If I was asked to describe the 2017 Microsoft Pro in one sentence I would say it is a “Blow to progress from conservatism or greed, or both” It is clear from the first seconds of handling the new device that the “don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” approach was taken by whoever commissioned and approved this project. Let’s look closer, shall we.
- Great performance for the i7 model
- It works great for all laptop replacement needs
- Good keyboard and great trackpad
- Solid, nice minimalistic build with a great kickstand
- PixelSense display is accurate and bright
- Faster charging
- ~25% bigger battery than SP4
- Nice pen w/better magnetic hold
- Good sound
- More colors for Alcantara keyboards
- Battery life stills sucks. The updated battery is about 25% larger and gives us roughly one additional hour of run time vs. similar i7 SP4, which struggled to get to 4 hours! It is an improvement, but really disappointing one as Microsoft promised ~45% improvement = ((13h SP5 - 9h SP4)/9h SP4), yet we are only seeing half as much in % and no where near promised in hours!
I have done multiple complete charge/discharge cycles non stop in the past day to make sure this was realistic and accurate to a normal use case. The test was watching 1080P YouTube video with some occasional browsing in Edge (up to 10 tabs) and light use of Word and Excel. All systems were on “recommended” auto settings including monitor that was set on “suggested”.
All tests were done indoors.
Typical battery life under such conditions was 5:00h to 5:30h
Beautiful screen, but has quite a lot of glare (it is a dark gloomy day outside)
Its hard to tell the new Surface Pro apart from SP4
That is actually a Surface Pro 4 with its available Alcantara keyboard!
Microsoft keynote claimed there are over 800 new parts… Well it’s really hard to notice. Moreover this device looks like a simple swap to 7th Gen CPUs and slight optimizations like slightly bigger battery, rounded corners, more Alcantara colors, a new hinge (feels about the same as old one, which is good actually!)
Because of the re-using of old components there are no USB-C and TB3 ports and only one USB-A
No external graphics amplifier is possible
Pen is extra $100 and doesn’t feel that much better in real life use than SP4 one
The build is still painted magnesium allow that looks good and solid when new
But is it very susceptible to scratches and abrasion in normal handling
Please don’t get this wrong, I still think that 2017 is a great solid device with nice improvements! In fact it is what SP4 should have been originally back in 2015! It works well, it is powerful and light and it still beats everything out there except V! And if one is in dire need on new 2 in 1 or feels he/she cannot wait for V then I would certainly recommend buying it! However if you are thinking of upgrading from SP4, I would recommend getting just the Alcantara keyboard as there is such a minimal difference other than an extra hour of run time!
What 2017 Surface Pro really lacks in is the innovation excitement for previous generations! There is no pushing of envelope. I highly doubt that the talented Microsoft engineers that brought us four previous generations of Surface Pro were satisfied by the progress of the 5th generation Surface Pro. I really hope that deep in their skunk works lab there is a real New Surface Pro 5 (6?) is being cooked as we speak!
Please be sure to watch my video reviews!
The Arrival - 2017 Surface Pro Unboxing Video
If you want to read the detailed benchmarks, I would recommend checking out this article 2017 Surface Pro Benchmarks by LAPTOP Mag