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Surface Pro is full of compromises

Microsoft's Surface RT hasn't exactly set the consumer tablet market ablaze since it was introduced late last year. According to IDC, Microsoft only shipped about 900,000 Surface RT tablets for Q4 2012 compared to 22.9 million for the iPad.
Despite a slow start with Surface RT, Microsoft is hoping for more success with its Surface Pro. Packing in a third generation Core i5 processor instead of the more limiting ARM-based processor its more svelte sibling, the Surface Pro can handle the vast Windows app library without breaking a sweat.
Even though Surface Pro isn't due to launch until February 9, reviews for the tablet went live tonight. Not surprisingly, reviewers loved the tablet's screen and its speedy Core i5 processor, but blasted the horrid battery life that puts it at the bottom of the pack.

The Surface Pro’s 10.6”, 1080p screen is a definite upgrade from the 1366x768 screen on the Surface RT. The reviewers seemed to be thoroughly impressed with its quality.
David Pierce/The Verge: The 10.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 panel on the Pro is gorgeous, maybe the best laptop screen I've ever seen. Blacks are deep and whites are bright (my MacBook Air's display looks comparatively yellowish now), and colors are both accurate and vibrant. Since it's 1080p, it also holds up to closer pixel-level scrutiny when you're holding the device nearer to your face in tablet mode.
But while the screen looks good, actual usability is a compromise between two extremes.
Tim Stevens/Engadget: By default, the tablet is set to scale text to 150 percent its original size, making most (but not all) menus and buttons huge and reasonably finger-friendly. That's great when you're actually using your fingers, but it results in a lot of wasted space on the display when you're using a mouse. More troublingly, it made the text and icons in many apps appear rather blurry…
When running apps at 100 percent, the visuals are much cleaner, and those who want maximum screen real estate will be happiest here -- but in this view scrollbars and other on-screen controls are tricky to hit accurately with a finger. Interacting with the desktop without a mouse suddenly becomes a chore.
The Surface Pro packs in a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317u processor, 4GB of RAM, Intel integrated graphics, and an SSD (64GB or 128GB). Compared to the ARM processor used in the Surface RT, the Core i5 simply blazes along in performance.
Joanna Stern/ABC News: The Surface Pro does a nice job running lots of apps simultaneously. Powered by a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and the 64GB solid-state drive, the Pro is just as capable and fast as most laptops. Programs load quickly and, in contrast to the Surface RT, there's none of that lag or stuttering when switching apps or swiping them in from the left. It also resumes from sleep in seconds and boots in under 10 seconds.
David Pierce/The Verge: In general, it runs remarkably smoothly. I consistently switch around between a dozen different apps, some streaming music or movies, and the Surface Pro never stumbled once in normal use — I was actually shocked at how quickly it would resume playing House of Cards on Netflix when I alt-tabbed my way back to the app. Where the Surface RT took forever to load anything, and stumbled its way through any kind of intensive task, the Pro simply flies.

Battery Life
When it comes to battery life, this is where the Surface Pro seemed to take the most criticism. The Surface Pro racked in anywhere from one-third to one-half the battery life of its Surface RT counterpart.
Michael Prospero/Laptop Magazine: Microsoft estimated that the battery life of the Surface Pro would be about half that of the Surface RT, and sadly, they were correct. On the LAPTOP Battery Test (Web surfing via Wi-Fi), the Pro lasted 4 hours and 37 minutes. That's about three hours less than the Surface RT (7:43), and about two-and-a-half hours less than the tablet average of 7:10.
Tim Stevens/Engadget: On our standard Windows battery rundown test, in which we fix the display brightness and loop a video endlessly to exhaustion, the Surface Pro scored just three hours and 46 minutes, despite having a 42.5Wh battery -- a third larger than the 31.5Wh pack in the Surface RT. That's just more than a third of the nine hours and 36 minutes the Surface RT scored, well lower than the similarly specced W700 (which managed seven hours) and short of every touch-friendly Windows 8 device we've yet tested.
CNET: If only the Surface Pro had excellent battery life. It doesn't. In our video-playback battery drain test, the Surface Pro lasted 4 hours and 31 minutes, regardless of whether the Type Cover was connected or not. That's not far off from some other high-powered 11- and 10-inch ultraportables, but it's a big step down the 6-hour mark on many ultrabooks. The Acer Iconia W700 lasted more than 7 hours despite having a similar processor.
By all accounts, the Surface Pro is a significant [second] step for Microsoft in the realm of tablet/convertible PCs. Performance is respectable, the screen is gorgeous (although legibility/usability could use some work), build quality/design is top notch, and it offers a decent allotment of ports/connectivity options. The overall weight/size, awkward typing positioning while on your lap, and the battery life will be big concerns, however, for many users. In summary, perhaps David Pierce of The Verge said it best:

