Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Australian Review

Microsoft’s Surface division is under siege. In the four years after the Redmond giant got the idea of making the world’s best convertible, it has had the field almost entirely to itself. Now, heading into 2016, the Surface is surrounded by its competition, fighting for dominance at every price point. Is the Surface Pro 4 a big enough stick to beat back the opposition?

What Is It?

The fourth iteration of Microsoft’s convertible tablet/laptop replacement, complete with the now-iconic infinite kickstand and magnetic smart cover.

This year’s Surface runs Windows 10 out of the box, and is designed from the ground up to be the new flagship Microsoft experience. It has a nifty depth-sensing camera alongside the front-facing camera for Windows Hello facial recognition login, and dual-microphone design for supposedly interference-free interaction with its new digital assistant, Cortana.

The Surface Pro 4 has a base spec that includes the Intel Core m3 processor, 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM for $1349. There are five other models in the range, all with Intel Core i processors based on the Skylake family, ranging all the way up to a meaty Core i7 model for $3399.

Here’s the full range:

• Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core m3, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM: $1349 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM: $1499 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM: $1999 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM: $2499 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM: $2799 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM: $3399

You’ll be able to pick up the Surface Pro 4 from the Microsoft Online Store and the new flagship retail store in Sydney from 12 November.

What’s Good?

I feel like we start every Surface review with this point, but it bears repeating: Microsoft really know how to put a screen on a tablet. The Surface Pro 4 with its 12.3-inch (2736×1824) display is gorgeous. It's bright, sharp and reproduces colours incredibly well. Microsoft want this new Surface to be for professionals and artists, which is a huge ask. It's easy to just throw any old display at a laptop or convertible for people in an office, but Microsoft shoots for insanely accurate colour reproduction, and doesn't miss.

I'm not the only one who thinks so, either. Dr Raymond Soniera and his team at DisplayMate Labs have called the Surface Pro 4 one of the most accurate tablet displays ever.

From his analysis:

Based on our extensive lab tests and measurements on the display for the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft has produced an excellent professional grade high performance display for Windows that breaks a number of LCD tablet performance records. In fact, the Surface Pro 4 has one of the very best and most accurate displays available on any mobile platform and OS. It joins near the top of a small set of tablets that have excellent top tier displays — ideal for professionals that need a very accurate high performance display for their work, and for consumers that want and appreciate a really nice and beautiful display.
In addition, what is particularly significant and impressive is that Microsoft has systematically improved every display performance metric over the already excellent Surface Pro 3, including the display’s maximum brightness, contrast ratio, absolute colour accuracy, viewing angle performance, and with lower screen reflectance, resulting in much better performance in ambient light.
The Surface Pro 4 delivers uniformly consistent all around top tier display performance: it is only one of a few displays to ever to get all green (very good to excellent) ratings in all test and measurement categories (except for brightness variation with viewing angle, which is the case for all LCDs) since we started the Display Technology Shoot-Out article series in 2006, an impressive achievement for a display. See the Shoot-Out Comparison Table for the detailed test and measurement results.

#nailedit.

Microsoft has worked hard not only to improve the display of the Surface Pro for the fourth iteration, but it has also worked to boost the effectiveness of the Surface Pen. It's a smarter bit of kit these days thanks to a few design improvements that have made it easier to hold and use to write and draw on the PixelSense display, but Microsoft still hasn't figured out a great way to store it. The Pen Loop on the Surface Pro 3's Type Cover sure looked ugly, but it kept the Pen in place better than the magnetised clip on the left-hand side of the tablet. As soon as you put this thing in your bag, the Pen is coming off the side of your device and you'll be rummaging for it later.

One thing that has improved in leaps and bounds over the last model, however, is the Type Cover: Microsoft's now iconic clip-on keyboard attachment. The Type Cover now has spaced out keys (thank God) which are a real joy to work with. The Type Cover has been better with every generation, but you always had to take care not to activate two keys at once when your fingers flew across the deck.

Now that the mechanical keys are all spaced out, it's much better to type on at speed, feeling just like a traditional laptop keyboard. The biggest improvement on the Type Cover comes from its the integrated glass trackpad, which is now enormous compared to previous models. The trackpad always felt like an afterthought on the Surfaces Pro of old, but now it's large and in charge.

