Everything you need to know about the Microsoft Surface Pro 5
The Microsoft Surface Pro 5 is sure to be a hugely popular hybrid, but nothing is official yet. Here’s what we know about the Microsoft’s next 2-in-1, including the Surface Pro 5 release date, news, specs, features, and price.
Update (7 March 2017): Microsoft's unconfirmed Surface Pro 5 just gained an early rival in the shape of the Samsung Galaxy Book. Is Microsoft preparing a Windows rival to take on this new hybrid slate? Read on to find out more.
There’s no shortage of leaks about Microsoft’s Surface Pro 5, with the latest rumours suggesting that the hybrid will feature a 4K display and Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors, which were announced back in August 2016.
For the unaware, the Surface Pro series is Microsoft’s 2-in-1 range of Windows 10 devices. It features a screen with a kickstand, a keyboard base, and a Surface Pen stylus. Unlike the standard Surface series, the Surface Pro range features high-end hardware, like Intel's full-fat Core i7 processors.
The Surface Pro 5 is the next iteration of the series, and you can read all about it below.
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LATEST Surface Pro 5 NEWS:
When does the Surface Pro 5 come out? Early 2017
How much will the Surface Pro 5 cost? Best guess: £700 - £1,000
Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Release Date UK & US
It seems we’re still unable to pin a specific release date on the Microsoft Surface Pro 5, but we can certainly make some educated guesses. For reference, here are previous Surface Pro announcement and release dates:
- Surface Pro 4 – October 6 (announced), October 26 (released)
- Surface Pro 3 – May 20 (announced), June 20 (released)
- Surface Pro 2 – September 23 (announced), October 22 (released)
- Surface Pro – June 18 (announced), October 26 (released)
As you can see, Microsoft’s announcement strategy is sporadic; that’s not ideal when you’re trying to find a pattern. What is obvious, however, is the Microsoft appears to release Surface Pro devices within a month after the announcement. Of course, there’s no saying that Microsoft will continue that tradition going forward.
We originally thought that Microsoft might show off the Surface Pro 5 at a press event held on October 26, 2016. Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 5 didn't make an appearance, although Microsoft did announce the Surface Studio all-in-one PC and a Surface Book refresh.
Microsoft's next major launch opportunity would have been the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, but that was a no-show too.
It’s also worth noting that Paul Thurott, renowned Microsoft sage, expects the Surface Pro 5 (and the Surface Book 2) to arrive in Spring 2017. That matches up quite conveniently with the expected roll-out of Microsoft’s next major Windows 10 update, Redmond 2 – stay tuned.
Lending credence to that theory was Microsoft's removal of the Surface Pro 3 page on its US store, meaning the device is no longer on sale. And in the UK, the page still exists but the device is listed as "out of stock". Is Microsoft clearing the way for a new Surface? Here's hoping.
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Disclaimer: This is the Surface Pro 4
Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Features
Microsoft will want the Surface Pro 5 to keep you from buying a high-end laptop or tablet, so it’s definitely going to pack some seriously powerful hardware. You can bet it’ll be running Windows 10, too. Here’s what we expect to see from Microsoft’s next flagship hybrid.
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Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Leaks
The first (and perhaps the least convincing of the leaks) is an image Microsoft’s own website. There’s a picture of a Surface device in the French press hub that’s named "win10-feature-surface-pro-5-z”. Unfortunately, we’re guessing this is probably more likely to be a typo in file naming, rather than an early admission of the Surface Pro 5’s existence.
But the second leak is far more substantial. On the LinkedIn profile of Toby Fitch, a contracted product designer who has worked with Microsoft since June last year, there is a mention of the device:
“The team is focused on R&D and creating new speech models with multidisciplinary design approach for devices of the future including but not limited to: HoloLens, Surface Pro 5, Xbox.”
Perhaps tellingly, Fitch’s LinkedIn profile now has a blank section where the job description for his role at Microsoft should be.
Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Screen
The Surface Pro 4 has a great screen; we’re talking about a 2,736 x 1,824 pixel IPS LCD panel with a pixel density of 267ppi. At laptop-using distance, that’s more than enough pixels to provide a clear and sharp picture. It’s also slightly more pixel-dense than Apple’s iPad Pro, so there doesn’t seem to be a huge incentive to boost the screen resolution – especially considering the potential reduction to battery life.
Despite power-efficiency concerns, a Surface Pro 5 featuring a 4K/UHD display seems to be one of the most popular rumours. We’ve seen multiple sources suggesting a screen with 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (16:9) or 3,840 x 2,560 pixels (3:2). We’d suggest that the latter is more likely, since Microsoft has been using a 3:2 aspect ratio since the Surface Pro 3.
