The moment is here: the long-awaited Surface Pro 4 is finally on-sale and I rushed into the Microsoft Store kiosk at the Glendale Galleria Monday morning to purchase my own. The model I purchased is the base model, the fan-less Core m3 model with a paltry 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. I opted to purchase this model for two reasons. One, to save money. Compelling, isn’t it? Two: I don’t do very taxing things in my line of work: word editing, digital painting, and light video and photo editing, and given my fairly positive experience doing these things with the much weaker Surface 3, I figured the base model Pro 4 would serve me just fine.
As someone who’s owned every x86 architecture Surface device ever made, I went into this unboxing pretty jaded with the Surface Pro 4’s immaculate packaging. It’s minimal and opens without a fuss. But of course what made this unboxing fun for me was seeing the device spring to life. Build quality is immaculate as always. Everything feels solid and well put together, and the added 0.3 inches of display size makes an appreciable difference based on my experiences between both the 3rd and new 4th generations of the devices.
I want to say that while there are some aspects of the new Surface Pro 4 I’m disappointed with, namely the pen flaws I documented in my earlier hands-on review, the weaker power charger, and the lack of an 8GB of RAM option for the fan-less Core m3 version, I must say, Microsoft absolutely nailed the display. It’s gorgeous. Stunning. The coloring is practically perfect and individual pixels are no longer visibly individual, but blend into one beautiful whole. While it’s only been less than a day, I feel comfortable in saying that if Microsoft left the display completely unchanged next generation, I’d be fine with that.
What I definitely am not fine with is the charger the company fitted with the base model. Unlike its bigger brothers, the power charger that comes with the base model lacks an extra USB charger port: a staple since the beginning of the Surface Pro lineage. It’s also weaker, with a 24W charging capacity compared to the 36W of both its worthier siblings and the chargers that came with the previous generation Surface Pro 3. Further more, the metal contacts are embedded within the power brick itself, creating the classic first world dilemma of needlessly stealing outlets along a vertically arranged power array. All of this, on top of the $100 USD price increase for the base model makes me particularly salty.
Of course, this could be remedied by buying the bigger charger as an accessory, but that’s the crux of the issue: I shouldn’t have to. It also remains to be seen whether the base model will even accept the larger charge output from the better charger.
The Surface Pro 4 is lighter than the previous generation, but not by much, and I’d doubt anyone would notice side-by-side. Bear in mind, thanks probably to the fan-less nature of this base model, it’s even lighter by about 0.7 lbs, a difference which I think may actually be noticeable. Not enough to change the game, but perhaps enough to be pleasant.
I hope you guys enjoyed my unboxing video, and I sorely apologize for the reflections found in the video. I’ll do my best to prevent that next time.
I will be spending the next few weeks or so preparing a comprehensive review of my experiences with the base Surface Pro 4 for daily use, video editing, photo work, as well as for my experiences with it’s primary intended use case: digital painting. Rest assured I will not gloss over the pen like most publications I’ve seen thus far.
Any of you who want to me to test out or factor in certain use cases into my review(s), please let me know through the comments below and my twitter @OliverWinBeta and I’ll do my best to accommodate you.