Thinking About the New Surface Pro

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 67 Comments

Thinking About the New Surface Pro

With Microsoft finally announcing a long-awaited Surface Pro refresh, here are a few thoughts about what this device says about the future of the software giant’s hardware lineup.

As you may know, it’s been a roller coaster couple of months for Surface Pro fans. Microsoft last updated this product in October 2015, fully 19 months ago, and the call for a refresh had reached frantic levels by the beginning of this year.

In late April, Microsoft announced its financial earnings for the first calendar quarter of 2017, confirming what critics had feared: In announcing that Surface revenues fell 26 percent to $831 million (from $1.3 billion a year ago), Microsoft admitted, implicitly, that it had misjudged the timing of this Surface Pro refresh by one quarter.

I suspect this was a calculated risk: With Apple pushing its non-iPhone release schedules out further and further, Microsoft probably felt that it needed to do the same with Surface. But inventory control has never been the Surface team’s strong point, and this is just the latest example.

Critics will likely point out, too, that a subtly improved Surface Pro (2017) is perhaps not innovative enough. I do take exception to the lack of even a single USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port, but beyond that, I disagree: Surface Pro is Microsoft’s best-selling hardware device by far, and managing this success is important. Microsoft can experiment with new form factors and technologies elsewhere.

The updates we see here are, I think, a great balance. Few Surface Pro 4 owners will feel compelled to upgrade, but that also means that their hardware investment was sound, and that their device will look/feel modern for some time to come. For new customers, the new Surface Pro offers just enough refinement to justify another look.

Microsoft was likewise pragmatic about the new Surface Pen. On the one hand, it no longer bundles the Pen with Surface Pro, and I was told that very few customers (about 30 percent) ever use the peripheral. But on the other, Surface Pen is incredibly important to those Surface Pro 4 users who do use the peripheral, and the new version is much improved.

The other issue that doesn’t get enough attention, I think, is Microsoft’s pledge to retain peripheral compatibility across Surface generations. This nod to enterprises is important for Microsoft’s core customer base, and these businesses can now mix and match existing Surface Pro 4 deployments with new Surface Pros, and never need to worry about an employee uprising.

It’s also important to remember that the Surface Pro design is sound, and has stood the test of time. Microsoft may not have invented the 2-in-1 form factor, but it certainly formalized and popularized this design, as evidenced by all the outright copies out there in the world, from every single PC maker. And again, the software giant is always free to experiment with new form factors and technologies elsewhere.

The only thing I’m bothered by here, ultimately, is that Microsoft isn’t doing what it normally does so well by providing a half-step to the future by starting to incorporate USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 while retaining the old Surface Connect and USB 3 ports. This is what some other PC makers are doing, and those individuals who wish to switch from the traditional charging and docking solution to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 will see big benefits. That this is missing from Surface entirely is a shame, and Microsoft’s tone deaf response to the complaints is, frankly, embarrassing.

Ultimately, I like what I see here for the most part. And I suspect that this device will meet the needs of many users for years to come. The only question now is whether the sales mix shifts to favor Surface Laptop, a device that is arguably more in keeping with the mass market of PC users than a 2-in-1. The next year could be interesting, assuming we ever hear from Microsoft about how that internal battle goes.

But we do have a nice hint at Microsoft’s expectations: As I noted in Microsoft Announces New Surface Pro, Surface Pen, and Signature Type Covers, the software giant is for the first time marketing Surface Pro as a laptop, because that is how must customers actually use the device.

You gotta give the people what they want.


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Comments (67)

67 responses to “Thinking About the New Surface Pro”

  1. Fusciacastle

    The USB C dongle solution is adequate for this generation. Worldwide release will pop the numbers.

  2. Robin

    USB-C/Thunderbolt sucks! Hurray for USB-A, hurray for Bluetooth 5.0 and hurray for Microsoft's proprietary surface docking solution!

  3. will

    This was a good refresh and the battery life upgrades alone are worth it for me. It makes me curious what they will do with the Surface Book later this year? As has been mentioned the lack of USB-C is misguided as everyone is going that direction and Microsoft could have at least included it on the device. Replace the USB-A, but leave the dock connector and USB-A ports on the dock.

    Like I said I am very curious what they will do with the Surface Book refresh. As Paul mentioned Microsoft has been working on the Surface Pro line for several years and has been working to make it better and better. They have positioned the Book as the powerful Surface device, but if not many people use the pen I would guess that even less have taken the Surface Book and used it as a tablet.