One of the most interesting things about the Surface Pro 4 is how Microsoft has not only gone back to the idea of a vented cooling, but how it managed to reintegrate the fan system while still making the chassis thinner than the previous, fanless Surface 3. The Surface Pro 4 with its vented fan system is 8.38mm thick, while the fanless Surface 3 is 8.63mm. It's a miniscule difference (and really makes you think about how thin this thing would be without its fan), but it shows that Microsoft really took care while designing it so as not to go back to the massively thick chassis of the Surface Pro 2. The cooling system works well to keep everything ticking along, but it's worth mentioning you do get an unusually loud fan noise from the unit whenever it spins up. If your significant other is a light sleeper, don't use the Surface Pro 4 in bed.

The Surface Pro 4 comes with Windows 10 out of the box, and it's a joy to use here. You don't get any third-party bloatware slowing your roll, and all the flagship experiences are front-and-centre to show off the best the new operating system has to offer. You get your dual-microphone array for Cortana (which I couldn't get working for some reason), as well as an infrared, depth-sensing camera for Windows Hello. It's a facial recognition feature that lets you unlock your machine just by looking at it.

Hello takes a bit of setting up to get it working, but to cut down on errors, it's worth sitting right in front of your machine where you use it most. For me, it's in the office, so doing it under our insane fluorescent lights means that it recognised me best.

Windows 10 is also kind to the battery on the Surface Pro 4. We got 7 hours out of the Surface Pro 4 with moderate use, which is just enough to get you through a workday. You may be scrambling for a powerpoint around 4pm, but there are a heap of energy-saving features you can engage to sip power for that last 60 minutes. And while 7 hours isn't by any means industry-leading, it's the best battery result we've ever got out of a Surface Pro, so that's something to celebrate.

What’s Not So Good?

I don’t know what it is about the way Microsoft builds the Surface, but every time a new one ships it seems to do so with buggy-as-hell Wi-Fi. Previous iterations of the Surface have had a Wi-Fi module that hogs battery, others have had general niggles and bugs, and this one is no different.

The Surface Pro 4’s Wi-Fi is the buggiest I’ve ever seen on a Microsoft convertible. It drops network connectivity constantly, can’t find a single network you want when you go to reconnect, and generally just drives you wild with its inconsistencies.

These are day one issues that will only really plague early-adopters, and I’m sure there’s already a fix coming from Redmond (there always is), but Surface Wi-Fi has been so bad for so long it now bears mentioning in the review.

The Wi-Fi also takes a pretty measurable toll on your battery, too. Even when the network adapter is disconnected from an access point, merely having the module activated costs you an obscene amount of power. At 50 per cent brightness with Airplane Mode activated and a single Chrome tab open, you’ll get a respectable six hours out of the Surface Pro 4. Turn on the Wi-Fi module, however, and that time is sliced down by two hours. Four hours of battery is honestly what we’ve come to expect from previous Surface tablets, but it’s insane that using basic features on a machine made this year costs you so much power.

It’s unkind to compare it to the MacBook Air (the design is completely different, allowing for more batteries), but its 10+ hour battery life promise is one that Microsoft really needs to try and adhere to with these flagship devices. Don’t get me wrong: the battery is still better than anything we’ve seen in a Surface Pro before, but it’s nowhere near perfect yet.

While we’re almost unfairly comparing the Surface Pro 4 to other devices, it’s worth talking about the price. The Surface starts at $1349 this year. That’s for the Intel Core m3 model with its 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM. From there, you get the choice of five other SKUs, all with Intel Core processors. Here’s the full range again (because screw scrolling up):

• Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core m3, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM: $1349 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM: $1499 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM: $1999 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM: $2499 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM: $2799 • Surface Pro 4 w/ Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM: $3399

You have to hand it to Microsoft for creating a range of products to cater to almost every niche. The $1349 Core m3 model is for students and casual users, the $1499 Core i5 model comes in for the working professional, and the rest of the line is for those needing a little more grunt or proper power and storage for creative work. The offering could always be simplified, but for now, it’s good.

The problem hits home when you start to compare the laptops and convertibles Microsoft is competing against across the various categories. For example, $1349 is expensive for a student’s machine, especially one that’s packing a Core m3 processor and not the Core i5 that the competition may be rocking. The Apple MacBook Air, HP Pavillion x360 and other cheaper, less powerful machines are all much better choices for students when you consider that the price tops out at around $1100 in the category. Hell, even Microsoft's own Surface 3 is better value than the Intel Core m3-powered Surface Pro 4.

The $1499-$1999 models are great, but again, when compared with competing OEM devices designed for business folk on the go, you realise that no IT manager in their right mind would spend $2000 per seat for a single piece of equipment. Not unless they had that sweet Silicon Valley money, they wouldn’t.

