Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews: Performance, Pen & Battery Life Details

The Microsoft Surface Pro will hit store shelves in a few days, and the first round of Microsoft Surface Pro reviews already online, offering prospective owners a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the new Windows 8 Pro tablet.

Microsoft Surface Pro reviews are mixed.

While reviewers say the new tablet is better than the Surface RT, there are a few downsides to the tablet. Chief among those complaints are poor battery life and the inability to use it as a laptop without a desk or some other flat surface.

Read: Why You Should Skip the 64GB Surface Pro

The Microsoft Surface Pro is similar to the Microsoft Surface RT which launched in late 2012, but it uses an Intel Core i5 processor, offers more storage and runs WIndows 8 Pro with access to the Desktop mode and legacy applications. The slightly thicker Surface Pro also includes a Surface pen that combines with the active digitizer to offer a better note taking experience, complete with palm rejection technology.

Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews

Check out the first Microsoft Surface Pro reviews.

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The Microsoft Surface Pro is available on February 9th for $899 from Best Buy, Microsoft, Staples and select other retailers.

Here are a collection of the first Microsoft Surface Pro reviews.

Surface Pro Review: Compromises

Tim Stevens of Engadget like the design and display of the Surface Pro, but says there’s too much compromise to make it work well as a tablet or laptop.

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.

Surface Pro Battery Life Review

Surface Pro Review Roundup

The Surface Pro battery life is insufficient.

Kyle Wagner of Gizmodo had difficulty getting four hours of battery out of the Surface Pro and said the speakers are sub par.

The Surface Pro is ultimately the best answer to questions a lot of people haven’t bothered asking yet. That’s different from being extraneous—it’s more like being the girl who shows up 30 minutes early to every party—but it still means the Pro isn’t for everyone. For a lot of you, a thick, superpowered tablet isn’t necessary, and a laptop-like (and laptop-priced) machine that makes it harder to bang out emails, IMs, and tweets while on the couch or in bed is nothing you’re interested in.

Surface Pro vs. Surface RT

Surface Pro Review

The Surface Pro is slightly thicker than the Surface RT.

Zach Epstein of BGR says the Surface Pro is a big step up from the Surface RT in every way, but questions if its something users actually want.

The Surface Pro is ultimately the best answer to questions a lot of people haven’t bothered asking yet. That’s different from being extraneous—it’s more like being the girl who shows up 30 minutes early to every party—but it still means the Pro isn’t for everyone. For a lot of you, a thick, superpowered tablet isn’t necessary, and a laptop-like (and laptop-priced) machine that makes it harder to bang out emails, IMs, and tweets while on the couch or in bed is nothing you’re interested in.

Surface Pro Review: Better Alternatives Available

David Pierce of The Verge says the Surface Pro is the best version of the Surface out there, but says there are better alternatives in almost every market segment.

The Surface RT was riddled with compromises, from the odd omissions — five-finger multitouch rather than ten — to the dealbreaking performance problems. The Surface Pro has none of those. It’s as fast, consistent, and capable as any ultrabook I’ve tested in the last several months, and from a touch and responsiveness standpoint may be the best I’ve used. It has no confusing app incompatibilies, no weird performance issues. 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?

Surface Pro Review: The Pen

Surface Pro Review - Pen

The Surface Pro pen feels like an afterthought.

Peter Bright of Ars Technica provides an in-depth Surface Pro review and covers the Surface Pro pen, an accessory that works with the active digitizer in the Surface Pro to allow users to write and potentially ink notes on the Surface Pro, something not found on the Surface RT.

This is downright inelegant. It’s going to result in unnecessarily lost pens. An integrated pen garage or holster is the better solution.

Ultimately, it makes me think the Surface Pro was something of an afterthought. Microsoft created the basic system design for the Surface RT, and since that has no active digitizer or pen, it doesn’t need a place to store a pen. Rather than create a new design specific to Surface Pro’s capabilities, Microsoft has performed a minimal modification of the Surface RT design. This precludes any major modifications such as adding slots for pens—and it’s why we have the unfortunate mini-DisplayPort location too.

Windows 8’s handwriting recognition is nothing short of miraculous, and I found the pen was accurate and precise. I’m afraid I’m not a digital artist and haven’t used standalone styli or anything like that, so I can’t compare it to dedicated devices. But it appears to work as it should.

Surface Pro Review: A Better Companion Device

Alex Wilhelm of The Next Web only posted a hands-on and not a full review of the Surface Pro. He liked the device, but couldn’t see using it as a main device.

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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, which is where Microsoft is placing it: in the middle of my desk, hooked up to one of my external displays.

Comments

  1. Hernondez Gadsden says

    I love the Surface Pro. It allows me to transport my extensive research library, previously only fully functional on a desk, or laptop, where ever I am, namely, the Watchtower Library, on a tablet!

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