How to Mod a Test Laptop Into a Touchscreen Laptop

Manufacturers want you to try out the test version of their products before they hit the market. This is to reduce and debug any potential glitches in both the software and hardware, but a free test laptop is kept by the tester, becoming their property. This means that you can do anything to the laptop, and the manufacturers want you to do anything. They want you to test the limits of their machine with your software, and work the internal hardware to create something totally new. It is important to note that once you’re a part of the testing process, you should practice good testing skills and provide feedback. Even the smallest of details can greatly help manufacturers develop better computers for the market. Since they gave you a free test laptop, the least you can do is give them tester’s feedback. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the manufacturer and the beta testing community, and it should be honored. Today, we’re going to teach you how to modify an ordinary laptop and upgrade it to a touchscreen laptop. This is a rather simple task, but it also requires some basic tools and knowledge:

1.) Soldering Gun – This is an absolutely essential tool when you’re working with any type of internal computer parts.
2.) DuoSense touchscreen layer or similar product.
3.) LCD screen laptop.
4.) Multi-tool screwdriver.
5.) Patience.
6.) Open source touchscreen software (can be found on Sourceforge or by request from laptop manufacturer)
7.) Utility/Pocket knife
8.) Superglue

Step by step, here’s how to turn your laptop into a multi-touch screen system:
1.) Use your knife to breach the first layer of the screen by gently sliding it along the edge of the screen. Remove the manufacturer’s glue seal by gently digging the knife behind the screen.
2.) Remove the film from the first layer of the LCD screen. You should now see an LCD screen monitor and the back frame of the laptop.
3.) Dig the knife gently through the foam or glue that holds the LCD screen to the back frame. Loosen up the wires by gently nudging the knife through the seal.
4.) Clip each wire with your utility knife.
5.) Lay the DuoSense film over the top of the LCD screen. Solder wires to the inputs.
6.) Superglue the edges of the frame to the LCD screen. Make sure not to use too much, just enough to lock the frame back in place.
7.) Unscrew the base of the screen and re-solder the DuoSense wires into the monitor.
8.) Screw the frame back together.
9.) Install necessary drivers, which can be acquired from open source touchscreen websites.

Now, you have a multi-touchscreen free test laptop. Make sure to polish the screen and remove any gluey debris after you are done installing the screen. It is important to keep any residual pieces of plastic or glue out of the computer, as loose pieces could fall out and jam the fans, potentially melting your chipset and irreversibly damaging your computer. WARNING: Always wear safety goggles when working with a soldering gun.

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HP TouchSmart TM2 12.1-inch Laptop Review

HP has once again managed to roll out a show-stopping laptop/tablet model in the form of the HP TouchSmart TM2 12.1-inch laptop. It is a mid-range laptop computer that is designed for users who wish to have a laptop with tablet PC functionality. Whether it is in terms of design of features, there is nothing boring about this new laptop model.

The new HP TouchSmart TM2 comes with an Intel SU7300 processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 320GB for storage. For graphics, there is the Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics processor. With this set of specs, you will be able to multitask and run a variety of moderate-heavy applications flawlessly. The highlights of this model would definitely be in its screen and design.

The display on the TM2 is a 12.1-inch HD screen (1280 x 800 resolution). It is also a touch-screen that allows you to perform a variety of tasks on it including playing games, taking handwritten notes, surfing the web and browsing photos. The screen can be rotated at 180 degrees to fold back flat on the keyboard. Coupled with the variety of touch-screen software that comes with the laptop, the touch-screen was very fun to use.

