Trending February 2024 # Surface Pro 3 And Surface 3 January 2024 Firmware Updates Bring Significant Improvements # Suggested March 2024 # Top 2 Popular

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Microsoft is rolling out new firmware updates for its Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3. While both tablets are picking up significant improvements, Surface 3 is the one getting the most fixes. In the January firmware update, the software giant is addressing a number of issues regarding Wi-Fi connectivity, sound, and UEFI BIOS. Additionally, the company is also releasing various fixes for the LTE version of Surface 3.

For Surface Pro 3, the software giant is also rolling out some important improvements. In the January firmware update for the tablet, Microsoft is improving the Surface Fingerprint Sensor for better accuracy, wireless controller, there are updated graphics and audio drivers, and the firmware also adds pen support in the UEFI menu.

Surface 3

The January firmware will be listed as “System Firmware Update – 1/19/2024” when you view your update history in your Surface 3.

Surface System Aggregator Firmware update (v1.0.51500.0) improves reliability with the Surface 3 Type Cover.

Surface UEFI update (v1.51116.18.0) adds ability within Windows Power & sleep settings to turn off Wi-Fi during sleep. Improved touch support for UEFI menus and support for 3rd party onscreen keyboards improvements.

Microsoft Surface ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery driver update (v1.2.0.2) ensures correct surface driver is installed.

Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.9037.59) improves access point compatibility and throughput on 5GHz.

Surface Digitizer Integration driver update (v1.0.1.1) improves pen pairing feature with newest surface pen.

Surface Pen Pairing driver update (v1.0.1.1) improves pen pairing feature with newest surface pen.

Audio Device driver update (v604.10135.7777.2109) improves audio quality with some applications.

I2S Audio Codec driver update (v6.2.9600.527) improves audio quality with some applications.

Serial IO GPIO Controller driver update (v604.10146.2652.3930) improves system stability and touch screen reliability.

Dynamic Platform & Thermal Framework Driver update (v604.10146.2651.1559) improves system stability and touch screen reliability.

Serial IO I2C ES Controller driver update (v604.10146.2654.3564) improves system stability and touch screen reliability.

Serial IO SPI Controller driver update (v604.10146.2657.947) improves system stability and touch screen reliability.

Serial IO UART Controller driver update (v604.10146.2653.391) improves system stability and touch screen reliability.

Sideband Fabric Device update (v604.10146.2655.573) improves system stability and touch screen reliability.

Trusted Execution Engine Interface driver update (v2.0.0.1067) improves system stability and touch screen reliability.

In addition to the updates list above, the following updates are available for Surface 3 (AT&T 4G LTE), Surface 3 (Verizon 4G LTE), Surface 3 (4G LTE) in North America (non-AT&T), Surface 3 (4G LTE) in Europe and Surface 3 (Y!mobile 4G LTE):

GNSS Bus Driver update (v20.23.8244.18) improves GPS experience.

GNSS 47531 Geolocation Sensor driver update (v20.23.8244.18) improves GPS experience.

Surface CoSAR driver update (v2.0.304.0) enhances the Wi-Fi connectivity reliability while mobile broadband is ON.

In addition to the updates list above, the following update is available for Surface 3 (Verizon 4G LTE):

Surface IA7260 Firmware Update (v1544.01.00.28) improves mobile broadband network stability.

Surface Pro 3

The January firmware will be listed as “System Firmware Update – 1/19/2024” and “Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) HD Graphics Family” when you view your update history in your Surface Pro 3.

Surface Pro Embedded Controller Firmware update (v38.9.50.0) improves system start-up reliability.

Surface Pro UEFI update (v3.11.1150.0) adds pen support in UEFI menus and improved support for 3rd party onscreen keyboards.

Surface Fingerprint Sensor driver update (v2.2.10.6) improves accuracy.

Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.9037.59) improves access point compatibility and throughput on 5GHz.

