Surface Pro 6 review: The convertible for every purpose?
Microsoft is quite successful with its Surface series. So I wanted the Surface Pro 6 take a closer look. What the notebook tablet is capable of and how convinced I am, we'll take a look at in the following test.
The Surface Pro 6 became officially presented in October 2018. There you have it next to the Surface Laptop 2 (to the test report) and the Surface Studio 2 presented to the public. I had the business convertible on the test bench for a few weeks now. Or is it not just business? We clarify this question - now review.
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You can already see from the outside of the packaging which device you are holding in your hands. The packaging is also kept simple, and you can also find the selected operating system and color of the Surface Pro 6 right on top. If you slide open the packaging, the Surface lies directly on top. Among them there are things like power supply, charging cable and some paper. Things like the Surface Pen and keyboard(!) are not included by default. A missing keyboard makes no sense at all in a notebook.
Workmanship and design
The Surface Pro 6 is very well made. Nothing wobbles, the stand doesn't shift on its own, and the buttons feel good. Otherwise there is nothing to complain about - things like the jack connection or micro SD slot are also well worked out. It's also pretty slim and light: the Surface Pro 6 is only 0,85 cm thin and weighs just 771 g.
Otherwise, the design of the Surface series hasn't really changed since the first model. The sixth edition looks pretty much the same as the model from 2013. However, you should have a cover for the Surface when transporting it in backpacks Pro 6 because the case gets dented pretty quickly. It's also quite prone to scratches.
Equipment and display
The equipment of the Surface is pretty meager, though. Microsoft has not really increased the number of connections since the first model. For example, there is no modern USB-C port or Thunderbolt 3. There is only the Surface Connect port, for which you can connect a dock Surface dock needs around 230 euros. There are a total of 1xUSB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader and a headphone / microphone socket. It is incomprehensible why one does not yet rely on USB 3.1.
While there is definitely room for improvement in terms of the connections and will definitely have to rely on a Thunderbolt connection in the future, there is absolutely nothing to criticize when it comes to the display. The 12,3-inch display has a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels and has pretty much the best and most accurate color representation that I have ever seen on a notebook. Microsoft is really trying hard to put great displays into its devices.
The brightness can be adjusted to a maximum of 410 nits and offers a contrast ratio of 1290:1. Thus, the rich black and the bright white make a big difference Proprograms like Photoshop or when watching videos. In the color space one covers around 70 Procent from AdobeRGB - that's not so special, other models can do that better. Unfortunately, working in the sun is absolutely impossible due to the touchscreen. You see nothing but yourself – reflected in the display.
Specs and battery life
The i5-8250U, which is about a year old Prozessor did a pretty decent job on a day-to-day basis. In addition, there was 8 GB of RAM on my test device. Alternatively, you can also choose the version with 16 GB of RAM, which is significantly more expensive. The performance and the multitasking in everyday life were also convincing. The battery certainly lasted eight hours with normal surfing. I never got to the 13,5 hours specified by Microsoft. Thus, the battery life easily lasts for a whole work or school day. However, you should always shut down the Surface after use, as it uses quite a lot of battery in "Energy Saver" mode.
What struck me negatively, however, was that the mouse sometimes just “got stuck” while in use. Then I often had to wait a few seconds for the mouse to move again. However, I am assuming a bug in Windows 10 here, as it was with the asus zen book Pro 15 that's exactly what happened. Still very annoying.
Graphics-intensive applications run on the Surface Pro 6 not really good - due to a lack of graphics card (in the Surface Pro 6 sits a UHD 620 graphics chip). On the other hand, the Surface does not have a fan and is completely silent during operation. However, the case gets a bit warm during complex work, which is logical.
Keyboard and pen
The special feature of a convertible is the detachable keyboard and an optional pen for working. During the test I really liked the keyboard. It has a very good pressure point – I personally find it quite perfect. It is very incomprehensible that the keyboard is not included in the scope of delivery as standard - although providers such as Amazon do Pro 6 usually deliver in a bundle with a keyboard.
The Surface Pen, which supports a total of 4096 pressure levels, is also well suited for notes or other sketches. If you don't do this, you can confidently do without it - I used it very rarely. When not in use, it easily attaches magnetically to the Surface's case Pro 6. The Surface Pen also has buttons. For example, when you take notes in OneNote, you can switch to the eraser by pressing the button. If you press it in between, you start the Windows Ink workspace, where you can create a quick note, among other things. The button on the side does a right click.
Working on the go
Working on the go with Surface Pro I liked 6 very much. It fits in any backpack, the weight is not noticeable at all and it is quite compact. If you work at a table, you open the Surface and set the keyboard either at an angle or straight. I've actually always preferred the former. However, as mentioned above, working in the sun is impossible. But all laptops and convertibles with a touchscreen are the same here. Proif you brew it anyway, you can no longer see any of the content. You only see yourself reflected in the display.
What bothered me the most is the fact that the keyboard is not attached to the case. Working in the bus on your lap is not really possible either, as it wobbles all the time. I admit: a laptop would certainly be better suited for my purposes. Nevertheless, it should be noted here as an important point when making a purchase decision. I never really used the tablet mode without a keyboard, as this is still sparsely implemented under Windows 10 - in my opinion.
Camera, speaker and microphone
In these points, the Surface Pro 6 cut off very well. On the one hand the microphone, which has a good sound quality and prois easily suitable for video conferences or other telephone calls. However, the caller hears typing on the keyboard quite clearly. On the other hand, the two cameras – on the front and on the back – have a resolution of 5 or 8 megapixels. In general, the cameras are surprisingly good for a convertible, but absolutely necessary for this price.
I like the surface Pro 6. Unfortunately, I don't like the fact that it's very difficult to work with it on the lap on the go or on the bus. This is because the notebook with the stand at the back wobbles quite a bit and the keyboard doesn't sit firmly on the case. Tablet mode is also not an option for writing articles, for example. I still don't think this is fully developed in Windows 10.
Nevertheless, the Surface is portable due to its low weight and easy to take with you anywhere. But what would personally deter me from buying it are the meager connections (no HDMI, only 1x USB 3.0). The Surface Dock, with which these connections are provided later, costs around 200 dollars - simply too much for private individuals. The performance is absolutely fine for working (even with Photoshop), the Surface is for gaming Pro Nothing, of course - but that should be clear to everyone. On the other hand, it is completely quiet due to the lack of fans.
Finally, I would recommend the Surface Pro 6 not necessarily missing for private individuals, precisely because of above reasons. I'd rather go there 2 Laptop Surface or 2 Surface Book to grab. Nevertheless, the Surface series from Microsoft is and will remain expensive and is therefore aimed more at business customers, among other things.