LTE connectivity is a welcomed addition to the Surface Pro
Earlier today, over in Hong Kong, Microsoft lifted the curtain off its latest and greatest piece of technology: The Surface Pro. That's right, like one of those other really popular technology companies, there comes a point where naming schemes have to get the Hollywood reboot treatment, and the number usually gets the boot. So, what could ostensibly be called the Surface Pro 5 is just "Surface Pro."
Of course, the change to the name isn't the biggest piece of news out of Microsoft's event. That'd be the changes to the hardware. Before the company unveiled its newest tablet, executives were quick to point out that there "isn't a Surface Pro 5," which made many guess that there wouldn't be a whole suite of changes and upgrades in the latest hardware. And that is indeed the case.
Microsoft focused on improving only certain aspects, including the faster processor, but also boosting the battery life of the Surface Pro tablet. Now the device, according to Microsoft, can get up to 13.5 hours of life, which is pretty impressive. And considering that battery life really is the most important part of any mobile device (none of the other features matter if your battery is dead, after all), that's probably good enough right there to warrant the other changes.
The Surface Pen got an upgrade, too, and the Surface Pro now supports the Surface Dial. There's even a "Surface Mode" thanks to the new hinge on the back, so artists can get a proper angle when creating their next piece -- similar to the way the desktop Surface Studio works. There isn't a USB Type-C port on the side of the machine, though, and depending on who you ask it's either great or a burden. Microsoft is more than willing to sell you a dongle, though.
The other new addition to the Surface Pro is LTE Advanced support, by way of an eSIM or a micro SIM card. Microsoft didn't extrapolate on any real details beyond the bare minimum, so we don't know how carrier support will work out, or how much this variant model will cost. Microsoft did say it will be more expensive than the non-LTE models, though, but that's not at all surprising.
The inclusion of that LTE model, depending on price, is probably the most noteworthy new feature for the Surface Pro as far as I'm concerned. I think LTE should be built into these devices on the regular, including laptops -- especially because it would mean the price would come down eventually. But also because it's a nice level of convenience. Using a mobile hotspot is great, but sometimes I'd just like to be able to connect to the internet without having to rely on it. It's the only reason when I've picked up an iPad in the past, I've opted for the LTE model.
Just being able to connect is awesome.
I'm glad to see Microsoft include the feature in its newest Surface Pro, and I'm hoping they don't go crazy with the pricing. This model won't launch until sometime before the end of the year, while the standard models will go on sale in mid-June, so the wait will have to go a bit longer, too. Still, at least it's happening at all.
Do you like the option of having built-in LTE in the new Surface Pro? Do you think it would be worth the (hopefully small) price hike when compared to the standard models? Or would you rather save some money up front and just stick to your mobile hotspot? Let me know!