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Microsoft Announces New Surface Pro

As leaked last week, Microsoft announced an updated Surface Pro this evening in Beijing. With a new name, new hinge, new pen and support for the Surface Dial as the headline updates. The decision to remove the version number from the Surface Pro name gives Microsoft some consistency across its hardware line.

Unsurprisingly there are new Kaby Lake processors, with both m3 and i5 versions able to run without fans this time around.

It's the Surface Pen which got most of the attention. Microsoft clearly took aim at the Apple Pencil with this update, adding tilt support and improving the response time so as to create a truly lag free experience.

There is support for USB-C, well sort of anyway. It's on the Surface Dock. Even if Panos Panay got hopes up by accidentally suggesting the Surface Pro has USB-C onboard, before correcting himself and confirming it had USB-A only.

The Surface Pro is the first of its line to support LTE. That was a big gap in the Surface Pro armoury. Availability will lag behind the Wifi only SP, which might indicate a Snapdragon powered Surface Pro is incoming. 

Panay made some interesting comparisons with the iPad Pro, noting that it was seventeen times more powerful than Apple's tablet. How that reflects in real world performance remained to be seen but it suggests the SP should run full desktop software faster than the iPad runs its cut down apps.

Lighter, more powerful and packing a brighter screen, Microsoft is nevertheless claiming the best SP battery life ever. Apparently so good Satya Nadella was moved to email Panay directly to comment after trying it out. 13.5 hours is the number being touted.

In the end it seems the Surface Pro is more of an upgrade than expected. Microsoft's decision to unveil it in China shows it understands the need to push is products in what will be the world's largest market.

I can't help feeling that the rest of the world deserved more than than a secondhand video stream and a live blog that wasn't live or much of a blog though.