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Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (2018) (Core i7, 512GB, 16GB) Convertible Review

Sebastian Jentsch, 👁 Sebastian Jentsch, Tanja Hinum-Balaz (translated by Alex Alderson), 10/29/2018

Full power with four cores. Microsoft has updated to the Surface Pro series with quad-core Kaby Lake Refresh processors, but how well will these chips cope within an 8.5-mm thick tablet? Will these more powerful processors affect the battery life, and has Microsoft finally added more ports? Find out all this and more in our detailed review.

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Does the new Surface Pro have more to offer than just its new black cape?
Does the new Surface Pro have more to offer than just its new black cape?

Microsoft first launched the Surface Pro back in 2013, promising that the device would deliver laptop performance in a tablet form factor. The company came close to realising this vision of the Surface Pro replacing the need for a tablet and a conventional computer in 2015 with the Surface Pro 4, but its execution fell just short of that promise.

Last year’s Surface Pro (2017) went one step further and brought average laptop performance to tablets with its Intel Kaby Lake processors. However, we were not fans of Microsoft making the Core i5 version fanless, which resulted in significantly reduced performance compared to what the processor could achieve. By contrast, the Core i7 model had a fan, just like our test device. Microsoft has equipped the Surface Pro 6 with quad-core Kaby Lake Refresh Intel Core processors though, which have twice the core count of their predecessors. Hence, we are curious how effectively a tablet can cool a quad-core processor when it is operating under sustained load.

How much performance is left on the table? Well, this question is more for those who need a powerful device for image processing, 3D modelling or video editing than those who primarily use Microsoft Office during their workday. In short, Microsoft has done a good job at getting the most from the Core i7-8650U, but we will be covering this in depth, and why you should choose this more expensive variant, in the Performance section.

We have included a table below, detailing the differences among Microsoft’s Surface Pro (2017) and Surface Pro 6 offerings. We have also tested the Core i5-8250U version of the Surface Pro 6, the review of which can be found here.

We will be comparing the Surface Pro 6 against other convertibles and 2-in-1s including the Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1, the HP Elite x2 1013, the Huawei MateBook E, the Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB and Samsung Galaxy Book 12. We will also see how Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro fares against other Surface devices such as the Surface Book 2 and the Surface Go.

2017 i7 2018 Entry level 2018 Midrange 2018 Midrange 2018 Midrange 2018 High End 2018 High End
i5-7660U Core m3-7Y30 (fanless) i5-8250U (fanless) i5-8250U (fanless) i7-8650U i7-8650U i7-8650U
16 GB RAM 4 GB RAM 8 GB RAM 8 GB RAM 8 GB RAM 16 GB RAM 16 GB RAM
512 GB 128 GB 128 GB 256 GB 256 GB 512 GB 1 TB
$1,799 €900 ~ $1,020 $899 $1,199 $1,499 $1,899 $2,299
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB (Surface Pro Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Core: 1150 MHz, Memory: 933 MHz, DDR3
Memory
16384 MB 
, LPDDR3 soldered dual-channel RAM
Display
12.3 inch 3:2, 2736 x 1824 pixel 267 PPI, 10-point multitouch, native pen support, LGPhilips LP123WQ112604, IPS, PixelSense, glossy: yes, detachable screen
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G, 512 GB 
, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G, 395 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combined headphone and microphone jack, Card Reader: microSDXC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Surface Connect, Type Cover connector
Networking
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.5 x 292 x 201 ( = 0.33 x 11.5 x 7.91 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Ion, SMP M1009169, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 13.5 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Primary Camera: 5 MPix Front-facing: Windows Hello
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix Rear-facing: Contrast Autofocus (AF)
Additional features
Speakers: 1.6 W stereo Dolby Audio Premium, Keyboard: Type Cover, Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Charger with USB Type-A port, Office 365 Trial, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.09 kg ( = 38.45 oz / 2.4 pounds), Power Supply: 218 g ( = 7.69 oz / 0.48 pounds)
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Identical case, but now in black.
Identical case, but now in black.

Just like its predecessors, the Surface Pro 6 is made from a single piece of milled aluminium. The case houses all components with the display sitting flush with the frame, the design of which is like a smartphone. Our test device feels premium and is robust; we could not flex the device, regardless of how much pressure we applied to the case.

Visually, the Surface Pro 6 looks identical to its predecessor except for the new black colour option. The frame has rounded corners with Microsoft having moved away from the sharper edges associated with the third and fourth generation Surface Pros. The Pro 6 has the same ventilation slot at the top of its case as previous Surface Pros too. Our test device is actively cooled, but the Core i5 version is fanless, the same as last year’s model.

The Surface Pro 6 has retained its predecessor’s kickstand too, which opens to 170° and leaves around a 10% gap from the kickstand lying flat against the tablet.

The new black option has a matte finish that feels relatively grippy when holding it. However, the bottom of the device has a slightly slicker finish to it than the edges, so we would recommend taking greater care when holding the device by its underside.

The Type Cover is grippier than the black finish though. This year’s Type Covers are identical to last year's and still connect magnetically to the bottom of the device.

The black version of the Surface Pro 6
The black version of the Surface Pro 6
with an Alcantara Signature Type Cover
The black version of the Surface Pro 6
The black and silver versions side by side
The new Surface Pro 6s from right to left: Black, Silver
The new Surface Pro 6s from right to left: Black, Silver

Our test device weighs 786 g (1.73 lbs) without a Type Cover, which is 2 g (0.07 oz) heavier than what Microsoft claims. The Core i5 version is 16 g (0.56 oz) lighter than its more powerful sibling, which is probably due to the weight of the fan.

The Surface Pro 6 is 8.5 mm (0.33-inches) thick, which is 1.1 mm (0.04-inches) thicker than the Samsung Galaxy Book 12 and 1.5 mm (0.06-inches) thicker than the Huawei MateBook E. However, the latter does not have a 15-W CPU. Our test device is 1.4 mm (0.06-inches) and 1.25 mm (0.05-inches) thinner than the Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB and the Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 respectively. The Surface Book 2 is the only outlier in this respect.

Incidentally, the Surface Pro 6 is only 0.1 mm (0.0003-inches) thicker than the Core i5 version of the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft has kept the Surface Pro roughly the same thickness for a few generations now.

The Surface Pro 6 weighs 1.1 kg (2.43 lbs) with its Type Cover, which is lighter than all our 15-W CPU equipped comparison devices. Likewise, our test device is around 200 g (0.44 lbs) lighter than both the Miix 520-12IKB and the Latitude 5290 2-in-1, which closely resemble the Pro 6’s design. We chose to compare the Surface Pro 6 against our comparison devices with its Type Cover for a fairer comparison as some devices do not have a detachable keyboard.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

The Surface Connect remains unchanged
The Surface Connect remains unchanged

Disappointingly, the Surface Pro 6 has the same ports as its predecessors. The device has a single USB 3.0 Type-A port, a Mini DisplayPort, a Surface Connect port and a microSD card slot under its kickstand. The lack of USB Type-C is shameful for a premium device released in 2018, particularly since some similarly priced devices such as the HP Elite x2 1013 G3 have up to two Thunderbolt 3 ports. USB Type-C has now been adopted by practically all OEMs and it continues to baffle us that Microsoft does not do the same.

Thunderbolt 3 allows devices to be connected to external GPUs, or daisy chain monitors and fast disk drives. Moreover, even just having a USB Type-C port would have given the Surface Pro 6 an additional USB connection and the option of charging the device from a universal USB Type-C charger. In short, the Surface Pro 6 would have been considerably more attractive to many users if it had a USB Type-C port and even more so for some professional users had that Type-C also been Thunderbolt 3.

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The Surface Pro 6’s port selection remains sparse with only a USB 3.0 Gen 1 Type-A port and a Mini DisplayPort.
The Surface Pro 6’s port selection remains sparse with only a USB 3.0 Gen 1 Type-A port and a Mini DisplayPort.

SD card reader

Microsoft still puts the microSD card slot behind the kickstand.
Microsoft still puts the microSD card slot behind the kickstand.

We conducted our microSD card tests with our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference card with which we test all the devices that arrive on our desks. Our test device achieved a maximum transfer speed of 86 MB/s when copying large blocks of data in the AS SSD test and 78.5 MB/s when copying 5 MB JPGs. MicroSD card performance is well above average in both tests, but the Surface Pro 6 cannot compete with the Surface Book 2 and the Latitude 5290 2-in-1 in this respect. 

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Microsoft Surface Book 2
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
159.2 MB/s ∼100% +103%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
142.2 MB/s ∼89% +81%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
78.5 MB/s ∼49%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
67.8 MB/s ∼43% -14%
Average of class Convertible
  (7.5 - 197, n=106)
58.7 MB/s ∼37% -25%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Microsoft Surface Book 2
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
234.4 MB/s ∼100% +171%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
211.8 MB/s ∼90% +145%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
86.4 MB/s ∼37%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
84.9 MB/s ∼36% -2%
Average of class Convertible
  (24 - 246, n=105)
74.4 MB/s ∼32% -14%

Communication

The Surface Pro 6 is equipped with a Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC module, which handles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The chip supports Bluetooth 4.1 and all current Wi-Fi standards. Our test device achieved an average of 593 MBit/s in the read portion of iperf3 Client and 559 MBit/s in the transmission test. Both values are above average, with our test device finishing higher in our iperf3 Client (read) comparison table than in our other Wi-Fi test.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
653 MBit/s ∼100% +10%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
606 MBit/s ∼93% +2%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
593 (min: 560, max: 611) MBit/s ∼91%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
581 MBit/s ∼89% -2%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
577 MBit/s ∼88% -3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
577 (min: 517, max: 605) MBit/s ∼88% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
534 MBit/s ∼82% -10%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
515 MBit/s ∼79% -13%
Average of class Convertible
  (38.3 - 678, n=118)
477 MBit/s ∼73% -20%
Huawei Matebook E
Intel 8265 Tri-Band WiFi (Oak Peak) Network Adapter
437 MBit/s ∼67% -26%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
314 MBit/s ∼48% -47%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
286 MBit/s ∼44% -52%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
668 MBit/s ∼100% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
634 MBit/s ∼95% +13%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
618 MBit/s ∼93% +11%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
598 MBit/s ∼90% +7%
Huawei Matebook E
Intel 8265 Tri-Band WiFi (Oak Peak) Network Adapter
592 MBit/s ∼89% +6%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
559 (min: 519, max: 577) MBit/s ∼84%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
517 (min: 437, max: 572) MBit/s ∼77% -8%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
498 MBit/s ∼75% -11%
Average of class Convertible
  (39.2 - 685, n=118)
487 MBit/s ∼73% -13%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
476 MBit/s ∼71% -15%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
305 MBit/s ∼46% -45%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
247 MBit/s ∼37% -56%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø593 (560-611)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø559 (519-577)

Security

Microsoft continues to integrate a TPM 2.0 module, which gives the device a unique identifier that is particularly useful in corporate environments. The Surface Pro 6 has a front-facing camera that supports Windows Hello too for biometric facial authentication.

Cameras

The Surface Pro 6 has two cameras, the same as its predecessors. There is an 8 MP rear-facing sensor that supports autofocus and takes passable photos. Photos lack detail, even when shot in daylight, but overall photos look more detailed than those taken with the Surface Pro 2017.

The same is true of the 5 MP front-facing camera. Photos taken with the camera look good, but its low resolution means that image noise masks fine details. This is particularly striking when comparing photos taken with the front-facing camera to our Canon EOS 1100D reference camera.

