A collection of Surface Pro reviews

In the interest of fairness, I thought it best to offer up this PCWorld.com article which shares a collection of Surface Pro reviews.

So far I have provided only one review of the device, that from earlier this week by PCWorld.com‘s Jon Phillips. There’s also this one, which features snippets of reviews from The Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg, Engadget‘s Tim Stevens, The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Andy Ihnatko, and Time‘s Harry McCracken.

Although I haven’t spent as much time as these gentlemen have with the Surface Pro, after playing around with a couple in several different retail locations, I thought it wasn’t a bad machine…but it is heavy, about 1/2 pound more than the iPad. That might not seem like a lot, but those of us who’ve used an iPad and then picked up an iPad mini (a half pound lighter) will know what I mean. Try holding it upright for a while and see how your wrist feels.

But the biggest complaint I have about it is–it didn’t wow me. I’m not talking the excitement one can get from a just-introduced Apple device. Even HP’s TouchPad, although it was at times a bit sluggish, felt good when you held it…and the notion of each screen being a “card” that you flip through–kind of like iTunes’ old “Cover Flow” with albums–or flip off the screen to close that app completely was pretty cool (and thanks to recently-acquired Palm’s WebOS). Nowadays, with so many choices available–if a device doesn’t excite you, why would you want it?

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The Surface Windows 8 Pro arrives on store shelves Saturday starting at $900, and the verdict is in for Microsoft’s marquee PC-meets-tablet device.

Microsoft, like the rest of the stalwarts in the PC industry including LenovoAcer and Dell, is attempting to create a Windows 8 device that perfectly melds a tablet and desktop PC into one device.

Unlike the ARM-based Surface RT, which is primarily for running touch-based apps, the Surface Pro has an Intel chip and can run almost any traditional Windows desktop program. The Pro also has the Windows 8 modern UI interface for those times when you want a touch tablet.

Walt Mossberg

So how did the Surface Pro do as both a tablet and a Windows desktop PC?

Five reviews of the Surface Pro by The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, Engadget’s Tim Stevens, The Chicago Sun-Times’ Andy Ihnatko, Time’s Harry McCracken, and PCWorld’s own Jon Phillips say the device falls short in both usage scenarios, but it has its high points and may be a good choice for some people.

Before we get into the specifics of what the critics thought was great and what wasn’t about the Surface Pro, here are the basic specs: a 10.6-inch multitouch display with 1920-by-1080 resolution at 208 pixels per inch, 4GB RAM, and a 1.7GHz Core i5 processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Microsoft’s tablet comes with 64GB or 128GB of storage, a stylus, one USB 3.0 port, an SD card reader, mini DisplayPort, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and front- and rear-facing 720p cameras.

Great build quality, but…

The consensus is that the Surface Pro looks great and has a solid build quality thanks to its vapor magnesium housing and the handy kickstand built into the rear of the device.

The Pro isn’t that different in look and feel from the RT, but it does check in a bit thicker and heavier than the RT. The Pro measures just over a half-inch thick compared to the RT’s 0.37-inch profile.

Great display and speedy performance, but…

Harry McCracken

The Surface Pro’s 1080p display impressed most reviewers and was a big hit, and the device performed well running apps like Photoshop and Office in a flash.

The screen’s smaller size, however, was problematic, especially when using traditional desktop in Windows 8. “The application’s menus and icons are minuscule on the 10.6-inch display; tapping the right feature felt like threading a needle, even when I used the pen rather than my fingertip,” McCracken said about using Photoshop on the Surface Pro.

That’s one heavy tablet

Part of the appeal of the Surface Pro is that it can be used as either a laptop-like device with a portable keyboard or as a tablet. The problem with the Pro’s tablet mode is that it is noticeably heavier than similarly-sized tablet choices such as the iPad. The Surface Pro weighs in at two pounds, while the Wi-Fi only iPad with Retina Display is a little lighter around 1.44 pounds.

That extra weight was largely seen as a detriment to the Pro’s tablet prospects. “The Pro weighs 2 pounds, which is light for a laptop but anvil-like for a tablet,” Mossberg said. Stevens concurred, saying the Surface Pro’s heft combined with its angular designs dug into your hands. “This is not a tablet you’ll want to hold for long,” Stevens said.

But not everyone agreed.

Andy Ihnatko

“I came to think of the Surface Pro as a super-awesome tablet,” Ihnatko said. “It’s a tantalizing preview of what tablet computers, and Windows 8, will become if Windows developers become enthusiastic about creating Modern-style apps.”

Another dent in the Surface Pro’s tablet appeal is its failure to have that instant-on feature of the iPad, Android tablets, and even the Surface RT. “Hit Surface Pro’s power button, and you get a little reminder right away that it’s more PC than tablet,” McCracken said. “Unlike Surface RT, which springs to life more or less instantly, it [Surface Pro] takes a few seconds to wake up.”

There’s more discussion about battery life, storage and accessories. It concludes this way:

Overall, the Pro got good marks as a device that will appeal to frequent travelers looking to use a single device on road trips and don’t want to lug both a tablet and PC around. But the Pro is decidedly a work in progress as Microsoft and the rest of the PC industry try to create the perfect tablet-PC hybrid.

Phillips: “So, so close to that sublime, perfect marriage of tablet and PC. Surface Pro isn’t the answer—but it comes close.”

Ihnatko: “It’s good in its first incarnation and leaves me eager to see how much it’ll improve in future iterations.”

Tim Stevens

Stevens:“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 … The Surface Pro comes about as close as we’ve yet experienced, but it’s still compromised at both angles of attack.”

Mossberg: “Like many products that try to be two things at once, the new Surface Windows 8 Pro does neither as well as those designed for one function.”

McCracken: “Surface Pro doesn’t prove that one computing device can do everything well. Instead, it makes clear that there’s no such thing as no-compromise computing.”

So there you have it. I hope this gives you a somewhat better picture of the Surface Pro…although not necessarily a more positive one.

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2 thoughts on “A collection of Surface Pro reviews

  1. Really? What purpose did this serve? I could do the same blog with five positive reviews and say ” here ya go, you may not like it but… I’m so tired of you biased (payed for by apple/google) negative reviews. This isn’t even a review but a negative post. You’re a as$hole!

    • Thank you for your comment. If you have issues with the content of this post, might I suggest that you take them up with PCWorld.com, as I quoted directly from an article on that site that itself featured real quotes from those reviewers about the product.

      If instead your purpose was to be an Internet troll, then congratulations, you have succeeded! Might I suggest–to help you in the future with your comments–you look into a bestselling book that you can find most anywhere. It’s called a dictionary.

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