The HP TouchSmart TM2 is about the size of the standard 12-inch laptop, measuring at approximately 11.8 x 8.7 x 1.3 inches it dimensions. It weighs 4.72 pounds. The 6-cell battery that comes with this model can last close to 10 hours at one charge, which is an impressive standard for a 12-inch laptop

The external casing of the HP TouchSmart TM2 was definitely that most outstanding of all features. It is mainly light bronze in color and decorated with some ‘Riptide’ swirling patterns. It has an engraved aluminum finish that gives it a very expensive and elegant look. Overall, the HP TouchSmart TM2 proves to be a stylish and competent choice for the mainstream laptop user. At the time of writing, this model is selling for just around $883 per unit.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Touch-Screen Laptop

When you use a smartphone all day long, it’s easy to think that every screen in your life should respond to touch. Touch screens are necessary on handsets, tablets and 2-in-1 hybrids that transform from notebooks to slates. They even provide a lot of benefits on large-screen all-in-one PCs that sit in your living room. However, no matter how badly vendors want to sell you one, a traditional laptop with a touch screen is a terrible idea and a bad buy.

Here are five reasons you should just say “no” to touch-enabled notebooks.

Usually More Expensive

While some laptops are available only with a touch screen, others offer touch as a pricey option when you configure your system. For example, Lenovo charges $75 more for a ThinkPad T460s with a touch screen than the same model without a touch screen, and Dell puts a $350 premium on its XPS 13 with touch, though it also bumps the resolution up from 1080p to 3200 x 1800.

But even if the touch version isn’t any more expensive, or if you find a notebook that’s only available with touch, you should avoid it like a robocall saying you’ve won a free cruise.

Worse Battery Life

Regardless of whether you use it, the touch digitizer is on all the time and thus sucks up significantly more power, resulting in a battery life delta of 15 to 25 percent. For example, on two otherwise-identically-configured ThinkPad T460 laptops we tested the non-touch model lasted for an impressive 17  hours and 4 minutes while the touch version died after 13 hours and 12 minutes, a 22 percent difference.

On an HP EliteBook Folio G1 we tested, the nontouch version lasted a mediocre 7 hours and 22 minutes while the touch version crapped out after an awful 4 hours and 35 minutes, a 35-percent difference. To be fair, the touch Folio also has a higher, 4K resolution, which sucks more power than the full-HD nontouch version. We tested all of these notebooks, using our standard Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi.

Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about this battery penalty after you’ve bought a touch-screen laptop. When we tried disabling the touch screen (using Windows Device Manager) on two notebooks and ran our test, the results were nearly identical. The digitizer continues to slurp power, even if it can’t respond to your taps.

A Thicker, Heavier PC

If you choose a laptop with touch, prepare to literally carry the burden of your mistake with you wherever you go. Adding touch to a laptop usually pumps up its weight by 0.2 to 0.4 pounds. For example, the EliteBook Folio G1 without touch is just 2.14 pounds, but the touch-screen version tips the scale at 2.26 pounds. The difference between the touch and nontouch Dell XPS 13 is also a quite-noticeable 0.2 pounds (2.7 versus 2.9 pounds).

Like to Reach Across the Keyboard?

When you touch a tablet or smartphone, you usually bring it closer to your face. However, with a clamshell laptop, you have to reach across the keyboard, which is awkward at best and injurious at worst.

“You are going to have to be doing a lot more reaching and a lot more movements of your wrist and your hand if you’re going to be typing and then doing the touch screen,” Cindy Burt, an ergonomics expert at UCLA, told Laptop Mag when we interviewed her for a previous article. She said that retail workers who have to extend their arms and poke at touch-screen point-of-sale systems all day — a gesture similar to touching a laptop screen — have developed shoulder problems.

If you’re buying a traditional laptop that does not transform into a tablet, you’re probably doing it because you want the good productivity experience that comes from having a sturdy hinge and a fully functional keyboard. So why reach your hands off of the home row or the touchpad and jab at the screen? A powerful touchpad actually has more helpful gestures than a touch screen, offering helpful movements such as three-finger swipe, two finger rotation and more. Navigating Windows 10’s desktop with a touchpad is just as easy and rewarding as with a touch screen.

