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Hands-on with Microsoft's new Surface Pro 4

Sarah K. White | Nov. 16, 2015
Microsoft has wanted consumers and enterprises to ditch traditional notebooks for the Surface tablets since 2012. And with the Surface Pro 4 that might finally be a realistic goal.

Battery life is impressive, and you'll likely get through an entire day of regular use without a problem, with a little battery life to spare at the end of the day. Microsoft claims you will get nine hours of video play back with one charge, but that doesn't seem realistic in testing. You should expect more like nine to 10 hours of battery with normal usage like Web browsing, using the Office Suite and maybe streaming a few videos or some music. This is more than sufficient if you're out and about without access to a plug to get a charge, or if you would prefer to leave the charging cord at home.

Enterprise-ready? Check

Getting into the enterprise is a goal for most tech companies and Microsoft has the luxury of already being a fixture in the business world. But it's starting to come up against competition, with more Apple devices popping up at work and Samsung introducing enterprise programs. And because enterprises are usually the last to adopt new technology, Microsoft knows it has to keep up its momentum if it wants to entice businesses to adopt the Surface Pro 4.

Enter the Microsoft Enterprise Initiative, which offers businesses some perks if they want to embrace Windows 10, the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The program allows companies that are already on the Surface users to trade in their old Surface Pro 3s -- as well as other eligible non-Surface devices -- towards the price of a new fleet of Surface Pro 4s or Surface Books.

For companies worried about security, especially since you can't remove the hard drive from the unibody design of the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft has a fix for that, too. If a device dies and can't be rebooted, Microsoft allows you to destroy the machine on site, and it will ship a new one without requiring you to return the compromised tablet. They've also changed up the warranty plan, since traditionally, each device comes with two warranty claims. Businesses that order a fleet of Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book devices, can group the warranties together to use on any device, without being limited to two warranties per device.

Microsoft also announced Dell as a reseller of the Surface devices, which means you can get the Surface Pro 4 along with Dell's Hardware Warranty, ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service and Configuration and Deployment services. Microsoft hopes this will give IT departments more reason to get on board with the latest Windows 10 devices, with the support from a familiar enterprise tech company like Dell.

There are a ton of other built-in security features for both consumers and the enterprise, including Windows Hello, which is actually part of Windows 10 and will work on compatible devices with a camera. Hello will automatically recognize your face, after some configuration, of course, and unlock the device. It works surprisingly well, sometimes I started up the device a good distance away from my face, and it still spotted me and unlocked the Surface.


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