A photo taken with the Surface Pro 6’s rear-facing camera vs. one taken with the Canon EOS 1100D
A photo taken with the Surface Pro 6’s rear-facing camera vs. one taken with the Canon EOS 1100D
A photo taken with the Surface Pro 6’s front-facing camera vs. one taken with the Canon EOS 1100D
A photo taken with the Surface Pro 6’s front-facing camera vs. one taken with the Canon EOS 1100D

Full-sized pictures

Taken with the 8 MP rear-facing camera
Taken with the 8 MP rear-facing camera
A selfie taken with the 5 MP front-facing camera
A selfie taken with the 5 MP front-facing camera
A photo taken with the 5 MP front-facing camera
A photo taken with the 5 MP front-facing camera
Taken with the 8 MP rear-facing camera
Taken with the 8 MP rear-facing camera
Taken with the 8 MP rear-facing camera
Taken with the 8 MP rear-facing camera
Taken with a Canon EOS 1100D
Taken with a Canon EOS 1100D
Taken with a Canon EOS 1100D
Taken with a Canon EOS 1100D
 

Accessories

Our test device came with only a charger and a quick start guide. Microsoft instead relies on the strategy of selling Surface-branded accessories separately such as the Dial, Dock, Type Cover or Pen. Some retailers sell Type Cover and Pen bundles, so you need not buy those accessories separately, but by default you will receive no accessories when buying the Surface Pro 6.

The Surface Pen remains unchanged and costs $99.99 (£99.99) on the Microsoft Store. The pen supports tilt functionality and 4,096 levels of pressure. There is still one button on its side and another at its end both of which are freely customisable within Windows 10. The pen tips are interchangeable too.

The Surface Mouse next to the Surface Pro 6’s 44 W charger
The Surface Mouse next to the Surface Pro 6’s 44 W charger
Surface Dial
Surface Dial
The Surface Dock
The Surface Dock
The Surface Pen in its four colour options
The Surface Pen in its four colour options

Warranty

The Surface Pro 6 comes with twelve months manufacturer's warranty. We find this bafflingly short given how expensive the device is we would expect at least a twenty-four month warranty. Naturally, Microsoft sells its “Microsoft Complete for Surface Pro” warranty extension for $149 (£179), which extends the warranty on Surface devices to two years and offers accidental damage cover among other things.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Our test device arrived with a Type Cover and a Signature version, the latter of which costs $30 (£25) more. All Type Covers from the Surface Pro 3 onwards will work with the Surface Pro 6.

The Signature Type Cover has an Alcantara finish and comes in three colours. The Alcantara feels soft to the touch and is wipeable should you spill anything on it. The keys are flat with a medium stroke and a clear pressure point, which feel identical to previous Type Covers. The keys continue to sound unobtrusive when typing too. 

The Type Cover connects to a port on the bottom of the Surface and is held in place by magnets. The keyboard can be laid flat or at a 10 ° angle. We would recommend typing with the keyboard at an angle as otherwise, it tends to move back and forth as you type. The Type Cover still has multi-level keyboard backlighting.

Overall, the Surface Type Cover is one of the best detachable keyboards currently on the market.

Trackpad

The Signature and normal Type Covers have identically sized trackpads, which are just as comfortable to use as previous versions from the Surface Pro 4 onwards. The trackpad supports Windows Precision drivers for multi-finger gestures, while the integrated buttons have a short stroke with a succinct pressure point and a precise stop.

A look at a Signature Type Cover; all Type Covers must be purchased separately.
A look at a Signature Type Cover; all Type Covers must be purchased separately.
The trackpad has a smooth finish
The trackpad has a smooth finish

Display

The Surface Pro 6 has a 12.3-inch PixelSense display with a 2,736x1,824 native resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio that yields a pixel density of 267 PPI. These are identical values to those of last year’s model. The display continues to support 10-point multitouch too.

Microsoft has equipped our test device with a brighter display though, but keep in mind that manufacturers tend to use multiple display suppliers, so the display in your Surface Pro 6 may be different to our test device’s. The display reaches a maximum brightness of 484 cd/m² at the centre of the display according to X-Rite i1Pro 2, which is 14% brighter than last year’s model. Our test device averages a maximum luminosity of 473 cd/m² across the entire display and has a 91% evenly lit panel. These values are all higher than those of the Surface Pro (2017) and most of our comparison devices. Only the Latitude 5290 2-in-1 has a brighter display, while the MateBook E has a slightly more evenly lit display.

As with previous Surface Pros our test device uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate display brightness. We measured a PWM frequency of 22,000 Hz at and below 50% brightness, which fortunately should be high enough to not trouble even those who are PWM sensitive.