It becomes more of an issue moving up the line, too. I’d argue that most of the creative types Microsoft is trying to woo with the Pro 4 wouldn’t be prepared to part with a Mac just for the sake of portability and a touchscreen. Think of it this way, they can split the difference between having a touchscreen and Fifty-Three Pencil on their iPad tablet, and porting their designs to their MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and still come out with change to spare when compared to the $2499 and upwards Surface Pro 4.

At the absolute top of the tree — the $3399 Core i7 model — the proposition becomes almost entirely bonkers. The only people you could probably persuade to buy this one is gamers, and even then they’re setting themselves up for disappointment. The Pro 4 is just as average for gaming as its older counterparts were thanks to integrated Intel Iris graphics. Dedicated graphics cards only arrive on the Surface Book slated to come out at the same time as the Pro 4, and that packs a price that puts Surface in the shade.

The gaming performance on the Surface Pro 4 is acceptable for games that don’t have a demanding frame rate (think Cities: Skyline or older games like Half Life 2 and you’re there), but gamers would be much better off pouring their cash into a Razer or Alienware machine instead.

So at just about every price point, the Surface Pro 4 is too expensive. And that sucks.

Should You Buy It?

The Surface was always a weird proposition.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4
88

Price: from $1349

Like
  • Beautiful display.
  • Amazing all-round performance.
  • Great Windows Hello face recognition.
Don't Like
  • Iterative updates from Pro 3.
  • Tabletesque keyboard.
  • Premium price tag.

A company that makes the world’s most popular operating system and sells it out to the OEM crowd decides to throw acid in the face of its business relationships and start making its own hardware. The reason? It wanted to show people what should be done with Windows. Translation: our partners have kind of half-arsed it a lot of the time. Here’s Redmond's sizzling hot take.

Microsoft continues to mess with its partner ecosystem by releasing more incredible Windows hardware in the Surface Book, while simultaneously pissing off its retail partner network with a new online store and a push into retail.

But weirdly, all this bullish experimentation works, and out of it comes a device that works as a fantastic all-rounder.

Sure, you’ll pay a premium for it because Microsoft, but quality costs. It might not have the competition beat on the dollars, but I’d argue that the Surface Pro 4 would last longer and hold up better against the test of time than a rival OEM device in a similar form factor with its bloatware, poor accessories and almost useless warranty.

If you can justify paying the premium on the Surface, you’ll nab yourself a beautiful, reliable, fast and genuinely fun tablet. For all the crap we give it on price, it’s nice to have a capable tablet and capable laptop in the one device, even if the combination is still a little janky.

I’ve always been a massive Surface fan, despite being a day-to-day Mac user. This is exactly what Microsoft needs to do to woo the Cupertino faithful back, to be honest. Every year, the Surface gets better and better.

When you think about it, there aren’t as many changes in this year’s model as there have been in previous generations: it’s more of a refinement exercise. Microsoft perfecting the Surface Pro 3 and updating the specs for good measure.

We gave the Surface Pro 3 a solid yes, and with this new, updated model, we’re sticking with that verdict.

Long live Surface.


Comments

    Bit silly comparing price points of the SP4 to laptops. The macbook air doesn't even have a touch screen. Students COULD spend $300 on a chromebook and wouldn't notice any performance issue for general use.

    A better comparison is against apple's ipad pro.

    A 128gb Surface Pro 4 with stylus and keyboard is $1550.
    A 128gb ipad pro with stylus and keyboard is $2100.

    Last edited 10/11/15 1:52 pm

      I think the comparison was considering the needs of the user rather than finding the closest match in regards to hardware features. A touch screen may be nice, but if the device is aimed at students using word more often than not (which I think was where they were going), then the Touch screen isn't overly important. Then again, some might find it irreplaceable for taking notes.

      I'd argue the iPad Pro in some cases will be a bad device to compare against if the student needs access to certain applications. When I was a student I'd have wanted access to software development tools for example which simply won't exist on the iPad and make it a non runner as an education tool.

      There is no comparison, Apple serves the premium end of the market where as google and microsoft serve the free or cheaper end of the market, why do people always compare everything to apple? they are 2 totally different customer bases.

      Although it's abit alarming microsoft is moving in on the premium end with a $3399 512gb surface pro 4 but I bet the only reason it's that expensive is to offset the production costs. crazy.

      I've used microsoft my whole life and am doing so right now but I honestly don't think microsoft has that kind of brand loyalty to demand these prices.

