The new Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet has been out for a while and many people are getting used to this new form factor with a Microsoft product installed on it. This version addresses a lot of the complaints that users have had with the Surface RT’s restrictions. On the Surface Pro you will experience the the full Windows 8 operating system. It will work with already established software titles. The horsepower of the Intel Core i5 processor is more than enough to give you the entire PC experience in the confines of a tablet.
Microsoft has tip toed into the tablet realm over the years but the results have fallen short. The Surface Pro has redeemed Microsoft many tablet failures by giving users a sleek very usable piece of hardware. Combined with the Microsoft U.I. upgrade, a very usable tablet. The detachable keyboard has satisfied the casual tablet user by allowing them the choice between touch or actual get work down applications. The ingenious detachable keyboard design is revolutionary and Microsoft should be comended for them getting its application right.
Let’s get down to the good, the bad and if it all makes sense to users:
The bad: The storage provided on the 64GB model is filled with mostly the operating system. The free storage is not enough for anyone to want to do some real work. The comments from users is the battery life is not what one expects and falls short of most comparable tablets. The price is pretty steep and Microsoft may have priced themselves out of the market. Also why sell the keyboard separately? Microsoft users are more prone to use a tablet for work and not just touch.
The good: The Microsoft Surface Pro hardware and screen resolution doesn’t disappoint. For a competitor to the iPad it will give Apple a run for its money. The died in the wool Windows users who would never buy an iPad now have something comparable. The design is fresh and in the family of the new light weight ultrabooks starting to flood the market.
Microsoft had to do something to stay relevant. The days of portable computing are growing more everyday. If Microsoft didn’t adapt their product line to meet the publics on the go computing needs they would soon become dinosaurs in the computer business. Microsoft’s first competitive offering of a usable Windows 8 experience in tablet form has been pretty decent. If they continue to refine their tablet they may even beat Apples iPad for usability and popularity with users.
Microsoft has chosen a different path than it’s close competitors the iPad and Android tablets. Microsoft is betting the farm by going another direction. With its roots deep in the business and enterprise realm there are extensive examples of them staying on that path with the Surface Pro. While the Surface Pro doesn’t come with Microsoft Office, you are able to install a copy just as you would on a desktop or laptop. You can even install many of the programs you now use on your desktop or laptop computer.
It’s not perfect, there are trade-offs.
First complaints about battery life are definitely true. The weight is also a complaint many have. But did you ever imagine we would be complaining about a computer being heavy at 2 pounds. The standard Surface Pro rings up at the price of $899 for the 64GB version and $1,200 for the 128GB. If you intend to do any type of real work on it the 128GB model is what you need.
I don’t know why they are charging $129 for the keyboard. It would of been great publicity to just give for free on its debut. Using the screen keyboard is just not going to work for real work situations. Also a limited copy of Microsoft Office would be some nice icing on the cake for this historical piece of hardwares debut. I hope on the next version to see a these things included.
Is it pretty?
The Surface Pro definitely looks great. The design work is evident. The lines are crisp and functional. The design of the air vents for the internal fan are designed so well that they are almost unnoticeable. The industrial magnesium chassis of the Surface Pro feels tight and well made. There is no flexing or sloppy build quality. Microsoft really worked hard to give a quality product.
If you compare it to an ultrabook it definitely feels and looks smaller than most. Compared to an iPad you will notice it looks more clumsy and bulky. It feels more like a slimmed down laptop than any tablet. Weighing in at an even two pounds then adding the keypad for another half pound you find that weight is definitely contributing to its boxy feel. You don’t do it any favors by comparing it to an iPad, an iPad will win every time for sleekness and looks.
At 10.6 inches the display is a big step down for Windows users used to their laptops and desktops. But the display it does have is amazing, a full 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution. I can see that at this resolution that the text sharp and the colors vibrant. But if you need to add an external monitor you can and have resolution up to 2,560×1,440. They real invested some money in a quality screen because that is where most users judge the quality of a tablet. It has to be high resolution for not only text but also web pages and video. This is a key decision point for most users.
