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Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) review: Small changes make this the best Surface Pro yet

By Kenny Yeo - 9 Sep 2017

Performance charts & Conclusion

Performance Charts

The Microsoft Surface Pro will be tested using our usual suite of benchmarking software. The model we're testing is the highest specced fanless version of the new Surface Pro. Close attention will be paid to how it performs against the Surface Pro 4. Bear in mind that the Surface Pro 4 that we tested from 2015 was powered by a comparable Core i5-6300U processor. Also included in the graphs are results of comparable slim and light notebooks like the ASUS ZenBook Deluxe 3 and LG gram 14.

Here’s a list of all the benchmarks used:

  • PCMark 8
  • 3DMark (2013)
  • Tomb Raider
  • Far Cry 2

ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe Compared
  Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Core i5-6300U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) ASUSPro B9440 ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA LG gram 14 (2017)
  Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Core i5-6300U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) ASUSPro B9440 ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA LG gram 14 (2017)
Launch SRP
  • From S$1999
  • From S$2698
  • From S$2598
Processor and Chipset
  • Intel Core i5-7300U (2.6GHz, 3MB cache)
  • Intel Core i5-6300U (2.4GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7500U (4MB, 2.7GHz)
  • Intel Core i7-7500U processor (2.7GHz, 4MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7500U (2.7GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7500U processor
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • Windows 10 Home
System Memory
  • 8GB RAM
  • 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • 16GB
  • 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz RAM
  • 16GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • 8GB
Video & Display
  • 12.3-inch PixelSense display
  • 2736 x 1824 pixels resolution
  • Intel HD 620 Graphics
  • 12.3-inch PixelSense display
  • 2736 x 1824 pixels resolution
  • 14-inch Full-HD display (matte)
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 14-inch LED-backlit
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
  • Gorilla Glass 5 cover
  • 12.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel IPS panel
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 14-inch Full-HD IPS display
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
Storage
  • 256GB SSD
  • 256GB SSD
  • MicroSD expansion (Up to 64GB)
  • 512GB SSD
  • 512GB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD
  • 512GB PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 SSD
  • 512GB SSD
Optical Drive
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
Connectivity
  • 802.11ac/b/g/n/a
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 802.11ac/b/g/n/a (up to 867Mbps)
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Wireless 802.11ac/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 802.11ac 2x2 (867Mbps)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
I/O Ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 (Type-A)
  • 1 x MiniDisplay Port
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
  • 1 x Surface Connect port
  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x MicroSD
  • 1 x Mini-DisplayPort
  • 1 x Headphones jack
  • 2 x USB Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • 2 x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1 x headphones jack
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x 3.5mm audio jack
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x USB Type-C (USB 3.1)
  • 1 x HDMI
Battery Type
  • 45Wh lithium-ion battery
  • Integrated 39wH
  • 48Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 46Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 40Wh
  • 60Wh lithium-ion battery
Dimensions
  • 292 x 201 x 8.5mm
  • 292 x 201 x 8.45mm
  • 321.3 x 216.2 x 15mm
  • 329 x 210 x 12.9mm
  • 296 x 191.2 x 11.9 mm
  • 323 x 212 x 16mm
Weight
  • 770g
  • 786g
  • 1.05kg
  • 1.1kg
  • 910g
  • 970g
Audio
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio-enhanced sound
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Quad-speaker ASUS SonicMaster Premium stereo audio system
  • ASUS SonicMaster audio system
  • Cirrus Logic DAC
  • DTS headphone: X
Miscellaneous
  • Includes pen input

 

 

The best Surface Pro yet

The new Surface Pro might be largely identical to its predecessor, but all its minor improvements had had a pretty big impact on the device. Make no mistake, this is the best Surface Pro device yet.

Not much has changed on the performance front, the new Kaby Lake processor in the Surface Pro offers only marginal increases in performance over the Surface Pro 4’s Skylake processor. However, the fanless passive cooling system does mean that the new Surface Pro is absolutely silent, even when you are playing games or editing videos. If you have ever tried to play games on a notebook in a library, you’ll know how beneficial this is.

That said, the improved efficiency of the Kaby Lake processor and the larger battery does mean that the Surface Pro now enjoys a substantially longer battery life. In our tests, battery life is now up by nearly 1.5 hours or 41%, which is significant. This, coupled with its slightly reduced weight, makes the new Surface Pro a lot more portable than the Surface Pro 4, especially if you look at their Portability Index scores.

The improved hinge is nice too, and creative types will almost certainly love the new Surface Pen. We also like that Microsoft has retained the ports and connectors on the new Surface Pro, which means users can use it with their old Surface Type Covers and whatever peripherals that they pair their Surface Pro devices with. That said, the decision to not include a Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C port seems like a missed opportunity and would have made the Surface Pro even better.

The new Surface Pro is highly recommended to anyone looking for a supremely portable and versatile Windows device.

Pricing of the new Surface Pro has been adjusted to make up for the fact that the Surface Pen is no longer bundled. The entry and mid-range models are now slightly more affordable, but the high-spec models are pricier, which is a little odd. 

Processor Memory Storage Price
Intel Core m3-7Y30 4GB 128GB SSD S$1,188
Intel Core i5-7300U 4GB 128GB SSD S$1,488
Intel Core i5-7300U 8GB 256GB SSD S$1,788
Intel Core i7-7660U 8GB 256GB SSD S$2,288
Intel Core i7-7660U 16GB 512GB SSD S$3,188
Intel Core i7-7660U 16GB 1TB SSD

S$3,888
(exclusive to the Microsoft Online Store)

For example, the model that we are testing with a Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD comes in at S$1,788. Previously, users would have to pay S$1,999 for the same configuration. Even if you take away the cost of the Surface Pen (S$148), the new Surface Pro is slightly less expensive.

On the other hand, the new top-of-the-line Surface Pro with a Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD is now S$3,188. In the past, the Surface Pro 4 with similar specifications and the Surface Pen was just S$2,799. If you ask me, I think that the model we tested represents the sweet spot in terms of performance and value.

Surface Pro 4 owners might probably want to hold back on upgrading to the new Surface Pro, but if you are using a Surface Pro 3 or if you just looking for a really portable Windows notebook, the Surface Pro is highly recommended.

8.5
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8
  • Mobility 9
The Good
Decent performance, whisper quiet operation
Brilliant display
Slim and light
Improved battery life
Compatible with older Surface Pro accessories
The Bad
Connectivity still limited
No Thunderbolt 3 port
Type Cover keyboard still not included
High-spec models are pricier