Surface Pro Hybrid Still Impresses Despite Lack of Cosmetic Changes

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Surface Pro Hybrid Still Impresses Despite Lack of Cosmetic Changes

Microsoft may have dropped the numbering convention from its Surface Pro line, but it hasn't lost its knack for stuffing a powerful, full-fledged Windows PC into a highly portable and frankly desirable form factor. The company follows that practice with the successor to the Surface Pro 4, albeit a little too closely for those who expect their component upgrades to wear a new face, especially when that face hails from 2015 or earlier if you count the similar-looking Surface Pro 3. See, the new Surface Pro—not the Surface Pro 5—looks and feels a familiar as its forbearer. But after putting it through its paces, it's apparent that Microsoft elected to invest most of its efforts under the hood. Here are some first impressions of the new Surface Pro.

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Surface Pro Is Still a Sharp, if Traditional Dresser

All these years later, the Surface Pro still impresses with its sleek glass-on-magnesium looks. Its bezels are a little on the chunky side in this age of Dell laptops with InfinityEdge displays and the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but it's a still a premium device, especially when it's paired with Microsoft's new Surface Pro Signature Type Cover.

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Type Cover Improves Typing Experience

Add the optional Surface Pro Signature Type Cover and your wrists will thank you. Wrapped in Alcantara, a suede-like synthetic material sometimes found in luxury vehicles, the keyboard-cover combo improves on the already-pleasant typing experience provided by the standard Type Covers from Microsoft.

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New Model Softens Rough Edges

Although it's tough to tell at first, the latest Surface Pro's chassis has been subtly refreshed. Changes include slightly rounded edges that make it easier to hold and vents that do a better job of blending in and moving air silently.

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It Has Powerful Processor Options

For the new Surface Pro, Microsoft has moved to seventh-generation Core m3, i5 and i7 processors from Intel. In a recent evaluation of a Core i7 model with a base frequency of 2.5GHz and a generous 16GB of RAM, it handled Windows 10 Pro, basic apps and some demanding drawing and multimedia programs with ease.

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Windows Digital Ink Works Faster

Users who have been avoiding inking on Windows 10 will want to give it another shot on the new Surface Pro. Using a combination of fast hardware, the new and more accurate Surface Pen (also optional) and the Window's native inking capabilities, stylus input on the Surface Pro becomes second nature.

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Shift Surface Pro Into Studio Mode

Surface Pro can now enter "Studio Mode," meaning the hinge on its kickstand can now adjust to an angle of 165 degrees (versus 150 degrees previously). Now, creative professionals can better replicate the drafting table experience on the new hardware.

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Button Placement Was Ill Considered

The Surface Pro 3 had its volume rocker on the left side near the headphone jack. Microsoft moved it to the top near the power button on the Surface Pro, making it way too easy to put the device to sleep when you're fumbling to mute an unexpectedly loud browser tab. Sadly, that's where it remains on the new Surface Pro.

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There's No USB-C Port

While many manufacturers including Apple, Dell and Lenovo pump out laptops with USB-C, the Surface Pro continues to ship with a proprietary charging connector. Those hoping to free up some space in their gadget bags by ditching Microsoft's power brick may have to wait for the next Surface Pro.

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It's A Lightweight Travel Companion

Despite its lack of a USB-C port, the Surface Pro remains a great travel companion. Its compact size (11.5 inches by 7.93 inches by 0.33 inches) and lightweight packaging (1.73 pounds for the i7 model) make it easy to slip in and out of a travel bag and make room for in a hotel bed.

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The Battery Goes the Distance

Microsoft claims the Surface Pro battery can last up to 13.5 hours between charges on a Core i5 model, that is if all you do is watch video. For those who want to do more than binge watch Netflix video, they'll be pleased to know the more powerful i7 model can handle mixed workloads during cross-country flight with power to spare.

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Updated Razer Blade Stealth Stands Out for CPU Power, Mobility

The updated Razer Blade Stealth ultrabook comes with a 13.3-inch screen and an Intel Core i7 process that make it suitable for worktime productivity or for hard-core gaming.
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