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article imageMicrosoft officially announces more powerful Surface Pro 4

By James Walker     Oct 6, 2015 in Technology
Microsoft has officially released the next generation of its popular convertible tablet and laptop device, the Surface Pro. The Surface Pro 4 features improvements to all its key features including performance, keyboard, Surface Pen stylus and display.
The Surface Pro 3 quickly became the first in the line to be considered truly popular after its launch in May last year. The business and professional-oriented 12-inch tablet with the beautiful display, innovative kickstand, keyboard and accurate Surface Pen stylus quickly found fans worldwide, even leading Apple to draw on the design this year and finally launch its iPad Pro.
Several months on, the Surface Pro 4 finally received its somewhat overdue unveiling at Microsoft's New York City event today. Following on from the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, Microsoft's devices leader, Panos Panay, took to the stage to reveal what fans of the range have been waiting for. Panay said that 98 percent of Surface Pro 3 owners would recommend the device to a friend, setting the standards high for its replacement.
Microsoft s Surface Pro 4.
Microsoft's Surface Pro 4.
Microsoft
The Surface Pro 4 doesn't stray too far from the design of its predecessor, sporting the same light-grey display-dominated metal body. The display itself has received a noticeable improvement though: its 12.3-inch size has 60 percent more pixels than the Surface Pro 3, giving it a pixel density of 267ppi.
The panel introduces Microsoft PixelSense, a new technology that results in it having the thinnest cover glass ever fitted to a tablet. With just 0.4mm of glass covering the screen, inputs can be more precise and the tablet's overall width reduced while allowing colours to appear more vibrant. Although the overall design is similar to what we saw last year, Microsoft has still managed to shave 0.9mm off the width, taking Surface Pro 4 down to just 8.4mm.
Surface Pro 4 at Microsoft s October 2015 live event
Surface Pro 4 at Microsoft's October 2015 live event
Microsoft
Processing power has seen a noticeable increase over that of the Surface Pro 3. This year, Microsoft has taken advantage of the new Intel Skylake processors to offer noticeably increased performance while using less power. The company claims it is up to 30 percent quicker than the Surface Pro 3 when tackling most tasks.
Microsoft also ran a comparison against a key rival, the MacBook Air. Panay acknowledged that Apple's creation is a "great product" that "works beautifully", before throwing its performance merits out the window and saying the Surface Pro 4 is as much as 50 percent faster than the current Air. The Surface Pro 4 is undoubtedly one of the fastest tablets on the market, hanging onto the coattails of even the highest-performance laptops.
Surface Pro 4 images from Microsoft s October 2015 Live Event
Surface Pro 4 images from Microsoft's October 2015 Live Event
Microsoft
The processing performance is accompanied by up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. These ultra-high performance options are some of the most requested features from Surface Pro 3 owners so Microsoft has endeavoured to ensure that people can spec out their new professional tablet with all the storage and memory they could want. Despite the increased processing power, Intel's more efficient Skylake line means the Surface should run cooler and more quietly than its predecessor.
The Surface Pro 4 has support for Microsoft's biometric authentication technology, Windows Hello. The device boasts a fingerprint sensor and front camera capable of facial recognition, giving users a choice of quick and secure login methods without having to type a password.
Surface Pro 4 image.
Surface Pro 4 image.
Microsoft
The Surface type cover has been redesigned to be lighter, thinner and sturdier. Backlit and utilising scissor-switch keys for more precise typing, the keyboard's touchpad is now covered with precision glass and is 40 percent larger than that of the Pro 3, fixing another major annoyance for owners of the existing device.
Those owners will be pleased to note that the new keyboard cover will work with the Surface Pro 3, as will all the new accessories announced today. Surface Pro 3 owners will even be able to utilise the fingerprint sensor on the Surface Pro 4 type cover, a placement Microsoft says was made specifically so existing users could experience Windows Hello.
Surface Pro 4 image from Microsoft s October 2015 Live Event.
Surface Pro 4 image from Microsoft's October 2015 Live Event.
Microsoft
The other key Surface accessory, the Surface Pen, has also seen a noticeable upgrade. It can now detect 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, a precision that Microsoft says allows virtual ink to flow from the pen in the same way it would from a real nib. The use of a new in-house technology stack, Microsoft G5, makes this extra accuracy possible by providing a seamless interface between pen, display and apps.
The Pen is powered by a battery that should last a year on a charge. Microsoft justified the decision to leave out a rechargeable battery by noting that a real pen needs to have its ink changed occasionally.
Surface Pro 4 image from Microsoft s October 2015 Live Event.
Surface Pro 4 image from Microsoft's October 2015 Live Event.
Microsoft
Microsoft has expanded on the pen's drawing capabilities by adding an "eraser" to the end. When in apps like OneNote, the eraser will make it as simple to get rid of drawings as it is to create them, just by flipping the pen around. Microsoft couldn't resist a jab at the Apple Pencil accessory for the iPad Pro, saying "there is a pencil out there without an eraser… can you believe that?"
The Surface Pen's button still opens OneNote in an instant but can now also launch Cortana into listening mode when held down. The revamped stylus will be available in several different colours and will be supplied with Surface Pro orders.
Surface Pro 4 at Microsoft s October 2015 live event
Surface Pro 4 at Microsoft's October 2015 live event
Microsoft
The new Surface is one of the very first devices to launch running Windows 10. Over the next few months, it is expected that the stylus-touting Surface, equipped with cutting-edge hardware and support for all of the new operating system's features, will become the flagship device defining the Windows 10 experience.
The Surface Pro 4 will be available for pre-order from tomorrow and will start shipping from October 26th. Prices start at $899 and are likely to get very pricey if high-end specifications are chosen. The device will be available with an Intel Core M, Core i5 or Core i7 processor in several different memory and storage configurations.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, Surface, surface pro
 
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