Skip to main content

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 rides the wave the Surface Pro 3 started

As Panos Panay took the stage at Microsoft’s early October press conference, most everyone knew that he had brought the new Surface Pro 4 with him. Still, the latest and greatest from Microsoft managed to pack in some features that no on expected, while slimming down in the process.

The Surface 4 boasts an improved display, packing a 2,763 x 1824 at 267 ppi into a 12.3-inch screen, but leaves the footprint of the Surface Pro 3 untouched. It’s slimmed down, however, from 9.1 mm to a very trim 8.4, which Microsoft suggested is to accommodate the USB 3.0 connection – it would be thinner otherwise. The base model weighs 1.69 pounds, and if you opt for a Core i5 or i7, it weighs just slightly more at 1.73 pounds.

If you use the stylus with the Surface Pro 3, the improved Surface Pen is sure to impress. It now senses 1,024 pressure levels, which lends it a much more tactile feel as you write and draw with it. There’s an eraser too, so you can simply flip the pen to change what you wrote.

Both the pen and touch support are powered by a new system Microsoft calls PixelSense. It’s a sophisticated combination of hardware and software features that allows for an impressively accurate and responsive touch system. Both the Gorilla Glass 4 outer layer and the backlight are thinner than ever, so it feels like you’re really writing on the screen.

There’s a new keyboard cover, which now has an integrated backlight, redesigned scissor switch keys, and a much larger glass touchpad with 5-point multitouch support. The fingerprint sensor allows you to use Windows Hello, and since the width and height are the same as the Surface Pro 3, the new keyboard is compatible with models already out in the wild. Pricing is $130 for the new keyboard, similar to the old one.

The ports have been revamped with an emphasis on simplifying the connectivity of the device. The new setup allow you to hook into a hub that provides four USB 3.0 ports, two 4K-capable DisplayPorts, and Ethernet, all through one connection. The dock is expensive though, at $200.

Under the hood, the Surface Pro 4 boasts the newest in Intel’s Skylake processors. The most basic model offers an Intel Core m3 processor, with customization options all the way up to Core i7. Microsoft claims the Surface Pro 4 is 30 percent faster than the Pro 3, and 50 percent faster than the MacBook Air, but that’s going to be largely dependent on the actual configuration of the system. Other specs have improved too, with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of internal storage.

Just because no one was surprised to see the newest in the Surface Pro lineup, doesn’t mean it’s not an exciting release nonetheless. Following a rocky start, Redmond’s very own two-in-ones have been picking up steam, and the Surface Pro 4 is well timed to take advantage of that momentum. Pre-orders start October 7th, with delivery on the 26th of October, with the base m3 model, which includes 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, starting at $899. If you’ve got more to spend, you can configure the Surface Pro 4 to include an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD for a steep $2,699 — though that model isn’t currently available for pre-order.

Editors' Recommendations

Brad Bourque
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad Bourque is a native Portlander, devout nerd, and craft beer enthusiast. He studied creative writing at Willamette…
Microsoft is finally refreshing the Surface Studio 2 (four years later)
Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ sitting flat on a table.

Almost four years ago to the day, Microsoft released the Surface Studio 2, which we called "a true Mac killer" in our Surface Studio 2 review. It has fallen our of favor as Apple switching to the M1 iMac over the past couple of years, but Microsoft is finally answering back with the aptly named Surface Studio 2+, announced during Microsoft's fall hardware event.

It's a revision to the model released a few years back, at least based on the name. But under the hood, the Surface Studio 2+ is an all-new machine. You're now getting an 11th-gen Intel mobile processor, which Microsoft says is "50% faster" than the previous Surface Studio. Even that's an understatement. The previous version was stuck with a 7th-gen Intel processor that was dated when it was released.

Read more
Why the Pixel 7 Pro’s similarity to the Pixel 6 Pro is the best thing about it
Someone holding a white Google Pixel 7 Pro.

The Pixel 7 Pro isn’t really much different from the Pixel 6 Pro when you compare the specification and the design. The two phones could easily be mistaken for being released just a couple of months apart rather than a year apart, so similar are the headline numbers. This means a few people may think the Pixel 7 Pro isn’t a good upgrade, or that Google has lazily pushed out the same phone with a couple of small changes to make some quick bucks.

While it remains to be seen if the Pixel 7 Pro is a worthy upgrade, any perception that Google has been lazy is mistaken. Not changing the Pixel 6 Pro all that much is the very best decision the company could have made, and I’m very pleased to see a phone that on the outside and on the spec sheet, is not some drastic, expensive, and ultimately pointless redesign. That said, there is one important thing that looks like it has been ignored, and it may hurt the Pixel 7 Pro's long-term success.
Don’t change it, please

Read more
Microsoft Surface October Event: Surface Pro 9 and everything else we expect
Panos Panay with a Surface

Microsoft has officially announced its fall Surface event, currently scheduled for Wednesday, October 12. Like every year, this is the event Microsoft holds to focus squarely on new Surface PCs, and this year we're rumored to be in for a big launch.

The Surface lineup has been quiet in 2022 so far, with only a couple of updated budget offerings launching. All that will change on October 12, when we'll get a look at what Chief Product officer Panos Panay and the team have been working on.
Surface Pro 9

Read more