 4GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 615 which costs $799. Up next is the one with Core i5 chip and Intel HD Graphics 620 that is available with either 128GB SSD/4GB RAM that costs $999 or the one with 256GB SSD/8GB RAM priced at $1,299.


The top of the line-up is made up of the Core i7 model that features Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 chip and is available in three configurations – 256GB SSD/8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM or 1 TB SSD with the same 16GB of RAM. Prices for the three models are $1,599, $2,199 and $2,699 respectively.

As for the looks, there are no noticeable changes except for the more rounded corners. The Core i5 model also weighs a tad lighter as well though the overall look and feel continue to be much the same. However, mention must be made of the new hinge design that now allows the device to be slotted at 165 degrees.

Microsoft is referring to it as the Studio Mode, skin to the way the Surface Studio tilts.

Accompanying the new Surface Pro is a new Surface Pen as well which too has been refreshed thoroughly. For instance, its pressure sensitivity has been enhanced to 4096 and has a latency of only 21 milliseconds. It can be tilted far more than what was possible with the earlier Pen, besides being twice more accurate as well. Microsoft said the Pen will allow for pencil like shading when titled, something that the Apple Pencil already is capable of.

However, the Surface Pen won’t be part of the package and is being sold separately for $100.

The same also applies to the touch-type covers which now includes a special Alcantara version. The covers done up in Alcantara have to be bought separately for $159 and is available in platinum, burgundy, and cobalt blue color options. Then there also are the regular Touch covers sporting a black shade costing $129.

The new Surface Pro is already available for pre-order in the US and is slated to ship in 25 more countries worldwide starting June 15.