Microsoft Surface Pro 2017: Everything sold separately

Posted:  May 24, 2017   By:    23 comments   


Microsoft has made probably the most important refresh, at least in their hardware division, of the year and first impressions are a little lukewarm. Their updated device is called the Surface Pro (so they’ve dropped the numbering scheme) and although it seems like a pretty good upgrade overall, there are one or two big design choices that leave us befuddled.

Let’s start with what they’ve changed. First up, you have the performance. The new Surface Pro features all new Kaby Lake processors from Intel that starts from an Intel Core m3 at the base level and goes all the way up to an Intel Core i7 with Iris Plus graphics at the top end.

One interesting new feature is that the Surface Pro 2-in-1s running on the Core m3 and Core i5 processors are now fanless. This means that the devices are completely silent, much like Acer’s Switch Alpha 12 which launched last year.

Users also get a bunch of different memory configurations ranging from a 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM all the way to the ultra-fast 1TB NVMe option with 16GB of RAM.

With these new, more power efficient, Kaby Lake chips plus a series of changes to the 2-in-1 as a whole, Microsoft says that the new Surface Pro can deliver up to 13.5 hours of battery life on a single charge. That’s 50% more battery life than its predecessor despite having the same 12.3-inch PixelSense display boasting 267 ppi. This is probably the most awesome thing about the refresh.

Microsoft also announced that they will offer a Surface Pro model with LTE support but that’s only coming later this year. The LTE variant will support a micro SIM or eSIM and can be super useful for those who are really embracing mobility.

And then we come to the most criminal oversight of all — the I/O. The new Surface Pro is a brand new — top of the line — laptop for 2017 that only starts shipping next month, yet it features a set of ports from yesteryear. On the Surface Pro you’re getting a headphone jack, a cover port, a Surface Connector, a mini DisplayPort, a microSD card slot and a USB 3.0 Type-A port.

Yep, much like the Surface Laptop (which also launched recently) the brand new Surface Pro does not feature a USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 port at all. Instead, Microsoft says they’re working on a new dongle, which you can buy separately, that will give you USB Type-C connectivity.

Besides that, Microsoft has made a slew of very small but noticeable changes to the Surface Pro’s body. The vents, for example has shrunk a little so they’re not so noticeable and the sides are more rounded so its more comfortable to hold in the hand. Microsoft does say that the Surface Pro is also lighter (only on the i5 model, according to The Verge), most probably won’t notice the difference.

Microsoft also developed a brand new hinge for the Surface Pro so that it now can enter what they call “Studio Mode” where the tablet can lay almost completely flat (165 degrees) like the Surface Studio. This new hinge, paired with support for the Surface Dial and a brand new Surface Pen shows that Microsoft is really doubling down on creatives.

Speaking of the new Surface Pen, it’s also received a bunch of upgrades. Sensitivity has gone up by 4X from 1024 levels to 4096 levels and it now supports tilt sensitivity (only on the Surface Pro so far) so its easier to shade and ink.

But there is one really big drawback — it’s no longer included with the tablet. Instead, if you want the pen, you’ll have to shell out an additional USD99 (about RM425) for it. The good news is that it’s backward compatible and your old Surface Pen is forward compatible too.

Speaking of things that are sold separately, Microsoft is now moving to Alcantara for the Surface Pro Type Cover, the same kind of fabric you’d find on the Surface Laptop’s keyboard. It will come in three different colours — burgundy, platinum and cobalt blue — and is priced at USD159 (around RM683). There is also a fourth colour option — black —  that doesn’t feature Alcantara fabric, so it’s cheaper at USD129 (around RM555).

Here’s the complete price range for the Surface Pro:

Intel Core m3 / 4GB RAM / 128GB storage — USD799 (around RM3,437)
Intel Core i5 / 4GB RAM / 128GB storage — USD999 (around RM4.298)
Intel Core i5 / 8GB RAM / 256GB storage — USD1,299 (around RM5,588)
Intel Core i7 / 8GB RAM / 256GB storage — USD1,599 (around RM6.878)
Intel Core i7 / 16GB RAM / 512GB storage — USD2,199 (around RM9,461)
Intel Core i7 / 16GB RAM / 1TB storage — USD2,699 (around RM11,610)

[SOURCE, 2, 3]


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23 Comments for Microsoft Surface Pro 2017: Everything sold separately

crankynute

Microsoft should at least tell us how much heat will the surface pro be able to handle now that they removed the fan! Otherwise, what is the point of 13 hours battery usage time when the tablet heats up easily within 3 to 4 hours of usage.

    retailover

    You really think they’ll do that to a product line that makes them billions?

Jack

With a headline like that, a comment that the reception is "lukewarm" and painting a negative light on the "add-ons", this seems like a biased article.

The general reaction to the new Surface Pro has been very positive. The changes, while not earth-shattering compared to what MS has done in the past, are substantial enough that it makes the standard-setting SP4 even better.

    mahalsangat

    agreed.