Even a well-executed Surface still doesn't work for me, and I'd bet it doesn't work for most other people either. It's really tough to use on anything but a desk, and the wide, 16:9 aspect ratio pretty severely limits its usefulness as a tablet anyway. It's too big, too fat, and too reliant on its power cable to be a competitive tablet, and it's too immutable to do everything a laptop needs to do. In its quest to be both, the Surface is really neither. It's supposed to be freeing, but it just feels limiting.
We eagerly await Surface Pro2

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I just want to run an MMO on it and sit on the couch
By xti on 2/6/2013 12:08:58 AM , Rating: 2
I am eagerly awaiting a review to show some light gaming on it...gimme 30 fps constant and Ill buy one tomorrow

By TakinYourPoints on 2/6/2013 12:34:24 AM , Rating: 1
Wait for Haswell. I think this is a great device that is being held back by currently available technology.

Haswell is going to be massive for ultrabooks and x86 tablets, faster overall performance, double the IGP performance of Ivy Bridge, and more efficient. Gonna be great!

By GPig on 2/6/2013 3:48:18 AM , Rating: 2
They didn't have to wait for Haswell, they had to wait about a month more for the i5-3439Y

By TakinYourPoints on 2/6/2013 4:22:07 AM , Rating: 2
Its still using the current Ivy Bridge HD 4000 IGP.

Waiting for Haswell seems smart if you want to play games on it

By othercents on 2/6/2013 8:14:40 AM , Rating: 2
If an ultrabook can last 6 - 7 hours on the same tests then there isn't a reason why the Surface Pro couldn't have done the same thing.

By FITCamaro on 2/6/2013 9:19:36 AM , Rating: 2
It likely has a smaller battery than them. 4-6 hours for a tablet like that which can replace a laptop is pretty damn good.

That said, yes if I wanted one, I'd wait for the next iteration with Haswell.

By invidious on 2/6/2013 12:28:06 PM , Rating: 3
x86 architecture is the entire point of the surface pro. People want to use their already licenced x86 software on a tablet.

What you are talking about is a beefed up surface RT. I dont know what power hungry games/programs you would even use on such a device.

By Pirks on 2/7/2013 4:47:26 AM , Rating: 2
Intel just isn't ready for tablets
This is the most funny bullshit of the day :))) Tell this BS to any owner of a Clover Trail based Windows 8 tablet and they will laugh at you HARD. Especially with battery life that's better than iPad's.

By kleinma on 2/6/2013 9:41:34 AM , Rating: 2
it weighs 1.5lbs. Most ultra books are a bit heavier, and that is likely all in the battery.

By mcnabney on 2/6/2013 9:56:21 AM , Rating: 3
Uhm, no.

Ultrabooks have more connections, a full sized keyboard, and a hinge.

The Surface Pro has a slightly smaller battery than an iPad4 - but has to drive an i5 with it.

By xti on 2/6/2013 12:49:03 PM , Rating: 4
it could have come with windows XP and I wouldnt have cared...again the whole point is people want a tablet that they can install their existing x86 software.

I think the device is a great start, would like to see how it benches a bit more in the x86 side of the house.

screen, battery, SSD, an i5...idk why people thought it was going to weigh 1lb... its not made of paper and held together by kittens licking it...

we just came from 7+lb gaming laptop to around 2lbs...but nooooo that extra half lb is going to give everyone herpes.

By Nortel on 2/6/2013 1:59:16 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 aside, yes people can install their x86 software but that leaves the question, what are you going to want to run on this machine? Tax software? Most everyone is used to their 15"+ screens and now we have this squished tiny 16:9 screen. Seriously, RT comes with office, you have a browser and apps to cover, rdp, vpn, vnc, ssh, and most all else. This device can't play any modern games so why is an i5 necessary, are people seriously going to be running photoshop on this?

Yes we had 7 pound gaming laptops but this is not for gaming system (Intel 4000 GPU) nor are we living in the past. That 2 pound quote is without the keyboard, so be prepared to lug around that as well. This device hasn't even hit the market and its already showing its age.

$1000 + $155 keyboard for something that kind of sits in the middle between a good tablet and an ultra-portable laptop. Hard to swallow when it's lacking in resolution, battery life, weight, price, size and no LTE option compared to top tablets. On the laptop side, it doesn't include a keyboard in the price, tiny screen, can't use/rest on your lap with they keyboard, bad battery life and requires $50 adapters for hdmi/vga.

By Luticus on 2/8/2013 11:29:42 AM , Rating: 2
Your specs for a tablet and what you think a tablet should be is very different from what I want, obviously.

I want my tablet to be a touch screen extension of my desktop. That's not saying I should be able to do everything my desktop can on my tablet, but when I need to be in the living room with my family it would be nice if I could still get some work done or play a DECENT (not freaking angry birds) game. I want my tablet to do a much of my desktop stuff as I can get away with, and why shouldn't it be able to? Do we really need yet another screen to consume the freaking internet with? Yay, a portable Facebook computer! SCREW Facebook. Do I want adobe cs6, visual studio, Microsoft office, AutoCAD, Maya, VMware workstation, etc. on my tablet... hell yes I do!