    It will be interesting to see what they do later this year...

    Oh and as for LTE, YEA!!

  4. Waethorn

    "Surface Pro is Microsoft’s best-selling hardware device by far"

    REALLY?! I'd say they sold more mice and keyboards than PC's.

  5. Stoicjim

    I ordered the Surface Laptop (i7,16GB. 512GB) at $2199 because of the lack of an sdcard port (gotta have some space) but am unhappy with the lack of ports. I suspect if I live with it awhile it's deficiencies will start to not matter much. I had every intention of also upgrading from my SP3 to the new SP because, even though I also have a Surface Book (love it), my goto device for travel is the SP3. The smaller SL may obviate that need. Now I just have to control myself to hold off on the new SP until I have some time to evaluate the SL.

    Ah, the new cpu and battery time may be the deciding factor in upgrading from my SP3 to the new SB.

  6. Monte Constable

    I disagree with the embarassing remark Paul. I get why people want it, but ultimately the standard is not there and Surface is not big enough to sway the industry to it's implementation of USB C. That means different cords from different manufacturers.

  7. tbtalbot

    I don't care about the USB-C right now - but I do have surface docking stations plus a couple prepositioned surface power adapters, so the continuity is important here. They got rid of SD card?? Really? That sucks!

    (love the battery life - am ordering one.) I finally broke my SP3 and the Surface book is good but is too large to use as a tablet on on the airplane.

  8. mark_rasmussen

    Are the improvements to the pen a function of the pen alone or does it require the newer surface? Stated another way - is there an advantage to purchasing the pen for older surface models? Are there color coordinated pen loops - OK I really don't care about that?

    • Detective Polarphant

      In reply to mark_rasmussen: It looks like the tilt support works with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3, as well as all Surface devices after that - except for the Surface Laptop - which is weird:
      The improved latency only works with the new Surface Pro - it requires a sensor that's built into the screen...
      Matching pen loops aren't technically possible yet :)
  9. edboyhan

    I still believe that before the end of the year we'll see a Surface Dock 2 with 1 or more USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, Ethernet, USB 3, display port, and power all through the magnetic connector. That connector can support an enormous amount of bandwidth. Some reports have said that the magnetic connector has access to 8 lanes of PCIE.

    Thunderbolt 3 does require a controller. If that must be on the motherboard, then only PC's specifically designed for it will work. If that controller can be outbound (like on a Surface dock 2), then the capability would be backwards accessible to previous Surface devices.

    Panos is smart the dongle comment indicates he is thinking in this direction -- we shall see (:grin)

  10. Detective Polarphant

    I understand the concern that these new Surface models don't have USBC - but the USBC standard is a complete mess at the moment - so maybe Microsoft are right to wait.

    It's one port, but depending on the computer you buy, it's functions are different, and there is no way to tell visually - this is completely confusing for normal users. If they buy a dock or adapter, it might work, or it might not...

    This situation will continue for a long time, since lower specced computers will not be able to support Thunderbolt 3 due to their processors and chipsets. I think it was a mistake to not provide a clear way to visually determine the functionality of different USBC ports.

    In addition, whilst you can charge from any USBC charger, attempting do so from a phone charger - which people will do - will take ages to charge the device - customers will blame the device, and complain...

    Even worse is the incompatibility of docks and adapters - many good reviewers allude to this - they work with one computer and not with another. This is a great way to annoy customers and have them blame the device.

    As far as I can tell, the proprietary Microsoft Dock works pretty well - so by not opening themselves up to the muddled USBC standard Microsoft might have dodged a bullet...

    Just because something is the latest, doesn't mean it's the greatest.

    There's a good interview/article here:

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to Detective Polarphant:

      I dunno, MS could do the aspirational thing and properly implement the port by supporting all use types. USB-C will continue to be a mess if the premiere devices fail to lead the way. MS could integrate warnings into W10 about compatibility issues, just like when you'd plug a USB 2.0 device into a 1.0 port.

      And could it be possible to transition the Surface dock to USB-C as well?

