Microsoft Surface Pro Gets Faster Processor, Longer Battery Life, Loses Surface Pen

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The newly-announced fifth-generation Surface Pro 2-in-1 will have the latest Intel processor, LTE, and over 13 hours of battery life. But it’ll no longer come bundled with an active pen.

Fifth-generation Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft unveiled the replacement for the Surface Pro 4 in Shanghai today, but don’t call it the “Surface Pro 5”–a product number isn’t part of the name. This will require tech reporters and catalogs to refer to it as the “Surface Pro (2017)”.

Surface Pro: Good News

The inclusion of Core m3, Core i5, and Core i7 chips from the 7th-generation “Kaby Lake” family of processors will bring 12% to 19% improvements in real-world performance, according to Intel. Even better, they are power efficient enough that Microsoft is claiming the new Surface Pro will be able to last up to 13.5 hours on a single charge, up from 9 hours in the model its replacing. No fan will be required in the m3 and i5 versions, helping to save on power, and a larger battery across the board will help too.

Unlike any of its predecessors, built-in 4G LTE will be an option in this model. This won’t be available until later this year, however.

In addition, Microsoft improved the kickstand so this tablet can now lay back almost flat. And support for the Surface Dial has been added.

Most of the specifications of the fifth-gen model are the same as its predecessor: its display will be 12.3-inches, 2736×1824, and 273ppi, for example. Options for RAM will remain 4 GB, 8 GB, or 16 GB, and SSD storage will be either 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB.

Surface Pro: Not as Good News

The Surface Pen is getting some improvements: a new version will support 4096 levels of pressure and reduced latency. Tilt detection has also been added… but only when used with the Surface Pro (2017). The bad news is that this accessory won’t be bundled with the tablet, but rather a $99 optional extra. Despite pre-announcement rumors, the new Surface Pen can’t be charged from the computer.

Some will be disappointed to hear Microsoft continues to eschew USB-C in the entire Surface line. The latest entry will charge through the Surface connector, and include a Mini DisplayPort, just like earlier ones.

Price and Availability

The fifth-generation Surface Pro will be available on June 15 in 26 countries. It can be pre-ordered now from Microsoft.

Pricing will start at $799 for the version with a Core m3 processor. Choosing a faster chip, or adding additional RAM and storage capacity will increase the cost significantly, of course.

Adding a Type Cover to turn the Surface Pro (2017) into a true 2-in-1 will require $129. A new version covered in Alcantara will cost $159. There’s also a Surface Mouse coming.


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  1. sooomitin

    Better battery, no fan design with i5 – Like going forward. Mini DisplayPort (no HDMI 2.0, why?), no USB C – Like going backward.