Contrary to your opinion just because the device has a keyboard, doesn't mean it NEEDS a keyboard. My tablet has a keyboard too; it sits on my desk so when I get back into my office I can dock my tablet for more efficient use. Otherwise I just grab my tablet and walk around with it. If I'm going on a trip I'll throw the keyboard and a spare mouse in a backpack, simple enough. I don't have to lug it around with me everywhere.

My current tablet doesn't have LTE either and I don't miss it. LTE works well with phones because I can pull my phone out anywhere (due to its size and the fact that it resides on my waste via belt). I can be absolutely anywhere and pull my phone out and hit the net quickly. That would be nice for a tablet but tablets are by nature more cumbersome than phones and therefore less likely to be easily accessible when I'm not near Wi-Fi. Then there are the phone companies. When you have to pay as much as you do to share two measly GB through Verizon, I'm not interested! Besides, if I need internet that bad, tethering is trivial for me to accomplish.

As far as battery life is concerned, use the power profiles. Every windows system has them. Set one up for max battery and max performance. Max performance will probably give you somewhere around 4 hours and on full charge and max battery will give you somewhere around 8 even with windows 7! (I know, I’ve tested it!) That's the beauty of windows, if you don't need the power then nothing says you need to use it, but for that random time when you do it'll be there for you.

I'm not saying this is the perfect tablet or that it's something I would buy, but it is a decent start. $1k is a bit high for what they are offering and the adapter thing is a little bit annoying. Other than that, it's pretty solid.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/6/2013 3:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I'm agree with Tony, but I've been saying this all along and have been highly criticized for it. But I'm more convinced now that ever that by trying to make Windows 8 the one OS to fit every solution, Microsoft has blundered.

I'll say it again, there is a reason Apple went with iOS for mobile devices, and not OS X. There's a reason Google didn't just take stock Ubuntu or whatever, and put a touch UI onto of it.

This is especially evident in the obscenely bloated size of Windows 8 on the Surface. The fact that an OS and a few apps are taking up almost half the memory built into the device before customers even see it, is unacceptable to me. It's obvious that Windows 8 cannot be a slim paired down and efficient mobile OS when it has 25+ years of Windows desktop code piled onto it's back!

I understand that Microsoft needed to be a mobile player, that's fine. What I don't understand is why the greatest software company in the world couldn't give us a clear desktop OS upgrade designed for desktops, and a clear OS designed for mobile devices.

By Pirks on 2/6/2013 3:51:56 PM , Rating: 1
why the greatest software company in the world couldn't give us a clear desktop OS upgrade designed for desktops, and a clear OS designed for mobile devices
OK I'll state the obvious for you and Tony - MS has put full desktop OS in there because full desktop CPU with mobile-like battery consumption called Haswell is upon us very soon, hence for MS it was the easiest and lest expensive approach to put full Windows on a tablet - it's because Haswell powered Surface 2 will be thinner, lighter and much more energy efficient than current Surface Pro. Why bother writing huge amount of code from scratch if you can just put your full desktop OS on a slate, with the new touch interface and API of course (Metro and RT API). This brings the benefits of unification - app developers now don't have to write separate apps for desktop and mobile like they have to with OS X and iOS. They can write one and then just adjust it to different resolutions whenever necessary.

This is a huge architectural improvement compared to current state of business in software development. MS is the leader in bridging desktop, tablet and phone, no one has anything close now, even Apple.

You're not software engineer, you're just another slowpoke like Tony, hence you don't understand MS's motivation.

The other reason is the existence of WP8 which could be lifted to ARM tablets later if necessary which will bring hundreds of thousand of WP8 apps to the tablets, MS may choose this route for 7" Windows ARM tablets in the future.

But MS is betting heavily on Haswell and judging how thoroughly Clover Trail pwned any other ARM chip perormance AND battery wise, I think they made the right bet.

If Clover Trail bombed, then I'd agree with you and Tony, but for you you two remain deluded slowpoookes yeaaa :P

By Reclaimer77 on 2/6/2013 4:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
You're talking concept, I'm talking execution.

By Pirks on 2/6/2013 4:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
Good execution for MS meant to deliver their answer to iPad as fast as possible and they succeeded, otherwise if they were listening to you they would invest lots of time and money in useless mobile OS of their own which has no apps like RT. Good thing they decided to execute not your way. Bringing desktop Windows to Haswell (and to IVB for now till Haswell is not here) was the only option that could work for them, because no matter how well they execute, they would lose mobile market if they waited two more years and brought a nice Windows RT without desktop support/compatibility to the market in 2016 like you suggested.

By Nortel on 2/6/2013 8:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
What is your definition of succeeded? Surface sales were miserable and now with the surface pro not even available for sale we have talk of a surface pro 2. "This is agreat starting point for MS", yea right, and who are the idiots who are going to be the early adopters of this when they know version 2 is just on the horizon?

