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Microsoft Surface Pro 4 & Surface Book Officially Announced With Windows 10

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It’s official, Microsoft has now announced the Surface Pro 4; a flagship convertible tablet for Windows 10. As well as carrying the latest, next-gen Windows software the Surface Pro 4 also has a tweaked design, a new detachable keyboard with new integrated features and capabilities, and a bunch of high-end hardware built-in.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Design, Display & Keyboard

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As is typical for new edition mobile products, the Surface Pro 4 is thinner and lighter than its predecessors, measuring 292 x 201 x 8.4mm and weighing 766g, compared to the Surface Pro 3’s 292 x 201 x 9.1mm and 794g. Although it does pack a bigger 12.4in display with a higher 2736 x 1824 pixel resolution, Microsoft has managed to squeeze it into the same sized bodyshell as the previous model.

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As well as ensuring it hasn’t grown to more bloated proportions, this also means that, handily, existing Surface 3 accessories (including the keyboard) are backwards compatible; so you can use the new keyboard with a Surface 3, or a Surface 3 keyboard with the new Surface Pro 4 — you just won’t get some of the new features, like the fingerprint scanner, if you use the older kit.

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Keeping on trend with the happenings in the mobile space, the new keyboard carries a fingerprint scanner built directly into it. The key spacing is now wider with improved travel, and the trackpad is made from glass while being 40% bigger.

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Microsoft says the contrast and brightness of the display have been improved, as well as touchscreen responsiveness. On top of this, there’s some intelligent built-in tech and sensors, the combination of which is dubbed “PixelSense”, which Microsoft said can detect the difference between pen input and a fingertip, then optimises everything for the type of input detected.

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Interestingly there’s a new stylus pen accessory (which magnetically attaches to the tablet) with an improved 1,024 level pressure sensitivity, an eraser in the rear end, and a built-in microphone to allow you to issue Cortana commands — making it more fully featured than Apple’s “pencil”.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Processor, Storage & Hardware

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The Surface Pro 4 also packs some pretty high-end processor hardware with a new Intel SkyLake chipset family including both Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 chip options — which Microsoft says gives 50% faster performance than a MacBook Air, as well as an uplift in speeds over the previous Surface model. 

Your options here are quite varied with a selection of onboard storage, RAM, and chipset variants. Here’s the full list:

  • 128GB Storage, Intel Core M3, 4GB RAM
  • 128GB Storage, Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM
  • 256GB Storage, Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM
  • 256GB Storage, Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM
  • 256GB Storage, Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM
  • 512GB Storage, Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM
  • 1TB Storage, Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Connectivity, Battery & Cameras

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Connectivity is a similar story to the Surface Pro 3, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, a full-size USB port, display output and microSD card port. However, disappointingly Microsoft has opted not to offer 4G capability even as an option, and there’s no support for the new USB Type-C port connector either, meaning if you were to pick up one of the new Windows 10 Lumia phones you would need a separate charger for each. It’s a proprietary charging port for the Surface Pro 4 once again.

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Speaking of the battery, while Microsoft has not revealed specific battery specs it has simply once again claimed you’ll get nine hours of use on a single charge. Of course that’s rather sweeping, so take it with a grain of salt.

Camera details were sparse but we know that the 5MP rear-camera has been bumped up to 8MP.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Pricing, Release Date & Availability

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We’ve already mentioned the various storage, processor and RAM packages (in price order from lowest to highest). The lowest price version with an Intel Core M3 chip starts at $899 (£749 in the UK) while the Core i7 model with 1TB onboard storage and 16GB of RAM costs a collosal $2699.

The Surface Pro 4 is up for pre-order from October 7, and while the official release date is October 26, it won’t be up for grabs with UK retailers until November 12.

Microsoft Surface Book

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The Surface Pro 4 isn’t the only convertible tablet Microsoft unveiled at its big Windows 10 launch. Nope, there’s also the Surface Book, which Microsoft described as the “ultimate laptop”. The firm seems to effectively be making a bid for the same premium territory as the iPad Pro, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air series from Apple, in the sense that the Surface Book is a high-end and supremely optimised tablet-laptop hybrid intended to offer the perfect fusion of Windows 10 and the best hardware experience. Of course, in Microsoft’s case it’s also a demonstration for other OEMs on what can be done, where with Apple no-one else makes Macs on its behalf!

The Surface Book is essentially a super-pimped out version of the Surface tablet hybrid with some extra flashy bells and whistles. Just take a look at Microsoft’s high-gloss promo video:

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Microsoft Surface Book Design, Display & Keyboard

So first things first we’re looking at a broadly similar design to the Surface Pro 4 in that the bodywork is machined from a magnesium alloy, although as you can see from the vid and photos it does have that really refined, sleek, premium look – a bit like an Apple device (controversial?). The display is larger than the regular Surface Pro 4 at 13.5in and packs a pixel density of 267ppi and the whole device is a mere 7.7mm thin. 

The Surface Book is a convertible laptop and the display can be detached as a tablet just like the Surface Pro 4, although Microsoft has implemented a much fancier hinge and dock mechanism (as demonstrated in the video) with a “dynamic fulcrum hinge” and an interesting looking automatic spring-loaded lock.

The keyboard itself is, as you might expect, a bit more advanced than the Surface Pro’s type-cover; it’s a true backlit “chiclet” setup with a glass multi-touch trackpad.

Microsoft Surface Book Processor, Storage & Hardware

Arguably the real meat and potatoes of the Surface Book that sets it apart from the Surface Pro 4 is the inclusion of some crazy high-end hardware specs. Interestingly the Intel Core i5 or i7 Skylake processor and battery pack are built-into the display component, while the keyboard houses a separate, dedicated Nvidia Geforce GPU with its own block of high-speed 16GB memory, meaning you’ll get the best performance when it’s docked, but it’s no slouch in tablet mode either. Microsoft claims this device is twice as fast as the MacBook Pro.

As with the Surface Pro, the Surface Book comes in a range of storage, processor chip and RAM combination options at different price points, from Core i5 chips and 128GB of memory, up to Core i7 chips with 1TB of storage. Microsoft is yet to reveal much in terms of pricing and availability other than the starting price will be $1,499 for the lowest-end model (without the Nvidia GPU), meanwhile the top-tier will cost $2,699. The Surface Book wll be on sale from October 26.

According to new information Microsoft might be preparing a fourth-generation Surface Pro tablet hybrid for release this year, with some suggestion it could arrive in July at the latest. These details have emerged amidst reports that Apple’s own rumoured “Pro” tablet, the iPad Pro, has had production delayed until September, meaning Microsoft could well beat Apple to market.

Apple’s iPad Pro has long been rumoured but is yet to be confirmed, however, it was previously believed it would begin production during Q1 this year, meaning an arrival during the Summer was likely. Now though, a report from Bloomberg, citing anonymous industry sources, claims the larger iPad variant won’t begin production until September, meaning it could see a launch by the end of 2015, though it would be cutting things a bit fine.

Details surrounding Microsoft’s product line-up come via online publication The Inquisitr, which claims to have heard that the Surface Pro 4 will come in two size variants – 12in and 14in. It’s reported to have a display resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels and will apparently pack an Intel Core M Broadwell processor – that’s the same chip from Apple’s brand new MacBook. What’s still up for grabs is whether or not Microsoft will time the launch with the release of Windows 10, which is going to arrive during the second half of 2015 at an unspecified point, however, even if the tablet launches earlier it will surely be seeing a software upgrade when Windows 10 arrives.

Interestingly, it may also be accompanied by the long-fabled Surface Pro Mini, according to The Inquisitr’s report. A Mini Surface was heavily rumoured ahead of the Surface 3 launch but failed to materialise, however, this didn’t stop the rumours, which claimed the project had simply been delayed temporarily. The Inquisitr claims the Surface Pro Mini will arrive in “the fall” (ie: Autumn) alongside Windows 10.

“The Surface Pro 4 is expected to come with a resolution similar to the current Surface Pro 3. The device will also be launched in 2 versions and will have a screen size between 13 – 14 inches.The Surface Pro 4 will also be priced lower than the current Surface Pro 3 in order to attract more customers,” reports WCCFTTECH. “The Surface Pro 4 is also expected to come with Intel’s latest Core M processors and the company is also expected to launch the device with Windows 10 on board, which should end up providing better touch capabilities and features.”

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