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Microsoft Surface Pro Copilot+ hands-on: Slimmer bezels and AI smarts

It's still a Surface Pro, in the end.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Microsoft's new Surface Pro, its first hybrid Copilot+ PC tablet, doesn't look much different than its predecessors. It's still a sleek and sturdy tablet with a kickstand. But the screen looks a bit more impressive, thanks to slimmer bezels, and it's potentially more useful on the go when paired with the $350 Surface Pro Flex keyboard, which lets you type wirelessly. As a Copilot+ AI PC though, its true value lies under the hood, thanks to a 45TOPS neural processing unit in Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus chips.

Surface Pro Copilot+
Surface Pro Copilot+ (Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget)

Without fully testing its AI capabilities, it's hard to make any final judgements on the Surface Pro just yet. Perhaps Microsoft's Recall feature, which can instantly retrieve anything you've done on your computer, could actually be useful. In a short demo, I was able to scrub through several days worth of PC usage, including doodles from people attending the launch event. Perhaps you'll find some value from the NPU-enabled features in Photoshop and other apps. But during my short hands-on session, there wasn't really much to see.

That's honestly a bit disappointing. This Surface Pro, which Microsoft is calling the 11th edition, was also an opportunity to rework the tablet's aging kickstand and overall design. Thinner screen bezels just aren't enough. The new Surface Pro Flex Keyboard is also surprisingly expensive at $350 ($450 when bundled with the Slim Pen). It's upgrades are useful: You can detach it from the Surface Pro and still keep typing away, and it also has a more modern haptic touchpad. But it's merely an optional upgrade, not a standard feature for the Surface Pro. The wireless typing experience was responsive, from my testing, but the Flex Pro Flex Keyboard also feels a bit flimsy on its own, without the weight of the tablet holding it down.

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Microsoft's existing typing covers, the $140 Surface Pro Keyboard and the $180 Surface Pro Signature Keyboard, are still around and far more compelling for the price. This recent batch of computers was a perfect opportunity for the company to bundle a keyboard cover with the Surface Pro, but alas, that's still not happening. (I've been asking Microsoft about bundling a keyboard with its Surface tablets every year since they debuted — I guess I'll just have to keep asking.)

Surface Pro Copilot+
Surface Pro Copilot+ (Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget)

The Surface Pro starts at $999 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Plus chip, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. You can also bump up to an OLED model which includes the Snapdragon X Elite chip for $1,500. That model can also be configured with up to 1TB of storage and 32GB of RAM.

Catch up on all the news from Microsoft's Copilot AI and Surface event today!