As for answering the ipad, surface RT's only feature is the snap on keyboard case. When people start realizing they aren't writing novels on their tablets and have to lug around the extra weight of a keyboard, the enthusiasm will wane.

By Pirks on 2/6/2013 9:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
Succeeded means they delivered new unified touch/desktop OS fast enough to avoid losing their market.

Who are the idiots who are going to be the early adopters? I dunno, maybe ask people who bought iPad when iPad 2 was on horizon?

No one is carrying around extra weight if they don't want to, so top lying. I carry my Surface without keyboard usually because I don't type a lot on it and when I do (like in this forum now) I use portrait orientation and my thumbs which is for me just as convenient as a snap-on keyboard, except it's a bit slower 'cause only my thumbs are used.

By retrospooty on 2/6/2013 5:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
"You're talking concept, I'm talking execution."

Hey, just be glad he's talking in complete sentences and not yelling that your a "liar and a troll". LOL, that alone is a rarity for Pirks.


By Pirks on 2/6/2013 5:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
ya he's a slowpoke today instead of a liar and troll, glad this made you happy retro

By Tony Swash on 2/6/2013 7:33:44 PM , Rating: 1
I am not convinced by your argument which boils down to 'it sucks now but once we get some upgraded hardware that's not yet released but will be soon it will be great'

I certainly think that we can all agree that there is a clear difference in design philosophy between Microsoft and Apple and Google/Android.

Microsoft says: one unitary OS on all computing devices, one OS for both mobile touch devices and old style PCs

Apple says: One OS optimised for touch devices and another different OS optimised for PCs and make it easy for them to talk to each.

Google says something similar to Apple (except it doesn't seem to want to push apps optimised for different sizes of touch devices and thus many Android tablet apps are blown up phone apps)

So far the Apple/Google approach of specialist a OS for touch is storming the market and now we will see if Microsoft's unitary OS approach will allow it to gain significant traction in the market.

The problem I have is that I cannot see what problem consumers are having that Windows 8 on touch devices solves. What's the attraction of Windows 8 for consumers (or indeed enterprises) in using Windows 8 tablets and in using Surface Pro in particular?

By Pirks on 2/6/2013 8:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
Attraction is in one universal device you can use for everything. Snap on keyboard and it's a notebook for lots of text typing/entering numbers/accounting/science calculations/etc, snap it into dock with ports/monitor/keyboard and it's your office workhorse, detach keyboard and use it on a couch for family entertainment to play some touch games, watch Hulu on it or what not. Why buy laptop, desktop and notebook when one 11" or maybe 12" Surface 2 with Haswell inside can replace them all?

By Pirks on 2/6/2013 8:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
it sucks now but once we get some upgraded hardware that's not yet released but will be soon it will be great
It worked for Apple which released nice OS on a very crappy hardware in 2007 (the first iPhone) and then 5 years later on a MUCH, MUCH better hardware this OS finally blossomed into something everyone loves, but why?


So, if it worked for Apple, why wouldn't it work for MS?

By Tony Swash on 2/7/2013 5:54:26 AM , Rating: 1
It worked for Apple which released nice OS on a very crappy hardware in 2007 (the first iPhone) and then 5 years later on a MUCH, MUCH better hardware this OS finally blossomed into something everyone loves, but why?


The iPhone V1 did not suck and was a huge hit with people queuing up for days to get it and it received gushing adulation. Arguing about whether all that was deserved or not is moot, the point being that the iPhone was not tepidly received in a huge existing smart phone market and then only got really popular later when it's hardware improved. It didn't happen like that. Probably the biggest post launch kick it got was from the App Store which was a software innovation.

Attraction is in one universal device you can use for everything.

This is a key point, and I think you exactly express Microsoft's public argument for Surface. Is it right? Obviously only time will tell, either the thing will sell in large numbers and be very popular or it won't.

The problem I see with it is that in seeking to to do too many things it does few well, that it's a compromise too far. I tend to think good product design is about paring things down to the essentials and then making those essentials work very well. The Surface looks to me like a laptop that doesn't work well on your lap, a touch tablet that can drop you suddenly into an interface not optimised for touch, a tablet with a non-touch optimised version of Office and mobile device that works best plugged into the power socket sitting on a desk.

I can't see what popular question it answers, why tens of million of people are going to be saying 'I must get one of them because finally I can .....'

By Pirks on 2/7/2013 12:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
I must get one of them because finally I can have one universal device instead of many specialized ones.

either the thing will sell in large numbers and be very popular or it won't
Right. Just like Mac that never became very popular. Right? RIGHT?? :))) Hehe you are so easy to pwn Tony.

Have a nice day anyway, talk to you later.

By theokan on 2/12/2013 11:26:13 PM , Rating: 2

Attraction is in one universal device you can use for everything.

