The 2-in-1 Windows tablet hybrid updated with 7th-generation Intel Core processors and new rounded design, as Microsoft targets China with Shanghai launch.
Microsoft has announced a new version of its Surface Pro Windows tablet that is thinner, lighter and has a longer battery life.
The company, on a roll from a previous announcement of the new Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S, launched the updated hybrid computer, which can turn from a tablet into a laptop with the addition of a keyboard, at an event in Shanghai. The new Surface Pro replaces the Surface Pro 4 and drops the number scheme Microsoft has used for the last five years.
“People’s expectations for what their devices should help them accomplish are high – and the Surface team works to exceed those expectations,” said Panos Panay, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Devices. “People want beautiful and powerful devices, with all-day battery life and amazing digital inking experiences. They want to better express their ideas creatively while being able to work whenever, wherever and however they choose. The new Surface Pro delivers all that and more.”
The new Windows 10 tablet will have the latest, seventh generation Intel Core processors – something rivals such as Apple’s MacBook Pro line lack – and up to 13.5 hours of battery life and a smoother, as well as a more rounded design than its predecessor. A new version of the Surface Pen stylus was also released, which supports tilt recognition for sketching on the 12.3in high resolution touch display.
Ian Fogg, senior director for mobile at research firm IHS, said: “13.5 hours of battery life on the new Surface Pro is very impressive, if reality matches marketing. If so, it’s way ahead of the 2016 Apple MacBook Pro models.”
A version will be available with a built-in 4G modem, while a new kickstand hinge on the back will allow the tablet to adjust to an angle of 165 degrees to make writing or drawing on the screen with the stylus easier. The Surface Dial accessory, which was launched alongside the Surface Studio all-in-one PC in October 2016, will also work with the new tablet.
Carolina Milanesi, a consumer tech analyst at Creative Strategies, welcomed the addition of 4G mobile broadband: “I am sure I am a minority but I have been waiting for years for LTE support!”
Microsoft said that new versions of the Surface Pro’s optional keyboard will be available with an Alcantara fabric material – the same finish that raised eyebrows when it was used to cover the keyboard deck of Microsoft’s Surface Laptop.
The new Surface Pro will be available in the UK starting at £799 on 15 June, and also in 26 countries around the world including the US and Australia.
Microsoft also announced a renewed push into China, with special editions of Windows 10 for the Chinese government.
Neil Shah, an analyst at Counterpoint, said: “The Surface Pro’s global launch in China, along with announcement of Windows 10 China Government Edition, speaks volumes of Microsoft’s China focus.”
At the same time, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei launched three new Windows 10 computers at an event in Berlin, including the new MateBook X laptop and MateBook E 2-in-1 hybrid Surface Pro competitor. The MateBook E has a 12in screen with a screen-to-body ratio of 84%, making it one of the smallest Windows 10 tablets for its screen size.
Both firms launched their new laptops and tablets just weeks before Apple is expected to release new, updated versions of its MacBook Pro and iMac computers at the company’s developers conference, WWDC.