Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review: A bargain at £649

Price when reviewed

Surface Pro 4 review: Screen

The screen has had a lot of attention lavished on it. As with the previous model, the Surface Pro 4 has a ten-point touchscreen, which is fast and accurate. However, the resolution has been upped to 2,736 x 1,824, delivers a pixel density of 267ppi, and this means absolutely everything looks super sharp and clear, even to old eyes like mine.

And there’s more good news. We measured the brightness at 388cd/m², which is, to put it mildly, great, while contrast hit 1,218:1, which is superb.

Likewise, colour accuracy is excellent. The Surface Pro 4 achieved an average Delta E score of 1.61. Delta E is a measurement of how far away a given colour is away from perfect, so the lower, the better here. Moreover, the Surface Pro 4 screen’s sRGB gamut coverage hit 97.5%, another fantastic score.

In short, if you need a laptop to do colour-critical work on, the Surface Pro 4 is excellent. It’s so good you won’t always want to plug it into an external monitor.

Surface Pro 4 review: Performance and battery life

Microsoft talks about the Surface series as being “no compromise” machines, but whenever you’re creating a compact, light device the laws of thermodynamics mean that compromises will inevitably have to be made. You can make a compact computer fast, long-working or cool – but you can’t do all three at the same time.

The compromises Microsoft has made with Surface Pro 4 are reasonable, and similar to those of the Surface Pro 3. It’s a little bit faster than the most recent MacBook Air, but in our battery tests gave out after 7hrs 41mins. Out in the real world, you’ll probably squeeze about eight hours of regular use out of it – not quite a full day, for most people, but close.

In other words, both battery life and all-round performance are best described as good, but not stellar. Not quite what we’d expect from a premium laptop replacement such as this, in other words.

Surface Pro 4 review: Verdict

I’ve long been a fan of the Surface Pro line, and the Surface Pro 4 is a very fine machine indeed. Should you buy this, given the arrival of its replacement? I’d say that unless you need the additional performance and battery life of the new version, you could do yourself a favour and pick up a bargain Pro 4. If money is tight, you’ll be getting a very good machine which will last you a good few years. 

See also: Alphr’s ultimate UK guide to the best laptops of 2016

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 specifications

Processor Dual-core 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U
Memory slots (free) N/A
Max memory 16GB
Dimensions 292x201x8mm
Weight 1.37kg inc keyboard and power brick
Sound Realtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)
Pointing device Touchpad
Screen size 12.3in
Screen resolution 2736x1824
Touchscreen Yes
Graphics adaptor Intel HD graphics 520
Graphics outputs Mini DisplayPort
Graphics memory Shared
Total storage 256GB SSD
Optical drive type None
USB ports 1x USB3 (1x USB charging port on power brick)
Bluetooth Yes
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Memory card reader None
Other ports None
Operating system Windows 10
Operating system restore option Windows 10 restore
Buying information
Parts and labour warranty One year RTB
Price inc VAT £1,189
Part number Surface Pro 4

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