First reviews of Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet hit the web

By , Feb 6, 2013

MS surface pro

After years of sitting on the sidelines, Microsoft entered the modern tablet space late last year with the Surface RT. And although it sparked a lot of initial interest, it failed to translate that into sales, with reports claiming it didn’t fair very well over the holidays.

But alas, the Redmond company has a second shot at greatness with its new Surface Pro tablet. And it too has stirred up quite a bit of commotion, with some pundits deeming it a possible iPad/Macbook Air killer. But will this MS slate actually live up to the hype this time?

Late last night, Microsoft lifted the embargo on its Surface Pro tablet, effectively unleashing dozens of pre-launch reviews from hand-picked tech bloggers. As usual, opinions are fairly mixed, depending on the writer. But there is one recurring theme: compromise.

Engadget: Microsoft Surface Pro review

“The Surface Pro comes about as close as we’ve yet experienced, but it’s still compromised at both angles of attack. When trying to be productive, we wished we had a proper laptop and, when relaxing on the couch, we wished we had a more finger-friendly desktop interface — though more native Windows 8 apps might solve the problem by keeping us from having to even go there.

That it offers compatibility with the massive back-catalog of Windows apps gives this a strong leg up over the earlier Surface RT, but the thickness, heft and battery life are big marks against.”

The Wall Street Journal: Surface Pro: Hefty Tablet Is a Laptop Lightweight

“But just as the Pro is compromised as a tablet, it’s compromised as a laptop. You get fewer ports and less storage than on many laptops and a keyboard that can’t compare with those on many laptops.

Some users may not mind the price or bulk of the Surface Pro if it frees them from carrying a tablet for some uses and a laptop for others. But like many products that try to be two things at once, the new Surface Windows 8 Pro does neither as well as those designed for one function.”

The Verge: Microsoft Surface Pro review

“Sure, it’s heavier and thicker than the Surface RT and has frustratingly poor battery life, but it’s worth both the tradeoff and the extra expense. If you’re going to buy a Surface, buy the Surface Pro. Period. (And buy the 128GB model.) But if you’re going to buy a $900 tablet, get the decked-out iPad with LTE and 128GB of storage, and if you’re going to buy a Windows laptop, check out the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga or the Dell XPS 12. Which leads me back to the same question Josh asked about the Surface RT: who is this for?

Even a well-executed Surface still doesn’t work for me, and I’d bet it doesn’t work for most other people either.”

Time: Review: Microsoft Surface Pro, the Surface That’s More PC Than Tablet

“I’m not arguing that Surface with Windows 8 Pro is a machine without a market. If you equip it with an external display, keyboard and mouse, it becomes a serviceable desktop PC, and if you stick to Windows 8 apps, it may be the best Windows 8 tablet so far. If I were shopping for an Ultrabook and my budget allowed, I’d consider it. But used with the applications I tried, Surface Pro doesn’t prove that one computing device can do everything well. Instead, it makes clear that there’s no such thing as no-compromise computing.

That’s not the lesson Microsoft intended, but it’s a useful one nonetheless — for consumers, for the industry and maybe even for Microsoft.”

It’s also worth noting that reviewers had some nice things to say about the Surface Pro as well. For example, most of them seemed to be really impressed by its display and the included stylus. And they really liked the idea behind the Type Cover keyboard accessory.

But in all of the reviews I read through, I couldn’t find a single one that ended with “I recommend this tablet” or “I’m going to be buying this tablet.” Most of them, in fact, wrapped up with statements like “it’s a cool idea, but it’s just not there yet,” or something similar.

Obviously, the final word on the Surface Pro depends on you and what you’re looking for in a device. And for those of you who are interested, the tablet goes on sale this weekend with a starting price tag of $899.

What are your thoughts on the Surface Pro after reading through some of these reviews?

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  • a3yu

    it’s horrible!

  • Dr Chiyangwa

    its destined for low income markets come end August, I gurantee it…

  • Hyr3m

    It’s a step in the right direction (the ONLY right direction nowadays)… But just like the the first iPhone and iPad, it’s just not “there” yet. I never believed I would say this but THANK YOU MICROSOFT for putting common sense back on the table (which is currently full of crapple’s bs). Not gonna buy one though… but my boss will :P

  • Muhammad

    iPad will forever be the best

    • Dan

      forever is a very long time, for a good while is more realistic ;)

      • Muhammad

        Ok, I’ll be realistic, it’s the best for a good while… Until apple makes something better :)

      • http://twitter.com/Jack_maredit Jackson Grong

        iPad Pro 12-core, usb 4.0, 400 gb flash memory and 15h battery life, like in 2016-17 :D

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000514380051 John Sklikas

        Still useless without Mac OS X in it

      • http://twitter.com/_nerd The Nerd

        Yeah right.