HD Graphics Family driver update 4331 (v20.19.15.4331) improves color calibration and system stability.

Display Audio driver update (v6.16.00.3189) supports compatibility with the updated HD Graphics Family driver.

Surface Cover Audio driver update (v2.0.1220.0) improves system stability.

Microsoft Surface ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery driver update (v1.2.0.2) ensures correct surface driver is installed.

Source Surface Update History

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Is The Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ Faster Than The Surface Pro 7?

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7+ (or Surface Pro 7 Plus) launched unexpectedly last month, stepping up from the Surface Pro 7’s 10th-gen Intel Ice Lake chips to 11th-gen Tiger Lake Core chips. The question we immediately had was: Is the Surface Pro 7+ worth the upgrade?

For benchmark nerds, one of the best things about the Microsoft Surface family is that the various models have remained relatively unchanged, making it easier to draw solid comparisons between generations. That allowed us to use the Surface Laptops to compare Intel’s Ice Lake chip against the AMD Ryzen 3000 Mobile family, for example, to determine the best mobile processor of that generation. Now we can do the same for Intel’s tablet chips.

How we compared the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro 7 Plus

The Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro 7+ we’re testing differ in a few notable ways, as we have to work with what Microsoft and other vendors send us for review. Still, it’s worth noting that while the Surface Pro 7 we reviewed was a Core i7, our Surface Pro 7+ review unit is a Core i5. If you buy the Surface Pro 7+ with a Core i7 chip installed, performance should be better.

Here’s a small snapshot of the two system configurations. The key differences are in the processor and the integrated GPU. Note that Intel’s Ice Lake chips were considered U-series processors, while Intel now refers to its Tiger Lake tablet processors as “UP4” chips.

Surface Pro 7: 

Display: 12.3-inch PixelSense display (2736×1824)

Processor: Intel Core i7-1065G7

Graphics: Iris Plus 940

Memory: 16GB LPDDR4x (as tested)

Storage: 256GB SSD

Price: Prices begin at $749.99 (Microsoft)

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Display: 12.3-inch PixelSense display (2736×1824)

Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7

Graphics: Iris Xe Graphics

Memory: 16GB 

Storage: 256GB SSD

Price: Prices begin at $899 (Microsoft)

Remove non-product link

At the time we reviewed Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7, we were focusing more on whether it was a better buy compared to the Surface Pro X. Even the subset of benchmarks we used for that review, however, paints a picture of the two tablets and the chips inside.

Cinebench R15: Up to 22-percent improvement

For every enthusiast and some consumers who simply want to know how fast the new 11th-gen Tiger Lake chip is, we can see that in the Cinebench R15 benchmark. This brief test demands a burst of energy from the CPU, so it tends to reward chips with higher boost clock speeds.

Mark Hachman / IDG

The Surface Pro 7+ shows minor gains over the Surface Pro 7, until you adjust the performance slider. These scores reflect multithreaded performance, with all cores at work.

When we bumped up the performance slider on the original Surface Pro 7, basically nothing happened. We weren’t expecting much on the Surface Pro 7+. Boy, were we wrong.

Basically, adjusting the power slider increased Cinebench multithreaded performance from a 6-percent upgrade over the Surface Pro 7 to about 22 percent. (We’ve shown that in the graphs above and below with the red bar, outlined in black.) That’s an amazing, unexpected boost. Single-threaded performance, though, increased just 6 percent.

PCMark 8 Creative: Up to a 15 percent improvement

Microsoft bills the Surface Pro lineup as a tool for productivity as well as content creation, and the tablet form factor lends itself to drawing as well as creative work. We used the PCMark 8 Creative suite of tests (measuring web browsing, photo editing, light gaming and more) to measure this aspect of performance. Again, the Surface Pro 7+ outpaces its in-house competition, and performs even better with the performance slider dialed up.