      • Detective Polarphant

        In reply to Darmok N Jalad: Hmm...if they added the USBC port supporting all use types that would mitigate some of the problems - but there would still be the problems with all the 3rd party docks and adapters. I don't know, but I'm guessing it's a lot of work for them to identify every third party USBC dock and report on it's compatibility. Even if they could, customers would still blame the device and Microsoft - popping up warning dialogues provides a bad and unreliable user experience I think.
        It's a shame the USBC standard hasn't implemented a compatible magnetic USBC standard - it would be very useful for mobile devices. In busy mobile environments the magnetic connector is an excellent solution for protecting the device.
        I guess the best solution would be if Microsoft cam design a custom USBC magnetic port that works with standard USBC cables and a proprietary magnetic connector...then users have the choice.

  11. psh_vt

    I agree. I'm a (very satisfied) Surface Pro 3 user. As you say, I feel that my "hardware investment was sound." I upgraded the pen, touch cover and dock to the SP4 versions and so feel like I have a SP 3.75. My only unfulfilled wish with the SP3 is all-day battery life -- but 1). I don't really need that -- I'm not away from an outlet more than a couple hours a day and 2). I don't want more battery life at the cost of more weight. (I am a pedestrian commuter and I carry my Surface everywhere. My back really notices the difference when I get much over 3 pounds, so I really appreciate this thing!)

    I like that the Surface is now a mature and stable device.

    As to the pen -- I use a pen maybe 20% of the time, but it's a really important 20%. (Drawing, entering music notation, annotating class presentations, note-taking.) I can't picture myself going back to a standard laptop form.

    To be honest, I'm agnostic on the USB C. I love that connector on my Android phone because of the fast charging. On my SP3, there's no immediate benefit for me -- I'm connecting to USB A or VGA through a mini-display dongle (in the classrooms where I teach.)

  12. victorchinn

    WHAT?? No Windows 10 S even though the $799 entry price is LOWER than the $999 entry price of Surface Laptop ? Shouldn't Microsoft force Windows 10 S on this device (and include $200 of Microsoft Store money so they can get a quality apps like iTunes and Office) to go after the highly price sensitive segment of the market? No wonder they make this announcement in the Far East !

    New Surface Pro == the laptop that replaces the "tablet that replaces your laptop" ?? whatever ...

  13. MutualCore

    Honestly I felt Microsoft did the right thing not rushing Surface Pro 5 to market last fall. I felt that they needed to absolutely nail the pen(less latency, tilt support and more pressure levels) before coming out with the iterated tablet portion. Now they are looking quite good by shoring up those areas that were major weaknesses:

    pen, battery life, sleep/wake.

    Also no, lack of USB-C is not a weakness at this point no matter the bellyaching on tech forums. The average person does not give a shit about that.

    Also figuring out how to make the i5 fanless and bring LTE are huge engineering wins. The LTE is of course not on the chip since the Core series are CPUs, not SOCs. But they basically glued an LTE modem with the antennas on the mainboard w/o sacrificing battery life. Kudos!

  14. davidblouin

    Just being the only one on the internet saying that i don't care if Surface Pro 4.5 doesn't offer the latest i/o ports just like i don't care that they don't offer an orange version.

  15. gurdas

    The new Surface Pro is a decent refresh and brings new, real-world useful, functionality/features to a much loved device - more battery life and better pen experience.

    I started using the Surface Pro 2 back in early 2014 and never looked back or at another laptop. I am a research scholar, and during and after my PhD, I continue to use number crunching and programming software with mid size data sets. It is not uncommon for me to open an Excel file that is over 100 MB or read a data set that is 1 GB. And I go to conferences where, when you walk around all day, every extra ounce of hardware weight is noticeable. The Surface Pro series met almost all my needs and exceeded some. The two areas I'd like to see improved are more battery life and less thermal throttling.

    I tend to follow one cycle behind to get the best bang for the buck. My Surface Pro 3 still feels contemporary since I upgraded to the SP4 Type Cover. Also, to truly enjoy a Surface Pro, it is important to get the latest Type Cover and an original dock.

    No other device along with its ecosystem does what the Surface Pro is doing - exceptional portability and power, while still giving you a near desktop experience at home.

  16. Brian560

    There is no Windows 10-S option? I wonder if 4GB RAM is enough even for the m3?

  17. Narg

    I too want USB-C on the next Surface Pro, but hope they keep the magnetic charging port. Charging via either port should be possible, if they'd just do it. I still don't get how "premium" hardware companies still miss on things I find should be basic.


    The pricing on these devices is ridiculous given the utter lack of any advanced I/O. This is Hamburger as Steak prices.

  19. red.radar

    I have to wonder what the impacts on sales for laptops/surface devices will be if the TSA expands the ban on laptops for air travel. The moment business travelers are affected I wonder if it will cause a big shift in purchasing behavior.