      • http://twitter.com/_nerd The Nerd

        Make that one month long battery life, please.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

        Well played Well played lol

      • a smit

        thank you for not saying ‘sir’

  • http://twitter.com/decio_crytek Décio Costa Arruda

    Tim Cook told them that putting together two OSs would be the same as putting a toaster and a refrigerator together, it might just work, but neither one of those will show their full potential power.

    • Hyr3m

      … for now. But it’s the only way to go. Just like our cellphones bred with our walkmans… even though the sound quality is now worse than on a 1990s discman.. (except for HTC’s phones)

    • http://twitter.com/Jack_maredit Jackson Grong

      True Story

  • http://twitter.com/rick5up Ricky

    Is it just me or the ios6 jailbreak allow me to use siri in landscape mode??

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Hagans/100000519586260 Stephen Hagans

      iPad? No, that was there pre jailbreak.

      • http://twitter.com/rick5up Ricky

        On iphone 5

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Still looking to get one. Already got the TypeCover (not sure what the blogger means by “a keyboard that can’t compare with those on many laptops”, I changed no habits when trying to type on it without steering at the keys) and a USB 3.0 4-port hub (on eBay for ~$15). Memory isn’t a big deal when I’ve got my upgradable Freeagent GoFlex 1.5 TB HDD.

    IMHO, 2.0 pounds ain’t something worth whining of like little girls in such powerhouse hybrid. You get pretty much the same mass/thikness outcome when you add those so-called “ultrathin” keboards to a toyPad, trying to use it for minor work. 128 GB of storage on such limited functionality tablets (due to both iOS and its weak ARM processor) is of no use besides downloading more iTunes movies and dumbed down apps.

    Just like the AppStore, the Windows Store is just taking off with dumbed down apps and will get better over time (though, I only see myself grabbing the Skype app and nothing more metro, the rest programs will be transfers from my laptop).

    Regarding battery life, I’m already used to my everyday laptop lasting just 3 hours on 1 charge, and that’s with light usage (like viewing/editing docs, browsing, etc.). If this can last just 2 or more hours longer in the same condition, I have no complaints.

    Approximately same price (once you add the TypeCover) as a 11″ Mac Book air (both with 128 GB), yet offers much more flexibility/compatibily (though less noob restrictions) out of the box (quit following crapple’s behind so religiously fantards, that’s a reason, in conjunction with price, why 93% of businesses deploy Windows instead of Macs).

  • Timothy

    I’d rather spend the money on bacon.

  • http://twitter.com/xnes Rodrigo Sze

    In Brazil we say that these kind of product is a “duck”. It tries to do all kinds of things like fly, swim, walk, make noise, but it does not do any of these tasks well.

  • http://twitter.com/thegabrielk Gabriel K

    it didn’t fare** well.

    first paragraph in the blue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derfaust.mobile Der Faust

    havnt messed with a surface, but did score a dell latitude 10. been using it for a month. i like it. it works well. pretty snappy….. great battery life(10-11 hours with the stock battery). i can go 2-3 days without recharging. my average use is 3-4 hours a day editing documents in office, watching movies(using VLC…..i can watch Return of the King which is 4 hours long and still have 60%-70% battery left), listening to music(using itunes and the built in true L/R stereo speakers that are quite a bit louder with better dynamic range than the ipad), recording audio(built in stereo mics and using audacity), using tuner and metronome apps(im a band director). i also scored the double capacity battery(the battery is exchangeable)….i havnt began testing though, but im sure i will like the outcome. it is built very well….it has a nice quality build to it…..it has a true USB port and SD slot….. good stuff…all for $500-$700+….depending on your addons :)

    it is nice having the flexibility of a tablet-type interface and, if needed, a desktop interface. win 8 tablet does some things better than the ipad and the ipad does some things better than win 8 tablet. it is all about what you need. the ipad is great at consuming/showing media, but creation on the ipad can make you pull your hair out at times… on the other side win 8 tablet interface can be a little wonky at times because it is new and they are still working it out. i look forward to seeing how they will make it better(i can install whatever tweaks i want, no jailbreak required). I really like my ipad but i can do the exact same things on my win8 tablet and have the ability to do more on my latitude 10 tablet. ill probably give my ipad to my 4 year old which he uses more than i do…the interface is right up his alley :P

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Dear Microsoft, fix windows 8… make separate os for touch and legacy pc’s… Surface look nice on the surface (pun intended) but it’s a nightmare for mobile productivity.. specially with that price tag..

  • http://twitter.com/_nerd The Nerd

    To sum it up: it sucks.

  • twited21

    Has any one held one yet ??
    There are places here in the uk like pc world which have like a mini apple store in them and I’m not kidding they have just about every apple product on display
    These places also sell a huge range of windows devices
    I went to see if I could have a look at the surface
    Do you think I could find one
    They are harder to find than rocking horse poop
    How do they think they are going to sell them if you can’t go and have a play

    ( disclaimer ) I wasn’t thinking of buying one but a play would have been good