Poorer Viewing Angles

If you want your laptop to double as a mirror, get one with a touch screen. Most touch screens are made from glossy material, which limits viewing angles and shows reflections. Just imagine trying to give a presentation or watch a movie with two people gathered around your notebook. You can see the images just fine because you’re looking at the display head-on, but your buddies, who are 45 degrees or more off-center, see washed-out pictures covered by their own faces.

We’ve seen a few business laptops with non-reflective touch screens — Lenovo’s ThinkPad T460s and T460 stand out — but most systems, even those that claim to have anti-glare panels, are extremely glossy.

Bottom Line

When you can bend your 2-in-1 hybrid into a tablet, you need a touch screen. However, with a touch screen on a clamshell-only laptop, you pay more to get less — less battery life, less portability and less usability. Unfortunately, PC manufacturers keep making touch-screen laptops because they think piling on this extra but useless feature will help them sell units. Maybe, in the future, the difference in battery life, viewability and weight between touch and nontouch screens will be so small that no one will notice. However, today, there’s still a huge difference.

Understanding Laptop Specs

Computers are probably responsible for more anger therapy sessions than golf games and three-year olds combined. A necessity for modern life, laptops come in a befuddling array of screen sizes, processor capabilities, memory capacity and more, sending the geeks to heaven and the rest of us to the corner. But this discrepancy need not be. Buying a laptop, especially for the first time, can be an enjoyable and educational experience. Here’s the first-time buyer’s guide to laptops.

Laptops (notebooks) are personal portable computers. Each computer has a set of external and internal components. External components affect the user’s physical interaction with the device, while the internal components regulate the computer’s behavior.

The Screen

The LCD screen displays information. Large screens (15-19 inches) are easy to read and typically have high resolution, such as the Sony Vaio VGN-A series, but do not have the portability of small screens (10-14). Some laptops, including Toshiba laptops, have touch-screen capability.

The Keyboard

The keyboard and touch pad are the user’s venues for inputting information. Unbeknownst to many PC users, not all keyboards and touch pads are equal. Cramped and rickety designs may generate frustration, which leads to speedy fists and unwelcome expletives.

Many keyboards also come with quick access buttons, which allow the user to quickly regulate volume, screen brightness, and more.

The Ports

Laptops come with a gamut of ports. The most important include the following:

• Ethernet port;
• High-speed USB port and FireWire;
• PC card & SD card reader;
• S-video and HDMI;
• Microphone and headphone jack;
• eSata;
• Modem;
• Optical drive

The Hard Drive

The hard drive (HDD) is the physical disk that stores data. Its memory is usually measured in gigabytes (GBs). Cheap netbooks offer approximately 80 GBs, a bare minimum for most people. 200-250 GB is more than enough for most users. Shop for hard drives rated 5400 rpm and above.

The Processor

The processor (CPU) is the vibrant brain of the computer. And, like human brains, the bigger and faster, the better. The processor should also have at least 500 megabytes (MB) of RAM, with 1-3 GBs as a target.

The Graphics Card

For the serious PC gamer and his friends – wait, just the PC gamer – a fast, capable graphics card is essential. Integrated graphics cards are basic and more than enough for the average user; dedicated graphics cards are required for heavy-duty multimedia applications.

The Extras

And what pink laptop is complete without a laptop bag? Warranties, laptop bags, pre-installed operating systems and more are all fantastic perks that spice up the shopping experience.

So get a superb laptop and leave the anger management therapy to stricken parents and golfers.

General Information About Toshiba Laptop Screens

Hello and welcome..

Today we are going to discuss the screen display system on any Toshiba laptop.

All Toshiba laptop screens are housed within a shell that is the lid which on the majority of the model range is Plastic ABS. Some lids were made from cast aluminum (Some Porteges).

