Pro tablet face-off: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 vs Microsoft Surface Book

When Apple and Microsoft launched their respective hybrid tablets- namely the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4- we wondered if tablets are indeed killing off laptops and taking their places in our workstations, bedrooms and entertainment corners. These tablets are just as large as the latest laptops and offer superior performance compared to their diminutive siblings who usually passed off as streaming devices.

We decided to review Microsoft's Surface Book laptop and the latest Surface Pro 4 hybrid tablet to see for ourselves if the change was really imminent and if we should be wiser with our money when we go shopping for our next big gadgets.

Surface Pro 4 is indeed a gem of a hybrid tablet. It is several notches better than the Surface Pro 3 which signalled Microsoft's explosive return to the tablet space and like our spec-comparisons proved, is actually more powerful than the iPad Pro. When it was launched, Microsoft dubbed it as 'The tablet that can replace your laptop,' which, to be honest, heightened our curiosities.

 

Weighing at just 766g, Surface Pro 4 features a magnesium casing and a silver hue which gives it a premium look and a smooth feel. Its engines are powered by 6th Gen Intel m3, i5 and i7 processors which, as per PC World, means 'improved overclocking features, better integrated graphics performance, and a new chipset.' For your storage needs, it features a USB 3.0 port and a MicroSD reader and for cross-device usage, it offers a mini DisplayPort and an extra SurfaceConnect port. The tablet will also give you up to 512GB of in-house storage if you need a lot of drawers to store your office work and media files.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 4: More is better

Surface Pro 4 also comes with a powerful battery which can sustain the tablet for up to 9 hours under constant use, and the Surface Pen with 1024 levels of sensitivity offers an easy way of jotting down notes on the display easily.

The Surface Book laptop, on the other hand, is a giant which, despite being twice as heavy as the Surface Pro 4, features a slightly larger display and powerful GPU and engines to let you work and play with ease without compromising on performance.

What the Surface Book has done, or has intended to do, is to turn the tables on the Surface Pro 4. Probably anticipating the latter's intent to take over, Surface Book features the same build quality, has a detachable screen which works like a tablet and comes with a brilliant screen resolution, a keyboard with smooth and well-spaced keys with backlights and a longer battery life.

However, when it comes to beating the Surface Pro 4 in its own backyard, the Surface Book's own weight and size become its greatest enemy. Its weight makes it difficult for users to hold it for long periods, and things get tougher if you try to work it one-handed. At the same time, it is very expensive to own and you may have to shell out as much as £1,799 to own a 256GB storage variant with an Intel 6th Gen i7 processor. On the other hand, a Surface Pro 4 costs just £749 but you will have to pay up £110 more if you need the keyboard as well.

Microsoft Surface Book in-depth review - The head-turner

However, if you look at NVIDIA GeForce GPU with its own DDR5 1GB memory, Intel® HD graphics 520, 6th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 processors or up to 16GB of RAM in the Surface Book, you'll realise that this is one device that you can push to the extremes without worrying about breaking it down.

Verdict

Microsoft has added a lot of power and functionality to its Surface Pro line of tablets and is now willing to market them as laptop replacements. While Surface Pro 4 is indeed a gem of a tablet, it is yet to prove that it will be capable of handling the kind of stress that a superior laptop like the Surface Book can handle with ease.

While Surface Pro 4 is an ideal device for your gaming, streaming and social networking needs, the Surface Book is still the king of the workplace and if your employer gives you a choice, you should choose the latter if you need an all-round, round the clock and stutter-free performance from your gadget.

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