There’s even the inclusion of some neato tech from Intel thanks to the sixth-generation “RealSense” camera and 3D depth sensor technology, and this will come into play with how you login.
In Australia, we’re not lucky enough to see a fingerprint sensor yet, though we’re told this may be available later on. Instead, though, you can login with the pretty cool “Windows Hello” feature, which became our default way of getting into the Surface Pro 4.
Simply put, Hello relies on an Intel RealSense setup which consists of the camera and a Kinect-like 3D depth sensor to not just take a photo of your head, but also work out its size and shape in a 3D space. When this comes together, it acts as a virtual fingerprint, even if it’s your head that’s being scanned, and from our tests, it works a good 80 to 90 percent of the time, which is enough for us.
With Hello engaged, you simply look at the screen and it unlocks. Mostly, anyway, because some dark environments and odd angles (if you’re looking down at your camera in a way too different from how you captured it) throw it off. Fortunately, you can login using the traditional password or PIN if you prefer, which helps when Hello fails every so often.
Overall, though, it’s a pretty solid performance, and part of this is thanks to the accessories.
Accessories are part and parcel of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 experience, and while one comes with the Pro 4, another does not and yet should.
In the box, you’ll find a new generation of the pen stylus, offering a slight redesign that makes an edge of the pen feel more like a pencil, and this edge even sports a long magnet that now makes the pen properly adhere to the side of the Surface Pro 4.
In fact, this update — making the pen stick — is one of our favourite changes, because finally, Microsoft has gotten the message that some people would like to have their Surface hold the pen and charge at the same time, and has thus separated the areas. Previously, this could not be done due to the magnetic edge being on the same side as the power adaptor, but now your pen goes on the left and your power adaptor stays on the right. As a lefty, this reviewer is chuffed!
Design of the pen hasn’t changed drastically, but the performance, as noted before, does feel slicker, and Microsoft even brings in tips for the pen, too, utilising as much as 1024 levels of pressure, which will make the difference for artists reliant on this sort of accuracy and control.
And there’s even a rubber now on the back, which is an interesting inclusion if you need it, with supported apps allowing you to erase away your work simply by flipping the pencil and scrubbing it away, much like you would with a real pencil.
The other accessory that has changed is the keyboard, but unfortunately, Microsoft still makes this an optional $199.95 purchase. You’ll want this, mind you, so add this into the cost of any Microsoft Surface Pro 4 purchase, because while the Pro 4 is a computer in its own right, a decent keyboard is what makes it a usable one, and this is definitely a decent keyboard.