Microsoft Surface Pro 2017 - improvements are under the Surface (review)
4.6Overall Score

Price (RRP): $From 1999
Manufacturer: Microsoft

The Microsoft Surface Pro 2017 continues the category-defining Surface hybrid family – it is an evolution of the successful tablet and detachable keyboard franchise.

The Pro comes in three basic configurations – an Intel 7th generation Kaby Lake, m3, i5, or i7 (with different GPUs), 8 to 16GB RAM, and up to 1TB SSD. Microsoft says it may look the same as the Pro 4 but there are more than internal 800 changes.

First impressions – review unit Intel Core i7, 16GB/512GB model 1796

The box is a little bereft of accessories. No faux leather sleeve, no pen, no keyboard cover – nada! It contains

  • The tablet
  • A 240V ribbon connector charger 12V/2.58A plus 5V/1A USB-A (called a 65W supply)

The greatest criticism is that the items you need to make it a desktop replacement e.g. the Surface Pro Type Cover/Alcantara Signature ($199.95/249.95), Surface Pen ($150) are at extra cost.

Specifications – Microsoft Surface Pro 2017

Model M3-7Y30 1-2.6GHz, Intel HD Graphics 615
i5-7300U 2.6-3.5GHz Intel HD Graphics 620
i7-7660U 2.4-4GHz Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
Display 12.3”, 2736 x 1824, 267ppi, PixelSense, 3:2 aspect
Edge-to-edge glass, 10-point touch
Supports a wide DCI-P3 colour gamut
N-Trig digitiser
Pixel Sense controller hardware acceleration, touch, and Dial
Processor Intel Core i7-7600U, 2.2/3.4GHz, 2 core/4 thread
Core m3 and i5 are fan-less
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
Supports 3840 x 2160 external display or two via DP daisy chain
RAM 8-16GB, DDR3L-1600
SSD 128/256/512GB and 1TB, PCIe, NVMe, M.2
microSD Yes (size unspecified but at least 256GB) External hard disk storage at least 2TB
Wireless Marvel Avastar 88W8897, AC, 2×2, MIMO, Wi-Di
Bluetooth 4.1
TPM Nuvoton NPCT650SBBWX for mobile device management
Optional Keyboard
Trackpad
Stand
Cover
Full size, chiclet, 1.5mm/60g throw
Available in standard and Alcantara fabric with four colour options — Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, Black
Oversize glass trackpad with up to five-finger gestures
Flap to 165° – almost flat
Approx. 310g
Optional
Stylus
Optional 4096 pressure levels 12g actuation force
AAAA battery powered
Optional Surface Dial adds more drawing functionality
Audio Realtek ALC3269 chip
2 x 1.6W, front firing with Dolby Audio Premium max volume 68dB
Dual stereo mics
Ports USB-A, 3.0
Mini DisplayPort 1.2
Surface Ribbon – power delivery upstream (charging tablet) and data
1 x 3.5mm combo audio
1 x micro-SD slot
POGO Pins for keyboard power and data
Microsoft is working on a Ribbon to USB-C dock – TBA
LTE Will be available on m3 and i5 models
Dimensions 292.1 x 201.42 x 8.5 mm (tablet)
Weight 768/770/784g coreM2/i5/i7 plus keyboard 310g
Chassis Uni-body machined magnesium alloy
Battery 45 WHr
Claimed up to 13.5 hours with TI Quick Charge circuit
Charger 65W includes 5V/1A USB charge port
Webcam Front: OV5693, 1.4 µm, 3673.6 x 2738.4 image area, 2×2 pixel binning, EIS, sensor, 5MP fixed focus, auto black level calibration, 1080p video

IR: OV7251 for Windows Hello: 3 µm pixel made for machine vision

Rear: OV8865, 8MP autofocus, 1.4 µm, 4614.4 x 3472 µm image area, 2×2 pixel binning, auto black level calibration, 1080p @30fps video, 10-bit RAW output

OS Windows 10 Pro
Apps Trial of Office 365
Warranty 1 year
Price Retail pricing is as follows (plus a keyboard $200/250 and pen – TBA but assume around $150)
·         Core m2, 4/128GB $1,199
·         Core i5, 4/128GB $1,499
·         Core i5, 8/256GB $1,999
·         Core i7, 8/256GB $2499
·         Core i7, 16/512GB $3,299
·         Core i7, 16GB/1TB $3,999
URL https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/store/d/surface/8NKT9WTTRBJK/2318?icid=Cat_Surface-Hero1-Pro-052317-en-au

Draw like never before

Microsoft believes that the pen will take on a more important role in tablet computing – not just for handwriting but its latest iteration supports basic maths, mapping (get from A to B) and more.

To aid the drawing/inking process it has increased the hinge to 165° so it almost lays flat and is the perfect angle for drawing and writing – a mini drafting board – and something you can’t achieve with a clamshell or 360° hinge laptop.

It works flawlessly with Windows Ink that was substantially updated in the Windows 10 Creators release. You can write, annotate, draw, sketch, use it with Windows Maps, and in the Windows Edge Browser as well. In short, it works perfectly with any Microsoft app.

It is an active (AAAA battery operated) stylus (HB tip supplied but are changeable) and interfaces with the N-Trig digitiser in the screen.

Those 4096 pressure levels (up from 1024) and 12g actuation force add a new dimension to pen use and things like tilt (for a wider line) make it intuitive to use. It has right click and erase as well as configurable functionality. And it draws lines consistently – not hit and miss like often happened with the previous pen.

The pen is available in Platinum, Black, Burgundy, and Cobalt Blue. Price TBA but around $150.

Keyboard, trackpad and kickstand 

Key bounce caused by a thin keyboard has been a feature of every Surface Pro – to stop it would mean a thicker or more rigid keyboard.