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BW Businessworld

Portability Meets Performance

A tablet disguised as a laptop, the Surface Pro 4 is the ultimate Windows 10 machine from Microsoft Co

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Microsoft has always been known as a software giant, but if we look at its recent efforts with the Surface tablet series, it is clear that the company is trying to turn things around. Improving the device with every subsequent successor it recently announced the new Surface Pro 4, which is probably the most powerful Windows hybrid tablet till date.

At first glance, the Surface Pro 4 looks identical to the previous version. There are minute changes though. For instance, Microsoft has reduced the size of the bezel, making the display a tad bit larger. The kickstand makes a comeback and is really sturdy folding up all the way back to get the perfect angle for the display. It’s pretty light as well weighing just 786 grams which clearly doesn’t offer any heavy load when carrying it around in a bag. The two primary accessories that come with the tablet include the new Type Cover and the Surface Pen. While the former is sold separately for a hefty Rs 12,500, the pen is included with the tablet.

The Surface Type cover feels as comfortable as a proper laptop keyboard. All the keys are well spaced out and it is backlit as well. The touch-pad is wide and has a glass finish which makes sliding your fingers an easy task. There is also a version which carries a fingerprint scanner for added security. The revamped Surface Pen not only enables you to quickly jot down notes, but offers 1,024 degrees of pressure sensitivity or in simpler terms, let’s the user use the Surface Pro 4 as a canvas. The other side of the pen can be used as an eraser and it is also clickable, like a ball pen, offering up to three customisable events or programmes to launch like OneNote or Cortana. The experience is not as perfect as writing on paper, but is very close to that. It can also stick to the magnetised edge of the tablet.

In terms of usability the Surface Pro 4 is actually a really fast machine. It offers the power of a high-end laptop and it’s quite amazing how Microsoft has managed to squeeze so much hardware into such a svelte looking tablet. It is perfect for everyday tasks and would suit someone who wants a device that can accomplish daily office tasks without having to carry a bulky laptop. It will also be a great tool for architects and even designers as it makes good use of the Surface Pen.

Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro 4 is ‘the tablet that can replace your laptop’ and honestly it does have the potential. It is clearly better than the MacBook Air. Probably the only device that comes close is Apple’s iPad Pro but then again the platform is app-based, while you get a full fledged Windows desktop experience as well as some apps from the Windows Store on the Surface Pro 4. You would be surprised when you get your hands on the machine. It has been perfected over the years with tweaks and upgrades making it the only productivity device you would need.

However, there is more to it. Despite being portable, the design can feel awkward in certain situations, especially when you keep it on your lap. It isn’t cheap either, with prices starting at approximately Rs 80,000 for the low-end Core i5, 4GB, 128GB model not to mention the extra Rs 12,500 for the Type cover. For that kind of money, one can get a more powerful laptop, but there isn’t anything in the market that is as portable and sleek.