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array
Touchscreen pixel grid
Touchscreen pixel grid
Our test device has noticeable backlight bleed at the bottom of its display
Our test device has noticeable backlight bleed at the bottom of its display
496
cd/m²
472
cd/m²
489
cd/m²
467
cd/m²
484
cd/m²
459
cd/m²
474
cd/m²
450
cd/m²
463
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 496 cd/m² Average: 472.7 cd/m² Minimum: 5.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 484 cd/m²
Contrast: 1467:1 (Black: 0.33 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.29 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2, calibrated: 1.34
ΔE Greyscale 4.3 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
95% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 62% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.51
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
LGPhilips LP123WQ112604, , 2736x1824, 12.3
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
LG Display LP123WQ112604, , 2736x1824, 12.3
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
SHP1479, , 1920x1280, 12.3
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
AU Optronics AUO101A, , 3000x2000, 13
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
3000x2000, 13.3
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
Samsung SDCA029, , 2160x1440, 12
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Panasonic MEI96A2 , , 3000x2000, 13.5
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
Sharp SHP14A6, , 1800x1200, 10
Huawei Matebook E
Chi Mei CMN7801, , 2160x1440, 12
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Unbekannt, , 1920x1200, 12.2
Response Times
-6%
-56%
-7%
-40%
4%
-22%
-33%
26%
-25%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
43 (21, 22)
42 (20, 22)
2%
56.8 (26.8, 30)
-32%
47 (23, 24)
-9%
47.2 (21.2, 26)
-10%
4 (2, 2)
91%
52.8 (25.2, 27.6)
-23%
44 (22, 22)
-2%
26 (10, 16)
40%
36 (18, 18)
16%
Response Time Black / White *
25 (13, 12)
29 (18, 11)
-16%
36 (19.6, 16.4)
-44%
26 (14, 12)
-4%
42.4 (19.6, 22.8)
-70%
20 (18, 2)
20%
30 (16.4, 13.6)
-20%
25.6 (11.6, 14)
-2%
22 (12, 10)
12%
23 (12, 11)
8%
PWM Frequency
22000 (50)
21000
-5%
1852 (98)
-92%
250 (100)
-99%
1020 (99)
-95%
200 (90)
-99%
Screen
4%
-10%
-12%
84%
18%
18%
-9%
-31%
Brightness middle
484
417
-14%
548
13%
452
-7%
376
-22%
385
-20%
456
-6%
439
-9%
384
-21%
Brightness
473
401
-15%
545
15%
412
-13%
378
-20%
372
-21%
426
-10%
428
-10%
355
-25%
Brightness Distribution
91
88
-3%
86
-5%
85
-7%
91
0%
89
-2%
88
-3%
92
1%
80
-12%
Black Level *
0.33
0.29
12%
0.51
-55%
0.48
-45%
0.03
91%
0.21
36%
0.31
6%
0.35
-6%
0.56
-70%
Contrast
1467
1438
-2%
1075
-27%
942
-36%
12533
754%
1833
25%
1471
0%
1254
-15%
686
-53%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.29
3.63
15%
3.65
15%
4.05
6%
4.1
4%
1.6
63%
1.3
70%
5.17
-21%
4.58
-7%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
6.46
6.74
-4%
7.15
-11%
6.64
-3%
6.45
-0%
4.5
30%
3
54%
7.68
-19%
11.63
-80%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.34
1.81
-35%
1.56
-16%
1.1
18%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.3
2.18
49%
5.5
-28%
4.87
-13%
3.64
15%
1.5
65%
1.4
67%
5.69
-32%
5.63
-31%
Gamma
2.51 88%
3.09 71%
2.154 102%
2.71 81%
2.58 85%
2.22 99%
2.24 98%
2.42 91%
2.45 90%
CCT
7315 89%
6767 96%
7052 92%
7160 91%
7113 91%
6502 100%
6687 97%
7999 81%
7571 86%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62
63
2%
65.2
5%
62
0%
74
19%
64
3%
62.3
0%
71
15%
60
-3%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
95
99
4%
99.1
4%
97
2%
93
-2%
95.9
1%
96.8
2%
100
5%
92
-3%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-1% / 2%
-33% / -20%
-10% / -11%
-40% / -40%
44% / 65%
-2% / 11%
-8% / 7%
9% / -3%
-28% / -29%

* ... smaller is better

AdobeRGB: 62%
AdobeRGB: 62%
sRGB: 95%
sRGB: 95%

Our test device has a 0.33 cd/m² black value, which is higher than that which X-Rite i1Pro 2 measured on last year’s Surface Pro. This results in a 1,467:1 contrast ratio, which is only marginally higher than last year’s device. However, both values are considerably better than the Elite x2 1013 G3 and the Latitude 5290 2-in-1. By contrast, the Galaxy Book 12 has an incredibly low black value and an equally impressive contrast ratio.

Surprisingly, the Surface Pro 6 has worse sRGB colour space coverage than its predecessor. Our test device has 95% sRGB coverage, which is 4% lower than the 99% that the Surface Pro (2017) achieved. We suspect that these differences are merely production discrepancies as the two devices carry the same display model number. 

Overall, the Surface Pro 6 has a great display for semi-professional image editing that is on par with the best of our comparison devices.

Our test device had a Delta E ColorChecker deviation of 4.29 upon delivery, which is marginally above the ideal value of 3. The display has a noticeable blue tint to it though. Calibrating the display with a photo spectrometer rectified these issues though, while the DeltaE Greyscale deviation also dropped from 4.3 to 0.8. We have included our calibrated ICC profile in the box above our display values comparison table should you wish to use it.

CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated
CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Greyscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Greyscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated

The Surface Pro 6 is usable outdoors thanks to its bright display and good contrast ratio. However, the display has a glossy finish that attracts reflections when using the device in the sun. Hence, we would recommend using the device in the shade where possible for the best viewing experience.

Using the Surface Pro 6 in the sun…
Using the Surface Pro 6 in the sun…
…and in the shade
…and in the shade
The display is readable thanks to its high maximum brightness
The display is readable thanks to its high maximum brightness

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
25 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 12 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 40 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
43 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 21 ms rise
↘ 22 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 59 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 22000 Hz ≤ 50 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 22000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 50 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 22000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8922 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Our test device has great viewing angles thanks to its IPS display. We did not notice any brightness or colour distortions even at acute angles.

Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles

Performance

Microsoft has equipped its high-end Surface Pro 6 with an Intel Core i7-8650U processor. The Core i7-8650U is a Kaby Lake-R generation quad-core processor that Intel released in August last year. Microsoft has, therefore, had plenty of time to ensure that the Pro 6’s cooling solution works well with such a powerful CPU. We will be examining this in greater detail below. Microsoft also offers the Pro 6 with either Core i5-8250U or Core M3 7Y30 processors, both of which are fanless. It is worth noting that the latter is the same processor that powered last year’s entry-level model, which makes the cheapest Surface Pro 6 only a minor update over its direct predecessor.

Our test device is also equipped with 16 GB of soldered dual-channel RAM, and a 512 GB Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G SSD. Microsoft sells the Core i7-8650U version with either 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM and up to 1 TB of storage. However, Microsoft only offers the 8 GB version with a 256 GB SSD, while the 16 GB version is limited to either 512 GB or 1 TB of storage. Curiously, the Black version with 16 GB RAM is currently only available with a 512 TB SSD.

CPUZ CPU
CPUZ CPU
CPUZ Mainboard
CPUZ Mainboard
CPUZ Memory
CPUZ Memory
GPUZ
GPUZ
HWiNFO: Summary
HWiNFO: Summary
LatencyMon
LatencyMon
 
 

The Surface Pro 6 Core i7-8650U: A tablet with outstanding laptop-level performance

We have included a Lenovo ThinkPad T480 and ThinkPad T580 as part of our performance comparison to demonstrate how good of a job Microsoft has done at cooling the Core i7-8650U. Both ThinkPads have around 20 mm thick cases that accommodate larger cooling systems. Presumably, the larger devices can keep the same processor cooler for longer and thereby extract more performance?

