Microsoft Surface With Windows 8 Pro: Early Reviews From Experts on Features and Experience

6 February 2013, 7:56 am EST By Binu Paul email: Mobile & Apps

Come this Saturday, Microsoft Surface Pro will hit the shelves in the U. S. and Canada. The software giant has taken a different root this time, quite a slow move where it offers customers a chance to get their hands on its latest tablet and test the device in retail locations and in Microsoft's own stores.

As the early reviews suggest, Surface Pro is definitely a modern PC/tablet hybrid, rather a full-blown computer as Wired calls it that folds up into a tablet-sized package. As far as the specifications go, the tablet comes with an Intel Core i5-3317U processor with Intel HD Graphics, a 128GB SSD, 4GB of memory, and a 10.6-inch 1080p screen.

Surface Pro is undoubtedly a very compelling device for it runs full Windows 8 Pro and its great features; however, did Microsoft kill the charm by trying to be both a tablet and laptop at the same time? Let's see what experts have to say.

On the design front and overall look and feel, Wired writer Alexandra Chang terms the device "Very good, but not quite great" and rated it 7/10. "The Surface Pro is more well-constructed and thoughtfully designed than any of them. It's the best of the hybrids. The quality of the hardware, the performance, and the simplicity of the design make it a success," she writes. Surface Pro cannot be called a tablet, it is heavy and thick and it works better when propped up on a desk than resting on a knee, in a lap, on the couch.

The tablet comes in 64GB and 128GB models. The 64 GB has only 23 GB available and the 128 GB model offers just 83 GB. The rest is taken up by system files. When it comes to pricing, the feature-rich device comes with many hidden costs. Though the base price is $899 and a doubling of storage will run you $100 more, you will end up paying an extra $120 or $130 for Microsoft's Touch and Type covers respectively.

Surface pro has a constrained battery life clocking in at around half the Surface RT's capacity. In testing the battery life, The Next Web notes that the tablet "run into the ground with less than four hours of video use; this is to say that having the device sit on a counter and play YouTube caused it expire in sub 240 minutes." - Not very impressive.

Surface Pro has a killer screen as it offers 10.6-inch Full HD 1980×1080 pixel resolution display. "Its screen is too good. Which is to say, its 1080p resolution is so dense on the 10.6-inch screen that desktop programs seem too small, too cramped," Gizmodo reports. The tablet is 4mm thicker, at 13.46mm compared to 9.3mm for the RT and is 0.5lb heaver, coming in at a hair under 2lb, ArsTechnica reviewed.

There is a single, full-sized USB 3.0 port on the left side of the device and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Suface Pro also has a microSDXC slot, a mini DisplayPort and a Cover port.

Surface Pro has dual 720p cameras which Engadget termed as 'pretty poor.' "Photos are incredibly full of noise and the sensor seems to be completely unable to manage contrast, resulting in images that are either totally washed out or far too dark. It's like anti-HDR," the review said.

"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," Engadget concluded.

"The Surface Pro is a very cool device, in that it's neat to use, test, and generally tool around with. However, I cannot imagine making it my main work machine," TNW's Alex Wilhelm said."The Surface Pro is too much hybrid for its own good, losing to cheaper devices for each of its use cases, leaving it too expensive, and almost beached in its audacity. That said, the devices will find limited, but perhaps meaningful adoption in certain enterprise circles," Wilhelm wrapped up his review.

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