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In late May, Microsoft launched its latest Surface Pro, its first upgrade to the company’s popular line of hybrid PCs since October 2015.

While the Surface Pro’s specs have been upgraded across the board, including the newest 7th-generation Intel processors, many of the changes to the Surface Pro are minor, with the most notable upgrade being improved battery life. 

Here’s a look at all of the changes to the Surface Pro:

Improved battery life:

Microsoft claim that the new Surface Pro can get up to 13.5 hours of battery, 4.5 hours more than they had promised for the Surface Pro 4.

New Surface Pen:   

Perhaps one of the most dramatic changes to the new Surface Pro is the new Surface Pen. According to Microsoft, the new accessory is four times as pressure-sensitive as the old model, and lets you put it flat on its side to shade like a pencil.

While the new pen is likely to benefit artists more than the typical PC buyer, unlike previous models where the Surface Pen was included, the new Surface pen will set you back approx. $130.

 

New Type Cover:

Along with a new Surface Pen, Microsoft has released a new Type Cover keyboard. While it looks almost identical to those made for the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft says the new keyboard is better and more responsive than ever. The new type covers can work with older models, and also come in a range of colours including red, blue and silver.

As with previous models, the keyboard is sold separately and will cost upwards of $180. The good news is that if you’re an existing Surface Pro 4 owner, your existing Type Cover and Surface Pen will work with the new Surface Pro without any issues.

 

Design:

While the corners are slightly more curved, the Surface Pro looks and feels very similar to its predecessor.  The new Surface Pro is a little thinner and lighter, at 8.5 millimetres of thickness and weight starting at 766 grams with a 12.3-inch screen.

The main difference is that you can push the kickstand on the back of the new Surface Pro much further. Microsoft says this model can now lean back as far as 165 degrees.

The two-entry level models are fanless:

Compared to previous models, the new Surface Pro should be much quieter than before. Surface Pro m3 and i5 models feature a new fanless cooling system, plus improved hybrid cooling on the i7 model, so you can work or stream your favourite shows in peace.

The chipset has gotten the expected upgrade:

As experts predicted, the Surface Pro has jumped from the 6th generation Intel Core chips (Skylake) on the Surface Pro 4, to the 7th generation Intel Core chips (Kaby Lake). The new Kaby Lake CPUs have enabled a true instant-on experience for the Surface Pro, meaning the device should turn on as soon as you touch the power button with minimal delay, much like a mobile device would be expected to.

The Verdict

The New Surface Pro may not be worthy of the name ‘Surface Pro 5’, but it is a practical and worthwhile update for Surface Pro 3 owners or Windows users looking for a flexible hybrid device.  If you use your Surface Pro for creating art, the Surface Pro’s upgraded stylus and more flexible hinge will be beneficial. However, If you have a Surface Pro 4 that’s still operating as it should be, there’s little that immediately screams “drop everything and buy me.”

The Surface Pro starts at AU$1,199.00 incl. GST and can be pre-ordered now.

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