Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Did you know the Surface Pro 6 isn’t the newest Surface on the block? Read our review of the Microsoft Surface Pro X, Microsoft’s most recent Surface release.

Surface news

Microsoft’s Surface sales keep getting stronger with a 21% leap

Microsoft’s next Surface Pen could be a smart stylus usable across all devices 

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 should have been the radical update to the line that Surface Pro users have been waiting for. After all, when its predecessor, the Surface Pro 2017, got a date instead of a number, the company claimed that it was because it lacked major upgrades to deserve a numbered moniker. Plus, the line has been in bad need of a refresh since the Surface Pro 4.

Sadly, while the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 does have its share of decent updates, fitted with a faster processor and a longer battery life, there are only those and not much else. Outside of a newer silicon and the new black color option, the tablet’s formula hasn’t radically changed. 

So, not only did Microsoft completely and inexplicably skip the Pro 5. But, like the Pro 2017, the Surface Pro 6 is also missing some key changes that many Surface Pro users have been holding out for, like a USB-C port. That makes the Surface Pro 6 hard to recommend. So, where does that leave potential tablet users?

surface pro 6

The Surface Pro 6 is has a faster processor and much longer battery life.
Spec Sheet

Here is the Surface Pro 6 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.4GHz boost)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB DDR3
Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display (Contrast ratio: 1,500:1, 100% sRGB color, 10-point multi-touch, 3:2 aspect ratio)
Storage: 256GB SSD
Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, microSDXC card reader (UHS-I), headphone/mic jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2 x 2 MIMO), Bluetooth 4.1 (Low Energy)
Cameras: 8MP rear-facing, auto-focus camera (1080p HD); 5MP front-facing, 1080p HD camera
Weight: 1.7 pounds (771g)
Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches (292 x 201 x 8.5mm; W x D x H)

Price and availability

The Surface Pro 6’s base configuration will set you back $899 (£879, AU$1,145), right in line with the Surface Pro 2017’s pricing, if just a bit pricier. The tablet is presently available in the US, UK and Australian markets.

Bear in mind that, much like with earlier models, the Surface Pro 6 doesn’t include the $99 (£99, AU$139) Surface Pen nor the $159 (£149, AU$249) Type Cover in the box. That isn’t likely to change in the future, so anticipate spending more cash than the tablet price, especially if you’re looking to use it as a laptop alternative or to handle your graphic design projects.

The Surface Pro 6 we reviewed here, its configurations listed on the right, costs a lofty $1,199 (£1,149, AU$1,568), thanks to the upgraded storage – from 128GB on the base model to the 256GB listed here. That’s a sizeable price jump for only 128GB of extra storage space.

From there, the Surface Pro 6 can be configured to your desired specifications with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. If you really want to max out the Surface Pro 6 out, you’re looking at an exorbitant $2,299 (£2,149, AU$3,459) price tag.

As far as its main competitor, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2017) asks for a bit less at $799 (£769, AU$1,299). This will get you a 2,732 x 2,048 pixel display powered by Apple’s A10X SOC and with 64GB of flash storage. The iPad also doesn’t come with a stylus or a keyboard, which will cost you another $99 (£99, AU$145) and $169 (about £170, AU$245) respectively, if you purchase them from Apple.

On paper, the Surface Pro 6 remains to be the better value since you’re getting more of a full computer experience for only about 100 bucks (or quid) more. However, the race is definitely closer than it’s ever been.

If you want to go with Chrome OS or one of the best Chromebooks, the Google Pixel Slate is worth considering, which will set you back $799 (£749, AU$1,162) for the base model. This may have been a great deal if it wasn’t for Google is asking for an extra $199 (£189, AU$280) for the keyboard cover. That’s not exactly good value, especially considering that both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 6 surpass it in terms of sheer power.

Image 1 of 16

Surface Pro 6 display and pen

Surface Pro 6 display and pen
Image 2 of 16

Surface Pro 6 has the exact same Type Cover.

Surface Pro 6 has the exact same Type Cover.
Image 3 of 16

Surface Pro 6 display has a stronger contrast ratio of 1,500:1.

Surface Pro 6 display has a stronger contrast ratio of 1,500:1.
Image 4 of 16

The tablet measures only 0.33 inches thin.

The tablet measures only 0.33 inches thin.
Image 5 of 16

The Surface Pro 6's beautiful new black color scheme is lovely to touch.

The Surface Pro 6's beautiful new black color scheme is lovely to touch.
Image 6 of 16

Surface Pro 6 has the exact same Type Cover.

Surface Pro 6 has the exact same Type Cover.
Image 7 of 16

The Surface Pro 6 has all the same ports and wireless options as its predecessor.

The Surface Pro 6 has all the same ports and wireless options as its predecessor.
Image 8 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6
Image 9 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6
Image 10 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6
Image 11 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6
Image 12 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6
Image 13 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6
Image 14 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6
Image 15 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6
Image 16 of 16

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6

Design and display

Other than the elegant new black color scheme that’s lovely to touch, just about nothing is different about the Surface Pro design compared to the 2017 model. The tablet measures only 0.33 inches thin and weighs just 1.7 pounds – again, this stays untouched from its predecessor.

The Surface Pro 6 has all the same ports and wireless options as last year’s model as well as ­– not to mention, the exact same Type Cover. We’re satisfied with the latter simply because the Type Cover is already excellent in its current iteration. In fact, we’ll go as far as to say that it might just be the best accessory of its kind that we’ve ever tested.

