After being a long term Mac user, I switched over to the Surface Pro 6 and Windows 10 in late 2018. I was initially really impressed but the real test is how it holds up long term, so after 16 months of daily use, let’s find out!
In short, my experience with the Surface Pro 6 has been excellent! It’s still really fast and smooth overall and the battery still lasts a full work day. I’ve been using the Intel Core I5 model with 8GB RAM paired with the alcantara signature type cover and Surface pen.
I could tell that the build quality was top notch the moment I unboxed the Surface Pro so its no real surprise that it’s still as sturdy and rigid today as I was back then. The kickstand is still rock solid and there’s no scuffs, scratches or dings anywhere on the device. The type cover (Surface speak for removable keyboard) hasn’t held up quite as well unfortunately, it’s become increasingly marked around the areas that my palms rest but it’s something that can be solved with a good clean every couple of months. The keyboard itself has been incredible though, an excellent typing experience whether it’s on my lap or on my desk. It’s a real joy every time I type on the Surface Pro 6
The battery life has definitely seen a small decrease overall over the past 16 months or so which is to be expected, but it’s still easily able to see me through a work day on a single charge. I have absolutely no complaints here and battery life was something that I was concerned about when moving from Mac to Windows. There’s been plenty of updates steadily arriving too, but the Surface Pro 6 has never interrupted my workflow to perform an update despite the horror stories I’d previously seen online.
In terms of performance, again, my I5 model with 8GB of RAM has been a stellar performer very rarely skipping a beat and I’ve been generally very impressed with the smoothness of Windows 10 and especially the gestures which are something I loved on Mac. The integration with OneDrive has been absolutely flawless too, being able to see all my files from the cloud right in the file explorer is great and the ability to quickly add photos and/or documents to OneDrive from my phone to access on the Surface has been a stellar replacement for AirDrop which I used daily on my old MacBook Air.
One area that I have found bafflingly inconsistent is scrolling in file explorer. It’s like a game of roulette every time I scroll though my files whether I’ll be greeted with a silkily smooth experience like everywhere else in the OS or feel like I’m scrolling through treacle with the onscreen action slowing down, becoming choppy and lagging behind my physical trackpad gestures. I’ve never been able to pin point a cause for this and I’ve learned to live with it over time, but it would be great to see it fixed in the future.
Speaking of the future, as you can probably tell by now, I have really enjoyed using the Surface Pro 6 every day for 16 months but I would like to see Microsoft reduce the bezels in future models. As it stands today, the Surface Pro 6 is a great piece of hardware but it’s starting to look dated with the large bezels.
In summary, I think the Surface Pro 6 is an extremely impressive device and Panos Panay and the whole Surface team at Microsoft deserve huge credit for what they’ve accomplished here. When my main complaint after 16 months of daily usage is the file explorer scrolling smoothness, you know they’ve created an productivity tool. Perhaps the biggest complement that I can pay is to say that when the time comes, my next device will almost certainly be from the Surface family!