The multi-touch screen works smoothly without any hiccups or delays. The software and hardware drives the Surface RT’s display fluidly, watch out Apple, Microsoft doing it as well as you are. With the ability of attaching an external monitor you can set it for multi screen and have the RT as a second screen.
The keyboard, mouse, or touch pen – which one?
The $130 Type Cover has an actual keyboard with depressible keys, whereas the $120 Touch Cover is a membrane keyboard. They both weigh about half a pound, and double as screen covers for the Surface. The Type keyboard feels like its big brother the laptop keyboard. It has large and responsive keys and is usable for work. The Touch Cover keys work adequately but I can’t see anyone using it for more than email or entering passwords on website. The $10 price difference makes the decision to purchase the Type Cover a no-brainer. The bonus on the Type Cover is the small but usable built in touch pad. It even has clickable surfaces.
Another of Microsoft’s amazing innovations is the way the Surface RT attaches to the keyboard. Strong magnets attach it seamlessly and the fit is dead on perfect. This is somewhere Microsoft has done it better than the iPad. The magnetic connection is so good you could mistake it for a small laptop, it blends together so well.
If you want to ditch the keyboard you an also go with a Bluetooth or USB mouse. Microsoft is selling its new “Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse” a wedge shape touch pad ergonomically designed to control the RT.
The Surface Pro does support a pressure sensitive touch pen, which comes with it. It is magnetically attached to the RT when you need it quickly. When I tried it out it it really felt I was using a real pen. The capabilities of this pen are endless. I hope software designers take advantage of beyond the normal kid drawing apps.
Cameras, ports and speakers
As with most tablets you just can’t get anything but adequate speaker sound. The Surface Pro has two cameras, front- and rear-facing, and they’re both 720p. No high-megapixel camera is included. Don’t expect to take any great pictures with the Surface Pro’s forward camera. But expect the camera to be only adequate for video chatting. The ports included are a single USB 3.0 port, microSDXC card slot, and Mini Display-Port. Compared to an iPad it’s much better. Compared to a ultrabook, it’s lacking. You have to use Wi-Fi if you want to connect to the Internet there is no network adapter.
64GB or 128GB of storage your choice
You have two versions of the tablet, a 64GB or 128GB of SSD storage for $899 or $999, respectively. It’s expensive, because at those prices you could purchase an Windows 8 ultrabook. The devil is in the details because out of that 64GB you can only have 23GB available for your files. The rest is for the operating system. On the 128GB version you only have 44GB of free space for your use. So the decision is made for you which version you need to buy if you need storage.
What’s under the hood?
The Surface runs off an ARM processor and uses Windows RT, whereas the Surface Pro has an Intel Core i5 processor and runs full Windows 8, just like a laptop. While the Surface RT is a more lightweight machine the Surface Pro has the guts to run some hefty applications. You are restricted on the Surface RT but on the Surface Pro you can run a regular desktop and open older applications, and do anything you’d do otherwise — including Java, Flash, and legacy Windows apps.
The Surface RT is comparable to a laptop with its i5 processor and 4GB ram. It definitely has the power to run anything you throw at it.
The battery life is still one of it’s drawbacks. Many users are only getting 4 hours of battery life when watching videos. If you are just doing work you probably can squeeze another hour out of it.
Any review has bring in comparisons with the iPad. No matter what you have dyed in the wool Apple users and Windows users. Apple has the market tied up and any competitor can’t just be another iPad. The competitor has to offer something iPad doesn’t. The Window Surface Pro has something iPad doesn’t and that’s the ability to do work. Sure the iPad gets things done but in the office and on the job the Surface Pro allows Windows users to go mobile in a better way. Laptops have been around a long time and offer this functionality but the Surface does it even better. Besides the current laptops and growing ultrabook trends, the Surface is a jump ahead to where users want to do there work with the choice of going with or without keyboards. Having this choice is necessary going into the future of mobile computing.
The Surface’s Type keyboard combined with the small size makes this a winner. It’s the next step in mobile computing. I think that many people will accept this tablet and become Surface Pro fans.