      The comparison should be made with the SP3 at launch.
      MS are pricing themselves out of the Australian market. Just look at the $1200 pice for the 950XL phone.
      No one will pay that price!

        Yeah, it's insane that the top specced surface pro 4 is $3399 and the 950XL at $1200, they are selling items at premium prices yet the public doesn't view their products as such.

        Theres a mis-match in the public perception and the pricing.

          I hate how apple are perceived as premium products, their specs and hardware are several years behind Samsung, Sony and now Microsoft due to minimal upgrades each year yet they still demand a premium price due to the brand.

          Meanwhile Microsoft does the most innovative thing since the original iphone (making a phone that becomes a full PC when docked) and it gets caned as overly priced!

          Last edited 12/11/15 8:17 am

            Yeah but does any one actually need a phone that docks with your computer? whats the point in creating something if there is no demand for it? I could come up with the most amazing futuristic product in the world that no one would buy because no one wants it.

            Having an amazing product is only one element, timing also plays a massive part aswell as many other things.

            Also think about the nintendo wii, it's got like 88mb's of ram compared to the ps3's 256mb's and xbox 360's 512mb's yet it outsold both of them because of it's IP, you can't just spend money to increase your market share you actually have to think about the problem as with the first iphone not just throw a bunch of money at it.

            Have you not learned anything yet?

            And yet not one single hardware manufacturer has come close to making their hardware as nice as the stuff Apple sells. Ignore the software, ignore the actual technology - Apple's design and materials are far nicer than any other. That's why they are perceived as premium, plus the fact they offer an almost unmatched level of customer service,

            And they are not even premium priced these days in comparison, if you want the top spec machines whether they are phones, tablets or laptops, you can spend a lot of money on MS, Samsung, Sony or Apple.

              I'm sorry but the S6 edge looks WAY nicer than any iphone! When you put an iphone in a case (which 90% of people do) and don't see the nice shiny metal back, it looks cheap and nasty, and that "retina" display is embarrassing next to a samsung screen.

              But whatever, if people want to perceive something as better because it's prettier, so be it! I'll buy a laptop with 3 usb ports AND a charging port, you buy your macbook and choose between a flash drive and electricity!

    Can I use a sim card?

    I ask this every time one is released...

      You can get a SP3 that has a nano sim card slot.

        thank you!!

          I think he mean Surface 3 not Pro since Pro will not have 3G/LTE access.

    I'm honestly surprised by the battery life. I'd expect a premium device to do better than 6 hours in airplane mode.

      battery life also depends on how bright your screen is, what programs you have up and running plus the load on the CPU those program(s) are placing upon it etc etc. It's not just airplane mode though that does improve the life of the battery some what :-)

        At 50 per cent brightness with Airplane Mode activated and a single Chrome tab open, you’ll get a respectable six hours out of the Surface Pro 4.

        That's essentially the bare minimum of usage and it's only getting 6 hours. I was just expecting more.

          Is Chrome still a CPU hog? I don't know as I don't use it anymore

            Just curious, what do you use now instead?

            I like the edge browser, but it lacks some key features, like lastpass integration.

            Last edited 12/11/15 10:22 am

              I use the default Edge browser now, it's missing a lot of features and it crashes a bit but I'm okay with it. I was very impressed with the features it shipped with and the speed of the browser. MS are trying to bring more to the browser so I can wait a little bit longer.

                Thanks for the reply - I meant the edge browser (lol) so i've edited my post. I like the speed of the browser as well, and on laptops you do get far better battery life using it (chrome is processor and memory intensive).

                I wonder if keepass and 1password can auto-type into it or integrate with it, that might be a solution for the time being.

    The prices have taken a hammering compared to the SP3 with our dollar going into the toilet which makes it a harder sell. Have Apple adjusted their laptop prices, I don't really keep track of them.

      Yes, they jacked prices $200-400.

        Which is pretty BS all around.

        I get it that our dollar has tanked recently and the companies want to maintain their profit margins, but it's still BS. We're getting slugged a few hundred dollars extra for this type of product but we're not actually earning more than we were before the dollar slumped.

        Last edited 11/11/15 9:51 am

          if prices are an issue due to exchange rate, buy Japanese, Korean or Chinese brands :)

            Who all sell in US dollars, so that's a bad idea.

            The Chinese aren't stupid mate, they will always sell to foreigners in US Dollars.

            Even bali hotels won't deal with Australian dollars anymore, always selling bookings online in US dollars.

