Microsoft Unveiled the New Surface Pro and Here are the 7 Details You Need to Know About
Article by George Norman
On 24 May 2017
On Tuesday, at a special event in Shanghai, Microsoft presented a Windows 10 version specially crafted for the Chinese government (the aptly named Windows 10 China Government Edition), announced that the HoloLens holographic computer started shipping to Chinese developers, and unveiled the new Surface Pro 2-in-1 tablet and laptop – not to be confused with the recently introduced Surface Laptop, which is another thing completely.

"With Surface Pro we created a new category and challenged the status quo of the laptop," said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Devices. "With every release since we have continued to push boundaries — redefining the ultimate laptop with Surface Book and making the classic laptop feel fresh again with Surface Laptop. With the introduction of the new Surface Pro we are once again advancing the category by delivering the versatility of a powerhouse laptop and a mobile creative studio in one thin, lightweight device.”


1. It should have been called the Surface Pro 5

Remember when Apple released the third-generation iPad and, instead of calling it the iPad 3, called it "the new iPad?" Microsoft pulled an Apple move here and, instead of unveiling the Surface Pro 5, it unveiled "the new Surface Pro."

So for anyone who likes to keep track of these things, the new Surface Pro is the successor to the Surface Pro 4 and, in all rights, should have been called the Surface Pro 5. But it hasn’t, because Microsoft has tossed its number naming scheme aside for some unknown reason.

And in case you’re not familiar with Microsoft’s Surface series, it features 6 main devices:
  • Surface – a hybrid tablet that comes with a detachable keyboard. The latest version, the Surface 3, is no longer available for purchase in the Microsoft Store and Microsoft has no plans to manufacture the device anymore.
  • Surface Pro – a 2-in-1 device meant to be a powerful, ultrathin laptop or a beautiful tablet. So… similar to the Surface, but with better specs.
  • Surface Book – a 2-in-1 device with a mechanically-attached, full-sized keyboard. The first device in the Surface series to be marketed as a laptop instead of a tablet. Currently marketed as "the ultimate laptop."
  • Surface Studio – an all-in-one desktop with a 28-inch screen. It can be used upright, like a regular desktop, and it can be tilted and turned into a digital drafting table.
  • Surface Hub – a touch-screen, wall-mounted device meant for business customers.
  • Surface Laptop – an actual laptop with a 13.5-inch screen, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, 7th generation Intel Core Processor, and enough battery to last up to 15 hours.

2. It runs Windows 10 Pro not Windows 10 S

The Surface Pro line has always been powered by a Pro version of Windows. The original Surface Pro ran Windows 8 Pro, the Surface Pro 2 and 3 ran Windows 8.1 Pro, the Surface Pro 4 ran Windows 10 Pro, and the new Surface Pro runs Windows 10 Pro as well.

So unlike the new Surface Laptop, the new surface Pro does not run Windows 10 S. It runs Windows 10 Pro, and that is a very good thing because Windows 10 S is limited to Windows Store apps and doesn’t let you change the default browser or search engine.

3. A longer-lasting battery in a lighter package

Since battery life depends on a lot of factors, I always take these things with a grain of salt. But, if Microsoft is to be trusted, then the Surface Pro’s battery should last up to 13.5 hours (of video playback), which is 50% more than you would get from the Surface Pro 3. And compared to Apple’s iPad Pro, the new Surface Pro’s battery lasts 35% longer – Microsoft made sure to point that out.

The battery in the new Surface Pro powers a 12.3-inch PixelSense touch display (that supports the Surface Dial) and a 7th generation Kaby Lake processor – either an Intel Core m3, and Intel Core i5, or an Intel Core i7. Except for the i7, all the other processors have a fan-less design.

The new Surface Pro is Microsoft’s lightest Surface Pro to date. It’s only 8.5mm thin and weighs just 1.7lbs. The weight varies a bit, depending on the configuration – see below.

4. There are 6 configurations to choose from

Pricing for the new Surface Pro starts at $800 and goes up to $2700, depending on the configuration you select. There are, in all, 6 different Surface Pro configurations to choose from.

Here they are, sorted by price:
  • $799 – 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 615, Intel Core m3.
  • $999 – 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5.
  • $1,299 – 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5.
  • $1,599 – 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, Intel Core i7.
  • $2,199 – 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, Intel Core i7.
  • $2,699 – 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, Intel Core i7.
The Intel Core m3 model weighs 1.69lbs or 766g. The Intel Core i5 models weigh 1.73lbs or 786g. And the Intel Core i7 models weigh 1.73lbs or 786g.

All configurations have a 5MP front-facing camera with Windows Hello face sign-in capabilities and an 8MP rear-facing camera.

All configurations feature these sensors: ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope.

All configurations come with these ports: full-size USB 3.0, microSD card reader, Surface Connect, headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, cover port.

5. No USB Type-C ports

As mentioned above, the new Surface Pro comes with a full-size USB 3.0 port, not a USB Type-C port. Microsoft will release a dongle that will plug into the new Surface Pro and provide USB-C support.

6. Surface Pen, Surface Arc Mouse, and Surface Pro Signature Type Cover

Alongside the new Surface Pro, Microsoft unveiled the new Surface Pen, calling it "the fastest digital pen ever" and pointing out that it offers fluid writing and drawing, different tips, as well as tilt for shading.

The new Surface Arc Mouse, a refined version of Microsoft’s Arc Mouse, is ultra-slim and lightweight, snaps flat to fit comfortably in your pocket or bag, and connects wirelessly via Bluetooth.

The new Surface Pro Signature Type Cover "delivers a high-quality scissor mechanism and 1.3 mm of key travel for faster and more accurate typing." It has a full-size glass trackpad with five-finger multi-touch capabilities, and it is wrapped in Alcantara, a soft yet durable material that can resist spills or stains and it’s very easy to clean.

The Surface Pen, Surface Arc Mouse, and Surface Pro Signature Type Cover are available in three matching colors: Platinum, Burgundy, and Cobalt Blue,

None of them are included with the new Surface Pro, they must be bought separately.

The Surface Pro Signature Type Cover is $160. The Surface Arc Mouse is $80. And although we don’t know how much the new Surface Pen is, the old one is $60. So to get them all, you’d have to spend $300.

UPDATE: the new Surface Pen is $99.

7. It stars shipping in June

The new Surface Pro is available for pre-order right now and starts shipping on June 15, 2017.

The device will be available in 25 markets, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Later this year, Microsoft will release a model that offers LTE connectivity, which is a first for the Surface Pro. The LTE version will support micro SIM and eSIM and, even though Microsoft did not say how much it will cost, we can only assume that it will be priced slightly higher than the models without LTE support.

Watch Microsoft Introduce the New Surface Pro

Tags: Microsoft, Surface Pro, laptop, tablet, 2-in-1
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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