Last year, Microsoft made a bid to compete with the iPad with the release of the Surface RT. It was met with lukewarm reviews and they have yet to provide any sales figures. It was priced in line with the iPad and featured a nifty keyboard cover that snaps on, much like the Smart Cover, but better and with a keyboard. Still many looked at the Surface RT as the warm up act for the Surface Pro. The larger, more expensive model runs Windows 8 and is capable of running the large catalog of legacy Windows apps. That’s still a big positive. Last night, the embargo was lifted and there were a number of Microsoft Surface Pro reviews. So, how did it fare?
Tim Stevens for Engadget
We’re still completely enraptured by the idea of a full-featured device that can properly straddle the disparate domains of lean-forward productivity and lean-back idleness. Sadly, we’re still searching for the perfect device and OS combo that not only manages both tasks, but excels at them. The Surface Pro comes about as close as we’ve yet experienced, but it’s still compromised at both angles of attack.
Walt Mossberg, All Things D
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.
Peter Bright, ArsTechnica
The battery testing I did was simple enough; play an H.264 video in a loop until the machine dies, as if watching a movie on a plane or similar, with the screen brightness set to full. Depending on the video file, the system lasted between 3-3.5 hours; the shorter time for a video which had minimal hardware decoding, the longer time for a file that was offloaded to the GPU. With the screen brightness turned down to about 75 percent, it went as high as four hours.
David Pierce, The Verge
It’s definitely not a tablet, but it’s also not a “laptop,” strictly speaking — I never figured out how to actually use the thing on my lap, with a keyboard attached and the kickstand out. I like kickstands on tablets, and this one is plenty sturdy and clicks in and out with a satisfying firmness. It only goes out at one angle, though, which is too upright unless you’re sitting at a desk with the Surface directly in front of you. But the real dealbreaker for me was that it’s just unusable in my most common position — sitting on my couch, feet on the coffee table, with the computer on my lap.
Microsoft’s latest effort at straddling laptop and tablet was an ambitious attempt, but one that appears to have fallen flat. The Surface Pro comes in both 64GB and 128GB configurations. The 64GB model, priced at $899, offers just 23GB of usable space. It would seem to me that someone spending up to $1k should opt for a MacBook Air for $100 more and run Windows 8 in Boot Camp?