However, we’re extremely disappointed that Microsoft decided to forgo USB-C again, and that’s not only because of the apparent benefits that the platform has to offer. Microsoft has been gating faster data transfers and wider docking capabilities behind the proprietary Surface Connect port for a while now, forcing users who need that speed boost and expansion to pick up a $199 (about £150, AU$280) Surface Dock accessory, which increases the final cost some more.

surface pro 6

Surface Pro 6 back

Even the included USB 3.0 is behind the curve of USB 3.1, which is the standard in 2019 and boasts twice the transferring data speed as the former. This isn’t OK: it’s now costing consumers more cash to unlock the full versatility of a device that Microsoft insists can function as their one and only computer.

On a slightly more positive note, the display, though mostly unchanged, is marginally improved in one area. It now has a stronger contrast ratio of 1,500:1 in comparison to the previous model’s 1,300:1.

This will benefit not just consumers, but content creators as well, with deeper blacks and more vibrant colors that absolutely make movies more superb looking, and can possibly make media editing much easier and more accurate for content creators.

First reviewed November 2018

Images Credit: TechRadar

It goes without saying that the Surface Pro 6 is more efficient and powerful than the 2017 model. Much of this newfound power comes through the addition of quad-core processing, thanks to Intel’s 8th-generation Kaby Lake Refresh chips that were released earlier in the year.

We’ve also seen some substantial increase in battery life as well as a boost in multi-core performance, which should obviously offer better longevity out of the tablet – as well as faster video encoding and other processor-intensive tasks.

Surface Pro 6

You’ll  get some solid mileage out of this laptop when playing casual games like Hearthstone or Candy Crush.
Benchmarks

Here’s how the Surface Pro 6 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark: Unable to run
Cinebench CPU: 568 points; Graphics: 52 fps
Geekbench 4 Single-Core: 4,234; Multi-Core: 13,905
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,062
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 4 hours and 0 minutes
TechRadar Battery Life Test: 8 hours and 45 minutes

Regrettably, there’s not much improvement in visual performance, if at all, of the Surface Pro 6 over the preceding model, with the same graphics subsystem as before in this specification.

As a general rule, the Surface Pro 6 is targeted for creative professionals and even students. However, you’ll also get some solid mileage out of this laptop when playing casual games like Hearthstone or Candy Crush. Just don’t expect this Windows tablet to tackle demanding tasks like media rendering and encoding or complex spreadsheet functions with reams of data.

In contrast, the iPad Pro 2017 with the Apple A10X Fusion chip scored 9,343 points in the Geekbench 4 multi-core test. This is up there along with many laptop processors from 2017, even though a lot has changed since then. Still, the new iPad Pro 2018 has switched things up a bit.

To be fair, the iPad Pro and Surface Pro will forever be a bit of an apples to oranges situation since the two are built on totally different operating systems with different levels of overhead on their corresponding processors. With no true multitasking or open-ended app management on iPad Pro, it will always have less overhead than the Surface Pro. However, because of this, it also has less versatility.

Surface Pro 6

Microsoft has gone and beefed up the long-lasting power of Surface Pro 6.

Battery life

Microsoft has gone and beefed up the long-lasting power of Surface Pro 6 by a big margin, especially in terms of video playback. 

Battery life through simulated everyday use, represented by the PCMark 8 test, stays mostly the same as before. However, we have seen an increase of almost two hours – one hour and 47 minutes, to be specific – in our video rundown test on Surface Pro 6. That’s a welcome improvement. Between the two figures, you should see a considerable improvement in time away from the outlet from its predecessor.

However, the iPad Pro 12.9 has been known to reach its rated 10 hours of battery life consistently – not just in video playback, but also general use. So, the Surface Pro 6 still isn’t quite up to par, which is to be expected. After all, the version of iOS on the iPad Pro was deliberately designed and developed for the device, whereas Windows 10 was intended for countless devices and therefore has no way of being as similarly optimized.

Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6 isn’t exactly feature rich.

Software and features

Like the Surface Laptop 2, the Surface Pro 6 isn’t exactly feature rich or have many distinct pieces of software to speak of, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. The good thing about this is that there’s no bloatware on this device at all, as it comes directly from Microsoft.

Another good? The Windows Hello facial recognition, which uses the tablet’s infrared camera next to its webcam, is very fast and accurate. We can barely open the tablet from its Type Cover before it’s already logged us into Windows 10.

The downside here, however, is that there is basically nothing else in the way of distinctive software and features. If it’s on this tablet, you can get it on any other Windows 10 tablet.

Surface Pro 6

The Surface Pro 6 still the best Windows tablet on offer.

Final verdict

The Surface Pro 6 is Microsoft’s best tablet yet. This we have no doubt.

However, we’re truly left wondering why Microsoft thought this one worthy of a number seeing as it improves on fewer aspects of the device compared to 2017’s model. Microsoft hard lined against giving last year’s model a ‘5’ in its name, insisting that it didn’t have enough improvements to make it worthy of a number.

This time, even though the device only has a few enhancements and unique features to offer, Microsoft not only gives it a number, but also skips the ‘5’ entirely. In almost any other case, this would just be marketing drivel. However, due to Microsoft’s previous, well-documented statements, it’s definitely hard to move past.

To be worthy of a number, much less skipping one in the sequence entirely, we anticipated some considerable improvements to the design – an even sharper screen, perhaps; hardwired connections that are modern and not proprietary, maybe; perhaps even a drastic pricing move that includes every essential accessory in the box would have been enough.

Instead, the Surface Pro 6 is faster, longer lasting and now comes in a sleek, new black shell – which, by the way, doesn’t have the 128GB and 1TB storage options. And that’s about it. Make no mistake; it’s a better product than last year, but only barely, hardly worthy of being numbered ‘6’, much less ‘5’.

If you already own a Surface Pro 2017, we’d say that this upgrade isn’t worth the cost. Otherwise, it’s still the best Windows tablet on offer.

Images Credit: TechRadar 

0 comments:

Post a Comment

!!!!!!!!!!

Popular Posts

Blog Archive