The screen though is mounted to the lid using a system of rails, these rails are mounted to the lid. There are many rails systems employed in Toshiba Laptops, and some are interchangeable with other laptops, notably the Toshiba Satellite Pro 6000, Satellite pro 4600, and the the Satellite Pro 2100/1400/2410/1410 Series Laptops as an example.

Screen rails are usually constructed of pressed steel to fit the profile for a given size of screen and to enable fixing to the base lid.

The rails are fixed usually by small screws although on some Toshiba laptops you may find that there are no rails actually fitted to the screen the lid becomes the sole mounting site for the screen.

The front bezel is made from plastic ABS, this is a flat plastic cover which conceals the rails, the screen inverter and protects the screen area from ingress and dust penetration. the bezel is moulded in such as way that it incorporates many snap lugs around the periphery of the bezel reducing the need for lots of fixing screws, the lugs will locate and lock the bezel into place. Some older machines used this combination of snap lugs and fixing screws (for example the Tecra S1 series laptops). Most modern Toshiba Laptops use the snap lug fixing method since it is cheaper to manufacture and also reduces weight and component count.

For machines that were tablets there was slight departure from the standard design because of the complexity of the touch screen and the extra weight that these extra components when assembled. With many tablets the design of the lid and the front bezel were different to accommodate the feature of rotating the screen through 360 degrees and the newer style of fold flat lids which when lifted up, and then rotated, enables the display facing upwards, resting on the profile of the main base.

The basic components of most screen display systems are,

  • The Screen
  • The Screen Connecting cable
  • The Invertor
  • The Base lid
  • The Hinge mechanism
  • The front bezel
  • Any wireless or Bluetooth cable systems
  • Lid latch and return spring assembly

I won’t discuss the exact technicalities of tablet screen systems because Toshiba did not really standardize between models so it does not merit any further discussion here.

We have already touched on some of the elements of the screen display such as the lid, the screen rails and the front bezel, I will now move on to the invertor and the other system components.

The invertor primarily functions as a lighting up circuit, its function is to supply energy to the cold cathode display tube that is manufactured at the bottom of the LCD display, this provides a back lighting system so that you can see each and every pixel being displayed on the screen without it the screen would remain dark. More modern machines have much more advanced electronics fitted into the design of the invertor, such as screen brightness settings, current overload, screen blanking, sleep adjustment and various other attributes of which includes bios control as well.

Some screens which are high definition are fitted with two invertors to increase the overall contrast and brightness of the screen and to distribute the power required by the screen tubes evenly. These are usually fitted to screens of size of 17″ or larger.

The screen connecting cable comes in four standard sizes, and is dependent on the capabilities of the screen fitted, its resolution and its overall size, the cable will supply all the control signals and power lines to the screen interface, detection of the screen type, and the actual display data to the user. The most common cable now found are the 30pin flat connector which is actually a very low current signal propagated at very high speed and then reflected back into the main system, commonly known as LVDS, we won’t discuss the technical details of this system its beyond the scope of this discussion.

The cable is connected at the other end to a graphics card switching circuit which enables the user via software or hardware detection to determine the default type of display device. If you plug in an external monitor some Toshiba laptops will default to displaying on the external monitor rather than on the LCD screen.

The hinge mechanism is an assembly that maintains the integrity of the base lid system and enables the user to adjust the screen position in on dimension, the criteria here is maintain an adequate force to hold the screen upright for extended periods of time and at the same being able to close the lid easily and without any notchiness or serious restrictions. The design on many Toshiba laptop hinge systems falls into three categories.

  • Lid and hinge integrated onto the palmrest
  • Lid and hinge detaches from the palmrest
  • Lid detaches form a fixed hinge system on the base

Most modern Toshiba machines now fall into second category, though I feel the first category was actually the most durable, this can be seen on the Toshiba Satellite Pro 2450, Toshiba Satellite A40, Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600.Most Toshiba laptop hinge systems comprises of a cast steel pin with an outer sleeve pressed onto the outside to create the friction necessary to force the screen to remain upright, the other end of the pin is then machined with a spline which then is force fitted to the hinge surround, the hinge surround can extend under the palmrest and is then fixed to the palmrest (as in the first category) or detachable as in the second category. The hinges also form part of the lid support system with a continuous bracket system extends to enable the lid to be mounted to the hinge assembly, cutting down excessive components and weight. The more modern systems comprise of a cast post material, inserted to the base system and then fixed from the back and the undersides with screws, the hinge itself is part of the cast post system and the spline is inserted into the cast post with tremendous force, the restrictor sleeve is then mounted to the lid frame, this is the more common in the second category. The third category is not much used these days except for very small light weight laptops where weight and size dictates the screen hinge components.

The lid latch system is a simple latching assembly pre tensioned by a small cylindrical spring, allowing self retraction of the screen lid locking jaw, these are usually a claw shaped plastic component that locks into the base system. Most Toshiba laptops have used many variations of this construction and its proven reliable, since all Toshiba lid plastics and hinges components are very accurately made, alignment is maintained even through excessive wear of the hinge system or accidental damage to the lid. This construction also reduces wear on the lid locking jaw itself, the locking jaws primary function it that its strength relies on the width of the jaw and the length of the jaw when in the locking position. More modern machines are now moving to the lockess style of construction but the palmrest design and the top lid has now been redesigned to give a perceived and noticeable incline to enable the lid to remain closed (clam shell design).

Wireless cable systems are usually attached behind the screen on the lid base, their primary function is to provide a larger surface area in which to receive the appropriate wireless signals, this also applies to blue-tooth cable systems as well. Most wireless cable systems are usually an RF self adhesive pad this enables the service technician to easily replace a damaged cable.

How to Choose a Touchscreen Laptop Computer

Touchscreen laptop computers are slowly making their way into the mainstream computing world. Chances are that you’ve owned one or more computers in your life and you know how to go about buying a good laptop or personal desktop computer. Now that touch screens are being introduced into notebook computers, many people find themselves wondering how to choose a good one. There are a few factors that are key to choosing a good system.

First and foremost when choosing a laptop computer with a touch screen is the sensitivity of the screen. It would be pointless to buy a system that didn’t respond well to touch input. Not all systems are created equally and it would be wise to try out the laptop before purchasing it. This can be a little difficult because not all computer stores carry touchscreen laptops and knows that two are not likely to carry a wide selection. It’s no big deal to order a computer on the if Internet since you can basically read the specifications and know if you will be likely to like it are not. When it comes to purchasing a laptop with a touch screen, you really need to play with it to decide whether or not you’re going to like it.

There are two types of touch screens that you’ll have to choose from. The first is called passive digitizing and the second is called active digitizing. The differences between the two can get quite complex and technical but for your purposes, all you need to realize is that with a passive digitizing screen can use your finger or a stylus to write on the screen and make selections. With an active digitizing screen, you need to use an electronic digital stylus that has its own power source. Old active digital stylus pens had a power cord that tethered them to the computer but new ones are usually equipped with a small battery. Some digital stylus pens can be turned over in the back of the pan will function like an eraser on a pencil. This can be a very handy feature when taking notes.

Active digitizers generally recognize handwriting more accurately but you must always use the digital pen. Passive digitizers offer the flexibility of using your finger if you would like but handwriting recognition isn’t quite as accurate and if you dump the screen with the palm of your hand, your palm will interfere with the input. The computer will basically think that you meant to make an input selection with your hand when all you actually did was bumped the screen.

Some passive digitizers come with what is palm rejection. This is a feature that is basically intended to make the computer ignore accidental bumping of the screen from your palm.

When purchasing a touchscreen laptop computer, all of the other factors that normally come into play remain the same. You want to buy system with a good fast processor, plenty of memory, a large hard drive, plenty of USB ports, a card reader, a DVD rider, WIFI capability, etc.

