New Surface Pro vs Surface Pro 4: What’s the difference?

New Surface Pro vs Surface Pro 4: How does the new Surface Pro compare to the current hybrid king, the Surface Pro 4? We take a look.

Weeks after unveiling its new Surface Laptop, Microsoft has just taken the wraps of a new hybrid which it’s calling the “new Surface Pro”. The company has had great success with its line of 2-in-1s, and it looks like it’s made some significant improvements this time around.

With the Surface Pro 4 already an impressive machine, what has Microsoft done here to up its game, and will it be worth upgrading for those who’ve already shelled out for the Pro 4? It’s early days, and with spec information still coming in, we’re unable to say for sure. But we do know quite a bit about the new device, so here’s an early comparison:

Related: Best tablet

New Surface Pro vs Surface Pro 4 – Design

The new Surface Pro borrows some features from other Microsoft Surface devices, such as the new Alcantara-skinned Type Cover – which basically means Microsoft has covered the keys in a fuzzy fabric in the same way as the Surface Laptop’s keyboard.

The company is also claiming the newest version of the device is lighter than the existing one, and that seems to be somewhat true, with the new Surface Pro weighing 768g to 784g, depending on configuration. The Surface Pro 4 weighs 766g to 786g, so the “lighter” claim appears to refer to the higher configuration.

The former Surface Pro also has 292 x 201 x 8.4mm dimensions and the newer iteration the same, so the lighter weight seems to have been achieved internally.

Related: Surface Studio

new Surface ProThe new Surface Pro

Microsoft has opted for the same metallic-grey magnesium finish as the Pro 4 on the latest version, but it comes with what the company is calling a “next generation hinge”. We’re not entirely sure what that means, but according to a promotional video the device can be put into Studio mode, much like the recently announced Surface Studio.

That basically means it’ll lay almost flat for when you want to doodle on it with the Surface Pen. The Pro 4, on the other hand, won’t allow for this feature.

Ports and connectivity look to have been left the same, too, in order to allow owners to attach the same keyboards (or Type Covers) and peripherals. On the Pro 4, you’ll find a USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, and microSD slot, and it looks like that remains the case on the new model.

new Surface Pro

New Surface Pro vs Surface Pro 4 – Hardware and features

Microsoft has made a lot of non-specific claims about the new Surface Pro, claiming it to be the “best sounding” version of its hybrid device, while also pointing to an “enhanced colour PixelSense display”. What we know for certain is that the Redmond-based company has upgraded the internals by adding seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors to the mix, while the Pro 4 comes with sixth-generation Intel Core M, Core i5 and Core i7 options.

The new fanless Intel processors mean you’ll get more power and longer battery life on the newer model, and when combined with Intel HD graphics 620 or Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 (depending on your processor choice), and up to 16GB of RAM, you’re getting a significant spec bump over the Pro 4.

The previous-generation Surface Pro also comes with Intel HD graphics 540 and up to 16GB RAM, but the new-generation fanless chips really will make all the difference.

Buy Now: Pre-order Surface Pro at Microsoft starting from £799

Surface Pro 4Surface Pro 4

You’ll also be able to load the new Surface Pro with either a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive, while the Pro 4 can be loaded with the same storage as well as a 1TB option.

Camera-wise, you’ll find the same 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with 1080p HD video and 5-megapixel front camera with 1080p HD video on the new Pro as on the Pro 4. With Windows Hello face-authentication, you can unlock the device using facial recognition.

The next-gen Surface Pen that comes with the new Pro is more sensitive and it looks like you’ll be able to use the Surface Dial that originally debuted with the Surface Studio. It’ll allow creative types to select different tools and manipulate their on-screen masterpieces with ease, and has now been brought to the hybrid range with the new Surface Pro.

new Surface Pro

Microsoft is promising 13.5 hours of battery life from the new machine, which would be an improvement over the nine-hour mixed-use battery life on the Pro 4. Obviously, we’re yet to test the claim, but we’re sure the new Kaby lake processors will allow the device to live up to the hype.

And finally, that “enhanced colour PixelSense display” on the latest model refers to a 12.3-inch multi-touch screen with a 2736 x 1824 resolution. That’s exactly the same as the Pro 4, and makes for the same 267ppi (pixels per inch) density.

Having the same specs is no bad thing, as the Surface Pro 4’s screen is fantastic. However, we’re wondering just what Microsoft has done here to “enhance” things display-wise. We’ll have more once we’ve reveiwed the new model.

Here’s a breakdown of how the specs compare for the basic configuration:

Surface Pro 4 New Surface Pro
Processors 6th-gen Core m3, i5, or i7 7th-gen Core m3, i5, or i7
Graphics Intel HD graphics 515, 520, or Iris Intel HD 620 or 640
Memory 4-16GB 4-16GB
Storage 128-1TB SSD 128-512GB SSD
Weight 766g to 786g 768g to 784g
Thickness 8.45 mm 8.5mm
Screen 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 PixelSense screen 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 PixelSense screen
Ports USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, and microSD slot USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, and microSD slot
Price £749-£2359 £799-??

New Surface Pro vs Surface Pro 4 – Price and availability

You can get your hands on the Surface Pro 4 right now, starting at £749. Prices go all the way up to £2359 if you go for the top-end model, though Microsoft is currently offering discounts on all the prices. The £749 configuration is currently availalble for £674.10 on the Microsoft Store, and there are similar discounts for all other configurations.

new Surface Pro

If you want to go for the new Surface Pro, you’ll have to wait until June 15, with prices starting at £799. Pre-orders have gone live, however, so you can get your order in from right now.

Buy Now: Pre-order Surface Pro at Microsoft starting from £799

The new model will be available in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

New Surface Pro vs Surface Pro 4 – Summary

At this point, it’s very difficult to say which is the better machine. On paper, the new model is obviously an improvement, but we’re yet to review it, so we’ll reserve judgement for the time being.

The Surface Pro 4 is one of our favourite tablet hybrids, and might be the best 2-in-1 available right now. We’ve no doubt Microsoft has managed to outdo itself with the new model, and will update you once we’ve tested that for ourselves.

Let us know what you think of the new Surface Pro in the comments.