This is a key point, and I think you exactly express Microsoft's public argument for Surface. Is it right? Obviously only time will tell, either the thing will sell in large numbers and be very popular or it won't.

It could happen today, it could happen in 50 years, or it could happen in 100 years, but all tablets will eventually be powerful enough to run full desktop programs, it is the natural progression of technology. That is the future that our great great grandsons will be living in. Android and iOS only exist today because we're not there yet, we're living in the infancy where most tablets can only run 99c light programs known as 'Apps', explain that one to your future grand kids 50 years from now and they'd sure have a good laugh.

I can't see what popular question it answers, why tens of million of people are going to be saying 'I must get one of them because finally I can .....'

If Apple releases iPad6 that can run full desktop Mac programs, wouldn't people be extremely excited about that?


By retrospooty on 2/6/2013 4:03:57 PM , Rating: 1
"Microsoft have made a truly profound strategic blunder."

To borrow a page from your playbook, sales are as good as ever, and the stock is stable. They still pulled in 16 billion in revenue for the latest quarter. So all is well and the problem is just in your perception...

That sucks doesnt it? ;)

By Tony Swash on 2/7/2013 6:08:36 AM , Rating: 1
My comment is not about Microsoft's existing Windows/Office business. My comment is about Microsoft's attempt to get a reasonable slice of business in the mobile device markets. The mobile device market is already beginning to dwarf the traditional PC and will shortly become many, many times the size of the PC business in terms of both users and revenues.

As an example consider that the iTunes business is on it's own as big as the whole of Microsoft's Windows business and that the Android installed base on it's own will exceed that of Windows this year. Apple's revenues from just the iPhone were twice Microsoft's entire revenues in the last quarter. That's how much money and clout is at stake in the new mobile markets.

If Microsoft wants to grow it must be a player of consequence in those markets, it hasn't been up until now and Windows 8 is the key play by them to get into that market in a big way. I think they fluffed it and their blunder was a reflection of of their deep corporate commitment to defending the notion of a unitary Windows space.

By retrospooty on 2/7/2013 7:28:17 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I know. I did read it, and honestly, I don't disagree with it for the most part... My point with "borrow a page from your playbook" is just that. People will post a similar idea based post about Apple and whatever the topic of the day is and how its not all rosy and you completely ignore the content and say something to the effect of "So, they are the most profitable company" that really has nothing to do with the post.

Back to topic, I dont think MS is in danger of going away or becoming irrelevant, but yes, the business will erode some. They will be fine as long as the entire business world runs off their software, and it still does. The majority of business does run off of Microsoft in 1 form or another every company uses them. They are by far the dominant force in the enterprise market as well as the PC market. No 1 has ever done what they do. Of course there are other parties Linux Unix Sun Oracle and mainframes too, and a lot of companies use them but it's only part of the picture. Microsoft is the only 1 that does the whole package, and they are firmly entrenched in that. Not only are the safely staying in that market, they have zero competition. Its not even that other competitors are lacking, its that there are no competitors at all. No one else has ever even tried to tackle it. Dont forget, every iDevice and MAc is made in factories that run their businesses of MS PC's. Every planning, purchasing, inbound logistics, warehousing, shop floor, shipping, accounting, reverse logistics, CRM software etc etc... It all runs on PC's. Unless of course you are aware of a shop floor management software that runs on Mac. LOL...

By simsony on 2/7/2013 3:55:29 AM , Rating: 1
The whole of the corporate culture at Apple for over two decades has been dominated by just one key strategic aim: protect the brand. The great fear at Apple was that something unforeseen would come along and disrupt the Apple hegemony. That fear was so deep and all pervasive that it meant that when it was clear that the competitor mobile device markets were on the point of exploding in size and value Apple hesitated innovating for far too long and then made a timid defensive move with patent lawsuits.

It tried to defend iPhone and the result was the compromise that is iPhone 5. It is painfully clear that the shortcoming of iPhone 5 stem from it trying to do the same job at the same time as the iPhone 4, drive touch based devices and drive down traditional PCs, and the result is that each new product experience, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5, are compromised to be the same. It would have been far better to innovate on iOS but Apple, consumed by it's embedded defensive culture of brand and lack of ideas, was worried that Android would disrupt Apple iOS and so it tried disastrously to sue Android manufacturers.

Apple are making a truly profound strategic blunder. And that blunder underpins all that is wrong with Apple iPhone 5 and it's the reason that Apple will be declining player of consequence in the mobile device markets.

By simsony on 2/7/2013 2:50:17 PM , Rating: 2

My point is a little off topic, I do think MS has screwed up, but the commentary you made was so easy to substitute with any company on the decline I couldn't resist.

And that is Apple, the decline is in their product experience. Profits are a lagging indicator especially for brand and marketing leveraged sales.

And the lawsuits ARE a strategic blunder on Apple's part.

MS once was doing as well, breaking records and profits. Look at where they are now. These things you say of Apple today are just as applicable to MS in their heyday of the Windows/Office/Internet boom era.

