If you're in the process of shopping for a hybrid laptop for your small business, you should know that Microsoft just announced the release of a new Surface Pro. The previous model, the Surface Pro 4 , was well liked by our reviewer as well as by small business owners and creative professionals. Here are some of the latest version's new features.
Look and feel
The new Surface Pro is essentially a tablet that features a handy kickstand for use with an optional, magnetic, detachable Signature Type Cover keyboard. The keyboard is covered in gray Alcantara fabric and costs $129. The company says it's been treated to withstand spills, but we're still skeptical about its long-term durability.
Both the keyboard and the new-and-improved Surface Pen (price TBA) will come in your choice of platinum, burgundy, cobalt blue or black. If you choose to purchase the pen (not included), you'll be happy to know it magnetically attaches to the side of the Surface Pro for easy storage. The previous generation was $59.99. Microsoft says that, among the improvements on the Surface pen, it now has more than 4,096 pressure points and offers greater accuracy and speed than the original.
Microsoft is targeting artists and designers with its new Surface Pro. Creative entrepreneurs will be happy with its 3:2 aspect ratio and high-resolution screen (2736 x 1824 pixels). In fact, the new Surface Pro (267 ppi) has slightly better pixel density than Apple's iPad Pro (264 ppi). Plus, the new Surface Pro uses PixelSense Accelerator technology to enhance color on the display.
If you find yourself in need of a larger screen, you can also connect your Surface Pro to a Microsoft Surface dock ($199.99) for a desktop experience.
Microsoft's Surface Pro 2017 comes with significant power improvements over the last version of the hybrid laptop, in terms of both processing and actual battery power. The Surface Pro 2017 comes with a seventh-generation Intel Core processor, the low end being an m3 and the high end being an i7. It also has a claimed battery life of 13.5 hours, which, if true, is 50 percent longer than the battery life of the Surface Pro 4.
New collaboration app
Business users may be interested in a new collaboration app called Microsoft Whiteboard on Surface. Teams can use this app for two-way drawing in Windows 10. It includes such features as collaborative inking, geometry recognition, table conversion and automatic table shading. We haven't tested the Microsoft Whiteboard on Surface app yet, but Microsoft promises a "magical experience." The company says it will be available to all Surface devices later this year, but it's currently in private preview on the Surface Hub.
The Surface Pro and the Signature Type Cover are available for preorder now, but the new Surface Pen hasn't hit the Microsoft store yet (it will in coming weeks). On the surface, the Surface Pro 2017 looks like a good choice for creative side-hustle entrepreneurs, avid notetakers and small business owners who value versatility. If you liked the Surface Pro 4 or earlier models, you'll probably like the new Surface Pro. If you've never worked on a hybrid machine, though, you should test one out before committing.