It was definitely exciting to see Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL announced this morning, but some would argue that the Surface Pro 4 was actually the most important announcement at Microsoft’s big launch event. Well before we even heard about the two smartphones, the Surface line was serving as Microsoft’s flagship mobile device, and Microsoft certainly hasn’t forgotten that. The new Surface Pro 4 is ridiculously light and thin, and comes with enough power to put the MacBook Air to shame, all for a starting price of $899.99.
Microsoft’s Surface lineup, like Google’s Nexus devices, serves as a physical paragon of the operating system it runs—Windows 10 incarnate, an avatar of what’s possible when designers deeply intermingle hardware with software. It’s appropriate, then, that the Surface Pro 4 that Microsoft revealed on Tuesday is more of a Windows 10-focused refinement of the last-gen Surface Pro 3 than anything else, in much the same way that Windows 10 keeps Windows 8 in its heart, but tweaks the formula for desktop sensibilities. That’s no knock against the Surface Pro 4, though. Microsoft nailed 2-in-1 design with the Surface Pro 3, finally realizing the Surface ideal’s core vision. With a faster, more power-efficient Intel Skylake processor, a 12.3-inch display, and more, the Surface Pro 4 is easily the most compelling slate Microsoft’s ever released—and strong competition for the Surface clones that both Apple and Google revealed over the past month. “This is the thinnest, most powerful Core PC ever shipped, by far,” crowed Panos Panay, the Surface honcho and Microsoft’s new Devices boss. “Nothing even comes close.”