Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review round-up: here’s what the experts are saying

Surface Pro 6 black

Ahead of the wider European release of the Microsoft Surface Pro 6, we’ve rounded up a collection of reviews, thoughts and opinions from some of the most popular online tech experts below.

Feel free to click on through to the full reviews for in-depth conclusions, and/or order from your country’s respective store below – this page will be updated as it’s released in more countries, so stay tuned.

Order the Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The Verge on…

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (The Verge)

Design: “The only external design change is the new matte black finish. I like it a lot, and paired with a burgundy Type Cover it’s a great looking device. Microsoft thankfully went for matte over glossy for the finish, so I haven’t noticed it picking up ugly fingerprint marks or stains.”

Performance: “During my testing, I didn’t notice huge performance boosts for regular tasks, but I did notice the Surface Pro 6 felt a lot more snappier than the previous model for launching apps and multitasking. I’m impressed that Microsoft managed to squeeze an Intel Core i7-8650U processor inside a relatively silent machine. I never noticed the fans spin up during my testing.”

Battery life: “Battery life has also been solid. I’ve averaged around eight hours of battery life for my daily workload of browsing on Chrome with around 10 desktop apps also running.”

“The battery life will be enough for a day of work, or to play Netflix videos and some games. Like most Surface Pro devices, you won’t be playing high-end games on this due to the built-in Intel graphics, but casual games from the Microsoft Store will run just fine.”

Overall thoughts: “The Surface Pro 6 might look a little familiar and lack modern ports, but it’s still the portable laptop and tablet hybrid to beat. For now.”

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Windows Central on…

Windows Central Surface Pro 6

Design: “The finish makes Surface Pro 6 slightly thicker at the micron level (1 micron =0.001 millimeters) requiring a custom black enclosure to make sure all the parts fit together, but it’s barely noticable. Additionally, all the ports and buttons are entirely blacked-out too. The result is stunning. The black is matte and is surprisingly very good at resisting fingerprints.”

Screen: “Overall, the Surface Pro 6’s screen is excellent. It’s near-perfect for color accuracy, touch works well, and the display brightness is outstanding with a peak of about 470-nits in the display center.”

Surface Pen: “Microsoft also maintains just 2.1 milliseconds of inking latency from last year’s model due to the inking co-processor that’s part of the Surface Pro 6 display. That co-processor connects the GPU to the screen’s digitizer and helps speed up pen calculations.”

“Microsoft has steadily improved both the firmware for Surface Pen and made better apps with more significant support, such as Microsoft To Do, OneNote, and Sticky Notes 3.0.”

Type Cover: “The keys are three-stage backlit with 1.3mm of travel. The trackpad is Microsoft Precision and still one of the best found on any Windows 10 PC. Those upgrading from Surface Pro 4 can reuse their current Type Cover, but the redesigned ones from 2017 feature dedicated keys for the display brightness.”

Windows Hello: “The front-facing 5.0 MP camera is easily the best on the market for any laptop or PC. It’s sharp, colorful, and is perfect for Skype.”

“Flanking the front-facing camera are the Windows Hello infrared sensors for facial recognition. The technology remains the same, but Microsoft must have tweaked the performance and resume times for Surface Pro 6. It takes just two seconds now from the moment you hit the power button until you are logged into Windows 10 – which is remarkably fast.”

Performance: “Overall, the Surface Pro 6 – even at the Core i5 level – is a substantial performer. The quad-core boost is considerable coming close to what the Dell XPS 15 Core i7 achieved just 18 months ago. Graphics are improved as well over last year’s model, and the SSD is much faster. All these improvements add up to a very fast, lag-free, and enjoyable experience with the Surface Pro 6.”

Overall thoughts: “The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is a minor upgrade, but the entire package is a major winner. Those who want the most flexible, powerful, and frankly fun PC around will be hard pressed to find anything better. Last year, I said the Surface “is the culmination of the previous releases with nothing but improvements all around. It’s astonishingly beautiful, reliable, and delightful to use.” That statement is more true than ever.”