          You cannot possibly be serious!?! If you are, then you are really dumb because it is completely obvious to absolutely everyone else that prices of things like this are set based on their value in US dollars and everyone else's price is adjusted according to the exchange rate. To put it another way, just because both currencies are called "dollars" doesn't mean they are worth the same. Would it help you to think of our currency as pounds or euros instead? Because you wouldn't expect something that costs US$1000 to be 1000 pounds or 1000 euros, or 1000 Korean wan, would you? So why would you expect it to be 1000 Australian dollars?

          Before the dollar slumped we were earning, on average, more than twice as much as the average American - $60,000 against $27,000, I think - so in terms of income we are still better off than they are. i.e. These things are still more affordable - they cost significantly less as a percentage of the average wage - for us than for Americans. We had a terrific run but now it's over and everything is back to the way it was and had been for decades (since Hawke and Keating floated the dollar in the 1980s). Get over it.

            Show me where I said that Australian dollars = US dollars. Otherwise, stop ranting.

            I have a trillion dollar note from Zimbabwe!!!!!

            I am going to buy both Microsoft and Apple merge them and call it SoftMircoApples.

        My SP3 i5 256 was about $1500 its now $200. C'mon MS get with the program!

        My Lumia 1020 was $680. New 950s are over $1100

          Did you not see the exchange rate changes?

          I bought my SP3 back when the exchange rate was better (i5 128GB for around $1200), now it is close to $1400. Considering the exchange rate change, we could have been slugged a LOT more....

    I think there is a significant error of fact in this review, with regard to gaming performance - "The Pro 4 is just as average for gaming as its older counterparts were thanks to integrated Intel Iris graphics." AFAIK, no previous Surface Pro model has offered Iris Pro graphics and, even with this model, it is only available in the most expensive version. I read somewhere that the new Iris Pro graphics are up to 10 times faster than the HD440 graphics in the Pro 3, so it is very likely the top-spec Pro 4 will be way better for gaming.

    Elsewhere, there are interesting phrase choices, such as "now that the mechanical keys are all spaced out, it’s much better to type on at speed, feeling just like a traditional laptop keyboard." Chiclet style keyboards are hardly "traditional". Quite the opposite, island style keys have been around decades longer and I, for one, find them much better to type on. If I was getting one of these things, I'd be looking for the old TypeCover to go with it.

    Or this one - "Surface Pro 4 would last longer and hold up better against the test of time than a rival OEM device in a similar form factor with its bloatware, poor accessories and almost useless warranty." Obviously you have never experienced the next day, on-site warranty Dell gives you with every XPS and Precision laptop. For a little extra money you can even have the coverage work worldwide. It is the benchmark and makes Apple and other vendors look pathetic.

    I think you'll find buggy WiFi is a standard features that ships with W10.

      I have 4 windows 10 devices at home and they all have great wifi performance. I don't run any of them on ethernet.

        I guess it depends on the card, we have a load of devices at work that since upgrading to W10 have had some interesting wireless performance, however it is not all of them...

    The reason you can't use Cortana is that it's not officially available in Australia yet. Only accessible at the moment if you are part of the Microsoft Insider program. Hopefully, all Windows 10 Australian users will get access in the November 12 Threshold (service pack 1) release. But nothing is certain...

    Looks really good! My only concern is the pricing (as a student). Other than that, the new surface pro 4 is looks pretty sleek!!

      I'm in the same boat as you, I'm looking at the SP4 but the price is a bit too steep for me. We can get 10% off though! This link seems mysteriously hard to find on the home page: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msaus/en_AU/list/Students-faculty-and-staff-get-10%25-off-Surface/categoryID.65888100

        Dude, thank you so much! I preordered my SP4 i7/256/16 back in October and have been trying to find out if they would provide a student discount before it shipped. Haven't had any luck until your link, so I cancelled my preorder and resubmitted it. Just saved $300. Cheers!

          No worries man, someone told me about that link on reddit so I'm just paying it forward :) enjoy your extra dollars!

      Yeah, as much as I'd like one, I could get a tablet and a faster laptop and still have plenty of change left over.

    Is the model that has the sim card slot available in Australia? I can only see it available on the US Microsoft store.

      Just tether your mobile phone to it.

        Shut up about this already. Yes everyone knows you can tether you're phone genius. Not everyone wants to tether to their phone. These things should all come with a SIM option. I've been holding out until somone gets their act together and brings out a decent stylus convertable with LTE or even 3g for gods sake. My Samsung ATIV PC PRO is getting long in the tooth but i'm not spending crazy money on something that can't even replicate basic cellular functions that ipads have had for years.

