Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Is ’50 Percent’ Faster Than MacBook Air

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Surface Pro 4 is thinner, more powerful and faster than previous generation and now comes with magnetic pen, fingerprint keyboard and better screen

Microsoft says the latest version of its flagship Surface Pro tablet is 30 percent faster than the previous generation model and 50 percent faster than a MacBook Air.

The company showed off the Surface Pro 4 at a launch event in New York and, like the Pro 3, claimed the device was a tablet capable of replacing a laptop and made the most the recently-released Windows 10.

The device is powered by a sixth-generation Intel ‘Skylake’ core m3, i5 or i7 processor and at 8.4mm, the company says it is the thinnest core PC ever shipped “by far”. Prospective owners can get up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, while all versions have a larger 12.3-inch screen protected by Gorilla Glass and boasting 267 pixels per inch (ppi).

Surface upgrade

Microsoft Surface Pro 4“The screen will knock you out,” boasted Microsoft’s Panos Panay. “This is the best technology on a screen, right now.”

The tablet has ‘Windows Hello’ front facing camera for Windows 10’s biometric authentication features and has an eight megapixel rear lens. However just one USB port is included, although it is at least USB 3.0, although like the Surface Pro 3 you can charge another USB device using the power supply.

New accessories for the Windows 10-powered device were also shown off, including a magnetic Surface Pen that attaches to the unit and can summon Cortana, as well as a thinner and lighter TypeCover complete with fingerprint reader.

The cheapest configuration – 128GB, Intel Core M3 processor and 4GB of RAM – costs $899, while the most expensive listed option – 512GB, Intel Core I7 and 16GB of RAM – is $2,199. No prices for a Surface with 1TB has yet been given by Microsoft.

Expanding range

At the event, Microsoft also showed off its first laptop, the SurfaceBook, joining an ever-growing range of Surface devices, including the consumer-focused Surface 3 and giant Surface Hub.

“Microsoft should be applauded for its efforts with Surface,” said Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight. “When the first device was announced in June 2012 it was derided as a vanity project that would scare off PC makers. In fact it has injected a new wave of innovation into the embattled PC sector and has acted as a halo devices for the so-called two-in-one category.

“Despite looking very similar to previous iterations, the Surface Pro 4 is an impressive update to Microsoft’s increasingly successful product line.  It’s the most powerful Surface to date with updated screen technology, a more ergonomic keyboard cover and many other incremental improvements.

“Surface is doing everything Microsoft set out to achieve. It acts as a halo product that demonstrates “the art of the possible” to Microsoft licensees. In close partnership with Intel, Surface has resulted in vastly more innovative designs from PC makers who a few years ago seemed incapable of delivering anything other than ugly, bulky and unattractive laptops.”

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