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June 7, 2018

Here’s what we want to see from the next Surface Pro

by John_A

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Microsoft’s Surface Pro is in an odd place at the moment. Last year, the Surface Pro 4 was followed by an updated model just called the Surface Pro, which makes it seem like Microsoft is trying to reboot the Surface Pro line. That leads us to wonder if the next Pro model will be called the Surface Pro 2 (in which case there would be two different models with that name), the Surface Pro 5, or some other classification we haven’t heard yet.

Well, we’ll probably find out sometime in fall 2018. Whatever the new Surface Pro is called, we can talk about the things it needs to change to remain a popular professional hybrid tablet. Let’s take a look at the top items on our wish list.

Important upgraded specs

The updated Surface Pro model maxes out at a dual-core, i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. Since it was released, Intel has introduced Coffee Lake U-series processors: This provides an excellent opportunity for Microsoft to upgrade the Surface Pro chip to a new, more powerful line and ditch the m3 entry-level processors that may not be able to keep up with all modern business needs.

For a tablet, 8GB of RAM is fine, and Microsoft has other devices to upgrade to if you want more, so we don’t necessarily expect RAM to receive its own (no doubt expensive) upgrade. However, a max of 256GB of storage does feel a little low to us, especially when the iPad Pro offers up to 512GB for its top model. We wouldn’t be surprised if bigger storage options make a debut on the next Pro.

USB-C ports

When the 2017 Surface Pro was announced, people were hopeful that it might contain a powerful USB-C port for ultra fast connections, new charging options, sending 4K video to separate screens, and a bunch of other useful USB-C features. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided that users were literally too stupid to understand how to use a USB-C port, and decided to not include it.

Well, it’ll have been a year since then, and it looks like Microsoft has finally decided to embrace USB-C. The company is already planning a Surface USB-C dongle for older devices, to launch in 2018, so this would be an excellent opportunity to include a USB-C port onboard a new Surface Pro model. There’s precedent for this, too — the Surface Book 2 upgrade included a USB-C port. Perhaps the Surface Pro could even use more than one.

A better screen for on-the-go work

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

There’s nothing especially disappointing about the Surface Pro display, but it could definitely use an upgrade. First, 12.3-inches is a little on the small side for those who use their Pro as a primary computer, and an upgraded display size would definitely raise interest levels. Plus, the display hardly changed at all between the Pro 4 and 2017 Pro, so it may be time for an upgrade.

Second, it may be time for the Surface Pro to upgrade to 4K, which would go along great with a larger screen, and really help any designers or videographers that depend on the Pro to complete important tasks.

Finally, the Pro’s screen doesn’t deal with natural light very well. If you’re trying to use it on the move or at the café, glare can quickly become an issue. Microsoft could make the new model more appealing to busy workers by adding anti-glare properties.

New and changed peripherals

We would love to see more peripherals make their way onto the next Surface Pro. For example, while you can get fingerprint scanning via a Type Cover for today’s Pro, it would be excellent if fingerprint detection was built into the next model.

We’ll also remind you that Microsoft has filed a patent for haptic feedback for the Surface Pen, which means the new Pro Pen could come with advanced control features that make a mouse even less necessary.

A battery that lives up to reports

Microsoft claims the Surface Pro battery lasts “up to 13.5 hours,” which sounds impressive on paper. In the real world, it’s more problematic. Our own tests with the 2017 Surface Pro found that the hybrid only got close to that number on the looped video test, where the battery lasted for 10 hours and 16 minutes.

For live web browsing, the battery shot down to only around 5.5 hours. This is a tough ask for a work computer that needs to last throughout a professional day: It would be great if Microsoft could improve battery life so that it actually matched spec claims, instead of just playing a numbers game.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) review
  • The Surface Pro being discounted by up to $300 from Microsoft Store and Amazon
  • Microsoft confirms new Surface products will arrive later this year
  • Here’s what we want to see from the Surface Book 3
  • Office Depot just slashed the price of a Surface Pro Core i5 model in half


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