  20. chaad_losan

    Always just one thing missing. Hello USB Type C? And they are expensive too.

  21. adacosta

    Surface Pro 4 seems like the winner here with that price drop.

  22. rameshthanikodi

    Microsoft is selling a USB-C dongle that connects to the Surface Connector. It supports USB-C chargers and all that jazz. I think that's a pretty good half-step. Actually, I think the real half-step would be including a USB-C port and making everyone use dongles.

    • Polycrastinator

      In reply to rameshthanikodi:

      I'm interested to see if that works with existing devices: if I could add Type-C to my Surface Book it would be really useful to me. If the adapter can clip onto the port on the underside of the clipboard portion, doubly so.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to rameshthanikodi:

      That doesn't solve the issue. It's not about a port type, anyone can buy a USB-A to USB-C connector right now. It's about the performance you get with Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C.

      • Robin

        In reply to Paul Thurrott:

        The Surface Connect port has similar bandwidth as TB3 and it supports data and power. This dongle will allow anyone with a USB-C/TB3 docking station to use it with their Surface device. You get the added benefit of the magnetic port.

      • Eric Pellegrini

        In reply to Paul Thurrott:

        Paul, what Panso described is not simply a USB-A to USB-C converter. That could simply have plugged into the existing USB-A port. Panos touched on charging, display and TB over the connector in his comments.

  23. gjsmyth

    The refresh looks really good. Mobile support is an important option.

    I understand the pen isn't for everyone - but I'd have thought 30% was actually a pretty good number and certainly not something I'd have associated with "very few customers."

    Not interested in pen? Surface Laptop seems designed for that market.

  24. Bats

    A couple of things here...

    One of Microsoft's best attributes is their ability to be a half a step ahead? that a joke?

    Finally an admission from Paul, that goes against everything he said in the past "Microsoft didn't invent the 2 in 1." The 2 in 1 form, is where it is today, because there is a demand for portable computing at the productive level. That's why the iPad Pro did so well when it came out as well as other various other Android tablets. It's not about the Surface Pro's form factor and design. If that was the case, the Surface Pro 1 and 2 would've been runaway hits. The bottom line is that people need to type and that's why the Surface Pro, iPad Pro, and Galaxies have enjoyed limited success. 

    Today, all three (3) devices are not selling well and it's not those companies fault. It's just the evolution of the computer market. New technologies are forming, along with new platforms and Microsoft is very bad when it comes to innovating. As Paul admitted, they didn't even innovate this form factor that failed in it's first and second versions. The third version, from what I read, performed much better, yet it wasn't a popular seller. Microsoft's excuse of "We made too much..." is laughable.

    As for me, I am not sure about this device. Like all previous Surface and Apple devices, the design is to "blah." HP came out with the new Spectre X2 and it's extremely elegant. Why can't Microsoft make something like that? Also, why not the Thunderbolt and other ports? The reasons given by Paul don't make sense, especially for a "laplet" that is a slight upgrade? 

    • Randall Lewis

      In reply to Bats:

      "Made too many" was in relation to Surface RT, arguably a different product. It seems like you are grasping at straws just to be critical. Paul is right that Microsoft popularized and proved the profitability of the 2 in 1 form factor. All other OEM copied it. As did Apple with iPad Pro, which they even labeled a PC replacement. Innovation must be in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn't put Microsoft in a category of the most innovative companies, but I think they do their share. As for the tech blogger obsession with USB C and Thunderbolt: Microsoft has pretty good reasons for why they chose not to include it in this device. See Windows Central for more. And they are planning a dongle to make the USB C available to those who feel they must have it now.

    • Chris Lindloff

      In reply to Bats:

      I believe that every quarter (and some before) that the iPad Pro has been out Apple has seen declines YOY in iPad sales. Or to put it bluntly the iPad Pro has done nothing to stop the sales decline of iPad's.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to Bats:

      You half right. Yes several time Paul made it look like that MS invented this specific format, even though devices existed thag looked and worked similar attached to both Android and IPads. It bring nothing particuralrly new. Well I guessed it served its purpose.

      But MS was the first to make me buy one. I always dreamed about a proper 2in1.

      But i must say that for me it turned out to be neither a good tablet or laptop for the money. Not even my children like to use it.

      A dream that was never fullfilled.

      Not even with prive drop my elder wants one :( He prerfers a proper laptop.

