Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review


How does Microsoft's latest tablet-come-laptop shape up?

A portable, powerful PC


The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 isn't too different from its predecessor, but it doesn't need to be. The ultra-portable design doesn't sacrifice on speed or computing power, which will be appealing to some, but keep in mind you'll need to purchase the keyboard separately, and a lack of USB-C port may limit its usefulness.

CHOICE verdict

The Surface Pro 6 is a fast and portable Windows 10 PC, but if you haven't used a tablet-laptop combo device like this before it's a good idea to play with one in a store first to see if you prefer it over a traditional laptop.

It's a good option for anyone who needs a thin, lightweight computer, or who needs to use a touchscreen regularly, such as for design work, art, or editing. It also makes for good casual use in front of the TV and the tablet's portrait orientation is great for reading electronic magazines and books.

The lack of USB-C port may hinder its versatility, but you can overcome this with the Surface Dock or attach an adapter via the Surface Connect Port if you're willing to pay extra.

  • Price: From $1350
  • Contact: microsoft.com.au

How much does the Surface Pro 6 weigh?

The Surface Pro 6's sleek, lightweight tablet body is between 770g and 784g, depending on model, and is just 8.5mm thick. Any of the available covers adds another 310g and 5mm, so if with a cover and keyboard, the total weight will come to about 1.1kg and thickness will be 13.5mm.

This total is only a little lighter and thinner than the newly released Surface Laptop 2, which is 1.3kg and, according to Microsoft, 14.5mm – though our measurements of the Laptop 2 were about 16mm at the back, sloping down to 10mm at the front.

But the 200g between the Surface Pro 6 tablet and the Surface Laptop 2 can make a big difference if you're carrying either around in a satchel all day. 

Cover/keyboard attachment

The Surface Pro 6 tablet body comes in platinum colour or plain black. 

You'll need to buy the cover separately, which includes the keyboard attachment. Options are:

  • The Surface Pro Type Cover costs $200.
  • The Type Cover with Fingerprint ID costs $250.
  • The 'luxury' Signature Type Cover (with soft fabric coating) costs $250

We tried the standard Pro Type Cover ($200) and found it good to type on and satisfyingly clicky, like a quality desktop keyboard, without being loud.

You can fold the magnetically-attached keyboard all the way around to the back, or quickly remove it if you're watching video or reading while travelling.

Stylus pen

The $140 Surface Pen is also recommended to get the most out of the tablet, whether you're using it for drawing or hand writing, marking up documents or anything that benefits from higher precision than just using your finger. The mounting magnets stick it to the side with surprising firmness – it never came loose while we were carrying it around in a backpack or satchel.

Touchscreen

The 1.3-inch touchscreen has a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels, which is not only higher than full HD 1080p, but also beats the next common standard up from that: quad HD (QHD or 1440p) – though it's well short of 4K.

Cameras

The Surface Pro 6 has two cameras: 5MP (megapixel) front-facing and 8MP rear camera, both with 1080p video.

Connection ports

The main problem the Surface Pro 6 faces is its lack of USB-C, which is a versatile port and the new standard for battery charging and fast data transfer – it can also connect external displays.

Instead, the Pro 6 has:

  • A single USB-A port, which is still a common plug for data transfer and connecting accessories, but having just the one may limit how many things you can do at once.
  • mini DisplayPort which, unlike USB-C, can only connect some external displays – it can't transfer data or charge the tablet.
  • MicroSDXC card reader.
  • A proprietary Surface Connect Port, which lets you attach the optional Surface Dock ($300). This adds video, ethernet, audio and extra USB 3.0 ports, but could be overkill for most home users and limits portability. 

Tip: You can use the Surface Connect Port to add USB-C via an adapter ($110).

Processor and memory options

While it may look like a tablet on the outside, once you look a little deeper the Surface Pro 6 is a powerful portable PC. 

  • Processor options are the 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or the faster Core i7. Either of these should handle the needs of most people.
  • RAM (memory) options are 8GB or 16GB.
  • Storage options are 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB, though the 128GB and 1TB versions aren't available in the black colour.

The most-basic configuration (128GB storage, 8GB RAM and a Core i5) starts at $1350. The most expensive (1TB storage, 16GB RAM and a Core i7) is $3460.


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