Nearly six months after its official presentation in the United States, the new Surface Pro is finally available in UK. This is already the sixth version of the amazing hybrid machine that Microsoft has been refining since 2012: a large touchscreen tablet in Windows, convertible into a laptop with a removable keyboard … sold as an option.
Microsoft does not really renew the genre with the Surface Pro 6 which looks like a binocular to the previous version, launched in 2017. The machine is now available in two colors, the platinum gray of previous models or a new matte black, which dresses our review model. But it’s under the hood that the changes are most noticeable. The Surface Pro 6 incorporates a better battery than the previous version, a brighter screen and, above all, new eighth generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, with an excellent level of performance.
Still happy, given the fairly elitist price of the machine. Count 910 euros for the basic model, which must be content with a very small SSD module of 128 GB. The version that Microsoft lent us, with 256 storage, costs almost 1370 euros and the price soars to 2100 euros for the more upscale model! And we must also add the price, also very salty, of the options: from 150 to 180 euros for the removable keyboard, 110 euros for the (very good) stylus which allows you to write or draw on the touch screen.
What is this luxury convertible tablet for Windows worth? Should we prefer it to a classic ultraportable computer, often cheaper? Here is our opinion, review in support.
Surface Pro 6: a magnificent A4 slate of 785 grams
Surface Pro 6 is a tactile slate whose format is almost equivalent to that of an A4 page. 29.2 cm long, 20.1 high … just 8.5 mm thick. At the back of the case, a retractable base allows it to be installed vertically on a desk, like the previous versions.
Composed of magnesium and Gorilla Glass, the case weighs 785 grams, which is a bit heavy for a tablet. In fact, even for large hands, the Surface Pro 6 is quickly tiring to wear. To use it conveniently on a mop, it must be propped up on the forearm or on the knees.
On the other hand, accompanied by its removable keyboard – the high-end “Signature Type Cover” model, for our reviews -, the Surface Pro 6 remains one of the lighreview of ultraportable PCs, with barely more than a kilo on the balance (1.08 kg exactly).
Screen: a bright, well-contrasted image in very high definition
On the screen side, there is the 12.3-inch IPS touch screen “PixelSense” of the Surface Pro of 2017. In 3: 2 format, it displays a native definition of 2736 x 1824 pixels, for a resolution of 267 dots per inch. The Gorilla Glass coating makes the slab fairly shiny, which quickly turns it into a mirror under certain lights. This small defect is compensated by a strong brightness – 427 cd / m² – and above all an excellent contrast ratio of 1405: 1, which makes the screen very readable, even in the sun. The Surface Pro 6 screen also displays very accurate colors, making it a good image editing or graphics editing tool.
Only lack of taste on this beautiful screen, it is framed by fairly wide black bands, while the trend, on ultraportable PCs as on smartphones, is for screens with extra fine borders. On this point, the Microsoft machine has gotten a bit old! The advantage of this wide border? It allows to integrate, above the screen, a high-end camera, obviously compatible with the Windows Hello biometric identification system. Once your face is registered, simply place yourself in the sensor field to unlock its Windows session.
Keyboard and stylus: accessories … really essential
If the “tablet” mode of Windows 10 lends itself very well to tactile use for certain functions – viewing photos, tracking on Google Maps, scrolling web pages … – nothing beats a keyboard for working on a report, managing your emails or do your accounts in Excel. In our opinion, the Surface Pro 6 should therefore be supplied with its removable keyboard, an “option” completely essential!
The new “Signature Type Cover” model is offered at a fairly scandalous price of 180 €, but it must be recognized that it is really very good, with its alcantara finish, its well-defined set of keys and its pleasant typing. Very easy to attach to the tablet thanks to its magnetic hinge, it also incorporates a reactive touch zone and a fingerprint reader that supports face recognition by the camera. And when closed, the keyboard effectively protects the glass surface of the screen.
Another excellent accessory, also too expensive, the Surface stylus (110 €) is perfect for drawing directly on the screen, for signing or annotating documents. Equipped with a fine point on one side and an “eraser” on the other, it recognizes up to 4096 pressure levels.
Equipment: a powerful engine but a poor set of sockets
On the engine side, the Surface Pro 6 has little to envy to the best ultraportable PCs of the moment thanks to the integration of eighth generation Intel processors. Our review model, at 1369 euros, includes a Core i5-8250U (4 cores, a frequency from 1.6 GHz to 3.4 GHz), 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD module. The screen is powered by Intel’s integrated video circuit, more than enough to display apps and videos in very high definition … but too tight to make the Surface Pro 6 a good gaming machine.
Overall, the machine is perfectly suited to all common tasks, from basic office automation to multimedia creation. Another very good point for the version reviewed here, based on a Core i5, it does not have a cooling fan, so perfectly silent. Please note, the higher-end versions of the tablet, with a Core i7, are equipped with active cooling, possibly noisy.
In terms of sockets, on the other hand, the Surface Pro 6 is poorly placed, with only a USB 3.0 socket on the housing and a DisplayPort video output. No USB-C in sight, it is inadmissible for us for such an expensive product and signed by such a prestigious manufacturer. We console ourselves as best we can with the Wifi ac and Bluetooth 4.1 wireless network modules.
Autonomy: almost 8 h 30 versatile use
Good surprise, despite the large compactness of the box and the power of the configuration, the autonomy of the machine turns out to be very correct, with almost 8 h 30 of versatile autonomy (office automation, surfing, photo display …) and just over 7 hours for continuous video playback. On the go, we also appreciate the small size of the charger, whose magnetic (and reversible) socket is very easily placed on the right side of the case.
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