Thinking about picking up the Microsoft Surface Pro this weekend, or merely curious about the tablet? Well the first reviews are in from a variety of tech sites. What’s the verdict? Things certainly look pretty mixed.
Following in the footsteps of Windows 8, the Surface Pro seems to have a some pretty wildly varying opinions with some saying it is the greatest thing to happen to the tablet, others saying it tries to be two different things (laptop and tablet) but doesn’t succeed very well at either.
On the rather optimistic side, you have reviews like the one from BetaNews. To get an idea of that review, here’s a brief segment:
Surface Pro is magnificent. A classic. It’s the Windows experience you longed for but were denied. The tablet is a reference design for what — andwhat not — Microsoft OEM partners should achieve.
The device is the past and future, pure personal computer and post-PC. Simply put: Surface Pro is jack of all trades, both master of many, and (gulp) none. Capabilities astound, yet quirks abound. But even they are endearing, giving Windows 8 Pro personality and dimension. For the past five days, I’ve had the privilege of using Surface Pro, which goes on sale February 9, as my primary PC…
Unquestionably, Surface Pro isn’t for everyone. But it could be for you.
On the optimistic but cautious side you have reviews like those from Slashgear. Here’s a brief excerpt:
With a new 128GB iPad with Retina display on the scene, it’s easy to make comparisons between Apple’s tablet and the Surface Pro. In practice, however, they’re very different beasts. The iPad is focused resolutely on the mass market, and if you want one you have to be willing to concede to Apple’s Way: their decision about what apps are worthy of the App Store, their decision about what accessories can be used, their decision about what, exactly, you can do with the tablet you just spent more than a few hundred dollars on. In contrast, the Surface Pro is a paragon of freedom. If you have unusual requests of it, you can probably find the software and/or hardware to achieve them. It is, after all, a touchscreen ultrabook wearing a different costume.
And then there are those that are less flattering (though still not overly harsh) side, like you’ll find with 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. 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.
Ultimately, all the reviews point to the same picture, even the negative ones: It is a reasonably decent computing device but not quite perfect as a replacement for both your conventional tablet or conventional laptop.
Most conclude that battery life and other issues seem to hold it back. Some reviews are still critical of the new Start UI, such as Engadget’s review, to some extent. Nearly all of them feel that the Surface Pro is the step in the right direction but it is going to take the Surface a few “generation” releases before it gets it quite right.
At $899, this could be exactly what you are looking for if you want a device that can reasonably handle business productivity while also providing a tablet experience. That said, if you are mainly planning to use it mostly as just a standard tablet for entertainment, gaming and light productivity, you might be better off with the Surface RT, an Android tablet or the iPad.
What do you think of the Surface Pro, interested or not?