          I've never understood the whole paying two bills when you can save and use one. My mobile has about 8Gb per month so that's more than enough for the surface using it for the internet. My phone will only ever use about 1Gb at very most in a month and that might be because of video calls, remote access in a pitch or downloading updates for the OS. So the idea of LTE connection is kind of mute for my purposes.

            THis,

            Mugwali is a flop, conditioned by apple, to pay 4 telelcom bills. Still got the home phone too mate?

            sim is pointless, its a fuckin swipe in from the right and tether. GG. flop.

              Nexus, iPad, the Surface 3, the HP Spectre - they all have a SIM option for a reason.

              Even when my phone battery is about to die, I can pull out my Nexus tablet and use it online without needing to connect it to wifi. I just want to switch on my laptop and use it. I don't want to switch on my laptop and 1) unlock my phone, 2) go to phone settings, 3) enable Internet Sharing, 4) go back to laptop and wait for wifi to connect and use it.
              I would own a Surface Pro 4 (and would have gifted my old Surface Pro 2) by now if the 4 had a SIM option.

              Two things you probably weren't aware of then:
              1. Most Telco's give you the option of a free (or cheap) additional SIM card which shares the data of your existing mobile plan, for use in a tablet or laptop - so no additional data plan is required in many cases.
              2. Companies often send staff out with a company laptop that needs a company-owned/paid internet connection, however the phone they carry is a personal one.
              So for all you tech fan-boys who only consider which device to buy based on whether it makes you look important on the bus, it might mean nothing - to many companies like ours it makes the difference between buying a Surface Pro 4 and some other competitors' device.

    As much as I like Microsoft they are not the leaders and never will be, they saw an opportunity in the 80's with Windows and ran with it to become what they are today, they still lose over a billion dollars each year on their online division, I honestly don't think their made for this era or any era that involves sharing information over copper wires.

    Sure they got billions of dollars and can buy hundreds of companies and offset the loses but honestly that's ridiculous.

      Actually, MS's Bing this year pulled in a profit for the first time so I think all of their online services might be now profitable.

        I've read that also, I don't think Microsoft are too fond of the internet and ease of which you can share things, I reckon that's probably in the DNA of the company, I know Bill really had a thing for people stealing his software or so I've read.

    Yes. You are correct. Only i7's got the Iris new skylake integrated gfx. I have not been able to see any benchmarks online yet comparing i5 intel hd gfx vs Iris for i7. Almost all reviewers got i5 units, Anandtech extensive review is i5 model. It is believed i7 will offer a decent increase in gaming performance. Let me know if anyone finds comparison benchmarks!

    Do these all have fans?
    I will never buy another portable with a fan.
    OK for desktop only in my world

      yes. All have a fan... except the 1 single lowest tier core m3 one. That one is fanless, runs very quiet but is weakest of the lot. Tho faster than the SP3.

    I was gonna buy the cheapest SP4, the m3, 128Gbm, as that's the one i can afford right now. But on sites, they tell me the core i5/i7's sees a big incease in performance over the m3, so now i wanna get the core i5, 128Gb n 4Gb ram for $1,499. But then, Windows 10 being a full desktop OS, i had better get 8Gb's of ram. $1,999. Hey, it's only $500 more. But wait, add $500 and i can get the top tier fastest CPU on it, go for it, me head tells me. $2,499. Then the ol' brain tempt's ya by saying... cofre i7, 256Gb, AND 16Gb's of RAM, only $300 extra. Geez !!!
    and then i remember, my bank account's only got $1500 :)

      exact dilemma as you.

      SInce when did they get so damn expensive?

      I was expecting $1600 for an i5, 256 with 8gb of ram and NOPE im 400 off? wow

    I made the mistake of reading reviews, which led me to purchase this expensive, poorly made machine. The first one froze and Microsoft replaced it - so ignoring the hours spent trying to fix it, waiting on the phone, travelling etc a 'good result'. The second machine broke in the shop, which was a 'good result' I suppose. The third machine is an inconsistent performer - can't find the keyboard some days; can find the keyboard but won't recognise the log-on password unless I detach the keyboard and enter it on the screen; updated Edge and wiped all the favourites. I work on my iPhone as much as I can to avoid this monster and pray for the day it implodes so I can buy a MacBook. The debate above seems to be about specs and price: this is just a rushed rubbish machine.

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