What ever you do, don’t fall in love with a computer just because it has a touchscreen. Make sure that the touchscreen computer that you’ve decided buy functions well and powerful enough for all of your computing needs.

Toshiba Libretto W105-L251 – The Dual Touch Screen Laptop

The Toshiba Libretto W105-L251 is what you could call a high-concept mini-laptop. With dual touch screens and a whole pile of special features designed to send heads spinning, this mini-laptop is a concise and interesting unit that could make an excellent gift for a friend.

The most notable thing about the Toshiba Libretto W105-L251, besides the compact size, for most will be the dual touch screens. Both are 7 inches and both are multi-touch, with one screen doubling as a traditional keyboard that would usually be found in a clam-shell design of this sort. A virtual keyboard can be made available on one of the screens by tapping on a button on the side of the chassis. A second tap on the button creates a virtual onscreen touch pad.

The multi-touch screens can work in tandem or separately, allowing for flexible experience that few other devices can mimic. Users can actually surf the internet on one touch screen and check out your email on the other screen, all without risking data loss or lagging. Users can even view a web page across both screens, creating the ultimate visual experience without the clumsiness of standard laptop controls.

Now, the Toshiba Libretto W105-L251 is essentially engineered for ease-of-use and compact carrying. It is a small unit, without question, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a powerful little guy.

Despite having a portable weight of a mere 1.8 pounds, the Libretto W105 packs a 1.2 GHz Intel Pentium U5400 ultra-low voltage processor and features Intel SpeedStep technology to adjust processor voltage and decrease power consumption. Set to maximum capacity, there’s also 2 GB of installed DDR3 RAM.

To make things even more interesting, Toshiba has loaded the Libretto with a few apps to allow for simple navigation. Toshiba Bulletin Board is a particularly interesting one, as it offers the opportunity to personalize the desktop like never before. Toshiba ReelTime provides a convenient visual file history, allowing for easy retrieval of files on the unit, and File Browser offers quick access to files and apps.

Of course, the main focal point of the Toshiba Libretto W105-L251 is the display and the versatility it offers. While the mini-laptop is a treat under the hood, the dual touch screens and the functionality of the various inputs are really what make this unit tick.

HP Laptop Reviews – HP TouchSmart TX2-1270US 12.1-Inch Laptop-Tablet PC

The HP TouchSmart TX2-1270 is currently the most successful hybrid laptop in the market. It is essential 12.1-inch ultra-portable laptop that can also serve as a tablet PC. This is made possible by the screen that can be rotated to face outwards to become a tablet PC.

The 12.1-inch display is a LED-backlit touch-screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800. From reading the various HP laptop reviews, the touch-screen of this model is one of its biggest selling points. Besides serving as a competent tablet PC component, the screen is also great for watching HD movies and hi-def graphics.

The HP TouchSmart TX2-1270 is powered by a 2.2Ghz AMD Turion X2 RM-75 processor. It also has 4GB Ram and a whopping 500GB hard drive. This is a great set of specs for a laptop of its class and price (as noted by many experts from various HP laptop reviews). As this is also an ‘entertainment’ laptop, it comes with a tiny remote control and built-in Altec Lansing speakers. There is also a stylus pen for writing down notes on the screen.

The touch-screen functionality on the HP TouchSmart TX2-1270 is nothing short of being impressive. Using the touch-screen for multimedia browsing was a fun experience and the handwriting recognition software was very effective. For its price, the touch-screen’s performance was surprisingly good. Many HP laptop reviews have noted that the touch-screen features of this model is good enough of a reason for anyone to get one of these.

The HP TouchSmart TX2-1270 is also a competent machine for ordinary, everyday computing tasks. This is not the laptop for you if you plan to use it for serious graphic work such as running graphic ‘heavy’ applications such as Photoshop. Nevertheless, the HP TouchSmart TX2-1270 is more than competent for average tasks like surfing the net, word processing and running non-graphic demanding applications. Many HP laptop reviews have also pointed out the reasonable price tag of this model. At the time of writing, the HP TouchSmart TX2-1270 retails for around just $795, a great bargain for a hybrid laptop of this caliber.

