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Microsoft Surface Pro: the full review 2020

It was last May that the “new” Surface Pro, fifth of the name and yet devoid of any number, made its entry into the family of devices designed by Microsoft. Few aesthetic changes but substantive improvements, including a rearrangement of the components behind the 12.3 inch touch screen and the transition to the Intel Core i3 / 5/7 Kaby Lake processor family.
The latter, associated with a better battery, have the task of keeping this Surface Pro alert for almost a whole day in video playback, i.e. 1:50 p.m. versus 9 hours previously. Let’s see what gives one of the most expensive versions, sold 2500 euros … always without keyboard (150 to 180 euros more).

Microsoft was right. Except for a case – still made of magnesium – a little more rounded in places and a foot kick stand offering a larger opening angle, no other external element has moved on this Surface Pro. And if the rounding is only visible when you stick the Surface Pro to a Surface Pro 4, the travel offered by the foot is appreciated much more clearly. We go from 145 ° to 165 ° maximum, which positions the giant slate of Microsoft almost flat, ready to be used as a mini drawing table. No doubt it was inspired by its very flexible cousin, the all-in-one Surface Studio. Anyway, these 20 ° inclination in addition are a blessing for taking notes, drawing or even clipping the tip of the Surface Pen … offered as an option at a price of 110 euros.

Microsoft New Surface Pro

True to its (bad) habits, Microsoft continues to market the Surface Pro without a keyboard. A shame for a hybrid laptop! Keyboard which is always magnetized to the tablet by means of 6 connectors, located on the lower edge of the case. New models have just arrived on the Microsoft Store to dress this new Surface. The set is in “alcantara”, the same material as that which covers the Surface Laptop. This Signature Type Cover keyboard for Surface Pro is sold at a price of 180 euros. Yes still.
Note, all (colored) peripherals released at the same time as the previous generation of Microsoft tablets are still compatible with the 2017 vintage. The keyboard of the previous collection costs “only” 150 euros.

Microsoft new Surface Pro 2017

It was with one of them that the Surface Pro was delivered to us. We invite you to read the review of the Surface Pro 4 to have our opinion on the backlit keyboard, equipped with a touchpad and whose back acts as cover.

Microsoft New Surface Pro 2017

Surface Pro: a screen that is maintained (almost) from one generation to another

By comparing the screen measurements taken on the Surface Pro 4 and the new Surface Pro from Microsoft, we see that the brightness – a little faint – is slightly lower on the 2017 model. This does not play much but our probe indicates 380 cd / m2 on average when the slab of the Surface Pro 4 reached more than 400 cd / m2. The contrast ratio, too, is slightly down but remains very satisfactory, with an average value of 1252: 1 (against 1262: 1 on the previous version).

Microsoft new Surface Pro 2017

The fact remains that the panel continues to display images, videos and the Windows 10 interface in 2736 by 1824 pixels (in 3: 2 format) and that the quality is there.

Surface Pro: technical upgrade? Check!

We mentioned it in the introduction, the deep changes are to be found behind the screen. If it is impossible for us to ascertain whether the internal layout has been altered, we can say that the processor change has taken place.

A very good Intel Core i7-7660U processor (2 cores / 4 threads clocked at 2.5 GHz) of the lareview generation equips our Review Surface. This chip embeds an Iris Plus Graphics 640 graphics part which differs from the traditional Intel HD Graphics 620 controller thanks to the very small amount of dedicated memory (32 MB eDRAM) burned on the chip. The Iris Plus does not transform the Surface Pro into a gaming machine, do not dream. It is however possible to run some games that are not very greedy or very old, in screen definitions between HD (1280 by 720 pixels) and Full HD (1920 by 1080 pixels).

More conventionally, on the motherboard are also 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory and a 512 GB SSD accommodates Windows 10 and your favorite programs and apps. If there is a shortage of storage, a microSD card reader is accessible once the kick stand has been deployed.

Microsoft new Surface Pro 2017

Note that it is also possible to connect an external hard drive or a large key to import / export files to the full-size USB 3.0 socket located on the right side of the Surface Pro.

Microsoft new Surface Pro

Noise, consumption and endurance

During the presentation of the new Surface Pro, Microsoft said that models with Intel Core i5 would be fanless, that is, they would get rid of any active cooling system. Our review unit being in Core i7, a fan is therefore always invited inside the tablet. The latter can however remain fairly discreet (34.6 dB max.), Even when the components are subjected to a heavy load. Under these same conditions, the mercury climbs on the back of the tablet, with peaks at 43.6 ° C noted at the hotreview places.

Between the third and fourth generation of Surface tablets, with an almost similar configuration, we had seen a decrease in endurance. Here, it is difficult to compare the results obtained by this Surface Pro and those of the SP4 because the configurations do not box in the same categories. The same goes for battery profiles and other consumption settings that are set in motion once the slate is disconnected from the mains. Microsoft has clearly done a great job of optimizing the OS, by implementing many options and adjustment profiles that we had never seen on a recent 2-in-1!

First review, by pushing the brightness of the screen all the way while letting Windows control the other energy saving parameters, in continuous video playback, the Surface Pro can last between 9:30 and 10 am (keyboard connected, backlight off) or almost 4 hours less than Microsoft forecasts.

After applying our usual review settings and spending almost 40 minutes cutting, one by one, the software devices responsible for preserving each watt of the battery in Windows, the endurance is much worse. Thus, in video playback, we get 5 hours 52 minutes and, in so-called versatile use, the battery remains barely alive 3 hours 48 minutes … What a disappointment!

The verdict of the review

Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)

Microsoft improves the ergonomics of the Surface Pro a little more while advancing the technical base in a satisfactory manner. However, proven with our demanding review protocols, the endurance of this tablet is simply poor. In addition, out of the box, Surface Pro can only be controlled with your fingers. Need a keyboard? Surface Pen? Head to the cash register! We have known better devices to seduce potential buyers, creative or not.

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