Microsoft’s latest ‘Surface Pro’ tablet has received the first round of reviews from journalists in America. So far it doesn’t look too good for the company as many of the reviews have been very negative.
The latest Surface tablet is based around the standard Intel X86 platform, meaning it will run applications available for desktop Windows systems now for many years. This was one of the major problems with the Surface RT tablet, as many applications cannot be installed or used.
Microsoft have planned that the Pro version of the Surface would be ideal for businesses who want to give their employees a light, mobile machine that can slot easily into their infrastructure on all levels.
The Surface Pro machines will be available from Saturday onwards. Windows boss Tami Reller has spoken out earlier this week to say that it was part of the plan to prime interest around Windows 8 again. So far Windows 8 hasn’t sparked the attention of the enthusiast audience.
The Surface Pro are larger machines, when compared to the Surface RT, powered by an ARM processor. They cost hundreds of dollars more and are thicker and heavier. The new machines will be available in 64GB and 128GB versions, both with wifi-only connectivity. Why Microsoft aren’t offering 3G versions of any of their tablets so far is baffling many end users.
The Surface Pro will be priced at a starting point of $899, and if you want a physical keyboard then be prepared to spend another $120 for the luxury. This places the Surface Pro at a price point $200 higher than the iPad and very close to the Macbook Air laptop at $999, which obviously comes with a keyboard built in.
Many of the earlier reviewers were not that impressed with the new machine.
Walt Mossberg of All Things D said “The Pro has some significant downsides, especially as a tablet … It’s too hefty and costly and power-hungry to best the leading tablet, Apple’s full-size iPad. It is also too difficult to use in your lap. It’s something of a tweener – a compromised tablet and a compromised laptop.”
Kitguru already said that battery life would be worse than the Surface RT, due to the faster processors in the Pro machines and we were right. Mossberg said that his Pro machine lasted less than four hours on the standard battery test, which is less than half the length of many of the leading 10 inch tablets on the market.
Mossberg also mentioned that the 64GB machine would run out of memory rather quickly. There is only 23GB of storage free on the 64GB model.
Mary Jo Foley wrote on the ZDNet blog “I keep scratching my head over who Microsoft expects to buy the Surface Pro. It’s not as good of a tablet, in terms of weight/battery life, as the Surface RT is. But it’s also not as good of a Windows 8 PC as other OEM-produced devices, coming in at lower price points with better battery life and other specs.”
Steve Kovach, for the Business Insider said “he Surface Pro has some impressive hardware specs for such a unique form factor. It can go toe-to-toe with any other thin and light laptop. You can’t rest the Surface Pro comfortably on your lap without it flopping around. You can’t adjust the angle of the screen when it’s propped on a table with the built-in kickstand.
He added “You need to spend at least another $100 to get the full laptop-like experience with one of the special keyboard covers. At 10 inches, the screen feels a bit small for traditional desktop computing. The cheapest model only has 23 GB of free storage, so you’ll have to buy a separate memory card because you’ll definitely need more than that.”
David Pierce writing for the Verge said “It’s really tough to use on anything but a desk, and the wide, 16:9 aspect ratio pretty severely limits its usefulness as a tablet anyway. It’s too big, too fat, and too reliant on its power cable to be a competitive tablet, and it’s too immutable to do everything a laptop needs to do. In its quest to be both, the Surface is really neither.”
Kitguru says: So far it is not looking good for Microsoft. The RT has been met with a somewhat muted response, but the Pro is much more expensive, bigger, heavier and with limited battery life.