Asus Laptops

The Asus laptop Eee T91 is a small, low cost netbook that has a touch-screen interface. The laptop has been very successful in the first attempt itself. The flexible way of interacting is much more comfortable as compared to the touch pads and the keyboards of the mini laptops This T91 has a rotating display and can spin up to 180 degrees and can be folded down. The screen reacts to a nonactive stylus or your finger. You will also find the optional custom touch interface with easy to grab icons that are big enough and are great to work with.

The Asus laptop Eee T91 is a small and light to look and feel for a netbook. The built is about 9 inch screen and the other which we find are about 11.6 inch display currently on the netbook. This becomes easy to carry and roam around with. You will also find the touch pad and the keyboard to be tiny. It seems to be smaller than the 7 inch Eee PC. The screen is resistive touch panel and therefore it works with the finger or any nonactive stylus or any other device.

The Asus Laptop has included a custom interface especially for finger-driven work. The touch gate can be launched with a tapping or a button on the screen and the same button will be able to rotate down through the screen. You will find a sort animation of the screen rotating; the screen had 5 large app icons. When you flick your finger to the right side the display flips on the third interface. You can pull the widget from calendars, clocks, battery and life indicators. The Asus laptop has also introduced many useful widgets in the Eee T90.

The Asus laptop Eee T90 has a successful result and the touch gate is accessible to a good many functions. The large icons function great with the fingers. This laptop offers a 1,024×600 native resolution and may take a little longer to get familiar with it. The 802 11n and Bluetooth the Asus is well loaded netbook. The hard drive with 16GB SSD gives a hard drive feel and so you will find another SD card slot bilt in and you will also find a 16 GB SD in the box. The two SD card will together give a more practical 32 GB total storage. The Asus has also provided customer’s 20 GB of online drive space called Eee storage, remember it is only for 18months free usage.

DESIGN & FEATURES of MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 4

The Surface tablet line set out its basic design rules with the very first generation of products and has largely stuck to its guns since. What we’ve seen, instead of wholesale reimagining, is a steady march of improvements to the display and chassis, helping the product feel just a bit more premium with every generation.

The earliest Surface Pro models were 13mm thick, while last year’s Surface Pro 3 shaved that down to 9.1mm. This year, we’re down to 8.4mm, despite increasing the size of the screen. Both the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 are 1.7 pounds (771 grams) by themselves, or 2.5 pounds (1.13 kg) with their keyboard cover and stylus pens attached.

One of the biggest improvements to last year’s Surface Pro carries over here: the highly adjustable kickstand, which can be adjusted to nearly any angle between 22 and 150 degrees. The kickstand, which runs the entire width of the system, is stiff enough that it will stay where you put it, and hardly moves at all, even when using your fingers or the pen on the touchscreen.

Missing from the black bezel surrounding the screen this time around is the capacitive Windows logo touch button. In previous Surface models, this moved around from the long edge to the short edge of the system, but always served the same purpose: to take you back to the Windows 8 tile interface. As we’re now operating in the Windows 10 world, having a physical home button isn’t necessary, although the Windows 10 “tablet mode” is still very similar to what Window 8 looked like.

The pen, almost perfected

Also missing is the awkward plastic loop that used to tether the included stylus (Microsoft calls it a pen) to the keyboard cover. The new pen accessory is a little larger than the previous model, and has a flat edge along one side. This allows it to securely connect to the left or right edge of the tablet via a fairly strong magnetic connection. While it may seem dodgy if you plan on running around all day with your tablet, inserting and removing it from a backpack or shoulder bag, I found that the pen remained securely attached, even in my bag — although I’d recommend doing frequent spot-checks to make sure it hasn’t popped off.