Mark Hachman / IDG

PCMark’s performance also improved, probably at least partially likely to the impact the improved GPU has on tests like light gaming and video editing.

HandBrake: Up to 10-percent improvement

Mark Hachman / IDG

The move from 10th-gen to 11th-gen CPUs in the Surface Pro 7+ garnered a small boost in the prolonged HandBrake test.

3DMark Sky Diver: Up to 91 percent improvement

Mark Hachman / IDG

The difference between the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro 7+ in terms of graphics performance is absolutely enormous.

The Surface Pro 7+ absolutely crushes its predecessor, especially when you dial up the performance slider–graphics performance nearly doubles! That’s a strong endorsement for Intel’s integrated Xe core, at least compared to 10th-gen chips. 

Early conclusions

These performance results represent an early peek at our full review in progress for Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7+. We continue to run benchmarks and delve into its other new features—integrated LTE, for example—beyond the processor upgrade.

The Best Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Cases

Buying the proper Surface Pro 9 case for your needs

When selecting a case for your Microsoft Surface Pro 9, consider your specific needs and preferences. What is the purpose of your device, and how do you intend to use it? For instance, you might be a student or professional who requires a keyboard for typing. In that case, you might want to look for cases compatible with the Surface Pro Type Cover. Alternatively, if you’re an artist or designer, you might prioritize cases with built-in Surface Pen holders for easy access and storage.

You also want to think about the level of protection you need. Investing in a rugged case with military-grade drop protection can be wise if you’re frequently on the go or working in harsh environments. A slim folio case may suit those who prefer a sleek and stylish appearance. Don’t forget to consider additional features like adjustable stands for comfortable viewing angles, precise cutouts for easy access to ports, and ventilation to ensure efficient heat dissipation. Once you’ve identified your needs, selecting a case that protects your Surface Pro 9 and enhances its functionality and aesthetics will be easier.

Tomtoc 360: The best sleeve case with extra storage


If you want something soft and cozy that covers the entire surface area of your Surface Pro 9 without compromising on protection, the Tomtoc 360 for $26.99 is a solid choice. It meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6) and spill-resistant fabrics to keep water out. It has a front pocket to store your cables, chargers, hard drives, or anything else and a strap for your smart tags or keys. The case comes in many colors to match your style, and you get a one-year warranty.

Infiland Pro 9: The best clear case to show off your device


If you want a case that still shows off your Surface Pro 9 without covering it up, the Infiland case for $47.95 will do the trick. It is entirely transparent with various color-matching options, and the plastic won’t yellow over time. It also meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6) despite being thin and lightweight and features plenty of cutouts for heat dissipation. Plus, it’s compatible with the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and Surface Slim Pen 2 and has an adjustable kickstand to find your preferred viewing angle.

CoBak Pro 9 case: The best leather case


If you are a sleek and stylish case, the CoBak has some eye-catching case covers starting at $29.99. There are a variety of designs and textures to choose from, all made from vegan faux leather that is splash and scratch-proof. There are a few grooves on the backside to slip the kickstand into for different viewing angles, and it has a magnet cover to close on the front.

UAG Plasma case: The best rugged, ergonomic case


If you want a case that’s convenient to carry around, the UAG Plasma is a good healthy option. It has a comfortable shoulder strap that will go easy on your back. For $99.95, it meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6) and has a built-in 360-degree rotational hand strap, stylus storage, and kickstand. Plus, it’s compatible with Microsoft Surface Type Cover Keyboard, both Metal and Alcantara Keyboard options.


The exact dimensions for the Surface Pro 9 are as follows:

Length: 11.3 inches (287 mm) Width: 8.2 inches (209 mm) Height: 0.37 inches (9.3 mm).

Yes, the Surface Pro 9 features Gorilla Glass 5 display protection.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro Turns 5 Amid Rising Competition And Faltering Sales

Microsoft’s iconic Surface Pro tablet turned five on Friday. The original product led the way for other productivity Windows tablets and detachable computers, but on its fifth anniversary, Microsoft may be losing momentum.

