Review: Microsoft Surface Pro Finally Has Laptop Feel

With the new Surface Pro 4, typing on a Microsoft tablet finally feels like typing on a regular laptop. Although Microsoft has tried hard to sell the Surface as a laptop replacement, its keyboard has felt flimsy -- something to tolerate when a real laptop isn't available. The keyboard attaches magnetically and has to be thin enough to fold over like a book cover. Consequently, it has felt like typing on cardboard over my lap.

Microsoft says the Pro 4 keyboard cover is 20 percent stiffer, so it no longer feels like cardboard. Each key is slightly taller, too, giving it a more natural feel. More room on the cover is devoted to the keys and the touchpad rather than dead space. Microsoft keeps the cover's weight and thickness about the same as before by turning to different materials.

All this translates to a keyboard that's enjoyable rather than tolerable. I made it my primary computer for two weeks, including travels through upstate New York and Ontario, Canada. The Pro 4 felt comfortable whether I was in a hotel bed, a friend's living room or the tasting room of a winery.

Beyond the Keyboard

Now that Windows 10 is available, the Pro 4 is the first Surface I can wholeheartedly recommend. The cardboard-like keyboard wasn't my only gripe. Windows 8 felt like using two machines at once, with the system constantly kicking you to the one you didn't want. Microsoft's free Windows 10 update in July addresses the bulk of my frustrations.

I also like the addition of a magnet on the left side to attach an included stylus. The stylus still came off a few times during my travels, so I stowed it in my backpack after a few days and didn't have it handy when needed. Samsung's Note devices have built-in holes for...

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