    • Jules Wombat

      In reply to Bats:

      Err Apple produced the iPad pro, AFTER Surface Pro and in resposne to it ?

      Love my SP4, and I do use the Pen.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to Bats:

      I have been describing the 2-in-1 thing consistently for years. :)

      Both SP3 and SP4 sold quite well. The SP4 is the best-selling Surface model yet. The "we made too much" thing was from the original Surface RT device. From 2012.

  25. cyloncat

    There are times that I want to be on the bleeding edge of tech, and times that I really don't. USB-C is on my "don't" list. I have no need of new peripherals now or in the foreseeable future, nor do I want to be pushed into the USB-C future.

    I will upgrade, though, replacing a Pro 4(m3) and Book (i5/dGPU/8/256) with a new i7 Pro/16/1T.

  26. Jason Lakes

    The (eventual) availability of the type-C dongle was enough to make me pull the trigger on this. I'm still using my original Surface Pro (1) and have needed to replace the device for quite some time. The dongle solution is a bit inelegant, sure, but it at least provides the connectivity for those who do (or will) need it.

    Can't wait to run my hands across the cobalt-blue Alcantara keyboard. (Important fact, and Paul take note: the cobalt blue Alcantara is the rarest of the breed, and it takes 6.2 of them to make just one Surface Pro keyboard. :-P )

  27. mmcpher

    I like what I've seen and heard about the new models. I'm curious if the new dial and pen enhancements will work for my SP3? I have an old SP3 (i7) and I have the newer pen and a SP4 keyboard and dial just for the hell of it. One of the things I've always loved about Microsoft is the way it's stuff gets better over time. It seems an obvious enough thing but a lot of companies get greedy when they hit upon a popular product and start churning out "updates" which might as well be knockoffs because they go cheap and hope the rep and buzz will drown out complaint. Microsoft seems all-in about keeping quality high.

  28. tboggs13

    Adding LTE is much more interesting to me than USB-C. That being said, I wish they could refresh the Surface Dock for Thunderbolt 3. I actually prefer the proprietary magnetic connector, but it could use an update and I bet they could use the same connector by adding more pins in that open middle space.

  29. GetEdumated

    On a Pro 3 and would have considered an upgrade for a device with USB-C. Too bad, MS.

  30. wunderbar

    I was in the market for a new laptop, but I won't buy something in 2017 that doesn't use/charge over USB-C. When you're spending upwards of $1000 on something you expect to last 3-4 years, Not having USB-C is, frankly, inexcusable.

    I ended up buying a Chromebook Plus a couple weeks ago instead. And honestly at a fraction of the cost it does everything I need in a portable laptop.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to wunderbar:

      They have already said they are releasing an adapter to support USB-C via the Surface Connector port. This is the perfect solution for people like you - you can have it if you need it. Problem solved. For my salesforce - LTE for the win. We have zero need for a USB-C port and if we do, for some weird reason, we can use the adapter.

    • warren

      In reply to wunderbar:

      It's annoying to people who are extremely sensitive about carrying cables, I guess, but hardly "inexcusable". You're exaggerating for effect.

      A magnetic connector is significantly nicer for both usability and safety of your computer. It just is. One of the biggest complaints people lodged about the recent Mac laptops was the removal of MagSafe in favour of USB-C charging. You don't want Microsoft going down this road. Would it be nice if the Surface Pro had a USB-C port? Sure.... but not for charging.

      • Paul Thurrott

        In reply to warren:

        No, he's right. It's inexcusable.

      • wunderbar

        In reply to warren:

        No, it's still pretty inexcusable in 2017, on a computer you might spend $2000 on and expect to last 4+ years. The inclusion of USB-C capability isn't about 2017. It's about 2018 and 2019 and beyond.

        Also, no one is saying they need to get rid of surface connect, especially in this generation. As an example, Dell computers that include USB C can charge over *either* the legacy barrel power connector or the USB-C connector. They didn't take away the legacy option while still adding the future proof option.

        • warren

          In reply to wunderbar:

          This problem you're concerned about for 2019 is already solved in 2017: Panos Panay demonstrated a Surface Connect to USB-C adapter today.

          • wunderbar

            In reply to warren:

            I completely understand (and almost enjoy) the irony in saying this, but a dongle is not the solution here.

            • warren

              In reply to wunderbar:

              No, you're wrong about that. It -is- a solution by the very definition of the word -- it's just not precisely the one you want. Man, you really dig exaggerating things past the point of basic truth, don't you? Personally I think it's kind of a dumb way to use English to express oneself.