Surface sales falter

That strong start has slowed, though. According to research firm IDC, unit sales of detachable Surface devices are down nearly 19 percent from a year ago. (Full disclosure: PCWorld and IDC are owned by the same parent company, China Oceanwide.) IDC’s report, which analyzes the state of the convertible and slate market, shows an industry dominated by the high volumes of Android and iOS tablets sold by Apple, Samsung, and other vendors.

Thanks in part to the popularity of its Surface products, Microsoft typically appears on the list, though usually at or near the bottom. This year, Microsoft’s name didn’t appear at all. A follow-up inquiry by PCWorld revealed why: Surface sales fell significantly during the fourth quarter, and during all of 2023 as well, IDC said. 

Why this matters: The Surface Pro was important for Microsoft, because it led the way for other PC vendors to make slim, light Windows tablets that could be powerful business machines. A rise of viable competitors like Lenovo’s Miix 520, for example, is likely one reason for the drop in Surface sales, though we’ll go into other possibilities below. But we as consumers should still be rooting for Microsoft to succeed. The company is one of the few willing to risk launching new products into new categories. 

Microsoft Surface, caught up in tablet troubles

Microsoft sold 748,000 Surface devices during the fourth quarter, a drop of 18.8 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2023, according to Lauren Guenveur, a senior research analyst for IDC’s device group. For all of 2023, Microsoft sold 3 million Surface devices, down 16.8 percent from 2024, she said via email.

Those devices included all of the Surface devices that IDC considers detachables: the Surface Pro 3, 4, and Pro (2024); as well as the Surface Book and Surface Book 2. (IDC excludes the Surface Studio and Surface Hub, two niche Surface products, as well as the Surface Laptop, which isn’t a detachable.) 

IDG / Mark Hachman

Stunning products like the Microsoft Surface Book 2 don’t come cheap, which might have impacted sales.


IDC’s tablet numbers are dominated by Android vendors.

As to why Microsoft’s Surface has struggled, Guenveur gave several reasons. For one, she said, no one expected that tablet owners would treat them like laptops: Buy one, and then hold on it for close to 4 to 5 years, rather than exchange them every couple of years as smartphone owners do.

Mark Hachman / IDG

Which Surface Pro is which? If consumers can’t see the difference, maybe there’s less reason to pull out their wallets, too.

Mark Hachman / IDG

Solid competition from competing tablets, like this Lenovo Miix 520, has probably affected Surface sales to some extent.

Always-connected PCs are a wild card

Competition for Microsoft’s Surface products is arguably good for consumers and for innovation. What we don’t know, Guenveur said, is how the push for the upcoming Windows 10 on ARM products will change that dynamic.

So far, Acer, HP, and Lenovo have announced Always Connected PCs that are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, which emphasize long battery life over traditional performance metrics. Microsoft was an enthusiastic participant at Qualcomm’s launch, but it has yet to announce a product of its own for the new category. Depending on how well these competing tablets are received, Microsoft may find itself moving from a leader in the tablet space to a follower. 

How The Surface Pro 2 Became My Favorite Computer

A funny thing happened to me when I started playing around with a Surface Pro 2: It became my favorite computer.

At home in the office

Tablet form factor aside, the Surface Pro 2 is every bit a Windows 8.1 computer, so it’s not surprising that most of the time, I use it in my office, sitting at my desk. Here, the optional docking station really makes it shine: I just set the Surface Pro 2 in the docking station, slide the connectors into place, and the device is instantly connected to my network and peripherals. When hooked up to a traditional keyboard, monitor, printer, and mouse or touchpad, I find the the Surface Pro 2 to be a more-than-adequate PC replacement.

Surface Pro 2 + docking station = great desktop replacement.

My workdays involve writing, communicating, and researching. So I spend the vast majority of my time in Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Internet Explorer. With most mobile devices, I’d have to use a stripped-down mobile or Web version of these applications or else find substitutes. I love how the Surface Pro 2 lets me run the full, uncompromised versions of Microsoft Office and all my other Windows software.

Generally, I prefer to use a touchpad rather than a mouse even with other operating systems and older versions of Windows. When using the Surface Pro 2 as a PC, though, I appreciate the touchpad even more because it feels like a more native and intuitive way of interacting with Windows 8.1. The touchpad provides some consistency between navigating the Surface Pro 2 as a desktop and using it as a tablet.

A truly portable PC

A few days a week, I leave the confines of my office to work at my remote annex site—better known as my local Starbucks. If I had a true desktop PC, I’d need a supplementary laptop of some sort for these off-site excursions, and I’d need SkyDrive or Google Drive, or some other system, to keep files in sync between the two. The Surface Pro 2 is the PC I can take with me.

Microsoft offers the Touch Cover and Type Cover keyboard covers as optional add-ons, but they’re really necessities. I needed some sort of protective cover for the tablet display while mobile anyway, and the keyboard covers let me use the Surface Pro 2 like an Ultrabook when I choose.

With Type Cover is attached, the Surface Pro 2 rivals an Ultrabook.

The original Surface Pro had battery life that was mediocre at best. The two or three hours’ worth of juice put it on a par with most comparable laptops but made it woefully inadequate as a PC replacement. The Surface Pro 2, however, has vastly improved hardware that lets me get through days of working in the field without needing to recharge.

After-hours entertainment

The Xbox SmartGlass app turns my Surface Pro 2 into a second screen at TV time.

I’ve also used the Surface Pro 2 with the Xbox SmartGlass app as a second screen to enhance my movie-watching experience, and I routinely read in bed using the Kindle app. I don’t recommend the Surface Pro 2 for extended reading sessions—the lower pixel density strains the eyes, and the extra weight makes it cumbersome to hold for long periods of time—but for getting in a chapter or two before drifting off to sleep, it’s adequate.

The Surface Pro 2 is ideal for reading periodicals: Since installing the Flipboard and Wired magazine apps, the Surface Pro 2 has been my go-to device for reading magazine articles while on a train or during a flight. It’s certainly much easier to read digital magazines on the Surface Pro 2 than on a laptop or smartphone.

The only device you need

You can find cheaper desktops, lighter tablets, and more powerful Ultrabooks. There are even alternative tablets that run Windows 8.1 Pro, like the Dell Venue or the Asus VivoTab. But for my purposes, none of them handle the daily transitions from PC to portable device, and from creating content to consuming it, as smoothly as the Surface Pro 2.

Microsoft Surface Pro (2024) Review: More Power For More Money

Set Microsoft’s Surface Pro (2024) next to its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4, and I defy you to tell the difference. With the same dimensions and weight, the two are virtually indistinguishable—a kickstand that reclines further and a few cosmetic changes are all that separate them. What sells the new Surface Pro, though, is on the inside: a dramatic upgrade to the processor and graphics that propels it to the head of the 2-in-1 class.

Microsoft demands a hefty premium for that kind of performance, though. (For full specifications and prices of the new Surface Pro, see our separate article.)  Not only is the fancy Alcantara-bound Signature Type Cover sold separately ($160), but the more sensitive Surface Pen is as well ($100). Add that to the whopping $2,199 that Microsoft asks for our review model, and you have to ask yourself, do I really want a Surface tablet, or could I save upwards of $700 buying a slightly heavier notebook?

Mark Hachman / IDG

Quick—can you tell the Surface Pro 4 from the new Surface Pro (2024)? The new one’s on the left.

Subtle changes distinguish the Surface Pro (2024)

The Signature Type Covers are pleasingly fuzzy, though the fabric tends to compress a bit, especially on the bottom, and collect dust. The color options are nice: platinum, burgundy, and cobalt blue, as well as the standard black. The new $100 Surface Pens ship in the same colors. 

The specifications should sound familiar. The new Surface Pro measures 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches, the same as the Surface Pro 4, and weighs between 2.37 and 2.41 pounds. Our calipers found the Surface Pro 4 to be 0.327 inches thin, versus 0.345 inches for the Surface Pro. 

Mark Hachman / IDG

A cleaner exhaust grille is one of the subtle touches that distinguishes the new Surface Pro (2024). Oh, and there’s a headphone jack, too.

As tested, our version—with a 2.5GHz Core i7-7660, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of speedy NVMe storage—weighed 1.74 pounds for the tablet alone, and 2.40 pounds with the Signature Type Cover keyboard. That’s the same weight and dimensions as the Surface Pro 4, already one of the lightest Windows tablets on the market. And don’t forget about the integrated Iris Plus Graphics 640 on the Core i7 model (HD Graphics 620 for the Core i5), which adds some real oomph.

Mark Hachman / IDG

The microSD slot returns to the new Surface Pro, hidden behind the kickstand.

Internal differences are slight as well. Both tablets contain 802.11ac, along with Bluetooth 4.0 for the SP4 and Bluetooth 4.1 for the new Surface Pro. The benefits of the upgraded Bluetooth will become more apparent once Microsoft releases the planned Surface Pro with LTE variant later this year, as Bluetooth 4.1 signals don’t interfere with LTE.

Mark Hachman / IDG

No USB-C connectors here.

Fortunately (or not, depending upon your perspective) Microsoft sticks with the traditional Surface I/O complement: the Surface connector, a miniDisplayPort connector, and a full-sized USB-A connector. A microSD card slot hides under the kickstand, as before. The Surface connector allows Surface owners to attach peripherals that they’ve already owned, like the standalone Surface Dock and charger. I think that’s a smart decision, whereas the Samsung Galaxy Book’s wholesale commitment to USB-C is a mistake. In any event, you know what you’re buying when you purchase a Surface. 

A mini-Surface Studio

Mark Hachman / IDG

The new Surface Pro (2024) reclines further than the older Surface Pro 4. Fortunately, the hinge is strong enough to take your palm’s weight, though it can sag a bit.

Both the increased keyboard pitch and the Surface Dial integration are designed with inking in mind, either using the existing Surface Pen or the upgraded model. I didn’t notice the Dial slide down the screen as it does on the Studio, though it simply takes up a bit too much real estate to be as useful as it is on Microsoft’s massive all-in-one.

Though Microsoft upgraded its Surface Pen to increase the levels of pressure to 4,096, it did so by making the Pen slightly less useful. The new Pen does away with the pen clip. Instead, Microsoft depends on the magnetic strip on the side of the Pen to secure it, which simply proves impractical over time. I still wish there were a pen loop!

Otherwise, the upgraded Pen still uses a AAAA battery with a one-year lifespan. Just as importantly, it retained its ability to “erase” digital ink, a feature not every stylus includes. It inks just as well as the original Pen and comes with “tilt” support as well, generating a broader ink stroke. Microsoft’s new Pen also reduces inking latency to 21 ms. That was impossible for us to confirm, but digital ink flows off the Pen without any noticeable lag—more important as Microsoft makes pen navigation a more integral part of Windows.

Mark Hachman / IDG

The new Surface Pen is just as comfortable to hold as the new model. Remember that the upcoming Fall Creators Update includes a “Find My Pen” feature.

Mark Hachman / IDG

I enjoy the surface Dial, but it feels a little forced upon the Surface Pro.

Performance: Blazing fast, but at a price

Here’s one of the most impressive features of the new Surface Pro: From a graphics perspective, it offers the performance of the original Surface Book, together with its custom, discrete-GPU base. It vastly outperforms the two-year-old Surface Pro 4—though with a few caveats.

For one thing, our older Surface Pro 4 used a Core i5, rather than a top-of-the-line Core i7. And the performance increases, as impressive as they are, are largely confined to graphics-intensive applications. In the generic PCMark 8 Work benchmark, for example, I noted just a 10 percent improvement over the Surface Pro 4. From a performance standpoint, then, upgrading from the Surface Pro 4 to the Surface Pro makes sense only if you plan to use the Surface Pro for games, image rendering, or similar tasks.


Microsoft’s Surface Pro (2024) is powerful enough to smoothly play some older games, like Batman: Arkham City.

Still, the Surface Pro isn’t a machine that just checks the boxes, using components with minimal performance in the service of simply filling out a spec sheet. Looking back over our database of tested products, for example, its internal Samsung KUS040202M-B000 NVMe provides among the fastest read speeds we’ve tested: 1,702 MBps, according to the CrystalMark 5.0.3 benchmark.

In the following graphs, we’ve compared the new Surface Pro (2024) to several Windows tablets, ultrabooks, and laptops, with a range of processors and graphics options. We’ve highlighted the new Surface Pro (2024) in bright red, and the Surface Pro 4 in a darker red. We’ve also used different colors to showcase the Microsoft Surface Book, both the original 2024 edition (yellow) and the 2024 Performance Base (orange). Otherwise, 


We also test how the processor fares over time using the Handbrake benchmark, which transcodes a major Hollywood film from a MKV format into something that could be watched on a plane. Again, the Surface Pro is at the top of the heap.


Finally, we tested using 3DMark’s SkyDiver, a traditional benchmark for midrange laptops and some gaming PCs. Microsoft’s choice of the Core i7/Iris Plus combo works great here, though Microsoft’s Surface Book with Performance Base still rules the roost. But look at how the new Surface Pro tablet beats the original Surface Book!


Benchmarks are benchmarks, though. Don’t expect to be able to play the latest Battlefield game at its highest detailed settings. I’m a fan of playing older single-player games on the cheap, though, and games like the original Tomb Raider reboot topped 42 frames per second on 1080p/High settings. Batman: Arkham City also generated 48 fps on 1080p settings, with even better frame rates when you dialed down the resolution a bit. My only concern is how the thermals would hold up over prolonged gameplay.


Of all the surprises that the Surface Pro (2024) offered, one of the most interesting was in battery life. Given that the dimensions of the new Surface Pro left little, if any, room for additional battery cells, it still surprised me that its 45Whr battery ran down over the course of eight hours, substantially more than the Surface Pro 4.

Conclusion: The competition is catching up

We’re obligated to point out these flaws. On balance, however, Microsoft has crafted a winning Windows tablet. The new Surface Pro is pricey, though a $999 Core i5 version Microsoft sells may be far more affordable. The Surface Pro absolutely excels under short, bursty applications, though performance tends to suffer when the fan kicks in. Though the battery life falls short of the 13.5 hours Microsoft promises, it’s still better than the older Surface Pro 4.

I thought about whether the new Surface Pro (2024) deserved a full four stars, and finally decided against it. True, other tablets lack the Surface Dial integration and don’t lean back quite so far. That, for me, doesn’t change the game. Microsoft has simply made an improved Surface Pro 4 for Surface Pro 4 fans. Meanwhile, through each successive generation, competition has grown more intense. That’s fine—Microsoft intended to break trail with its Surface devices, but always acknowledged that it was leading other hardware makers into the market.

It’s possible that Microsoft may simply offer incremental improvements to its tablets going forward. That’s left a window of opportunity to the competition. I endorsed Microsoft’s leap into the Surface Pro 3, and still believe that the Surface Pro 4 represents Microsoft’s best Windows tablet. At the time, however, I wondered whether the others would catch up. They have. I still recommend the new Surface Pro (2024), but I’d also encourage you to check out the competition.

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