Lachlan Smith

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The New Surface Pro (2017) Impressions

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June 03, 2017


With the dropping of numbers from product names, have devices become iterative or is there still revolutionary changes left to me made. The answer is not so simple. If we consider all products in a category as iterative, then all we have to do is ask the philosophical question "What is in a name?"

In looking beyond the name we can see more than the iterative changes the name suggests. But looking at the Surface Pro it is obvious that we have been shown more than simply a refresh of the existing, and an improvement in almost every detail of what people love about Surface. When you list them out, as small as each one is, they add up to something more than a small iteration.

Surface Pro (2017)

  • Rounded edges for improved ergonomics
  • Core i5 is now fanless
  • Improved colour palette
  • Custom silicon in screen for low latency inking
  • New pen with:
    • 4096 level pressure sensitivity
    • Tilt sensing
    • 21 ms latency
    • 9 grams activation force


  • Surface dial on-screen compatibility
  • New hinge opens to 165 degrees
  • Black masking front facing Iris Scanner for cleaner look
  • 7th gen Intel Core "Kaby Lake" processor
  • LTE model coming soon

Most people are looking for what's missing, an excuse to not buy, and for most people that is completely rational if they are perfectly happy with what they have, or have different requirements due to a genuine need. Compare this to what was new for the Surface Pro 4.

Surface Pro 4

  • 8 mm thin
  • 12->12.3" Screen
  • New chicklet style type cover
  • Larger trackpad on type cover
  • New pen with:
    • Anodised colours
    • 1024 level pressure sensitivity


  • 8 megapixel autofocus rear facing camera
  • Iris scanner for Windows Hello biometric login
  • 6th gen Intel Core "Skylake" processor
  • 16 GB RAM configurations introduced

The fundamentals that make the Surface Pro 4 so great, were introduced with the Surface Pro 3. But because the Surface Pro 4 has been sold for longer with greater public conscious, it is incorrectly credited with making the form factor work.

Surface Pro 3

  • 9 mm thin
  • 3:2 aspect ratio PixelSense display
  • Most accurate display on a laptop as measured by
  • Bonded display to reduce parallax error when used for inking
  • Use of the N-trig pen for highly accurate tracking of pen position across the whole display
  • 802.11ac wireless
  • Lapability of the type cover
  • Larger trackpad on type cover
  • 4th gen Intel Core i7 processor configurations introduced

What we see is a continuation of the refinement that started with the Surface Pro 3, the first radical departure from the 16:9 form factor of the original Surface Pro. The new Surface Pro is very exciting for those who have the Surface Pro 3 or earlier, I know I'm going to wait for benchmarks and the LTE model.

Tags: tablet

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