Well, surprisingly our test device initially scored around 6% higher than the ThinkPad T480 in a Cinebench R15 multi-threaded benchmark loop and a whopping 10% more than the larger ThinkPad T580. All three devices could not maintain their initial performance by the end of our thirty-benchmark loop; the ThinkPad T580 fared worse, scoring around 18% lower than it did in the first run through. However, our test device maintained a slender lead of the ThinkPad T480, demonstrating that a thicker device will have a better cooling solution. The Surface Pro 6 even finished its considerably more expensive and larger sibling, the Surface Book 2.

We have also included screenshots below to demonstrate the difference between benchmarking the Surface Pro 6 on mains power compared to on battery power. The second screenshot is our test device operating on battery; we disconnected the charger and started the Cinebench R15 loop at the one-minute mark on those graphs. The CPU initially clocked up to 2.8 GHz before then immediately dropping to 2.1/2.2 GHz where it stayed for the remainder of the benchmark loop. The CPU consumed around 12 W at this lower frequency, so performance is slightly reduced when the device is running on battery. However, the CPU still operates at Turbo Boost frequencies, which start at 1.9 GHz and faster.

Processor

OEMs have been equipping their laptops with Kaby Lake Refresh processors for over a year, so why has Microsoft only now updated their Surface Pro to quad-core processors? We suspect that there are three reasons for this, the primary one being that Microsoft had to keep pace with its OEMs like Dell, HP and Lenovo. However, Microsoft last updated the Surface Pro line-up in June 2017, so releasing the 6th generation only a few months later would not have made much business sense. Moreover, Microsoft may have taken additional time to hone their cooling system rather than merely pushing out a poorly-cooled device to beat other companies to market.

Typically, slim subnotebooks and ultrabooks that are equipped with Intel Core 8th generation processors throttle after a few minutes of stress testing. This is by design to prevent these powerful CPUs from overwhelming the device’s cooling system.

The Core i7-8650U powered Surface Pro 6 does not entirely mimic this behaviour though. Cinebench R15 multi-core scores drop for each successive run of the benchmark until the fifth pass-through where they stabilise. The CPU initially clocks at 3 GHz, which the system maintains for around two minutes. The core temperature quickly rises an untenable 80 °C (~176 °F), which causes the processor to throttle back to between 2.5/2.6 GHz so that it can cool to a manageable 73 °C (~163 °F).

Equally, the CPU initially draws 25 W, which then drops to an average of 18 W as it throttles. We still measured the CPU consuming 17 W even after nineteen minutes of benchmarking, which is particularly impressive given how slim the Surface Pro 6 is.

Core temperatures and clock speeds when running the Cinebench R15 loop on mains power
Core temperatures and clock speeds when running the Cinebench R15 loop on mains power
Core temperatures and clock speeds when running the Cinebench R15 loop on battery power
Core temperatures and clock speeds when running the Cinebench R15 loop on battery power
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680Tooltip
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U: Ø571 (559.56-638.59)
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7 Intel Core i7-7660U, Intel Core i7-7660U: Ø352 (335.35-409.45)
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel Core i5-8250U: Ø452 (434.07-584.91)
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 Intel Core i5-8350U, Intel Core i5-8350U: Ø488 (465.07-568.99)
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA Intel Core i5-8350U, Intel Core i5-8350U: Ø486 (481.08-516.94)
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728 Intel Core i5-7200U, Intel Core i5-7200U: Ø298 (278.79-321.75)
Microsoft Surface Book 2 Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U: Ø526 (489.6-675.96)
Huawei Matebook E Intel Core i5-7Y54, Intel Core i5-7Y54: Ø250 (246.95-261.8)
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel Core i7-8550U; Cool Mode Off: Ø496 (487.22-531.67)
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel Core i7-8550U; Cool Mode On: Ø456 (434.78-525.48)
Lenovo ThinkPad T480-20L50010US Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U: Ø564 (558.47-604.06)
Lenovo ThinkPad T580-20L9001AUS Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U: Ø482 (448.21-590.42)

The Surface Pro 6 finishes marginally behind larger devices in the single-threaded portion of Cinebench R15, but it comes into its own in the multi-threaded benchmark.

In short, the Surface Pro 6 makes outstanding use of its Core i7-8650U processor that outclasses much larger 14-inch and 15-inch laptops. Our test device leaves the Core i7 Surface Pro (2017) in its wake too.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Intel Core i7-8650U
177 Points ∼100% +9%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (137 - 178, n=14)
169 Points ∼95% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480-20L50010US
Intel Core i7-8650U
166 Points ∼94% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T580-20L9001AUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
166 Points ∼94% +2%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Intel Core i7-8550U
164 Points ∼93% +1%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Intel Core i7-7660U
163 Points ∼92% 0%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
Intel Core i7-8650U
163 Points ∼92%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Intel Core i5-8350U
151 Points ∼85% -7%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
Intel Core i5-8350U
147 Points ∼83% -10%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
Intel Core i5-8250U
143 Points ∼81% -12%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Intel Core i5-7300U
141 Points ∼80% -13%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
Intel Core i5-7200U
127 Points ∼72% -22%
Huawei Matebook E
Intel Core i5-7Y54
124 Points ∼70% -24%
Average of class Convertible
  (19 - 177, n=274)
102 Points ∼58% -37%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
65 Points ∼37% -60%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Intel Core i7-8650U
673 Points ∼100% +5%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
Intel Core i7-8650U
639 Points ∼95%
Lenovo ThinkPad T580-20L9001AUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
605 Points ∼90% -5%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (447 - 675, n=16)
599 Points ∼89% -6%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
Intel Core i5-8250U
585 Points ∼87% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480-20L50010US
Intel Core i7-8650U
580 Points ∼86% -9%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Intel Core i7-8550U
532 Points ∼79% -17%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Intel Core i7-8550U
525 Points ∼78% -18%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
Intel Core i5-8350U
517 Points ∼77% -19%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Intel Core i5-8350U
514 Points ∼76% -20%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Intel Core i7-7660U
410 (min: 335.35, max: 409.45) Points ∼61% -36%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Intel Core i5-7300U
334 Points ∼50% -48%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
Intel Core i5-7200U
321 Points ∼48% -50%
Average of class Convertible
  (33 - 761, n=280)
279 Points ∼41% -56%
Huawei Matebook E
Intel Core i5-7Y54
254 Points ∼38% -60%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
164 Points ∼24% -74%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
163 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
639 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
47.37 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Help

