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Review: The Improved Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The 2-in-1 experience from Microsoft just got better.

If you’re not familiar with the Microsoft Surface Pro, it’s a detachable 2-in-1 tablet/laptop experience. While the Surface Pro has gotten attention, one of the biggest factors that needed some major improvements on it was its short battery life. But before we address both pros and cons of the new Microsoft Surface Pro 6, we’ll go over some aspects of the device that are sure to help you make a decision, if you’re on the market for some new tech.

Staring at $899.00, the new Microsoft Pro 6 is definitely a premium investment. The device lasts nearly 2-hours longer than its predecessor, according to our tests. One of the biggest factors is the new 8th-generation Core i5 (quad-core) processor under the hood, which not only provides an extended battery life but also improved performance. The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is definitely a contender for the best tablet that you can leisurely use as well as for work purposes.

OUR RATING

  • 4 out of 5

PROS: MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 6

  • Much needed battery improvements
  • Fast quad-core performance
  • Beautiful and colorful display
  • Silky-smooth pen input
  • Comfortable keyboard

CONS: MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 6

  • No support for USB-C and Thunderbolt ports
  • The 256GB option is quite pricey and feels sluggish

MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO SPECS

  • Price: Starting at $899 (tablet only); $1,128 with keyboard and pen
  • CPU: 8th-gen Intel Core i5, Core i7
  • RAM: 8GB or 16GB
  • SSD: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Display: 12.3 inches (2736 x 1824 pixels)
  • Battery: 9 hours and 20 minutes
  • Cameras: Rear: 8 MP; Front: 5 MP

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS (DETAILED)

  • CPU: Intel Core 8th Gen i5 or i7 processors
  • RAM: 8GB; upgradable to 16GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Storage: Choice of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
  • Display Size: 12.3
  • Native Resolution: 2,736 x 1,824
  • Highest Resolution Available: 2,736 x 1,824
  • GPU (i5): Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • GPU (i7): Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Wi-Fi Model: Wi-Fi: 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n compatible
  • Bluetooth: 4.1
  • Ports (excl. USB): Surface Connect, Headphone, MicroSDXC card reader, Mini DisplayPort, and USB 3.0.
  • Card Slot: microSD
  • Warranty/Support: 1-year limited hardware warranty
  • Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
  • Weight (i5): 1.70 lbs (770 g)
  • Weight (i7): 1.73 lbs (784 g)

SURFACE PRO DISPLAY

In the 2-in-1 category, the PixelSense display you find on the Surface Pro 6 is one of the best. With a resolution of 2,736 c 1,824 pixels, it’s not only sharp but also very colorful and bright. In terms of display testing, the PixelSense display came out to 408 nits, beating out the Surface Pro 5 (396 nits), but it came slightly behind the ThinkPad X1 Tablet at 415 nits.

Comparing the PixelSense display with the Galaxy Tab 4 and iPad Pro displays, they’re in a completely different league of their own because the Galaxy Tab S4 came out to 463 nits and iPad Pro at 555 nits.

SURFACE PRO 6 AUDIO

When you’re using your 2-in-1 tablet, you want to make sure that the audio on it is good. The Surface Pro 6 comes with two front-firing speakers that deliver audio loud and clear. The sound comes out so well that we didn’t connect my Bose headphones and just ran audio from Netflix through the speakers themselves.

KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD EXPERIENCE

One of the more unique experience that you’ll find on the Surface Pro 6 is the typing. Being a 2-in-1, it offers an immersive and comfortable keyboard. The keyboard offers a 1.3mm of key travel, which is pretty cushy because of how thin the Type Cover is. In comparison, the iPad Pro’s keyboard has only 0.5mm of travel.

The standard black keyboard for the Surface Pro 6 costs $129, but if you want to have the soft-touch experience, you’ll have to pay $159 for the Alcantara Type Cover, and can get them in Burgundy, Cobalt Blue or Platinum.

Lastly, the touchpad experience on the Surface Pro 6 is even more precise than ever before. Scrolling and gesture touch has becoming smoother than before and even using three fingers to switch apps came out pretty well. Only gripe I have with the keyboard is that the noise on the touchpad is pretty loud.

FRONT AND REAR CAMERAS

The Surface Pro 6 comes with a rear 8MP camera that will take some good photos, but don’t expect to take any sharp photos.

They front 5MP camera will do pretty well for those Skype meetings or other video-calling apps. The camera will gather plenty of ambient light for the light behind you. Nothing too spectacular, but it’s more than enough to get the jobs done.

IMPROVED PERFORMANCE

The new Surface Pro 6 has made a major leap in terms of performance over last year’s Surface Pro 5. The new 8th-generation, quad-core Core i5-8250U processor paired with 8GB of RAM brings a lot more power to you than every before on a Surface tablet. If you’re a power user, we strongly recommend you upgrade to the Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM for maximized experience.

The Intel UHD 620 graphics inside the Scarface Pro 6 is plenty powerful for casual gaming, but don’t expect to do some hardcore gaming.

BATTERY LIFE IMPROVEMENTS

One of the biggest improvements on the Surface Pro 6 is the battery life. In our battery testing, which involved continuous web surfing at 180 nits of screen brightness, the Surface Pro 6 lasted for 9 hours and 20 minutes. This is a strong improvement over last year’s model. To be exact, it lasted nearly 2 hours more than the 2017 Surface Pro model. For comparison, Surface Pro 6 lasted more than 3 hours than the ThinkPad X1 (clocking in at 5:59).

OUR RECOMMENDATION

One of the factors to first consider is if you’ll like the 2-in-1 experience on the Surface Pro 6 because it’s not for everyone. If you’re comfortable with it, the device is light enough to carry around everywhere with you and powerful enough to give you on-demand power needs.

If given the choice, we highly recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 for everyday use. If you’re a power user, we recommend opting for i7 configuration so that you’re able to have maximum power on-demand.

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Hamza Khalid

The Jolt Journal is your source for daily tech news, breaking, reviews, and insights.

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