Unless Apple again starts doing the things that got them to where they are, they're on the way to join MS.

You and your Asymco analysis keep promising something big, Apple actually needs to pull the rabbit out of the magic hat. So far all I hear is of this magic hat hidden somewhere and requiring a lot of capex.

If it's iTV great! Let's see it. No more "it's going to get soooo big, you'll see".

It's gonna be three years since the iPhone 4, the last real thing they did.

Time for less talk.

By FITCamaro on 2/6/2013 12:33:14 PM , Rating: 3
It is also a tablet with decent battery life that has the hardware to replace your desktop or other notebook. Plug in and external display and a keyboard/monitor and you've got better hardware than most laptops. With a USB3 hub you can also connect any external storage you want.

Sure you can't use it all day without a charge, but it can certainly last the evening when you're not working. And when you want to be more productive it can do that too. Instead of needing a laptop AND a tablet, you've got both.

The Pro isn't meant to appeal to the "I only want a tablet" market. That's what the RT is for. There are always tradeoffs. The Pro trades battery life for performance and productivity. The next iteration of this will likely be my parents next computer. It will only get better with Haswell.

By jimbojimbo on 2/6/2013 2:19:05 PM , Rating: 3
For the 100th time, this is NOT a tablet. It's a full blown Windows 8 machine in a tablet form. You cannot compare this device's battery life to an iPad. If you compare the two you have to compare what the two can do in which case the iPad is really just a toy. A very very simple toy.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/6/2013 3:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
There's an Ivy-Bridge quad-core (with HT) i3 with an HD 4000 IGP and much more efficiency. The i3-3225 I believe. Given the battery life of this thing, I believe that would have been a better option. It would be plenty of power for the Surface. There was really no reason to try and cram an i5 into the Surface Pro. Especially given the small screen size and resolution. There's just no need for that much horsepower.

By Pirks on 2/6/2013 4:18:16 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that would have been a better option
You believe 'cause you don't know jack about Win8 tablets, there's Acer W700 with 7 hrs of battery life and Core i5. 7 hrs is quite astonishing for a machine that is essentially a desktop replacement performance wise for most people. Besides there are also Clover Trail Win8 tablets that cost as low as $500 (Asus Vivo Tab) and have like 10 hrs of battery life while running all your typical desktop x86 software just as well, except for heavy weights like Photoshop (and this is where i5 tablets like W700 excel, iPad/Android have absolutely nothing to counterattack this).

MS has done some poor choices in hardware but they had their reasons. Whatever is missing from Surface line up is provided by other OEMs, like those nice and cheap Clover Trail tablets.

By Solandri on 2/6/2013 5:02:34 PM , Rating: 2
There's an Ivy-Bridge quad-core (with HT) i3 with an HD 4000 IGP and much more efficiency.

On the mobile processors, the i3 is just an i5 without Turbo Boost. There are also a few virtualization features missing, but Turbo Boost is the big one. So if you have a mobile i5 and want the "efficiency" of an i3, just turn Turbo Boost off.

In Windows, go to the control panel, power options, change plan setting, advanced. Scroll down to processor power management and change the maximum to something less than 100% (Turbo Boost only kicks in after the CPU hits 100%). you might want to create a custom power profile for this (name it no Turbo Boost) so you can quickly switch between TB on/off.

You can even see that there's little difference in the component pricing Intel charges PC manufacturers. The mobile i5 only costs $0-$15 more than the mobile i3 at equivalent clock speed. The manufacturers are taking advantage of the widespread misbelief that the i5 is much better than the i3 to charge a $50-$100 premium for it. It's only the desktop i5 which is much better than the desktop i3. The mobile i5 and i3 are practically the same.

By jabber on 2/9/2013 7:40:00 AM , Rating: 2
I must admit for the first version I would have gone with an i3 and then for the second either go to a higher i3 or the i5.

By crispbp04 on 2/12/2013 1:00:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's called a surface pro. It has to be fast. i3 does not cut it.

To make that a success surface should have been in 3 flavors:

Surface RT (arm)
Surface w/ win8 (clovertrail or lowest power i3)
Surface Pro w/ win8 pro (i5/i7)

By othercents on 2/6/2013 8:39:08 AM , Rating: 2
No definitive information on the Ultra Portable processors for Haswell unlike the Mobile and Desktop counterparts. The rumor is that they will be announced at Computex in June and available in the market before the end of the 3rd quarter which pushes it to September time-frame. Take the design phase of a new device it probably won't be until next year when we start to see tablets running that processor. It might possibly be sooner, however I would expect anything until at least late this year.

NOTE: The max TDP will be similar to the current version of products however with the added integration there should be an overall power reduction. Does this mean lighter devices with smaller batteries running 5 hours, or a similar weight device with longer battery life? If your competing against ARM processors for form factor and battery life then designers might choose form over battery.