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Engadget on…

Design: “Most recently, the company has been focusing on a modern gray aesthetic for most of its computers, which seems more approachable. The black case has a hipper and more mysterious vibe in comparison.”

Type Cover: “The keyboard hasn’t changed from last year: It still offers a great typing experience, with wonderful responsiveness and a solid amount of key travel. And the trackpad remains smooth and accurate.”

Performance: “In our testing, the Surface Pro 6 didn’t feel significantly different than last year’s model. Our review model featured a Core i5 8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It had no trouble keeping up with my daily workflow, which involves opening dozens of tabs, multiple documents, playing Spotify, juggling tons of Slack conversations and doing some occasional photo editing. I never felt any sluggishness — but I didn’t really expect any, since last year’s Surface Pro was more than enough for me.”

Overall thoughts: “The Surface Pro 6 is the complete tablet PC package: It’s fast, light and has a great keyboard cover. But that was also true of last year’s model. And it’s facing stiffer competition this year from the Surface Go.”

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Stuff on…

Surface Pro 6 on a table

Design: “In fact, the main design change is the new matte black aluminium finish, which now joins the existing platinum finish. It is lovely IRL, right down to the contrast with the shiny Windows logo, and a good move on Microsoft’s part.”

Screen: “And whether it’s black and white movies or colour work in creative apps, we can now report pleasantly deep blacks and crisp whites on this new edition. Otherwise, colours are bold and bright and you should have no complaints with this screen.”

Performance: “The Pro 6 is well.. a consummate pro with none of the pesky fan noise the Surface series used to suffer from (thanks to a cooling system upgrade) and no complaints from us when it comes to handling multiple apps.”

Surface Pen: “Chances are, if you’re interested in the Surface it’s at least in part down to the Surface Pen and the ability to fold the rear hinge right back and write, sketch or doodle. We messed about a bit drawing but a Wacom-stylus-using creative I consulted was seriously impressed with the feel and accuracy of the Pen.”

Overall thoughts: “If you need a versatile, creative machine with power and stamina, the Surface Pro 6 could be just what you’re looking for.”

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The Guardian on…

Surface Pro 6 - the guardian

Design: “New for this year is a sleek black paint job, joining the platinum silver. The slightly textured, but smooth finish and colour combination are gorgeous. Black is definitely the one to get.”

Type Cover: “It costs at least £100, but the Surface Go’s Type Cover is a marvel. Despite being a little narrower than the full-size Surface Pro version it has a large, excellent trackpad, well-sized keys and a very satisfying typing experience.

Within 10 minutes I was touch typing at full speed, with a satisfying amount of key travel and the option to have the keyboard either flat on the desk or propped up at an angle. It’s one of the best typing experiences I’ve used on any compact laptop, let alone a tablet.”

Performance: “Performance across the board was excellent, blowing through even very large image manipulation jobs in Affinity Photo. The integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics chip means you’re unlikely to be able to play any modern graphically intensive games on high settings, nor be able to edit multiple 4K videos, but the Surface Pro should handle everything else with ease.”

“The Surface Pro is silent in day-to-day operation with a new thermal design for the fanless i5 which helps maintain performance when pushed.”

Battery life: “Battery life has improved significantly. The Core i7 variant of the Surface Pro 5 only lasted six hours 40 minutes between charges. The Core i5 version as tested lasted nine hours, which is long enough to go out for day’s work without having to pack the charger.”

Type Cover: “The Type Cover remains the best typing experience on any detachable or convertible tablet and is an essential purchase with the Surface Pro. It attaches to the bottom of the tablet with a reassuring magnetic snap and closes on the screen to protect it on the move.”

Overall thoughts: “It’s cheaper, more powerful, lasts longer and is just as well made, portable and easy to carry and live with as last year’s model. Its additional Type Cover keyboard is an essential additional purchase, while the Surface Pen is also good, but not essential for most. It even looks fantastic in the new black colour.”

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