The brand new Surface Pro 6 may be the latest version of Microsoft’s category-defining detachable tablet PC, but execute a lessen price, faster chips and a fresh paint job make it worth buying?

From the exterior it looks like hardly any has changed, and that’s for the reason that Surface Pro 6 is practically identical to its predecessor.

It gets the same beautiful 12.3in screen, the same front-firing speakers, the same dimensions and weight, and the same brilliant kickstand out the trunk. It even gets the same quality-feeling magnesium body with slightly rounded edges for hand-held comfort.

THE TOP Pro is arguably the very best made Windows 10 tablet going. Unfortunately the top Pro 6 also offers specifically the same port selection as the prior couple of models, that was old in 2017, but looks positively ancient in 2018.

The kickstand out the trunk remains the best on a tablet. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
New because of this year is a sleek black paint job, joining the platinum silver. The slightly textured, but smooth finish and colour combo are gorgeous. Black is unquestionably the main one to get.

Compared with your competition, the 770g Surface Pro is just about 100g heavier compared to the 12.9in Ipad Pro with similar dimensions. The slightly larger 13in Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet is a lot more than 100g heavier however the smaller 10in Surface Go is 248g lighter.

With the sort Cover attached the top Pro weighs 1.08kg, that makes it lighter than most ultrabooks, but a lot more than 313g heavier compared to the Surface Go with Type Cover.

All that is to state that the top Pro is among the easiest full-power PCs to cart around, either in the hand or in a bag, beaten only really by small Surface Go and mobile tablets such as for example Apple’s iPad.

Specifications
Screen: 12.3in LCD 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI)

Processor: Intel Core i5 or i7 (8th generation)

RAM: 8 or 16GB

Storage: 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB

Graphics: Intel UHD 620

Operating-system: Windows 10 Home

Camera: 8MP rear, 5MP front-facing, Windows Hello

Connectivity: Wifi ac, Bluetooth 4.1, USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, headphones, TPM, microSD

Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5 mm

Weight: 770 or 784g (based on version)

Longer battery life
THE TOP Pro 6 lasts longer between charges, now comfortably getting through a workday. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
New because of this year are Intel’s latest eighth-generation Core i5 and i7 chips, both which are faster and better than their predecessors.

Performance over the board was excellent, blowing through even large image manipulation jobs in Affinity Photo. The integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics chip means you’re unlikely in order to play any modern graphically intensive games on high settings, nor manage to edit multiple 4K videos, however the Surface Pro should handle the rest with ease.

THE TOP Pro is silent in day-to-day procedure with a fresh thermal design for the fanless i5 which helps maintain performance when pushed.

Battery life has improved significantly. The Core i7 variant of the top Pro 5 only lasted six hours 40 minutes between charges. The Core i5 version as tested lasted nine hours, which is long enough to venture out for day’s work without needing to pack the charger.

That was with recommended brightness and power mode (Better Battery), using word processor Typora, multiple cases of Chrome, Nextgen reader, Affinity Photo, Evernote, Windows Mail and Wire.

The Core i7 could have shorter battery life compared to the Core i5 version, but must have at least one hour roughly more battery life than last year’s version.

Ports
The port selection remains exactly like this past year, having USB-A, mini DisplayPort and the top Connector, but lacking Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The internals could possibly be modern, however the ports certainly aren’t. The tablet gets the magnetic Surface Connector for power and expansion, which works equally well as earlier versions with the included power adapter or the top Dock. There’s a microSD card reader beneath the kickstand, which is effective and pays to if you’re trying to pull images from a camera.

The full-sized USB 3.0 port can be welcome, as the mini DisplayPort is less useful, requiring a dongle or new cable to hook up to many displays that are either full-size DisplayPort or HDMI.

The big thing missing is any sort of USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, which is inexcusable on reduced computer in 2018. Your choice to omit the present day port is bizarre from Microsoft, trained with has already shipped the top Book 2 and Surface Go with USB-C.

The great things about USB-C are clear, not merely from a connectivity perspective with the port the gold standard allowing you to connect practically anything. But having USB-C also needs to permit the PC to be charged from a variety of USB Power Delivery chargers, which are inexpensive to buy and ship with almost every other computers in 2018, just as almost any phone could be charged from any USB power adapter today.

