Microsoft Surface Pro Review: Hybrid Evolution


Tweaked design, a great screen and decent performance make the Surface Pro the best Windows 10 hybrid around

Portable power 

Surface Pro screenThe Surface Pro I had to review cam sporting a dual core, four thread Core i5 7300U processor running at 2.6GHz base speed with a boost of up to 2.71GHz. 

It sits in the middle of the processor options for the Surface Pro and put in a solid performance. In the Cinebench R15 CPU render test is achieved a score of 361, and in Geekbench 3, single core performance hit 3,373 and multi-core performance reached a score of 7,450. These benchmark figures are comparable to an ultraportable with a similar configuration. 

For everyday workloads, from using Microsoft’s Office suite to some photo editing, to watching video and playing the odd undemanding game, the Core i5 equipped Surface Pro performs nicely. It makes zipping through Windows 10 a joy as well, with not bloatware to such processing and RAM power. 

Thanks to the fanless design it is silent in operation yet avoids getting too hot under the collar

People wanting more power can opt for the Core i7 versions which can be paired with a hefty 16GB of RAM, however the price takes a sharp turn upwards for Core i7 models going from £1,549 to a wallet-walloping  £2,699. 

At those prices I feel the Surface Book, which has received a recent price cut, becomes the better bet. 

Surface Pro standThe Surface Pro’s entry-level model with the Core m3 processor weights in at a more affordable £800.

But I feel the sweet spot for price and performance for a hybrid device sits with the Core i5 models, which weigh in at £979 for a 4GB version and £1,249 for an 8GB model; the latter would be my preference which wile more expensive than may similar specced ultraportables offers the hybrid flexibility with a specification that will hand everyday tasks with aplomb for a good few years. 

Microsoft claims a a battery life of more than 13 hours from the Surface Pro, but I found this to be a lofty claim. With the screen turned up to full  brightness and a variety of tasks thrown at it from simple web browsing and video viewing to benchmarking, the Surface Pro lasted between six and seven hours, basically a good working day’s worth of use. 

This is an improvement over the Surface Pro 4 which was found to have suffered a few battery issues and can’t last as long as its successor. 

Final thoughts 

Surface Pro designThere is an argument to be had to how appealing a proposition the Surface Pro is; it is more expensive than other hybrid and 2-in-1 Windows 10 devices and I’m not quite convinced it could replace a laptop as a go to work device or a tablet as a media consumption gadget. 

My personal preference would be a to go for one of the impressive ultraportable laptops available from the likes of Asus, HP and Dell, and opt for a separate tablet, namely an iPad as I believe Apple’s iOS still offers the slickest tablet experience around. 

However, putting aside that debate, the fifth-generation Surface Pro is the bet hybrid I’ve used to data. The build quality, display, Type Cover and flexible experience offered with Windows 10 is really sets the standard to what a hybrid device should be. 

However, if you are already an owner of a Surface 4 Pro the suite of tweaks and minor improvements are not quite enough to justify buying the new Surface Pro. 

While the new iPad Pro has ambitions to become a laptop alternative, it lacks the flexibility of Windows 10 and the seamless transition between desktop and tablet modes to achieve that lofty goal.

And while I feel the Surface Pro is still a hair’s breadth away from also becoming one device to rule them all, for anyone looking for a Windows 10 hybrid, it demands consideration. 

With Microsoft tweaking Windows 10 to have more features that play to the Surface Pro’s strengths, I can foresee the next-generation Surface Pro addressing the few issues I have with its current guise and really presenting  a device that has evolved from an interesting concept into a true laptop alternative. 

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