Standard windows dilemma...
By tayb on 2/6/2013 12:02:37 AM , Rating: 4
Price, performance, weight, battery life. Pick any three.

I think Intel is more to blame here but it doesn't really matter.

I have to ask two questions:

Can it replace my notebook? No. Storage and port limitations and performance kill it.
Can it replace my iPad? No. I value battery life and weight over anything else in a tablet and it falls well short here.

It's unfortunate because I had high hopes. Oh well. Perhaps Surface Pro 2.

RE: Standard windows dilemma...
By TakinYourPoints on 2/6/2013 3:33:36 AM , Rating: 3
Haswell baby. Gonna be awesome for ultrabooks and x86 tablets

RE: Standard windows dilemma...
By Da W on 2/6/2013 2:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
4 core AMD bobcat will make nice tablets.

RE: Standard windows dilemma...
By Jeffk464 on 2/6/2013 10:19:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, intel won't be a true competitor until 2014.

RE: Standard windows dilemma...
By txDrum on 2/6/2013 12:22:19 PM , Rating: 2
Haswell is coming out in a few months.

RE: Standard windows dilemma...
By FITCamaro on 2/6/2013 1:25:18 PM , Rating: 3
I'll give you port limitations (granted somewhat solved by a USB3 hub) but hard drive size isn't a huge limitation to me. Can get an external drive that plugs in to solve that.

RE: Standard windows dilemma...
By Rukkian on 2/6/2013 2:28:00 PM , Rating: 2
While the lack of ports is not really a reason I would pass, if you have to start carrying around an external hard drive, and a usb hub, you are considerably less portable.

RE: Standard windows dilemma...
By FITCamaro on 2/7/2013 8:49:44 AM , Rating: 2
I would leave the extra hard drive at home. Also you can get a 1TB 2.5" external hard drive that doesn't hurt portability much.

RE: Standard windows dilemma...
By Pirks on 2/6/2013 3:56:37 PM , Rating: 3
I value battery life and weight over anything else in a tablet and it falls well short here

Twice more battery life than Surface Pro. You like it?

Screen Aspect Ratio
By Fleeb on 2/5/2013 11:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
and the wide, 16:9 aspect ratio pretty severely limits its usefulness as a tablet anyway.

Isn't this most tablets' screen aspect ratio?

RE: Screen Aspect Ratio
By TakinYourPoints on 2/6/2013 12:39:23 AM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately. The move to 16:9 on 22"-23" desktop and laptop displays is bad, and 16:9 is even worse on tablets when taking both ergonomics and reducing vertical space for applications into account.

Constraining devices mostly used for applications (where vertical space is important) to an aspect ratio designed for movies is very impractical the smaller the display gets.

RE: Screen Aspect Ratio
By BugblatterIII on 2/6/2013 9:42:35 AM , Rating: 3
Most Android tablets are 16:10. Not a huge difference but every extra bit of height helps.

I miss 4:3 screens, although not enough to buy an iPad.

RE: Screen Aspect Ratio
By Solandri on 2/6/2013 5:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
16:10 is almost exactly the dimensions of an A4 sheet of paper minus the margins. It's closer to the dimensions of a letter-sized sheet of paper minus margins than 4:3 (the device's bezel is supposed to simulate the margins, right?). For you artist types, 16:10 is almost exactly the golden ratio (1.618...). And if you're editing 16:9 movies, a 16:10 display leaves room at the bottom for edit controls while viewing the movie at full size.

So IMHO 16:10 is the ideal aspect ratio. It displays documents in portrait mode, side-by-side documents/apps in landscape mode, 3:2 DSLR photos, and 16:9 movies with the least wasted black space across all applications.

RE: Screen Aspect Ratio
By TakinYourPoints on 2/6/2013 8:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
A4 PDFs fit in 4:3 almost perfectly:

As for things like editing, having more vertical space remains a benefit. You have video on the top while you have more room for controls and tools on the bottom.

I'm not writing off 16:10 btw. It is still much better than 16:9 at that size.

By MeesterNid on 2/6/2013 8:05:29 AM , Rating: 2
...not as powerful as a laptop, doesn't have the battery life of an average tablet, burns your jewels in the process and costs a ton. But you can run "real" applications on it! Yeay for "productivity"!

RE: Uhhhmmm
By mcnabney on 2/6/2013 9:59:32 AM , Rating: 2
Most 'real' applications besides the latest form of Office pretty much require a mouse and keyboard. Good luck using this thing on your lap in a car for anything besides Angry Birds.

RE: Uhhhmmm
By xti on 2/6/2013 12:51:14 PM , Rating: 1
but i have office laying around here...


RE: Uhhhmmm
By Jeffk464 on 2/6/2013 10:21:04 AM , Rating: 2
I still say if I'm going to be doing a substantial amount of typing I would much rather have an ultrabook.

