Microsoft Surface Pro 6 test: perfecting the formula without changing it

Microsoft continues its momentum with the Surface Pro 6, which is more of a "revised and corrected" than true evolution. Is that enough to give him interest? Our complete test will guide you.

Technical sheet
FeaturesMicrosoft Surface Pro 6
12.3-inch screen 2736 x 1824 pixels
Intel Core i5-8265U or i7-8565U processor
Graphics Chipset Intel HD 620 or Intel Iris 640
RAM8 or 16 GB
Storage128, 256, 512 GB or 1 TB
Connectivity1x USB A 3.0, microSDXC card, Surface Connect port, combo jack, mini DisplayPort
BiometryWebcam 5 megapixels Windows Hello
Wi-FiWi-Fi 5 (IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac)
BatteryUp to 13.5 hours in video playback
Dimensions292 x 201 x 8.5 mm
Weight5: 770 g, 17: 784 g
PriceFrom 1,049 euros
This test was made from a computer loaned by the brand, Intel Core i5-8250U configuration, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. The Signature Type Cover was also provided to us at the same time.
What to say about a Surface Pro? In appearance, these do not hit by their design. It must be said that the practical side is much more emphasized than the aesthetic aspect on this range. Thus, we notice especially from its front face the integration of a large screen ratio 3: 2, whose edges are relatively pronounced, but allow it a good grip in touch mode. The bottom border is after all intended to accommodate the magnetic keyboard. On the sides, two speaker grilles appear that send a clear and very well optimized sound. On the top border, we find the Windows Hello camera for facial recognition.

It is at the back that the "Windows design" appears the most. And especially on its kickstand, which incorporates the Microsoft logo and allows to put the Surface in many postures. The stand is firm, but as easy to deploy and store, and really allows the tablet to take many positions. To draw like to just watch a movie, the Surface Pro 6 can stand and its foot is never too weak to cash our finger strikes. Always on the back, and at the top, we find the photo sensor, slightly eccentric to the left.
Slightly beveled, the frame of this Surface Pro 6 also has the right to a small spacing allowing not only not to break the lines of the device with the stand, but also to allow the computer to cool naturally. After all, it is not equipped with fans.
The right edge of the Surface Pro 6 accommodates a Mini Display Port, the only USB Type A port on the device, as well as the proprietary Surface Magnet connector for charging the device and connecting proprietary accessories. On the left, there is only the combo jack port.

On the top of the tablet, there is the lock button and those volume control. Finally, the bottom welcomes the magnetic port to connect the various Type Cover available for the device. Be aware that a micro SD port is also hidden under the kick stand of the device, like a Nintendo Switch.
This is perhaps the most frustrating point of the device: its selection of ports. Insisting on a proprietary port in 2019 with the advent of the USB Type C Thunderbolt 3 is a real misguidance, while the inclusion of a mini Display Port seems more than retrograde. We hope that this is the last generation where Microsoft insists on this connection, which causes only problems and additional costs for users.
Signature Type Cover
As always, the Surface Pro comes with a whole range of Type Cover, these covers that also include a keyboard. We were able to test the "Signature Type Cover", which has the particularity of offering the coating Alcantara dear to Microsoft products for a few generations.

The coating is actually very soft and pleasant. We can not necessarily say the same of the keyboard itself. If the layout of the keys and their haptic feedback are really good, use it is not really my taste. The fact is that the keyboard is not heavy enough and offers a small rebound to each key, which gives me the impression of typing on a piece of cardboard. A solid cardboard, but a carton all the same.
Opinions will diverge on the question, but who thought to find the exact sensations of a laptop "traditional" may be surprised. At least it is backlit, which is very convenient at night.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 features a large 12.3-inch 3: 2 aspect ratio display that supports a maximum resolution of 2,736 x 1,824 for a resolution of 267ppp. This is a slab called "PixelSense" which is fully touch and compatible with the Surface Pen, but also the Surface Dial with a 10-point recognition.
To the eye, this one is more than impressive. If the ratio 3: 2, good in portrait as landscape, requires a little time of adaptation, we do not see much to blame the display. Note however that the maximum brightness seems satisfactory, but still a flat strand compared to smartphones surrounding us.

Our probe gives us reason on the question. The maximum brightness is measured at 417 cd / m², which is good, but … not great. Everything else is excellent, starting with its contrast at 1355: 1. The average color temperature is measured at 6500K exactly, which is the natural temperature. SRGB is also widely covered.
In sum, creatives can trust this tablet for their creations. The color profile is perfect, and the slab is well equipped to satisfy the designers and graphic designers. This is not necessarily the case for its technical configuration, which we will see below.
What about the software part for a product created directly by Microsoft? The tablet runs naturally under Windows 10 in its Pro version, without pushing for the installation of adware. Here we have a clean version of the game entry system.
The Surface Pro 6 wants to be both tablet and laptop, Windows 10 adapts by enlarging by default the size of the items displayed on the screen and in touch mode. Without its Type Cover, and therefore its "PC mode" by default, it remains rather usable even if one quickly feels that Windows 10 is not really made for this type of use. It is quite usable, but a pointer of any type (a mouse or a stylus) remains to be recommended.
With its Type Cover, the Surface Pro 6 is naturally used as a laptop. Here we come back to a familiar setting where nothing really enchants. This sixth iteration does not really change the deal for the Surface range: their existence is more justified as a laptop that is used occasionally tablet, rather than the opposite.
Facial Recognition
Windows Hello still works just as well on the Surface Pro 6. Regardless of the light conditions, the 3D facial recognition provided here is fast and accurate, without ever being anything more than a welcome service for the user.

