Anand does a good job of trying to pass the Surface Pro as a good device in this following paragraph,
With a higher price, thicker/heavier chassis and lower battery life, could Surface Pro possibly fare any better than Surface RT did last year?
In my opinion? Surprisingly, yes. Let's get to it.
while at the same time he keeps mentioning the bad things about it throughout the review. I don't know if he is trying to be politically correct, but I don't know how this can fare any better than Surface RT. Surface 2 Pro, in a few months, with Haswell, and ironed out kinks and bugs ? Perhaps. But then again, he is very smart about the way he phrases his conclusion:
At the end of the day I found it difficult to recommend Surface RT because I knew faster hardware was less than a year away. Surface Pro is an easier recommendation (...)
See, he makes a comparative statement - "Surface Pro is an easier recommendation", but he doesn't actually recommend it. It's as if he doesn't really want to call things as they are. Yet he talks several times about Surface 2 Pro with Haswell later in the year. This is a comparatively similar situation to the Surface RT review. This is what he said about it:
The biggest issue I have with recommending Surface today is that you know the next iteration of the device is likely going to be appreciably better, with faster/more efficient hardware and perhaps even a better chassis.
All in all, I don't know how he can conclude this first iteration can do any better than Surface RT, for the reasons he alluded to in his Surface RT review, along with his last sentence in the conclusion of the Surface Pro review.
For an Ultrabook replacement on the move (tablet) how does the lack of a 3G / 4G option sound ? He wouldn't say, although he did mention the fact:
The only missing checkbox is the lack of any cellular connectivity. Both of Microsoft’s tablets remain WiFi-only at this point.
Thickness and weight:
The thickness of Surface Pro doesn’t really impede its portability, but the weight definitely makes it a lot less pleasant to carry around. Surface RT was already heavier than the competition but it hid its weight well. Surface Pro is just heavy for a tablet. I wasn’t originally impressed by the Surface RT form factor, but in switching between the RT and Pro models I immediately wish that Surface Pro came in the RT chassis and Surface RT came in something even thinner and lighter.
Kickstand is as of now more of a gimmick that has limited practicality:
The more I use Surface (Pro and RT) the more I feel that Microsoft needs to pursue something a bit more flexible than the fixed 22-degree kickstand. The biggest issue by far is in-lap use with one of the keyboard covers attached. Depending on your seating position, the 22-degree angle that the kickstand opens at might be too small. Mechanically I don’t know the right solution for Microsoft but I do feel like for the kickstand to realize its true potential, it needs to be able to open and hold at multiple angles. It doesn’t necessarily need to have support for infinite angles, maybe even a few would work, but I do believe it’s necessary going forward.
The trackpad isn't great:
Both covers feature integrated trackpads, and neither is particularly great.
Type Cover still misses keystrokes:
With my Surface Pro review unit Microsoft sent another Type Cover. This one seemed to miss fewer keystrokes than the original Type Cover I tested with. I originally surmised that missed keystrokes with the Type Cover might have been a performance issue, but with a full 17W Ivy Bridge under the hood of Surface Pro I don’t think that’s the case. Although Microsoft spent a great deal of time focusing on the build quality of Surface, I wonder if the same didn’t necessarily apply to the Type Cover.
Surface Pro is too expensive for a device that doesn't come with a Touch Cover or Type Cover:
This brings me to my next point, which is about the lack of any keyboard bundles with Surface Pro. Microsoft charges a hefty premium for both of its covers. Touch Cover will set you back $119 while Type Cover is $129. While I can logically justify the price tag of Surface Pro, you really need to add $120 - $130 on top of that because it doesn’t come with a physical keyboard of any type. Given the more content creation lean of Surface Pro, I’d like to see the $899 or $999 include a Type Cover.
Earlier I spoke about the issues with the kickstand while using Surface RT in your lap and how many of those same complaints apply to Surface Pro. The same is really true for the keyboard covers.
Regarding the Surface Pro pen and the implementation:
The Surface Pro pen doesn’t store anywhere inside the device, but it can be docked to the magnetic power connector as long as you’re not charging the tablet. The magnetic dock doesn’t charge/power the pen in any way, it just holds it in place. The tablet is a bit awkward to hold with the pen in place, and there’s also the problem of where do you store the pen if you’re using the tablet while plugged into the wall, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.
The biggest issue I had in second screen mode is the lack of a toggle to switch between pen and mouse positioning, Surface Pro operates exclusively in the former. (...)
Wacom’s own tablets let you switch to mouse mode, allowing you to use the pen as a mouse to place your cursor wherever you want it. Pen mode is something you may or may not be able to get used to, but it’s worth pointing out that the inflexibility is a limitation of Surface Pro’s pen implementation.
Windows 8 still has too many bugs:
If I had any complaints about using Surface Pro as a tablet outside of weight, they’d be about Windows 8. There are still far too many bugs and quirks in the OS that just don’t make sense. I’ve outlined some of my issues with Windows 8 before. I think the UI works just fine for a tablet, it’s just the unfinished touches that need attention. For example, having to gesture in modern IE10 before being able to switch between tabs seems silly.
This still happens way too often in the Windows Store, no indication of what's going on just a blank screen
On the bug-front, all too often I’ll wake up the system only to have the lock screen upside down. And despite all of the extra performance under the hood, the time from when you hit the power/lock button to when something appears on the screen is just longer than on an iPad or Android tablet.
DPI scaling on the desktop (necessary on a 10.6-inch 1080p screen) doesn't really work very well:
On the desktop, Microsoft enables 150% DPI scaling by default which makes everything legible but still a bit odd in applications that don't deal well with fractional DPI scaling. Ideally I would've liked to have seen a clean doubling to avoid this mess. (...)
It's only in those desktop applications that don't properly implement Windows DPI scaling where the higher resolution is a hindrance. I actually ran into this problem using Chrome on the desktop, where my taps wouldn't always map to the right parts of the application (not to mention that Chrome in DPI scaled Windows looks terrible).
The screen doesn't come calibrated, so if you want to take advantage of its true quality, you have to use calibration software (which, as far as I know, is not exactly free):
Color accuracy is near identical to Surface RT, which is to say that it’s ok compared to PC notebooks from a couple of years ago but still far behind what you get out of the box from Apple.
Given that the majority of users don’t do any color calibration on their PCs, this becomes a real problem for consumer perception if your tablet doesn’t ship with accurate colors by default.
The cameras are, well, crap (the photos speak for themselves):
Surface Pro, like Surface RT before it, features two integrated 720p cameras with no flash. Admittedly I didn't spend a ton of time taking photos with Surface Pro but imaging quality is just really bad compared to what you'll get out of an iPad 4. The results are borderline ok for use on the web but that's pretty much it, and forget about decent low light performance.
Battery life just says: Haswell can't come soon enough.
Battery life: 6 hours web browsing, 5.25 hours 720p video playback (1080p video benchmark would have been useful since this has a 1080p screen, so you might just want to copy a 1080p video from a laptop or desktop without having to convert it to 720p) and 3.85 hours in Windows 8 Notebook Battery Tests - Medium workload.
My take: this will be a niche product, which will be even more niche because a lot of tech savvy people will be waiting for a Haswell powered version with some of the other problems solved.Edited by tpi2007 - 2/5/13 at 11:13pm