Thinner Surface Pro 4 gets improved pen and Type Cover

— 11:15 AM on October 6, 2015

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 has arguably been a success, and the company wants to keep that momentum going with the Surface Pro 4. This latest "tablet that can replace your laptop" packs Skylake CPUs and a host of other improvements.

For starters, the new Surface is thinner than its predecessor at 8.4mm. The screen has grown slightly to 12.3", although the convertible's footprint hasn't changed, thanks to thinner bezels. Microsoft says the screen's effective resolution is 267 PPI (which suggests a ballpark resolution of just above 2700 x 1800), and that it's covered by a 400-micron-thick sheet of Gorilla Glass 4. The company also touts improved touch sensitivity, thanks to a custom-designed display control chipset. This ultra-thin display stack and its control hardware are collectively called "PixelSense."

Skylake CPUs power the new Surface, which can be ordered with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. Microsoft has also made sizable improvements to the Surface's pen input. The pen can detect 1,024 levels of pressure and comes with a tail eraser that doubles as a button for invoking Windows 10 features like Cortana. The pen attaches to the Surface with magnets when it's not being used, and users will have a choice of tips at their disposal.

The Type Cover also gets a few improvements. The keyboard is now backlit, and its key pitch widens to 19mm. The individual keys have 1.3mm travel and a new scissor-switch mechanism. The Type Cover's touchpad is now 40% bigger and features 5-point multitouch functionality. A fingerprint scanner sits next to the touchpad for integration with Windows Hello.

Preorders for the Surface Pro 4 start tomorrow, and it'll begin shipping October 26. Prices start at $899.

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