Surface Pro 4

More than any of its predecessors, Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 has come closest to answering the question: is it realistic for me to swap my laptop for a tablet? It will, of course, depend on your requirements, but the revamped Surface Pro 4 has pulled out all the stops: an expanded screen, sharper display, a monstrous processor. Where Apple have got into the habit of releasing only marginally upgraded products every other year, developers at Microsoft have clearly been busy.

Features

The Surface Pro 4 is visually striking because of its sheer size: it's a little bit like holding the upper half of a laptop in your hands. As an entertainment centre - the capacity for things like watching movies, gaming, online gambling and so on - it's a lot more viable than other tablets (12.3 inches of screen space takes some beating). Sure, it's a little trickier to fit into your backpack, but it's light and super thin, making it easy to wrap your hands around it.

A screen that big demands some equally impressive interior hardware, and Microsoft have delivered in fitting the Surface Pro 4 with a worthy processor (and which is more, one that doesn't drain the battery too much - a big bonus if you're going to be using it outdoors, or if you happen to be conscious of your carbon footprint). In any case, early reviews indicate the Surface Pro is able to go for a few hours without being plugged into a wall.

It's not just the hardware that impresses us either. Windows 10 came under criticism by PC users but there's no denying that it's helped make tablet use a whole lot simpler. The operating system (particularly the new Start Menu) is practically designed for a handheld gadget and ensures quick navigation. And, if rumours are anything to go by, future Windows versions will be even more geared towards maximising the Surface Pro's potential.

Out of the box, the Surface Pro 4 comes equipped with the obligatory 30-day Office trial, as well as the platform for Windows Ink. Tools like these are often dismissed as gimmicky, but Ink looks like a genuinely promising proposition - the only downside of which is that it will likely involve using the sometimes awkward stylus pen add-on.

Speaking of which, that's one thing to bear in mind about the Surface Pro: there's plenty of accessories to buy if you want the complete package. Some user's set ups - complete with a roll-up keyboard, speakers and a stylus pen - end up looking more like a laptop than a supposedly handheld tablet (which rather defeats the object).

The only problem we see is that the battery life isn't much improved even with the newer version of the Microsoft Surface. The estimated time you will be able to run on battery is 3 hours 15 mins. Still it's the only issue we find with it and is quite overwhelmed by all the other amazing features. 

Our verdict

There's no denying that the Surface Pro 4 offers about as much as most laptops on the market today (if not more). It's got everything you could need - and, with new software on its way, there is plenty of potential for further improvement. If you were looking for an excuse to splash out on a new gadget, then this is probably it.

In terms of cost, the Surface Pro will set you back upwards of £600. If you are looking to save some pennies, your best bet is Amazon rather than buying from Microsoft directly (although there may be some shipping delays).

You may want to read about: Raspberry Pi Zero