Microsoft has just announced the Surface 4 tablet and inevitably people will want to know if this is a device that is indicative to a quality e-book experience. Today, we will evaluate if the reading ecosystem is polished enough in a Windows 10 environment to make this device a must buy.
The Microsoft Surface 3 features a Surface Pro 4 features a 12.3-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 2,736 x 1,824 and 267 PPI. Its aspect ratio remains 3:2, which provides a little extra vertical space over traditional 16:9 displays.
One of the big reasons why readers will want to take a look at this tablet is because of the revised pen, that allows you greater flexibility to making highlights, annotations or taking notes in PDF files.
Microsoft revamped the Surface Pen, doing away with that awkward fabric loop that clipped previous pens on to the tablet. Now the Surface Pro 4 grabs the Pen magnetically, holding it tightly to the side of the tablet. Still, the new Pen boasts 1024 levels of pressure, which works quite well with the PixelSense technology built into the display. There are even interchangeable nibs to vary the tip’s shape.
Is the Surface 4 a Good e-Reader?
The Windows ecosystem has been dealt some harsh blows lately with many companies shuttering their apps or abandoning the platform altogether. In September Comixology announced that they are discontinuing their dedicated comic reading app for Windows 8. Instead, the company is encouraging their users to use their internet browser and read comics online.
Barnes and Noble suspended their Windows reading app a few months ago in the United Kingdom and all of Europe. The only market you can install the app is now in the United States.
There are many companies that continue to support the Windows platform with native apps. In the Microsoft Store you will be able to download Kindle, Kobo, Overdrive, Audible or the Microsoft Reader. There are around 50 quality apps to read your own e-book collection and around 2,000 e-reading apps total, which include dedicated news apps.
I am very wary of the Windows platform for native e-reading apps. Too many companies have abandoned it and this always gives me trepidation when embracing a mobile ecosystem that isn’t Android or iOS.
Still, if you are a student or professional that needs to make notes or make highlights the Surface has done one of the best jobs in blending the stylus with dedicated apps like Onenote.
Microsoft is offering the Surface Pro 4 in two flavors, depending on the levels of power you’re looking for. Five of the six configurations on offer come with Intel’s Core i5 or Core i7 processor and can be configured with a lower or higher amount storage and RAM.
- 128 GB 6th Generation Intel Core M3 with 4 GB of RAM $899
- 128 GB 6th Generation Intel Core i5 with 4 GB of RAM $999
- 256 GB 6th Generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM $1,299
- 256 GB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM $1,599
- 256 GB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of RAM $1,799
- 512 GB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of RAM $2,199
The Surface 4 is a good replacement for your laptop or netbook, or if you had an older iteration of the Surface. If you are getting it to be productive and also casually read, it should be a viable investment.
I would likely recommend going with a full on laptop or a cheaper two in one and buy yourself a Kindle Voyage 2, Nook Glowlight Plus or the Kobo Glo HD.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.