RE: Uhhhmmm
By Solandri on 2/6/2013 5:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
...not as powerful as a laptop

The 1.7 GHz i5 in this turbo boosts to 2.4 GHz with multi-threaded tasks, 2.6 GHz with a single-threaded task. It is as powerful as any Ivy Bridge i3 laptop, which is 90% of the new laptops out there, while consuming substantially less power when idle.

By Arsynic on 2/6/2013 10:26:29 AM , Rating: 3
Surface Pro has great battery life for what it is. It will only get better as MS puts in the lower TDP Sandry Bridge CPUs.

By vol7ron on 2/6/2013 10:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'll admit, I have a lot of Apple products, but this is the first MS product since Win7 that I'm interested in.

Would love to purchase this instead of an iPad, if battery life was 8-10 hrs.

Best Mix of Products:
Intel-MS Desktops (at-home powerhouse/gaming)
Apple Laptop (main productivity machine, esp on the go)
MS Tablet (for limited-productivity on leisure/travel)
Kindle eBook (eInk for best tech)
Android/Apple Phone (equal depending on needs/use)
HTPC/Home Server (Linux)

By Pirks on 2/6/2013 11:01:55 PM , Rating: 2
Would love to purchase this instead of an iPad, if battery life was 8-10 hrs
Why don't you buy Acer Iconia W700 that has same hardware as Surface Pro and up to 8-9 hrs battery life?

What did we expect?
By txDrum on 2/6/2013 12:20:34 PM , Rating: 3
I think Anandtech sums up the Surface Pro the best.

"Surface Pro is about as well executed as Microsoft could have made it given the currently available hardware. Its performance is outstanding for a tablet - it’s truly in a class of its own. "

"Poor battery life" is kind of unfair - you're comparing a 30W at load tablet to one at 6 watts. Of course it's going to be lower. Compared to other ultrabooks, it doesn't do too poorly, as Anandtech notes. It beats Acer's S7 in THEIR battery benchmark, which is generally more detailed than Cnet's for example (does Cnet mention if the W700 has the dock in or not? I believe the dock has an expandable battery).

Haswell will really see Surface Pro shine. Even as is, I think a lot of people could be happy with Surface Pro now - it's a very, very well executed first generation device.

RE: What did we expect?
By Pirks on 2/6/2013 4:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
a lot of people could be happy with Surface Pro now
Haha, once they realize how much better Acer Iconia W700 is with same hardware but DOUBLE battery life of Surface Pro - they will be DOUBLE happy :)))

7 hrs battery life! Really.

RE: What did we expect?
By Mint on 2/7/2013 7:36:40 AM , Rating: 2
That's their video playback test, where something is going wrong for Surface Pro, likely certain videos not properly using hardware acceleration.

Anand found that the Surface Pro lasts 30% longer than the S7 in its light and medium tests. That would put the Surface right alongside a MBA13 and many ultrabooks:
In contrast, Engadget found the S7 to last 14% longer with video. In fact, all sites showing poor battery life tested the Surface with a video loop.

As an example of varying tests, PC advisor got 3:20 with a Netflix test on the W700:
This is not to excuse Surface's wildly varying video battery life, as there really seems to be a bug, but for general use I'm going to trust Anand's numbers.

The W700 does have a 35% bigger battery, though, so it should fare better. Note that it's not equally equipped without the light keyboard cover or stylus input. A stylus acts like an extremely portable mouse for x86 apps.

SSD Space
By kmmatney on 2/5/13, Rating: 0
RE: SSD Space
By txDrum on 2/6/2013 12:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Mine's been fine. Anandtech claimed ~95 GB free with an 8gb recovery partition and probably a 6gb unnecessary pagefile. Plus, you can stick in a 128GB SDXC card if you're so inclined for extra storage and since it's windows 8, have it set up like a normal hard drive.

RE: SSD Space
By xti on 2/6/2013 1:21:39 PM , Rating: 1
other sites are saying 85gb, and suggest grabbing more space by moving the recovery partition stuff to a flash drive (but then say why didnt MS just give you a flash drive)

By GPig on 2/6/2013 1:58:26 AM , Rating: 2
The new Intel 7-13 watt i5-3439Y they announced in January and apparently available now. Could have made the battery acceptable. Sigh... there is still not a single tablet I deem an acceptable compromise.

By Mint on 2/6/2013 2:45:04 AM , Rating: 2
With video playback, the Pro does poorly.

With web browsing and other battery tests, I'm actually pleasantly surprised. Anand's tests has it outdoing the S7 ultrabook by 30%. Seems to last longer than the Macbook Air 11.

I don't get it
By max_payne on 2/6/2013 1:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand why people will buy this instead of a full ultrabook-laptop (for that price, a damn good one !). Why on earth would people after spreading their lunch with their fingers on their main working screen and like to look through the ketchup, relish, sweat, grease, skin residues on their tiny 10 inches screen all day long. May be I miss something with the whole touch thing. I dare anyone to touch MY screen. So that will be a delight for optometrists down the road.

By NicholeGibbs22 on 2/6/2013 4:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
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