Hardware

Microsoft Surface Pro 4: The smart person's guide

A powerful notebook/tablet hybrid like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 can be a real advantage for many users. This guide describes its specs, who it's designed for, and why it matters.

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Image: Microsoft News

The modern enterprise workforce is a mobile workforce, and it has been that way for some time now. However, in just the past few years, the tools and devices that mobile workforce has had at its disposal have become lighter, slimmer, and much more powerful.

A prime example of these new thin, yet powerful, notebook/tablet hybrid computers is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which is available in several configurations spanning a wide range of prices. This guide looks at the essential details of the Surface Pro 4.

Executive summary

  • What it is: The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is the exemplar hybrid notebook/tablet computer, ranging in price from $899 to $2,699, depending on configuration.
  • Why it matters: The Surface Pro 4 establishes a market example for powerful computers designed to be used by a modern mobile workforce from the ground up.
  • Who it affects: Any enterprise dependent on a mobile workforce needs to supply that workforce with the best and most powerful tools.
  • When it's happening: The Surface Pro 4 is available now.
  • How to get it: The Surface Pro 4 is available from several vendors, but the Microsoft Store offers the most configuration options.

What it is

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is the prototypical notebook/tablet hybrid running Windows 10. With configurations ranging from 128GB of solid state storage running an Intel Core m3 CPU ($899) all the way up to 1TB of storage running an Intel Core i7 ($2,699), chances are good that there is a configuration that will work for you and your mobile workforce.

In addition to the preset Surface Pro 4 configurations, the Microsoft Store website allows you to customize your configuration. To keep the machines light in both weight and power usage, only sold-state storage options are available. Besides storage and CPU choices, you can also choose how much RAM you want in your Surface Pro 4. Table A outlines the specifications.

Table A

Table A

Specifications from the Microsoft Store

A Microsoft Surface Pro 4 can be used as a tablet, which takes advantage of its touch-screen interface, or as a notebook using the keyboard attachment, which doubles as a cover for the display. The Surface Pen gives users another interface option, allowing free-hand note taking. With the Surface Pen you can take notes like you would pen to paper, producing a more natural and intuitive experience.

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Why it matters

When it comes to the enterprise market, traditionally speaking, Microsoft has been considered a software company with its flagship applications being the Windows operating system and the Office 365 productivity suite. However, with the advent of new technologies like cloud computing and devices like smartphones, that traditional business has evolved into a service-based technology ecosystem.

Image A
Image: Microsoft News

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is the company's attempt to establish a hardware niche in the enterprise market for powerful computers designed from the ground up to be used by a modern mobile workforce. The Surface Pro 4 is part of Microsoft's often-repeated mantra of cloud-first, mobile-first.

By establishing a prototypical notebook/tablet hybrid, Microsoft provides an example to its third-party vendors of what a computer in this space, running Windows 10 and Office 365, could and should be. The Surface Pro 4 sets a standard for the Microsoft ecosystem.

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Who it affects

Just about any business enterprise with a modern workforce made up of knowledge workers on the go will need to supply those workers with powerful, yet mobile, computing tools. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4, with its hybrid notebook/tablet design, is a prime example of just such a tool. It provides enterprises with a starting place when comparing notebook/tablet hybrid devices offered by other vendors.

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When this is happening

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is available now and can be ordered from the Microsoft Store and other vendors.

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How to get it

Besides being available at a local Microsoft Store, the Surface Pro 4 can be purchased from Amazon, Best Buy, and numerous other vendors. However, to access all the available configuration options, the Microsoft Store is the best place to acquire a Surface Pro 4. The online Microsoft Store offers free shipping and returns as well.

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About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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