Unfortunately, when you consider the potential battery life sacrifice and cost increase of adding a 4K display, the minor benefits hardly seem worth it. We’d be surprised if a 4K screen was offered, except perhaps as a top-spec option – but certainly not as standard, in any case.
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The Surface Pro series isn't quite as powerful as the Surface Book
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Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Specs
The biggest upgrade we’re expecting to see from the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 is a move to Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors.
2015’s Surface Pro 4 was built on the old Skylake architecture, but those dark days are long behind us. With this summer’s introduction of Kaby Lake, Intel processors are now capable of boosted clock speeds and faster clock speed changes, thanks (in part) to an improved 14nm manufacturing process. There’s also a better graphics core to boot. We’d be extremely surprised if Microsoft chose Skylake over Kaby Lake – and pretty disappointed, too.
It’s also worth noting that Intel is currently working on a new chip architecture called Cannonlake, which is a long-awaited upgrade to a more efficient 10nm manufacturing process. That means Cannonlake chips have the potential to be more powerful and less power-hungry. Unfortunately, we’re not expecting Cannonlake chips until the second half of 2017, so it’s unlikely that the Surface Pro 5 ship with Cannonlake on board.
So what else? Well, it’s almost guaranteed that the Surface Pro 5 will be available in a bunch of different configurations. Expect low-power Intel Core M chips and high-power Intel Core I chips to be on offer, as well as varying amounts of RAM and storage, and a number of different screen sizes and resolutions.
It also seems highly likely that Microsoft will add a USB-C port to the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 – finally!
USB Type-C hasn’t appeared on any Surface Pro devices to date, but the standard has only really taken off in 2016. Many smartphone and laptop manufacturers – including Google, Apple, and Samsung – have all adopted USB-C, so it would be very curious if Microsoft didn’t follow suit. As more and more accessories begin to support the port, it’s going to become increasingly unforgivable for a manufacturer to not include USB-C on a mobile device.
Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Stylus
One of the stalwart Surface Pro features is the trusty Surface Pen, a pressure-sensitive stylus. It was introduced back in 2012 with the original Surface Pro, and has been available for every new model since.
The latest iteration of the Surface Pen features a top-mounted eraser, a customisable ‘magic button’, and the ability to launch Cortana remotely. It’s bundled with the Surface Pro 4, and we’d expect much the same from the Surface Pro 5.
A possible improvement would be to increase the levels of pressure sensitivity on the Surface Pen. The current Surface Pen manages 1,024 different levels, while Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 S-Pen can recognise 4,096 different levels of sensitivity. We’re not entirely sure about the Apple Pencil, mind, but it’s a fairly obvious upgrade for Microsoft by any stretch.
Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Battery Life
As there doesn’t seem to be a significant architecture change planned for the Surface Pro 5, we’d expect battery life to remain relatively similar. The only major spanner in the works could be a 4K display, which would certainly impact battery life.
In any case, Surface Pro battery life has never been particularly impressive. The Surface Pro 4 only managed five hours of video streaming between charges, for instance; that’s not fantastic for a hybrid.
Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Price
You’ll find plenty of Surface Pro 5 prices online if you search hard enough, but they’re almost certainly made up. That’s because it’s unlikely that Microsoft has even settled on a price internally, so anything you see online will almost certainly be speculation. With that in mind, let’s speculate; here are previous Surface Pro launch prices for the UK:
- Surface Pro 4 – £749
- Surface Pro 3 – £958
- Surface Pro 2 – £719
We can say with a fair degree of confidence that the next Surface Pro will probably start off at somewhere between £700 and £1,000 – that’s not very accurate but hey, we may still be months away from launch. It’s also worth considering that many manufacturers (Microsoft included) are jacking up their product pricing in response to the falling value of the pound. So if the Surface Pro 5 costs a little more than previous models, the referendum result may be to blame.
Should I wait for the Microsoft Surface Pro 5?
Thinking about waiting around for the Surface Pro 5? Here’s advice from our eternally wise Computing Editor, Michael Passingham:
Based on what we think we know about the Surface Pro 5, most prospective Surface Pro 4 owners shouldn’t worry much. You should definitely wait until this evening before buying, just in case a new device is announced, of course. But if it isn’t announced today then you could happily buy a Surface Pro 4 without worrying the Pro 5 is going to utterly obliterate it in four month’s time.
What’s more, with the Surface Pro 4 getting cheaper, it’s a good-value buy in its own right, no matter what happens with the Surface Pro 5.
There are loads of Surface alternatives available now, as well. The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is probably the best alternative out there, with a fantastic screen and decent performance, while the Asus Transformer Book 3 Pro is about as close to a Surface Pro 4 you can get while costing a little less.
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What would you like to see from the Microsoft Surface Pro 5? Let us know in the comments.