Top positive review
Review of Core i5, Version
Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2017
I first have to say that I did not purchase my Surface Pro through Amazon. However, Amazon is pretty much the most popular place to read reviews before purchasing items. So I'm posting my review here, in hopes it helps others make their decision.
First the obvious. The device looks and feels like a premium item. The vent slots around the top edge are even less visible than on the previous model (Surface pro 4). Even though the edges are slightly rounder on the new version, I would not have noticed unless told about it.
My core i5 model is fan-less, meaning COMPLETELY silent. You will not hear a peep out of this device. Definitely an improvement from the previous generation.
I'm pleasantly surprised at how cool to the touch the device stays, even after hours of uninterrupted use. Definitely on par, or better than my ipad slim. I bought mine during my lunch hour from work. I came back to the office, plugged it in and ran through initial set up.
The device was at about 40% charge when I pulled it out of the box. I then charged it to 100%, and proceeded to time the beginning, and end time for every use session. This way I could accurately measure the real world battery life with normal use.
I used it for a total of 5 sessions in the first 24 hours, and got 6 1/2 hours of actual use time. In that time, I read and replied to e-mails, downloaded and set up all office 365 applications, played around in Onenote, then sketched with the pen for about an hour, watched a couple of hours of youtube videos, imported and tweaked some spreadsheets in Excel, used the pen to work out lots of math problems and used it to make several Amazon purchases. Then, when the device was down to about 3% battery, I charged it again for the second time. This time I turned off the keyboard's back light, because I'm a touch typist, and rarely look at my keyboard even when in almost complete dark. I then clicked on the battery icon, and changed the device settings to "Recommended". To my surprise, the device only marginally dimmed the screen brightness, but the result was that on my second charge, I got abut 8 1/2 hours of use. I could even go lower on the settings to "Best Battery Life", and it would probably push it to about 10 hours of use. I just choose NOT to do that, because then my display would be too dark to be enjoyable.
The device keeps its charge intact when turned off, and inside my messenger bag for several hours every day.
After the 3rd full charge, I am getting consistently, between 6.5 to 8.5 hours, depending on what software I'm running.
I suspect that those manipulating large 3D creations in zbrush, or modo, will definitely see less battery hours than I.
The kick stand is slightly less rigid than on the surface pro 4, but I see no wobble or any reason to feel insecure about it.
The only reason I took 1 star from this review, is that after one week of use, now I have spotted a small point (The size of half a drop of water) on the screen, where I can see some faint back light bleed when on a completely black screen. Again, I can ONLY see it during the all black boot up screen, or if I REALLY look for it while watching movies with dark backgrounds, while on a room with all lights turned off. I cannot see this spot on any other circumstance. It is so faint, that I can't see it, even if I look for it during normal use. I'm a hard nitpicker, and probably would have thought about exchanging my unit, if I had noticed this the first day. But now that all my accounts are synched, I've downloaded all my applications and installed all my personal files on here... the hassle is not worth it. So, PLEASE check your screen as SOON as you boot it up for the first time, and you should be golden.
To end on a happy note, I have to say that for a few days, I really contemplated getting the new Ipad pro instead of the surface pro.
If you are a digital artist who ONLY wants a portable digital sketchbook, and you do NOT require the device for any serious work... then the ipad pro is probably the best option for you. Simply because the ipad pencil has a lower initial activation force for the pen. This makes it feel more natural when drawing. However, writing on either device feels quite similar. After a few days of comparisons, I had to move up to the Macbook pro as an alternative, because the ipad pro just didn't measure up to my personal and professional needs. But then I realized that the new Macbooks have NO legacy USB 3.0 ports, no Micro SD card slot, and only 2 USB C type ports. Welcome to dongles galore! I need my device to be as portable as possible. Having to carry around several adapter cables and dongles would really put a strain on my already cluttered bag. Not to mention that I would only be able to afford the 128GB model, which I know for sure is not enough for my needs. The 256GB on my surface pro, coupled with the ability to keep a 128gb SD cart permanently inserted in it for extra space, was just too good to pass up. Then I realized I would also lose the touch screen, and digital pen capabilities if I went with the Macbook pro. Next, the software compatibility issues between the MAC OS and some of the learning software that I use, meant that I would still have to install Windows on a partition of my Macbook pro. Then I would have to start dealing with itunes for my videos and audio files. No. Just NO. Too many negatives crept in, to the point where I felt that the Surface Pro was really tailor made for people like myself.
In my case, I wanted a portable device that I could use not just for fun. But that I could use to take notes and draw graphs and images during lectures; use in work meetings as a digital white board while hooked to a projector; work out math/physics problems without having to waste paper; use to manipulate CAD or Photoshop images while on the go; compile and share PDFs or any other format work/school related documents, while having the ability to mark them up, highlight and share them easily; use for coding/programming; and that as an added bonus, could be used as a fun machine for watching movies and drawing/painting on the go.
If you want a thin, sleek device that can REALLY replace your laptop, then the Surface Pro is the definite winner.
In short, if you want an ultra portable device optimized for content creation, get the Surface Pro.
If you want a portable device optimized for content consumption, then get the Ipad Pro.
I have owned multiple phones, laptops, game consoles, portable game devices, both work and gaming computers etc...
I'm so happy with this device, that this is the first time I have felt compelled to write a review for an electronic device ever.
Good luck with your search.