    Anon

    100% agree. I was expecting Microsoft to downgrade the surface but they didn’t. So it is a big surprise they have made any improvements at all.

    SteveF

    Totally agree, the authors comments about ports also shows a complete lack of understanding of how people use the surface. I don't want USB-C, I want to use commonly available USB Sticks. If I am connecting to screens, SANS, Ethernet Etc I am more than happy to use a dock with a single cable to the surface so I can still pick it up if need be.

    Personally, I will wait for the LTE version which in my mind will make the Surface Pro near perfect (at least until G5 networks come about)

      Rory Lee

      Oh yeah, USB Type-A is great today, for sure, but why not have both Type-A and Type-C? Further, if I had to live with just one port, aka dongle life, I would rather Thunderbolt 3/Type-C 3.1 Gen2 because it is far more versatile than Type-A. It's also the way forward so support for USB-C will only increase over time.

      Hope that clears things up for you!

      YKK

      Since it’s Kaby Lake and one of its strength is 4K HEVC encode and decoding, a bus standard for docking to be able to drive 4K at 60p is quite tough. The sheer amount of data requires at least 20gbps bandwidth for such interface.

      A standard USB-C interface for docking comes to the rescue without the need of another standard such as Thunderbolt 2/3. Also, the charging also can be done here since this interface supports higher voltage and ampere.

      This could make life simpler in near future even if not now.

      Miix

      People using surface only need 1 USB port. Right.

    Msworks

    To be fair, the author is not biased.
    He is just unknowingly incompetent.
    agree with SteveF that a micro USB port is more important than having a usbC, for pointing device, for thumb drive, external hardisk…

      Rory Lee

      Wow, your hard disk, peripherals and thumb drives all use micro USB? It's a shame the new Surface Pro doesn't have a micro USB port either :/

        vernieman

        Ouch

          mahalsangat

          haha… funny.
          but it is still a rather poor title for the article.

          I would not prefer the type C, though. I have nothing type C to plug it in. but that’s just me. future proofing? how can I use it today?
          I don’t think is “resisting” type C per say, because they figured you can’t throw away the old port, and an extra port is “profit margin” to them.

          throwing away the old port… “courage”… anyone?

          ykk

          I just did.

          It's always difficult for the manufacturer and buyers to decide what's right and looks good to be included into gadgets like a notebook.

          I don't think notebooks introduced a few years back look good now if they have VGA ports or still having optical disk drives. These buyers may have cursed those models without them at the point of purchase but what about now?

          I am still using my MBA 2010 that drove my friends laughing for purchasing a piece of junk with so few ports 7 years back. With its laughable 128GB SSD (common was 320GB HDD those days), its performance and with the compliment of of cloud connectivity, it's still pretty fast and manageble for many common tasks , if not all, that I do presently.

          With my 4K workflow set in 2 years ago, I have been looking for ways for external connectivity that's simpler. Thunderbolts were pretty exclusive and costly.

          My MBP, 4K monitors, Google Wifi, Nintendo Switch are all on USB-C. 1-port that meets for all the power, bandwidth and mobility need. It's a godsend.

        Msworks

        Oh come on Rory, is just a typo. Don't be so hard on me.
        Is not like you are free of typo, right?
        Fortunately, I don't get paid. So I can have typos.
        Microsoft doesn't give you the pen and suddenly everything is sold separately? What do you really mean? You want everything included? Then later you say cost more than your car pula…
        And you didn't say much about the software side of it. What's change? Don't know? Or software sold separately?

      So dumb

      Microsoft will single handedly cause the death of USB C. I’m sure of it. Long live micro USB!

    Miix

    Microsoft is now calling this a Laptop, not a tablet. Is the keyboard included? No. Is their killer Surface Pen included? No. You are lucky they didn’t make the charger optional.

samseng

too expensive for malaysians

vernieman

Why is Microsoft resisting USB Type-C though?

    Jack

    http://windowscentral.com/why-no-usb-type-c-new-surface-pro

    MS isn’t against usb type C. Read that article and you’ll understand why it decided against it. The future-proofing argument, while valid, is actually not that big a deal based on the mass consumer mindset currently. Only tech enthusiasts are the ones asking for it.

    When the next surface pro is released, maybe in a year, maybe 2 years or whatever, then perhaps we can talk about USB type C

      YKK

      I just finding this funny – any new phone without USB-C is considered outdated. But the Microsoft argument seems the other way.

      So, are we tech enthusiasts or not? OK to compare spec to spec for a mobile phone, scrutinizing even up to the number or cores and Snapdragan 6xx vs 8xx, but for a notebook like Surface, it's OK for important things like ports?

      Really weird.

Oh Seriously!

Surface Pro @US999 sucks!
and to SteveF, ur just talking shitload of SHIT!
well Rory, ur right on this Surface Pro!

Oh Seriously

by the way, who uses fabric on laptops?????