We test here the version taking advantage of an Intel Core i5-8250U coupled with 8 GB of RAM and enjoying 256 GB of storage. This is the first "serious" configuration most accessible, the model using the Core M is not really recommendable.
The special feature of the Surface Pro 6 is that it does not have a traditional ventilation system for a PC. A heat pipe system, similar to that of high-end smartphones, is responsible for cooling the device. On a conventional use, especially for a tablet to be taken in hand regularly, it does a very good job and the tablet is successful in staying relatively cold while being fluid. She is silent at all times, which is an excellent point.

With a score of 488 cb on Cinebench R15, do not expect to be able to launch the most demanding applications. Making presentations on this tablet and the office is no problem, but starting to work on a serious video project is not really possible.
The Intel Core i5-8250U takes advantage of the GPU HD 620 chipset, the most widespread Intel for some years now. It has aged: it will be enough to decode Ultra HD videos, although with a little trouble, but not to indulge in heavy graphics tasks.
Let it be said: if you imagined launching Fortnite or Apex on this tablet, backtrack immediately. This does not mean that playing is impossible: low-greedy titles like League of Legends or DOTA 2 run without too much trouble, and some indie 2D titles or emulation will provide you with something to enjoy.
Concentrate on office automation, which remains the strong point of this multi-faceted tablet. A USB C Thunderbolt 3 would have allowed him to plug a graphics card for a little video game and graphics processing, but Microsoft still does not want it.
Obviously, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is not a camera. Its sensors are especially present to facilitate videoconferences and notes taken in meetings. At the front, you enjoy a 5 megapixel 1080p sensor that is pretty good for video, but lacks a little focus especially indoors. Compared to the average laptop, it still remains above the lot.
In the back, it is an 8-megapixel 1080p sensor that officiates. He has the right to autofocus, which is a plus. However, it is not very efficient indoors, but will be perfectly helpful for a device that – again – is not intended to take pictures.
Microsoft promises on this tablet a range of "up to 13.5 hours" of video playback locally, or files stored on the device memory. This figure is based on tests done internally using the same configuration of the Surface Pro 6 that we have in test.
In fact, we've been able to use the Surface Pro 6 for a whole day of work, including Google Chrome with many open tabs, Slack chats, Adobe Photoshop for quick fixes, and a few YouTube videos, without ever having to plug in the computer. . The full day of use is very clearly fulfilled, for excellent autonomy.
In the evening, we could also use it to watch Netflix series and movies. Under these conditions, either in front of managing the streaming of the stream, the Wi-Fi connection and of course the display, there remained to the tablet 52% of battery after 4 hours of viewing. It's absolutely excellent.
Its only problem is finally the obligation to use a charger owner to be able to recharge the tablet, in the era of USB type C deploying all over the high end. At least the power supply of the Surface Pro 6 includes a USB A port so that another device can be charged. A nice touch.
Photo gallery

Price and release date
The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is already available, at a starting price of 919 euros for the Intel Core M configuration. Our test configuration is sold for 1,369 euros.
Remember that neither the Surface Pen nor the Type Cover keyboard are included with the machine.
                        Test Surface Pro 6 The verdict
                                The Surface Pro 6 is not the most original in the range, but remains the culmination of Microsoft's know-how in the field. Light, mat, and terribly practical, its black color offers only a bonus to a convincing formula.
                                Its large slab is bright and perfectly calibrated. A pleasure to watch, but also to use thanks to its responsiveness in touch. Absolutely perfect.
                                Windows 10 Pro is still good with the Surface Pro 6 associated with the Type Cover. Without, the touch experience is functional, but leaves much to be desired.
                                For office automation, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is perfect. Fast and powerful, it does not heat more than very little and makes no noise. It lacks a Thunderbolt 3 to maximize its potential.
                                For what they are meant to do, and in comparison to the other options of the market, the cameras of Microsoft Surface Pro 6 are good. Do not have fun taking photos with this.
                                The Surface Pro 6 enjoys an absolutely excellent battery life that will last a whole day of work and long hours of video streaming. Its only flaw is its proprietary port, which is at least mitigated by the presence of a USB A port on the power supply.
                    The Surface Pro 6 is not the device that comes to give a second wind to the Surface range of Microsoft: he is the one who comes to perfect it again. If you already have a previous generation, it will not necessarily be the device to crack on.But if you were already convinced by the formula and wait for the right moment to start, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 will offer you the better concept tablet / laptop. Let's say against francs: it is not for everyone, and Windows 10 is an operating system above all thought for the combo keyboard / mouse.
                        Good points
                        Clean and light design
                                                            Sublime and perfectly calibrated screen
                                                            Excellent autonomy
                        Negative points
                        Windows 10 in touch
                                                            Still no Thunderbolt 3
                                                            Owner Port

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