Surface Pro 4 Photo
The 128GB and 64GB variants of Surface Pro 3 and 256GB Surface Pro 4 have been discounted on Amazon. Amazon

Surface Pro 5 details are basically nonexistent, but it’s pretty much a given that Microsoft is cooking up some sort of successor to the Surface Pro 4. Based on the competition, here are five specs and features that the upcoming tablet must have.

1) A Kaby Lake CPU: Despite knowing almost nothing about the next Surface, one of the closest things available to a guarantee is that the future iteration will likely support some variety of Intel’s new Kaby Lake CPUs. As far as timing is concerned, the chips have just recently started shipping out to manufacturers. If the Pro 5 is expected to release in the next few months, this brand of updated hardware seems like a lock.

We probably don’t even need to discuss why Kaby Lake is necessary, but we’ll do it anyway. Any big hardware revision needs a performance increase, and Kaby Lake represents that. The chips are assumed to be faster, and they strain batteries less. Especially given the endurance issues of the Pro 4, Kaby Lake is a must-have advancement to answer that dash of negativity.

2) USB Type-C: USB Type-C has become a much more pervasive port over the the past year, so this is another spec that seems destined for a respectable Surface Pro 5. The new connector is backwards compatible with old devices, has great data transfer rates and is also helpful for charging external devices. More monitors, phones and other products are going to adopt USB-C in the coming years, so Microsoft should too.

As for ditching the standard-size port, that’s a bit more debatable. An obvious downside to C is that it requires dongles to connect old-style devices. Especially for a tablet, that setup can quickly become a huge mass of wires. Since we’re in an in-between state of evolution, it’d be handy to have a standard and Type-C port in one package.

3) Some Sort Of Gaming Solution: The Surface Pro line isn’t necessarily meant to play games, but, at the same time, the basic features are there to make it happen. A Surface is a PC, and the PC platform is huge for gamers right now.

Intel Alienware NVIDIA
PC gaming is bigger than ever, and Microsoft's Surface Pro 5 should embrace its popularity by including an optional NVIDIA GPU. Competitive tablets feature gaming accessory options. Randy Shropshire / Stringer

As such, it’d be great for the Surface Pro 5 to release with some kind of GPU accessory even if it’s an expensive one. In fact, competitors like the Asus Transformer 3 Pro have attachments that add a 4 GB NVIDIA graphics card to its base specs. If others can do that, Microsoft should follow. A mobile device that’s competent for both business and pleasure is a powerful thing. Not everyone will want to pay extra for the luxury, but PC gamers generally don’t mind spending serious cash in the name of horsepower.

4) A Better Battery: Yes a Kaby Lake CPU will help make the Surface Pro 4 successor a more efficient device, but Microsoft should also include a new battery in the updated specs. The current iteration is hardly able to last through a 10-hour work day, and that’s a huge problem for a business device. Processors simply can’t do enough to make an average battery great.

Instead, serious thought must be placed on getting a higher-tier battery model or shrinking the other internals to accommodate a bigger one. As Microsoft is the developer of Windows, changes could also be made to the OS to ensure a higher level of endurance too. Tweaks exist to improve Surface Pro 4 performance, but they are way too difficult for the average user to do. Bring those important settings to the forefront in an accessible way. Battery life was a major shortcoming of the Pro 4. The best way to warrant an upgrade to the Pro 5 is to answer that criticism in a huge way.

5) Lower Price Structure: Maybe we’re a bit pie in the sky for this last one, but tech can always benefit from being cheaper. The Surface Pro line has always featured premium products, but, in order to hit critical mass, the average Joe has to feel like they can afford one.

Right now the least expensive model costs about $900 and it only has 4 GB of RAM. That’s pretty good when gauged as a tablet, but, by PC standards, a much better laptop can still be bought for far cheaper. To us, the solution would be to bump the low-tier model to 6 GB RAM for about $799. At that price, the Surface Pro is able to dip its toe slightly into the budget market. Please a budget consumer now, and they can easily become a high-spender later on.

No release details are available for the Surface Pro 5.

What specs and features do you want to see in the next Surface? Tell us in the comments section!