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I received an invitation to an event in New York City regarding Windows 10 Devices and I accepted it (free food and drinks were provided as well). I managed to get a fair bit of hands-on time with some of Microsoft’s newest hardware, and I have to say that it certainly impresses.

The Surface Pro 4 is Microsoft’s latest entry into the tablet market, and they’ve definitely made some improvements. The screen is slightly larger than the predecessor model, they’ve managed to make it lighter, and it feels like a robust and solid device.

The demo device was, of course, running Windows 10, and it ran very smoothly. I recall using a Toshiba Satellite tablet nearly a decade ago and finding Windows XP Tablet Edition very wanting—that’s absolutely not the case here. Navigating through the taskbar and different windows felt snappy and responsive.

The newest accessory coming out with the Surface Pro 4 is an upgrade of the stylus called the Surface Pen. I was able to write very smoothly in OneNote on the demo Surface Pro 4—there was no noticeable lag. I’m a tall person who’s prone to hand cramps and the pen felt comfortable enough for the five or so minutes I was using it.

Surface DJ Setup 300x140

Music was playing throughout the entirety of the four-hour Windows 10 Devices event (save for a momentary glitch). Everything was done through a Surface Book, and according to the DJ, the physical interfaces weren’t really necessary any more thanks to the program he was using (BitWig), and the capabilities of the touchscreen—he just kept them around for personal preference.

An “eraser” on the top of the Surface Pen allows you to erase lines in most programs. The lines in OneNote are vector based, so running the eraser over a line will erase the whole line. In pixel-based programs, such as Fresh Paint, the Surface Pen acts much like an erase tool and will just erase a general area.

The eraser is also clickable like a ballpoint pen.  Clicking it once will bring up OneNote instantly, and a single click within OneNote will make a new page. A double-click takes a screenshot, and holding the button down will bring up Cortana. The clicker has some default settings depending on the program and the screen’s focus, but you’ll also be able to program it.

The only downside to the Surface Pro 4 that I personally noticed was a lack of 4G capability. This is a device that would be perfect for plopping down somewhere and drawing some scenery or writing down your thoughts, but if you wanted to get those online somewhere, you’ll have to tether a device via USB or wait until you’re in range of Wi-Fi.

The Surface line of products do have their weaknesses, but from having used the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pen, it succeeds as an all-around product for handwriting notes in OneNote and drawing whatever your heart desires in Fresh Paint. It’s no Wacom Cintiq, but starting at $899 for the Surface Pro 4 and $59.99 for the Surface Pen, it would make a good all-around device for your portable needs—so long as you can do without a cellular signal.

Check out our recap of the Windows 10 Devices Live Event for information on other Windows devices.

Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!

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