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This is Microsoft's new Surface Pro 4: better in nearly every way

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Today Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 4, and we're getting our first look at it here at the company's big product event. Last year, Surface chief Panos Panay said that Microsoft had hit the right formula to make the Surface Pro a viable laptop replacement. This time, the new Surface is all about refinement and polish. It's thinner, lighter, and faster thanks to Intel's latest chips. The screen is larger (now 12.3 inches), yet the device hasn't gotten any wider. And it showcases an incredibly sharp, pixel-dense resolution, just as Panos Panay boasted on stage. Microsoft says the Surface Pro 4 is 50 percent faster than Apple's MacBook Air and far speedier than its predecessor.

Read next: The Surface Pro 4 review.

The things you use with Surface are also improved; the Surface Pen feels more fluid and responsive thanks to optimizations Microsoft has made to the display technology, and the keyboard is a dramatic leap over last year's. Keys are spaced out more like your typical laptop keyboard and the glass touchpad makes a world of difference. The front-facing camera can recognize you and log in thanks to Microsoft's Windows Hello feature, and there's also a fingerprint reader for more secure authentication. Elsewhere, the Surface Pro 4 largely looks the same as its predecessor, which isn't a bad thing. But carrying around the Surface Pen is more convenient since it just magnetically latches to the Surface's side.

We'll have far more to say about the Surface Pro 4 soon. Based on our very short time using it today, it's a pretty fantastic showcase for all things Windows 10 — from Microsoft Edge to the software's seamless transition between tablet and desktop mode. If you don't feel like waiting, it can be pre-ordered starting today for $899 and will ship on October 26th.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 hands-on photos