Is the Microsoft Surface Pro Right For You?

Microsoft Surface Pro

The Microsoft Surface Pro is Microsoft’s newest foray into the tablet market. Their first attempt, the Surface tablet, wasn’t very well accepted. The Surface Pro is too new at the moment to tell whether it’s going to be a hit or a miss, overall. However, I’m going to review some of the features that the major reviewers considered its high points, as well as touching on some of the features they considered the low points. This way you can make your own decision, since you may find it more or less useful for your needs than the reviewers have.

Most Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews Aren’t Very Nice

Like its predecessor, most reviews for the Surface Pro aren’t very favorable. One of the reasons given is the lack of apps for it that will run under the operating system loaded on it. However, as is often the case in the computer and tech industry, some industrious folks have gotten together and created an Android emulator to allow Android apps to run on the Microsoft Surface Pro. According to reviewers at ZDNet, this is more of a bad thing for the Surface Pro and Microsoft (especially Microsoft) than one might imagine.

Some of the reviewers have focused on the fact that, for some reason, Microsoft’s vendor made the Surface Pro practically unfixable, with one site giving it a rating of one out of 10 in measuring how easy it is to repair when things go wrong. They also lamented the fact that, from their tests, the battery life leaves quite a bit to be desired. One bright note that was mentioned in these write-ups is that the solid state drive, the storage media, is actually replaceable, if you can get to it.

Some of the other problems that were noted included the fact that many reviewers found attaching the magnetic power adapter quite confusing and that it fell off quite often. Even though Microsoft’s vendor gave the Microsoft Surface Pro a 10.6-inch display with full 19:9 aspect ratio, making watching movies a no-brainer, they gave it very weak speakers. And with average battery life in the area of five hours (less when using it to watch movies), you’re not going to get very much done on long flights or trips where access to power outlets is spotty.

Microsoft designed the Surface Pro as a replacement for the Surface RT and as a device that was a hybrid of ultrabook and tablet, including a touch-pen pointer (stylus) and a keyboard. However, most of the reviewers determined that it did not perform very well as either not being powerful enough to classify as a true ultrabook, even though it loads a stepped-down version of Windows 8, and being too big and heavy to be truly classifiable as a tablet.

Surface Pro Does Garner Some Kudos

Even though most reviewers found quite a bit to not like about the Surface Pro, they also found quite a bit to like. Most reviewers mentioned that the Surface Pro has one of the best displays they’ve seen in a device that can be classified as a tablet. They also enjoyed the fact that the charger brick thoughtfully includes a USB charging adapter port, something most other tablets don’t include.

Instead of a CPU designed for the tablet market, the Microsoft Surface Pro uses a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 CPU and HD4000 graphics, making it more ultrabook than tablet in processing power and speed. It also comes with a host of other features, such as a full-sized USB 3.0 port, microSD card slot for memory expansion (it is available with either 64 or 128 GB of internal storage), mini display port, and two 720p HD-quality cameras — one in front and one in the rear. Completing the ultrabook-like feature set, it also comes with 4 Gigabytes of 1,600 MHZ DDR3 memory, very similar to what you’d find in an ultrabook or high-end notebook.

In counterpoint to the previously mentioned ZDNet review, this ZDNet review was quite a bit more friendly and in-depth, actually putting the review into an easy-to-follow question-and-answer format.

Just the Facts, Ma’am – Device Specs

After reading what a number of people have had to say about the Microsoft Surface Pro, let’s take a look at some of the specifications, shall we?

  • Operating System – Windows 8 Pro – said to be capable of running all Win7 applications
  • Size – 10.81 X 6.81 X .53 inches
  • Case Dark Titanium color made out of VaporMg
  • Display features – 10.6-inch with 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920 X 1080 and 10-point multi-touch
  • Stylus included with purchase
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 Low energy technology
  • Sensors – Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass
  • Microphone and speaker built-in
  • Warranty – 1-year limited on hardware

Microsoft’s Surface Pro may not be for everyone, but many will find its hybrid design to be the best choice for them. Hopefully I’ve been able to help you make a more informed decision.