New Surface Pro 4 SKU sheds the pen and $100

Ever since Microsoft introduced its Surface tablet PCs, the company has pushed the importance of stylus input using the included pen. Accordingly, the Surface Pro has always included the pen in the box. The company has also made significant improvements to the usefulness of the pen in the most recent major update of Windows 10.

But if you really hate the pen, Microsoft now has a Surface Pro 4 SKU for you: the Surface Pro 4 (no pen). This model takes the cheapest iteration of the Surface Pro 4—128GB storage, 4GB RAM, Skylake Core m3 processor, and no fan—and shaves $100 off the price (to $800) just by dropping the pen. Given how important the pen is supposed to be, this seems a bit strange to us, but Microsoft’s emphasis on stylus input has never quite matched our usage preferences. In this instance, the reality makes more sense than the marketing.

Oddly, if you decide later on that you do want the pen after all, you can buy one for $60 in a choice of colors and still come out $40 ahead of the pack-in option.

Type Cover keyboards, which we’d argue are far more essential to most people’s use of the Surface Pro 4, continue to be separate purchases. They’re $130 for a standard keyboard in a range of colors, $160 for a special edition in a fancy gray fabric, and for a limited time only, $100 for a cover emblazoned with the logo of the NFL team of your choice.

Everyone loves the Cowboys, right?

The no-pen SKU appears to be limited to the US only at this time.

Update: OK, there’s now some non-US pricing but it makes very little sense. In the UK, the base model Surface Pro 4 is currently available for £609. The same system without pen is, er, £749. The i5 model (which has a faster processor, a fan, and a pen) is currently £659. Both of these systems have had price cuts, and for some reason those price cuts haven’t been made to the no-pen SKU.

In Australia, another strange situation. The base model Surface Pro 4 is AU$1349. Take away the pen and it drops to an astonishing AU$899. Given that the pen only costs AU$94, this AU$450 saving is rather remarkable.

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