              Panos said today that a Surface equipped with USB-C will come in the future, and there will be a dock with USB-C as well. If having built-in USB-C vs. a dongle/dock is crucial to someone's workflow in 2017 then okay, the Surface is not the right answer. But don't pretend that a dongle is a hard-blocker for a device purchase. It just isn't.

      • Jaxidian

        In reply to warren:

        You sound like you're assuming most people are asking to have the Surface Port replaced with USB Type-C. That's not the case. Most people want the Mini-DisplayPort replaced with USB Type-C. Most people want *both* the Surface Port and USB Type-C.

        As for me, I have standardized everything I can standardize on USB Type-C both for power and extensibility (monitors, network, storage, power, hubs, etc. - pretty much everything except for my damned Logitech unifying receiver). I've done this now for about a year and a half with my Dell XPS 13. I was really hoping to replace it with a Surface Laptop and I probably would have done so if it had a single Thunderbolt 3 port on it. But alas, that won't be an option for me for at least a fully year.

        What I use:

        • Huawei DockMate (USB Type-C dock that supports PD and has never given me any compatibility problems, although the placement of the USB Type-C port/cable is a little awkward. I use this when I travel.)
        • Dell TB15/TB16 - I do not use this. Dell has not yet managed to get a USB Type-C dock to work well.
        • FinSix Dart - This is my new USB Type-C charger of choice (only with my last trip did it move into that category). I love this thing and it has an added bonus of having an add'l USB Type-A port on it to plug another device into for power without an additional wall wart (though I'd prefer it to have also been Type-C since it's almost always used for charging my Type-C phone)
        • Dell Power Companion USB Type-C - This is an external battery pack that charges/powers a laptop over USB Type-C. This is GREAT for charging my phone or laptop when I don't have a power source nearby. Particularly awesome when in meetings all day or attending a major conference with lots of sessions.
        • Logitech M570 Trackball - I'd gladly move to a Bluetooth version or alternative product if it existed but I don't even know what I'd move to if Logitech discontinued this product. For now, I'm stuck having to rely on a Type-A Unifying Receiver
        • Various keyboards - I'm flexible here. I range from a couple Type-A mechanical keyboards at home to a couple wireless Logitech keyboards when I travel (which I could easily substitute with a Bluetooth keyboard if I wasn't already using a unifying receiver)
        • Various dongles to convert from USB Type-C to Ethernet, HDMI, and VGA when I need something smaller than a dock while traveling (the Ethernet is mostly unused now that I have my docks but the HDMI/VGA dongles are great when giving presentations while on battery and I don't want to deal with a dock)
        • Various SD Card readers and memory sticks - USB Type-C is very preferable here so it works with both my phone and my laptop. I still have some Type-A memory sticks but just because I've had them for years. I won't buy them any longer.

        To me, an ideal port arrangement (which is probably impossible to fit) would be:

        • 1x Surface Port
        • 2x USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports
        • 2x USB Type-A ports
        • 1x Mini-DisplayPort port
        • 1x Headphone jack

        Knowing that I would have to compromise, I'd alter that list in this order (prefer #1 as the first compromise, #2 as second, etc):

        1. 1x USB Type-A port
        2. 0x Mini-DisplayPort port
        3. 1x USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 port
        4. 0x Headphone jack (I suspect too many people would prefer to keep this though and I am NOT an advocate of removing this but if I could have USB Type-C instead of a headphone jack, I'd take that every time if I was forced to pick)

        With the recent addition of the Dart above, I've operated with this kind of setup now for over a year and it has been great! So for me, yes, it is "inexcusable" in the sense that I was very seriously wanting a Surface Laptop except for the fact that it had no USB Type-C port on it. For that reason alone, I will not consider purchasing the laptop. Absolute deal-breaker for me. I have adopted and embraced USB Type-C and it's a part of my life every day both at home and while I travel. And it's a shame, too. I really like pretty much everything else about the laptop (plus it'd let me play with Windows S for a week or two before I purged it for Pro)! But for now, I'll just stick with my aging Dell XPS 13 with a 5th gen Intel CPU even though I was really looking forward to a bump in SSD (256 now) and RAM (8GB now).

  31. stephen888

    I reviewed the original Surface Book nearly two years ago, and while I’ve been using it as my day-to-day laptop, it’s far from perfect.

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