Back in June 2012, Microsoft stunned the world when they announced their first entry into the PC and Tablet market. Competing in the same space as the partners they tried so hard to cultivate and treat well, the Surface RT and Pro are intended to show the traditional PC makers a thing or two and prove that Windows 8/RT works well on a tablet form factor. While the RT was released to middling reviews, news about the Pro version running Windows 8 had been few and far between beyond the controlled leaks from Microsoft itself. Until a few days ago.
Surface Pro is now available, lets see what several esteemed tech publications thought about Microsoft’s latest attempt at a tablet.
AnandTech: “Surface Pro is about as well executed as Microsoft could have made it given the currently available hardware. Its performance is outstanding for a tablet – it’s truly in a class of its own. If I sit down and use Surface Pro as I would an iPad or Android tablet, it delivers an appreciably quicker user experience.”
“Surface Pro is probably the best foot forward towards converging those two [Laptop and Tablet] usage models, but it’s not perfect for everyone yet.
I still believe Microsoft has the right idea here. It just needs some more iterations.”
AnandTech liked the power that the Surface Pro’s processor provided: it felt faster than most ARM or Atom based competitors in day to day tasks, including Microsoft’s very own Surface RT. They also enjoyed the high quality materials and fit and finish of the tablet and thought that the Wacom pen was a novel idea. However, the non adjustable kickstand (which apparently makes lap usage a chore) prompted some jeers, along with the poor image and video quality of the cameras on the Surface Pro. Finally, battery life was deemed short for a tablet + the price fairly steep considering the tablet doesn’t come with a keyboard.
Ars Technica: “Microsoft thinks we can have the best of both worlds. I want to see that happen and Windows 8 is a transitional step towards that goal. The goal is realistic—but not with Surface, not with Windows 8 as it stands right now.”
“Maybe other people can make use of the form factor better than I can. I’m sure the same markets that have used Windows tablets for the last decade will leap at Surface Pro—if they haven’t already gone for the iPad. I’m sure some people will find it “good enough” as a laptop-like device, and for them it may be a viable purchase. But it’s not for me.
Ars Technica didn’t find much to like about the Surface Pro. The solid feeling hardware elicited praise, ditto the bright and crisp screen. They weren’t fans of the Surface Pro’s fan noise or heat output when the device was pushed hard. A lack of proper DPI scaling on the desktop side of Windows 8 proved frustrating and they were un impressed by the magnetic connector used for pen storage, battery life, as well as the lack of GPS.
Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite: “Ultimately, I must of course leave it to you to decide whether the tradeoffs presented by this device constitute an acceptable compromise. For me, the Surface Pro is a far better solution than its predecessor, and while I’m not happy with the battery life or screen/resolution issues, I intend to continue using this as my only PC for the foreseeable future. And as I’ve noted in the past, that isn’t just the ultimate compliment I can bestow on a product. It’s also the ultimate endorsement.”
Paul Thurrott liked the Surface Pro overall. Like other reviewers, the build quality of the device impressed, as well as the unique to Surface Pro AC Adapter that includes a USB port for peripheral charging like phones and MP3 players. Perimeter Venting, the feature that allows Surface Pro to run the fans as minimally and quietly as possible also was praised.The lack of an easy way to adjust screen DPI for desktop mode usability was a disappointment along with the battery life issues. He also wished that the tablet itself included more than just one USB port. Finally, he too, had small reservations about the device pricing.
PC Magazine: “The Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro is the Windows 8 slate tablet to beat when you need the performance and convenience of a PC in a compact tablet form factor.”
PC Magazine appears to have one of the more positive reviews. From the kickstand to the quality and capability of the display, PC Mag liked the Surface Pro’s hardware. They found the desktop easy to navigate, unlike the others, and liked the Wacom pen. The biggest benefit they enjoyed was the fact that Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro as opposed to Windows RT.