System Performance

PCMark 8: Creative
PCMark 8: Creative
PCMark 8: Work
PCMark 8: Work
PCMark 8: Home
PCMark 8: Home
PCMark 8: Storage
PCMark 8: Storage
PCMark 8: Summary
PCMark 8: Summary
 

Our test device does not perform as well in system performance benchmarks, but it does not embarrass itself. Predictably, the Surface Book 2 takes the crown in the PCMark 10: Digital Content Creation comparison table because of its dedicated GPU with our test device finishing in third place and around 2% behind the Surface Pro (2017)

Results vary wildly in PCMark benchmarks though, with the Surface Pro 6 scoring 14% below the Miix 520-12IKB in PCMark 10: Essentials. Likewise, our test device finishes 16% and 12% lower than its predecessor in the PCMark 10 overall benchmark. We suspect that Microsoft has installed a slower SSD. More on that below.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3926 - 5200, n=7)
4822 Points ∼100% +13%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
4772 Points ∼99% +12%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4764 Points ∼99% +12%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4522 (min: 4500, max: 4528) Points ∼94% +6%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
4431 Points ∼92% +4%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung SSD PM871a MZNLN256HMHQ
4291 Points ∼89% +1%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
4262 Points ∼88%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4200 Points ∼87% -1%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
3983 Points ∼83% -7%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
3970 Points ∼82% -7%
Average of class Convertible
  (1007 - 5281, n=203)
3662 Points ∼76% -14%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
4095 Points ∼100% +25%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3860 Points ∼94% +18%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3776 Points ∼92% +15%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3216 - 4103, n=9)
3768 Points ∼92% +15%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3694 (min: 3691, max: 3696) Points ∼90% +13%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung SSD PM871a MZNLN256HMHQ
3538 Points ∼86% +8%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3413 Points ∼83% +4%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
3281 Points ∼80%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
3088 Points ∼75% -6%
Huawei Matebook E
HD Graphics 615, 7Y54, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
2979 Points ∼73% -9%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
2936 Points ∼72% -11%
Average of class Convertible
  (741 - 4741, n=250)
2743 Points ∼67% -16%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
UHD Graphics 615, 4415Y, 64 GB eMMC Flash
741 Points ∼18% -77%
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4342 (min: 4211, max: 4356) Points ∼100% +47%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
3014 Points ∼69% +2%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
2952 Points ∼68%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2117 - 3174, n=9)
2846 Points ∼66% -4%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
2840 Points ∼65% -4%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
2714 Points ∼63% -8%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
2604 Points ∼60% -12%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
2437 Points ∼56% -17%
Average of class Convertible
  (727 - 4342, n=71)
2417 Points ∼56% -18%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
2202 Points ∼51% -25%
Productivity
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
6860 Points ∼100% +28%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
6665 Points ∼97% +25%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (5271 - 7142, n=9)
6433 Points ∼94% +20%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
6238 Points ∼91% +17%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5819 (min: 5653, max: 5995) Points ∼85% +9%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5698 Points ∼83% +6%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
5353 Points ∼78%
Average of class Convertible
  (1162 - 7045, n=72)
5108 Points ∼74% -5%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
5009 Points ∼73% -6%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
4520 Points ∼66% -16%
Essentials
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
8199 Points ∼100% +16%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
8076 Points ∼98% +15%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
7995 Points ∼98% +14%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
7919 Points ∼97% +13%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6877 - 8733, n=9)
7827 Points ∼95% +11%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
7659 (min: 7643, max: 7746) Points ∼93% +9%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
7039 Points ∼86%
Average of class Convertible
  (2489 - 9291, n=72)
6781 Points ∼83% -4%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
6714 Points ∼82% -5%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
6367 Points ∼78% -10%
Score
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4119 (min: 4106, max: 4190) Points ∼100% +19%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
3909 Points ∼95% +13%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3737 Points ∼91% +8%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3696 Points ∼90% +7%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2403 - 4066, n=9)
3642 Points ∼88% +6%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3559 Points ∼86% +3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
3448 Points ∼84%
Average of class Convertible
  (1006 - 4347, n=73)
3081 Points ∼75% -11%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
3076 Points ∼75% -11%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
2957 Points ∼72% -14%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3281 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4454 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4262 points
Help

Storage Devices

CrystalDiskMark 3.0 confirms our suspicions; the Toshiba SSD in our test device is significantly slower than the Samsung PM971 in the Surface Pro (2017). The PM971 has 40% faster transfer speeds overall than its Toshiba counterpart. Curiously, Microsoft also equipped the Surface Book 2 with an older Samsung PM961 SSD.

Toshiba claims that the drive should reach up to 1,500 MB/s sequential read speeds. However, our tests demonstrate that it does not even reach half those claims.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
Samsung SSD PM871a MZNLN256HMHQ
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
64 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei Matebook E
SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
Average Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
 
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
40%
-43%
49%
-11%
30%
-73%
-21%
50%
0%
Write 4k QD32
304.9
421.48
38%
45.38
-85%
298.4
-2%
260.7
-14%
337.08
11%
33.64
-89%
184.4
-40%
498.5
63%
305
0%
Read 4k QD32
241.2
485.58
101%
192.7
-20%
286
19%
289.1
20%
465.5
93%
34.45
-86%
381.8
58%
606.5
151%
241
0%
Write 4k
97.24
136.27
40%
39.77
-59%
104.2
7%
91.93
-5%
148.47
53%
24.27
-75%
65.3
-33%
139.3
43%
97.2
0%
Read 4k
43.75
53.64
23%
29.93
-32%
49.66
14%
40.46
-8%
43.64
0%
19.06
-56%
32.46
-26%
54.83
25%
43.8
0%
Write 512
574.9
791.87
38%
115.8
-80%
798.3
39%
395.4
-31%
337.86
-41%
107.1
-81%
294.7
-49%
627.1
9%
575
0%
Read 512
388.2
227.5
-41%
385.3
-1%
716.7
85%
443.7
14%
654.05
68%
190.6
-51%
341.9
-12%
586.3
51%
388
0%
Write Seq
791.5
960.7
21%
127.6
-84%
1209
53%
473.7
-40%
341.2
-57%
122.4
-85%
461
-42%
931.9
18%
792
0%
Read Seq
651.1
1307.9
101%
748.1
15%
1786
174%
511.1
-22%
1370.2
110%
259.6
-60%
506.1
-22%
882.5
36%
651
0%
Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
Sequential Read: 651.1 MB/s
Sequential Write: 791.5 MB/s
512K Read: 388.2 MB/s
512K Write: 574.9 MB/s
4K Read: 43.75 MB/s
4K Write: 97.24 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 241.2 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 304.9 MB/s

Graphics Card

The Intel UHD Graphics 620 handles graphics on our test device and shares its thermal design power (TDP) with the CPU. The Core i7 Surface Pro (2017) had a more powerful Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, but both graphics solutions are integrated within their respective processors, which is Intel’s decision making and not Microsoft’s.

The UHD Graphics 620 can clock up to 1,150 MHz, which is higher than the older Iris Plus Graphics 640. Performance is more than just clock speed though, hence why the Iris Plus Graphics 640 scores between 10% and 26% in 3DMark benchmarks.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Microsoft Surface Book 2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8650U
7483 (min: 7472, max: 7485) Points ∼100% +279%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, Intel Core i7-7660U
2493 Points ∼33% +26%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8650U
1977 Points ∼26%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1881 Points ∼25% -5%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1717 Points ∼23% -13%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1606 Points ∼21% -19%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (1235 - 1979, n=104)
1680 Points ∼22% -15%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8350U
1660 Points ∼22% -16%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8350U
1660 Points ∼22% -16%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1533 Points ∼20% -22%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
Intel UHD Graphics 615, Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
1257 Points ∼17% -36%
Huawei Matebook E
Intel HD Graphics 615, Intel Core i5-7Y54
1256 Points ∼17% -36%
Average of class Convertible
  (173 - 7483, n=301)
1176 Points ∼16% -41%
3DMark - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Microsoft Surface Book 2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8650U
29376 Points ∼100% +188%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, Intel Core i7-7660U
11264 Points ∼38% +10%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8650U
10213 Points ∼35%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
9769 Points ∼33% -4%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8350U
9307 Points ∼32% -9%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 11294, n=93)
8858 Points ∼30% -13%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
8833 Points ∼30% -14%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
7559 Points ∼26% -26%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8350U
8330 Points ∼28% -18%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
7776 Points ∼26% -24%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7300U
7265 Points ∼25% -29%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
Intel UHD Graphics 615, Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
6602 Points ∼22% -35%
Average of class Convertible
  (1023 - 37388, n=263)
6408 Points ∼22% -37%
3DMark 11 Performance
2202 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
9052 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Our test device handles games comparably well though. The Core i7 version achieves around 15% higher frames in games than the Core i5 model, but this will not make a game more playable.

The Surface Pro 6 can play undemanding and older games such as “Farming Simulator 17” and “BioShock Infinite” smoothly, but only at reduced graphics and resolutions. However, more complex games such as “PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds” were unplayable even at minimum settings.

Please see our gaming and GPU benchmark pages for further information on how the Surface Pro 6 fares against other similarly equipped devices.

Civilization VI (2016) – unplayable
Civilization VI (2016) – unplayable
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) - playable
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) - playable
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) - unplayable
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) - unplayable
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) (2017) - unplayable
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) (2017) - unplayable
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) - unplayable
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) - unplayable
BioShock Infinite - 1366x768 High Preset
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
149.1 fps ∼100% +342%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
33.7 fps ∼23%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
31.9 fps ∼21% -5%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
28.3 fps ∼19% -16%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
28 fps ∼19% -17%
HP Elite x2 1013 G3-2TT14EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
26.8 fps ∼18% -20%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (8.1 - 34.3, n=94)
26 fps ∼17% -23%
Average of class Convertible
  (2.1 - 149, n=168)
24.4 fps ∼16% -28%
Lenovo Miix 520-12IKB 20M3000LGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
24.2 fps ∼16% -28%
Huawei Matebook E
HD Graphics 615, 7Y54, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
20.46 fps ∼14% -39%
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
UHD Graphics 615, 4415Y, 64 GB eMMC Flash
17.5 fps ∼12% -48%
Civilization VI - 1024x768 Minimum Preset
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
45.3 fps ∼100%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
38.8 fps ∼86% -14%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (27.8 - 45.3, n=10)
36.9 fps ∼81% -19%
Average of class Convertible
  (9.7 - 45.3, n=14)
28.1 fps ∼62% -38%
Farming Simulator 17 - 1366x768 Medium Preset
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
91 (min: 78, max: 110) fps ∼100% +60%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
56.9 fps ∼63%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (8 - 67.9, n=11)
50.9 fps ∼56% -11%
Average of class Convertible
  (24.1 - 91, n=12)
49.8 fps ∼55% -12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
47.8 fps ∼53% -16%
Samsung Galaxy Book 12 SM-W728
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung SSD PM871a MZNLN256HMHQ
24.1 fps ∼26% -58%
Dirt 4 - 1280x720 Ultra Low Preset
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
50 fps ∼100%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (46.6 - 50, n=2)
48.3 fps ∼97% -3%
Average of class Convertible
  (10 - 90.4, n=7)
42.8 fps ∼86% -14%
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) - 1280x720 Very Low Preset
Average of class Convertible
  (18 - 94.5, n=4)
43.7 fps ∼100% +100%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
21.9 fps ∼50%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (18 - 21.9, n=2)
20 fps ∼46% -9%
Middle-earth: Shadow of War - 1280x720 Lowest Preset
Average of class Convertible
  (10 - 77, n=6)
29.7 fps ∼100% +29%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
23 fps ∼77%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (18 - 23, n=3)
20.3 fps ∼68% -12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
18 fps ∼61% -22%
F1 2018 - 1280x720 Ultra Low Preset
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
35.8 fps ∼100% +12%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (31 - 35.8, n=3)
32.9 fps ∼92% +3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
32 fps ∼89%
Average of class Convertible
  (12 - 35.8, n=4)
23 fps ∼64% -28%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 1280x720 Lowest Preset
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
21.7 fps ∼100% +36%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i7, 512 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ512G
16 fps ∼74%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (12 - 21.7, n=4)
15.7 fps ∼72% -2%
Average of class Convertible
  (3 - 21.7, n=5)
11.3 fps ∼52% -29%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 78.140.933.710.2fps
Thief (2014) 26.513.312.1fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 21.7147.5fps
Civilization VI (2016) 45.316.9fps
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) 80.556.923.9fps
Dirt 4 (2017) 5013.611.2fps
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) (2017) 21.9129.5fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017) 2312fps
F1 2018 (2018) 3215fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 166fps

Emissions

Fan Noise

Noise characteristics
Noise characteristics

Our test device works silently when idling, with the fan occasionally spinning up to 30.3 dB(A) during light tasks and up to 31.8 dB(A) when operating under moderate load. Short bursts of load like long file transfers causes the fan to reach a maximum 33.5 dB(A), which is also how loud the fan gets during a stress test. The fan does not sound annoying though.

Noise Level

Idle
30.3 / 30.3 / 30.3 dB(A)
Load
33.5 / 33.5 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.3 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.13329.531.432.12532.230.33130.932.23133.434.934.230.433.44028.930.129.928.628.95032.231.231.230.832.26327.4282727.127.48026.827.326.22826.810025.426.625.72625.412525.424.625.325.425.416023.924.423.723.623.920023.12322.622.423.125022.22322.221.522.231521.421.620.820.621.440021.922.12020.521.950021.32119.419.321.363021.521.11918.921.580022.722.518.418.322.7100021.822.217.918.121.812502121.217.717.721160022.522.217.617.422.5200021.220.917.417.321.225002322.917.517.623315023.623.617.817.823.6400020.420.517.91820.4500019.819.818.218.119.86300191918.218.419800018.518.518.618.318.51000018.418.418.418.318.41250018.418.418.218.218.41600018.318.418.218.218.3SPL33.533.531.830.430.433.5N1.81.81.51.31.31.8median 21.5median 21.6median 18.4median 18.3median 21.5Delta1.71.12.11.91.732.83331.131.932.831.83531.43431.829.541.233.133.529.531.136.530.232.731.129.342.929.13329.327.734.227.628.827.726.928.827.427.326.925.22725.725.725.224.726.625.424.624.724.3252423.724.323.523.323.122.423.522.222.822.221.722.221.721.921.620.921.721.121.620.920.921.120.221.421.119.320.22020.820.918.52019.821.321.818.419.81920.720.818.41918.920.620.917.618.919.722.622.717.519.71921.321.717.61919.221.72217.719.218.921.821.917.618.91818.919.118181818.418.518.11818.118.218.218.118.118.218.318.218.118.218.318.318.218.318.318.218.118.118.118.218.218.218.118.118.231.232.832.930.431.21.41.71.61.31.4median 19.2median 21.3median 21.1median 18.3median 19.21.71.81.71.91.730.731.533.130.731.73132.931.73534.632.63530.830.529.830.838.539.337.938.530.231.731.130.228.126.828.228.129.229.324.529.225.526.524.925.523.423.824.423.423.322.723.323.321.622.322.221.620.920.821.420.921.321.520.421.320.720.619.220.720.820.618.720.820.119.918.220.119.919.817.719.918.418.717.518.420.220.417.320.219.519.917.419.519.819.817.519.819.919.717.519.918.518.717.718.518.218.317.818.218.218.11818.218.318.418.218.318.418.318.218.418.318.318.318.318.518.418.418.531.631.730.331.61.61.61.41.6median 19.9median 19.9median 18.2median 19.92.31.72.22.330.829.629.9322830.828.932.63434.334.631.432.632.43028.928.529.228.527.127.626.427.727.927.927.926.926.828.428.128.427.827.327.730.925.727.126.824.926.527.52725.627.825.92525.526.126.328.324.32627.528.926.828.226.32424.224.22323.424.823.922.823.521.92324.524.222.322.422.322.921.92324.123.621.721.221.720.822.425.523.321.62120.219.920.729.121.319.619.418.818.618.426.122.220.419.518.118.117.927.822.420.918.917.417.417.730.621.818.81816.917.217.131.122.919.718.616.51716.832.724.821.218.417.316.816.634.926.922.420.218.316.916.337.127.523.820.818.417.416.537.629.424.220.417.818.116.239.327.722.318.617.817.916.338.328.321.418.617.617.216.840.22518.51817.81817.137.122.318.618.418.118.617.339.620.31819.819.320.417.937.118.617.918.418.218.417.929.818.21818.318.518.717.826.718.318.220.520.520.618.223.337.833.431.430.230.229.4492.61.81.51.41.41.36.3median 23.3median 21.2median 19.5median 18.3median 18.4median 17.8median 30.62.31.81.41.31.62.25.339.740.940.941.339.739.739.137.137.839.730.829.530.130.730.832.73329.431.532.731.331.430.228.631.330.731.332.231.130.732.932.928.830.432.934.734.128.73234.725.925.225.725.825.92827.225.726.12826.226.424.724.926.225.92523.624.225.925.125.122.52325.12424.22221.82423.323.42121.223.322.322.820.120.322.322.823.519.119.522.8222318.718.6