In Depth

Microsoft Surface Pro 2017: What do the critics think?

New tablet has a host of upgrades and better battery life, but is it a game-changer?

Microsoft has officially launched the fifth generation of its Surface Pro tablet, which can be ordered for £799.

While there are no drastic visual changes to the device compared to the previous version, the Daily Telegraph says that most of the tablet's improvements come through a host of hardware upgrades.

Under the exterior sits Intel's Core M mobile processor in entry-level models, while more powerful versions get the company's latest generation of Core i5 and i7 chips. 

Microsoft says the new Surface Pro is the most powerful tablet it's ever made, but is it still one of the leaders in the portable market?

Here's what the critics think. 

It's received 'incremental' improvements

This year's update to the Surface Pro tablet is "extremely incremental", according to ArsTechnica

All models are fitted with Intel's new Kaby Lake processors, which the website says increases the tablet's graphics power for 4K video editing. It also has improved interaction with the optional Surface Pen accessory and better battery life. 

But ArsTechnica argues that buyers will be "very hard-pressed to distinguish the 2017 Surface Pro" from the previous model. 

The Surface Pen is more refined

Microsoft has gone into great detail to improve the functionality of its Surface Pen over previous models, says TechRadar.

The Surface Pen's pressure sensitivity is better than the last model, which the website says means "creators have more control over the width and intensity of their lines in illustrations or designs than before". 

It also boasts "a much lower latency", so user inputs with the Surface Pen are registered on the display with almost no delay.  

Better battery life 

One of the biggest upgrades in the new Surface Pro is its extended battery life, says The Verge, which is partly thanks to the tablet's new range of processors.  

This means the Surface Pro now has a battery life of around seven to eight hours, rather than the old model's four to five hour lifespan, says the website.

But it's "nowhere near Microsoft's claim of 13.5 hours", while opting for the more powerful i7 mode will see "a roughly 20 per cent drop in battery life." 

Verdict

The latest version of the Surface Pro is more of an incremental upgrade than a game-changing device, says ArsTechnica.

Those who were dissatisfied with the previous two versions of the Surface Pro won't find the latest version much more appealing, the site says. But its Surface Pen functionality is a standout feature and is "probably better" than most of the competition. 

TechRadar says that "Microsoft has again stumbled on the Surface Pro's value proposition" by removing the Surface Pen from the tablet's box. Buyers will now need to pay an additional £59.99 on top of the price of the tablet for the Surface Pen, which was a free accessory on past models.

But the Surface Pro's small performance tweaks and improved battery life mean it's "no longer a fringe or niche device for only those willing to deal with its eccentricities", says The Verge. The result is a more polished tablet that's "ready for the mainstream". 

Price and release 

Orders for the new Surface Pro are open now, with prices starting at £799 for the entry-level 128GB version. This goes up to £1,249 it you want double the storage, while a 1TB Intel Core i7 model sits at the top of the range at £2,699. 

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