I’m not advocating that Microsoft ditch the top Connector, nonetheless it should offer at least a number of USB-C, preferably Thunderbolt 3, ports too. Microsoft does make a Surface Connector to USB-C adapter, nonetheless it doesn’t seem to be on sale in the united kingdom.

Windows 10 Home, not Pro
Windows 10 Home lacks the advanced domain and networking tools needed in enterprise, but nonetheless has device encryption to safeguard your computer data if someone steals your tablet. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
This year the buyer version of the top Pro ships with Windows 10 Home, not Windows 10 Pro, therefore you have a “Pro” machine shipping with the non-Pro version of the operating-system.

Naming oddities aside, the largest difference between Windows 10 Home and Pro may be the latter’s support for enterprise networking and domain joining, together with Microsoft’s Bitlocker encryption tools for securing your computer data.

On the top Pro 6, much like the top Go, Windows 10 Home ships with device encryption, meaning your computer data is safely protected if the tablet gets stolen, that i believe is essential in every new lightweight machines.

As such I don’t think the downgrade to Windows 10 Home is something to worry about in most of consumers. Those that need Windows 10 Pro must pay £120 to upgrade through the Microsoft Store, although models with Windows 10 Pro for enterprise will be accessible at some point.

Type Cover
It looks plain and utilitarian in black, but offers among the finest typing experience on any machine, aside from a detachable tablet PC. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
THE SORT Cover remains the very best typing experience on any detachable or convertible tablet and can be an essential purchase with the top Pro. It attaches to underneath of the tablet with a reassuring magnetic snap and closes on the screen to safeguard it on the road.

The Type Cover comes in black soft-touch plastic for £125 or in multiple colours of Alcantara for £150.

Observations
The Windows Hello face recognition system effectively removes the necessity to constantly input your password to log in to the Surface Pro 6. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The Surface Pen continues to be among the finest styluses you can purchase (for £100) and today comes in black to complement the black Surface Pro, magnetically attaching aside

The speakers are loud, clear and direct, ideal for watching the NFL while cooking

There’s still somewhat of an software gap with regards to offline media consumption from famous brands Sky, Amazon or Google on Windows 10

The Windows Hello IR facial-recognition camera continues to be the easiest way to log right into a PC, setting up, seeing you and logging you in effortlessly

Leading and rear cameras are very good for a tablet, and correctly fine for video conferencing

Price
THE TOP Pro 6 includes various different specifications starting at £879 for a Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage only in platinum.

The Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage in platinum or black costs £1,149 (as tested) or with a Core i7 for £1,429.

The Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage in platinum or black costs £1,799 or with 1TB of storage in platinum limited to £2,149.

For comparison, the last year’s Surface Pro was at least £100 more costly with like-for-like specifications, with the most notable two specifications being £350 and £550 cheaper respectively.

Verdict
THE TOP Pro 6 is the foremost detachable Windows 10 PC money can purchase, aside from one glaring error: no USB-C or Thunderbolt 3.

It’s cheaper, better, lasts longer and is merely as well made, lightweight and simple to carry and live with as last year’s model. Its additional Type Cover keyboard can be an essential additional purchase, as the Surface Pen can be good, but not needed for most. It even looks fantastic in the brand new black colour.

However when you’re spending just as much as this on a machine you want to buy to be future-proofed in order that it can last so long as possible and match new developments. On the port and connectivity front, the top Pro 6 doesn’t even match the present, aside from the future.

So unless you’re happy spending at least £1,274 on a machine that you’ll have trouble connecting to things at some time, the top Pro 6 is the foremost Windows 10 detachable you shouldn’t buy.

Pros: great screen, good battery life, brilliant keyboard (essential additional purchase), microSD card reader, excellent kickstand, Windows Hello, fast but quiet, solid build, simple to carry, USB-A

Cons: no USB-C or Thunderbolt 3, less costly (but still very costly), keyboard ought to be included, only Intel UHD 620 graphics

The Surface Pen could be overkill for many, nonetheless it is well built-into the system, will come in an array of colours and attaches aside of the top Pro 6 with strong magnets. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian