What to look for in the Microsoft Surface Pro 5

microsoft surface pro 4 display detail

Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 has a 12.3-inch display with a crisp resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels.

Credit: Peter Ruecktenwald

The rumor mill is in full force this week after several outlets speculated about a forthcoming Surface Pro 5.

RELATED TOPICS

The rumor mill is in full force this week after several outlets speculated about a forthcoming Surface Pro 5. One site even named a release date in October of 2016. Many have surmised that Microsoft would address battery life problems, which I’ve experienced myself. For a device that’s supposed to last about nine hours, if you play a video or listen to music, you can expect the battery to last only 3-4 hours. Worse, it tends to drain even when it is just sitting on the table next to you due to a poorly implemented “sleep” mode.

I’ve also noticed a few other glitches on the Surface Pro. I used one recently when I was testing a Makerbot Replicator and had some trouble maintaining a consistent Wi-Fi connection. (I use the extraordinarily intelligent Google OnHub router in my office and never have any trouble.) There were a few times when the connection broke for no reason while a phone and another tablet kept humming along right next to me in the same room.

Another issue had to do with the speed. It’s a “pro” version for a reason and uses the Intel Skylake chipset. The display runs at 2736x1824 pixels. Yet, for many movies and YouTube clips, the Surface Pro 4 still ran slow -- unbearably so. It’s not a good sign when an older Apple iPad Mini runs a Hollywood movie smoother than a “high-end” tablet.

Microsoft has mostly addressed these problems with a recent patch, and I wrote about how the Surface Book is now worth a second look because of those fixes.

Yet, I’ve cooled off from the Surface Pro a bit, despite the software fixes. What do I want to see in the Surface Pro 5? There’s the obvious -- thinner, lighter, longer lasting.

I really want Microsoft to borrow some of the intelligence from the new Lumia line, specifically the 950 XL I tested recently. I want a dock that syncs to the tablet automatically, maybe even wirelessly, and then pops up on my HDTV without any fuss. (The 950 XL uses a small dock about the size of two thumbs, but it connects using a USB-C cable.) I see so many Surface Pro tablets at offices these days, but when people use them at their desks, there are cables everywhere. A Surface Pro 5 that connects wirelessly to a dock would reduce clutter.

Amazon recently lowered the price of the entry-level Surface Pro 4 (the one with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage) by $100, but I want Microsoft to get more aggressive with pricing. How about $699? How about $599? I’m hoping the Surface Pro 5 becomes “the tablet for everyone” not just customers who are expensing the device or buying one for the NFL sidelines.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

RELATED TOPICS
Call on line 2! Six ways to add a second line to your smartphone
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies