Mi­crosoft Sur­face Pro 4

Will Mi­crosoft’s new Win­dows won­der, with its ex­cel­lent sty­lus, out­stand­ing screen and cre­ative soft­ware ca­pa­bil­ity, be enough to woo dig­i­tal artists?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

Will this Win­dows won­der woo fan­tasy and sci-fi artists with its ex­cel­lent sty­lus and cre­ative soft­ware ca­pa­bil­ity?

The screen res­o­lu­tion is very crisp. It’s bright too, with vi­brant colour and you’ll have no prob­lem out­doors

Price From £749 Com­pany Mi­crosoft Web www.mi­crosoft­store.com

As touch­screens, graph­ics tablets and mo­bile de­vices be­gin to merge, all kinds of new op­tions are ap­pear­ing for artists. But it’s hard to pick out some­thing pro­grade enough for the se­ri­ous artist that’s also light on the wal­let.

Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face Pro 4 cer­tainly gets pro billing from its maker. It’s a 12.3-inch tablet that comes with a sty­lus, and be­cause it runs Win­dows 10 it can also han­dle the likes of Pho­to­shop and Painter.

What re­ally shines about Sur­face Pro 4 is its screen. The res­o­lu­tion of 2,736 x 1,824 at 267PPI means it’s very crisp. It’s bright too, with vi­brant colour, and you’ll have no prob­lem us­ing it out­doors on a sunny day.

The Sur­face Pen of­fers 1,048 lev­els of pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity – four times bet­ter than Sur­face Pro 3’s pen, but half the pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity of the Wa­com equiv­a­lent. Whether you no­tice 1,048 lev­els of sen­si­tiv­ity is an­other mat­ter. But the glide and trac­tion feel smooth and nat­u­ral when draw­ing. For an ex­tra £10, you can or­der a set of tips meant to sim­u­late 2H, H, HB and B pen­cil grades. B de­liv­ers greater fric­tion for a softer graphite, while 2H trans­lates to less fric­tion and some­what skates across the screen. Flip the pen around, and there’s an eraser on the other tip – a nice touch that you don’t get with Ap­ple Pen­cil. There’s a tiny bit of la­tency when draw­ing, sim­i­lar to the iPad Pro. When not in use the pen snaps neatly to the side of the tablet.

Sur­face Pro 4 won’t re­place a toplevel Cin­tiq, but then it doesn’t cost over £2,000. If you want one to run Pho­to­shop et al, you’ll prob­a­bly need a Sur­face with In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD stor­age, at £1,049 (£109 more for a key­board).

At this price and spec, Sur­face Pro 4 beats Wa­com’s Cin­tiq Com­pan­ion, which runs on Win­dows and runs Pho­to­shop and Painter, but costs over £1,500. How­ever, Sur­face gets stiffer com­pe­ti­tion from a sim­i­larly specced 12.9-inch iPad Pro at £949 (plus £79 for the Ap­ple Pen­cil). For a tablet as your main de­vice, on a bud­get, Sur­face Pro 4 is a great choice. How­ever, for a sec­ondary de­vice, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro prob­a­bly has the edge.

The low-glare screen is truly bril­liant and lines are dis­played sharp and crisp.

Mi­crosoft has nearly per­fected the glide/fric­tion quo­tient with the Sur­face Pen.

The tablet boasts an 8MP rear-fac­ing, auto-fo­cus cam­era (1080p HD) and a 5MP front-fac­ing, 1080p HD cam­era.

The Pro 4 comes with a USB 3.0, mini Dis­playPort and mi­croSD card reader.

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